– Francis treuherz, fshom

fran-lrg Tributes to whitmont

Icorresponded with Whitmont from the late 70’s when I asked him some questions for my early research on Steiner and Swedenborg (JAIH 1984 and 1985) but my treasured moments were as when I asked him in his London Seminar for the Society of Homoeopaths in about 1993, “Did Jung know about homeopathy?” “Yes,” he replied, “I told him!!”
 When I introduced him to my wife after the seminar, (Rachel was then working as a Rabbi) he immediately, despite having been teaching for two days, started a discussion with her about the Hebrew grammatical alternative feminine forms for the name of God, and before the seminar, when I was driving him to the hall, he needed to stop at a hardware store…why? To buy some sandpaper so that his dentures could be adjusted -the only time I saw him admit to frailty!
 By Melissa Fairbanks
 Ifeel it has been a profound blessing to have known such a man as Christopher Whitmont in my life, and an honor to honor him with a few words here, though the fullness of my heart at his passing on is hard to transmit in words. Although I first met him at his home, the time that stays most with me is when he gave a seminar for Four Winds some five or six years ago. I had quite recently moved to the States and was still feeling somewhat homesick and a little lost. He told me he still missed his homecountry, and spoke to me about the need to ‘create’ around me a sense of the sacred, almost like building one’s own atmosphere or ‘conditions of being’ that are independent of externals. I mention his advice to me because on reflection, this was exactly what he did. When with him, you did feel in the presence of something far larger, far greater, far more sacred then the physical dimensions of one human being. I felt when he spoke that there was never a word that was accidental or without deep thought and insight accompanying it. Also, that as clumsy as I felt in trying to convey my feelings, he could read into one’s heart deeply and with the greatest compassion and understanding. He was a luminous being, twinkling with humor and shining with mystery. I will miss him greatly.
 “Playing our part in the life drama, performing in our life’s symphony, requires making the most effective use of the instruments or of the roles assigned to us…”
 By Suzanne Szalay, M.D.
 Winding down the long gravel road and through the deer-laden woods to visit the office of Dr. Edward C. Whitmont (Christopher, as he preferred to be called), was an event marked by anticipation for most, and always seemed to me to be a metaphor for the “journey to the Great Man within”-the journey which became the centerpiece of Dr. Whitmont’s life and work. For the serious seeker, a one-time encounter with him came to have a reputation for being a life-changing experience. With an extraordinary gift for looking at a part and seeing the whole, he would apply holographic thinking to a dream, a symptom, an event, even a figure of speech. Like the old alchemists, he would work (or he would say play with) the alchemical “prima materia,” walking around the raw material much as he would take his famous walks in the woods, listening for details, absorbing the nuances, maintaining a hovering awareness. Then, drawing upon his vast inner library of experience and archetypal laboratory, he would proceed with wizardly precision to extract the core, the essence. Almost disappearing in intense concentration-yet ever so very present-he would journey into the recesses of his great heart-mind and return with a key, an extract, a potentized simillimum. At times the simillimum came in the form of an analytic interpretation, a parable, an historical or even a musical reference, or perhaps a symbolic gesture; at other times he dispensed an actual remedy. His mastery of such a vast-indeed often overwhelming to contemplate-array of alchemical tools truly earned him the reputation of quintessential alchemist.
 Born in Vienna, Austria in 1912, Dr. Whitmont was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family as an only child of parents who were unable to attend to their son’s inner life, so that he had to find his “own lonely way,” as he would put it. Early interests included an attraction to myths and fairy tales, and a deep involvement in music. Even as a youth he was especially taken with Wagner’s The Ring as it seemed to him to demonstrate “the stupidity and destructiveness of the power urge” which surrounded him in the Nazi occupation. Determined to better mankind, he put aside musical goals and pursued medicine and socialism, eventually, however, discovering (and rejecting) power strife in those areas as well. Ultimately he turned to anthropology, homeopathy, psychosomatics, alchemy, and Jung in what became his own grail quest for transpersonal meaning. Following his training at the Vienna University Medical school, he studied Rudolf Steiner’s work with Karl König, classical homeopathy with Elizabeth Wright Hubbard, and medical dowsing with G.B.  Stearns, working with the latter two after emigrating from Austria to America to escape the Nazis. His parents, who were born in Poland, could not leave, and were murdered in the Nazi gas chambers. From 1947 to 1951 he taught homeopathy at the Postgraduate School of the American Foundation for Homeopathy. Interested in and puzzled by his patient’s and his own dreams, he sought out M. Esther Harding and C. G. Jung, ultimately lecturing and publishing widely on depth psychology, psychosomatics, homeopathy, and alchemy, in addition to teaching at the C.G.  Jung Training Center in New York where he was a founding member and chairman.
