This presentation was given at the NCH Annual Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1996-the 200th Anniversary of homeopathy! Samuel Hahnemann first coined the word homeopathy in 1796.
The cosmos – a macrocosm
Slides of individual planets in the background, to the accompaniment of “The Planets” by Gustav Holtz.
Our universe is comprised of innumerable celestial bodies, scattered throughout an infinity of space, a hugeness beyond our wildest imaginings. Each celestial body has its own individuality. Much as people do. Each of these elements of the universe has its own unique emanation, behavior and manner of relating to the other constellations. Within this immense cosmos each celestial body has its own sub-systems, much as our bodies are made up of subsystems of molecules, and these molecular subsystems are in turn made up of fields of submolecular particles and so on; telescoping fields within fields within fields…
These systems and subsystems relate to one another dynamically. The ancients ascribed different characteristics to these cosmic bodies, associating each planet, each star, each constellation with a particular deity or figure. These archetypal associations and energies are represented in mythology, astrology, psychology and alchemy.
Today, we are going to visit two of the celestial bodies which exist within our own solar system, in order to understand on a symbolic level, what might be happening unconsciously when we professionals come into conflict with one another. Because sometimes, it is through gaining a new perspective, that we can step outside of ourselves and understand a larger picture.
As you read that which follows you may want to reflect on how these archetypal energies are represented in your own life.