 He used to say that it was through meeting with the limits of homeopathy in terms of rigidified psychological impasses in patients which ultimately led to his work with the psyche after 1951. Certainly Dr. Whitmont’s view of homeopathy as “an extension or modern technique of alchemy and of the spagyric arts” had to do with his profound grasp of the meaning of alchemy in terms of the individuation process, of the unfolding of the Self. “What you have in your remedy bottle is mind,” he told us at the Vermont conference on Individuation and Homeopathy. And one has the sense that his fondness for Kent’s definition of a homeopath as “one who abandons traditional absurdities,” only intensified as he explored the nature of paradox in the objective psyche. He was by virtue of his breadth of training (and of life experience as both homeopath and depth psychologist) in a perfect position to comment upon the interface of a priori vs. “learned” (and often deeply ingrained) behavioral qualities, and to teach us to position ourselves as healers so as to appreciate both sides, i.e. , when to use a substance in potency, when to consider dealing with psychological complexes in “potentized” form, symbolically.
 “Formation, transformation, Eternal mind’s Eternal recreation -” the words of his beloved Goethe’s Faust in Part II captured for him a sense of the parallels between homeopathy and analytical psychology. Both are finalistic rather than only material or effectively causal in approach, i.e. , they evaluate the situation from the standpoint of wholeness. Form patterns, as expressions of symbolic correlations, are operative in both the remedy pictures of homeopathy and the archetypes of depth psychology. Just as there are instances of profound healing once the remedy has been discerned-yet not actually administered-so, too, in depth psychology, the analyst’s grasp of the archetypal core of the patient’s issue-without saying a word-has been demonstrated to “move mountains.” And just as the homeopath knows that only that which can make us ill can also heal, so, too, the depth psychologist understands the need for the patient to surrender to a greater suffering in the course of therapy before deep healing and development toward wholeness can occur. Far from treating the body as an epiphenomenon of the mind where all pathology is secondary to psychological attitudes, Dr. Whitmont pointed to the value of psychological and physical pain and crises as stepping stones toward wholeness, where illness “can become a source of renewal when it pressures us into another life meaning.” Whether we are dealing with images or with physical symptoms, he noted that both “arise as carriers of messages which are lacking-at times dangerously lacking-in consequence of the one-sided views and convictions of consciousness.”
 His appreciation of the hazards of one-sidedness was demonstrated most vividly in how he lived-as spokesperson for the psyche in the realm of soma, yet as maverick and even renegade in traditional/classical analytic circles. To the homeopath he would caution that life upon the “dry land” of rational consciousness (a relatively minor part of total psychic functioning) depends upon the waters of the ocean (the unconscious psyche) for sustenance. Likewise, however, the analytically-minded need to appreciate the role of substance as a foothold on dry land in the midst of sometimes chaotic flood waters. Truly his commitment to a unified approach to the whole person cost him the cozy following of a conventional niche as he followed the lonely path for which his childhood sadly yet wonderfully prepared him. “Whoever is willing the Fates will lead, the unwilling they will drag along,” an old Roman proverb, was one of his favorites, and he was not one to be dragged. Rather he met his fate, “the cards dealt by life,” as he would say, courageously, energetically, creatively, playfully, with humor and intensity. His dignity was a by product of his focus, spiritual attitude, and integrity sprung from a sense of humility, a bowing to the cosmos, to the mystery.
 To bring forth his ideas required living them, and in this way he, like the great teachers of all time, taught as much by who he was as by what he said. Pointing again and again to how the psyche compensates any extreme with its opposite, and citing numerous examples of how consciousness limited by “angelic standards results in the rejected creative power becoming a devil,” he warned that one’s unrealized potential or undeveloped areas may become one’s fate as we unconsciously call to ourselves whatever is required to compensate our one-sidedness. “Most people,” he once remarked, “spend their lives asking, ‘What do I want?’ instead of asking the real question: What does life want of me?” As homeopaths, he advised, we do well to remember that “Life demands not only adaptation to external reality, but equally, adaptation to inner reality, to what one is “meant to be” in terms of the force patterns of the objective psyche.” To this end he recommended acquainting ourselves to the fullest with the objective psyche so as to align our efforts with what appears to be a compelling urge to adapt to what one is meant to be, a compelling urge to embody one’s truth, or “thusness,” a compelling urge which moreover “may have little or nothing to do with one’s conscious ideas or purposes.”
 Cultivating a conscious relationship with the objective psyche further requires effort of heroic proportion, and in this regard he cited the so-called paradox of the objective psyche, reminding us of the way in which the hero in fairy tales is destined to be beset with difficulties which he must in the course of the tale come to face. “It is as if,” he once commented, “we are distorted at the outset-in order to become ourselves.” And he felt he could not emphasize enough the respect for the distortion as well as for the impossibility of discovering one’s own blind spots, quoting Jung, “The trouble with the unconscious is that it is unconscious!” Hence the need for the practitioner actively to work with others in order to become aware of that which is “other” (non-ego) within. Here he envisioned an integration of homeopathy with depth psychology, for instance by working with the compensating messages available to us nightly in our dreams, by learning to differentiate between the conscious ego position and the deeper “a priori personality” which “may appear very negative, threatening, or even evil to the ego which thinks of itself as the personality.” His early exposure to “the stupidity and destructiveness of the power urge,” both personally via his parents, and culturally, in the Nazi occupation provided only too vivid examples of how the a priori personality, if not granted a right to exist somehow in reality, ends up expressing itself otherwise in destructive fashion. So, too, with physical symptomatology. This rejected, yet a priori piece-the stone which was rejected yet which can become the cornerstone-contains the treasure of our potential creativity, ability, and life goals. It is the hag in the Green Knight and Gawain mythologies who, when attended to adequately (given sovereignty) becomes the maiden fairer than any, the alchemist’s lead transformed into gold.
 Christopher likewise compared the need for us as healers to pay attention to our dreams-the most direct and “convenient” access to the unconscious-and to follow the approach Marie Louise von Franz advised toward the animals in tales and myths. He would say, “Never disregard them. This means, never disregard the instinct life. Never fall for the hybris of consciousness which tells us that the contingencies of ever-changing life can be successfully met by relying exclusively on conscious rationality and sensible rules, and that it might be safe to disregard the transpersonal dimension of existence which we have here symbolically termed the objective psyche. We may even go so far as to say that some dreams are ignored only at our peril….The law of the preservation of energy applies also to the psyche. Whatever is repressed while then lost to consciousness, still does not disappear. It becomes an unconscious compulsive force which then has primitive and potentially destructive characteristics”. He continues, and here he also addressed the homeopathic community, “The repressed energy of the myth contains also the thread of collective no less than individual psychosis, which those who can become aware of the situation have the awesome responsibility to attempt to transform.”
 Since archetypes, as inherited patterns of psychic functioning, correspond to what we understand as remedy pictures, one would do well to take his advice to become familiar with archetypal material-if only by (and indeed especially by) grappling with one’s own raw unconscious material. Through this work one develops a deepening sense of the natural gradients, of the lines of force, of the structuring of the energy fields within-an awareness of which fine-tunes the healer’s ability to embody in his own consciousness the simillimum of the patient. Many of us in practice are aware, no doubt, of an occasional propensity to encounter disproportionate cases requiring the same remedy. This is one example of how the psyche, as a dynamic nucleus of energy, functions much as a magnet, calling to itself exactly that which it needs-in order to become more conscious of an activated unconscious issue (in this case in the healer). By virtue of the power inherent in one’s position as homeopath, he called upon us to take seriously the disciplined examination of one’s own psyche, remembering Goethe, who has the devil in Faust say of himself, “Part of that Power which would / the Evil ever do, and ever does the Good.” Dr. Whitmont cherished this line as a reminder that the reverse is also true, i.e. , “that often enough the more we will the good, the more we create the evil by overlooking our selfish intents…” It is thus essential to try to become aware of exactly that of which we wish to stay unaware-in the interest of maintaining adequate psychic hygiene in the energy field between healer and patient.
 “The adequate question therefore never is: Have I a shadow problem? Have I a negative side? But rather: Where does it happen right now? When we cannot see it, it is time to beware….a complex is not pathological per se. It becomes pathological only when we assume that we do not have it; because then it has us.” His position on suffering applied elegantly and equally in both homeopathic and analytic arenas, namely, that rather than colluding with the frequent desire of the patient to discover “how can I get rid of this?” to promote a truly Jungian, prospective attitude by asking instead “What new dimension of experiencing does this try to teach me? What message-other than guilt or penance-is being communicated to me in terms of growth and movement toward wholeness? Psychic hygiene, he insisted, rests upon self-discovery and self-acceptance. To this end he viewed, I believe, every “taking of a case,” as an opportunity to enlarge the consciousness of both physician and patient, in addition to being an opportunity to help our patients find the courage not to drive underground whatever it is that wants expression, whatever it is that is asking for attention in the language of symptoms, modalities, complaints. Our very stumbling blocks are indeed our stepping stones to growth. Because conflict (as transformative, as re-creative) is the central feature of the individuation process and hence central to good prescribing, he called us to well-acquaint ourselves with its dimensions within ourselves as part of refining our skills as practitioners. It is a vast area to navigate, the waters of the psyche, and we are fortunate to have had someone who spoke both languages (homeopathic and analytic) at the helm.
 Should there be any room for doubt about the value of an outer other in navigating one’s own unconscious waters, he openly acknowledged his own indebtedness to his partner, Sylvia Brinton Perera, whose influence was powerfully transformative, both personally and professionally. Together they authored a brilliant and highly practical textbook on dreamwork, the first of its kind. His relationship with her, as glimpsed through his writings, embodied what he reverently referred to as “the transformative dynamic of the Feminine.” By virtue of the nature of their work, its need to be lived in addition to contemplated, we are indebted to her wisdom and to the spirit which so influenced and complemented his own.
 Christopher’s interest in Jung had much to do with his views about the healer, his conviction that real healing only occurs when the healer allows himself or herself to take on-and be deeply affected by-the issues of the patient. In Alchemy and Healing he reminded us of the old alchemists’ idea of the healer as one who dedicated himself to the liberation or redemption of the deity who is lost or “sleeping” (unconscious) in matter. The responsibility of the potentially wounding, potentially healing, effect of mirroring in potentized or symbolic form the patient’s woundedness calls upon the very best any of us has to give in terms of wholeness. He frequently referred to the Chinese adept who said, “If the wrong man uses the right means, the right means work in the wrong way-“emphasizing the truth of yet another favorite quote of Jung, that “the personality of the patient demands the personality of the doctor.”
 One felt in Dr. Whitmont’s personality the “contagious” presence of a human being in possession of tremendous reverence for and dedication to the unfolding mystery of our being. He especially liked the fairy tale “Godfather Death” as a reminder that “mana powers are not really the healer’s,” but rather that the “gold” needs to be “returned” to the transpersonal. Those who worked with him remember well his familiar shrug of the shoulders and mischievous grin-as he embodied the “optimal healing attitude” he himself described in Alchemy and Healing: “in which the healer sees all and everything received and every action taken in service to the transpersonal, thereby abdicating any center stage position.” So he lived.
 Musician, physician, philosopher, alchemist, homeopath, analyst, poet-one of his own translations of a poem by Goethe ends with the following lines: “And unless your life contain / Dying and rebirth / You are but a cloudy guest / Upon this dark earth.” He may have had in mind an idea mentioned in Alchemy and Healing pertaining to his knowledge of astrology, namely, that the “death constellations of an individual (with all of their transformations of the birth potential) carry back into the cosmos the learned experience of that particular incarnation. That his own light should go out leaving us with a guiding light toward the new millennium echoes the paradox he served. That he himself should pass away on the new moon of Rosh Hashanah, moreover rounds out the living statement, the magnificent symphony which was his life, in a way that only underscores the profound mystery for which he stood.
 Suzanne Szalay, M.D.  is a Jungian-oriented psychiatrist with a deep interest in the interface of psyche and soma. A student of Dr. Whitmont, her work with him included Jungian analytic technique, dream analysis, and homeopathy. Dr. Szalay is in private practice in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Dr.Devendra Kumar MD(Homeo)
International Homeopathic Consultant at Ushahomeopathy
I am a Homeopathic Physician. I am practicing Homeopathy since 20 years. I treat all kinds of Chronic and Acute complaints with Homeopathic Medicines. Even Emergency conditions can be treated with Homeopathy if case is properly managed. know more about me and my research on my blog https://www.homeoresearch.com/about-me/
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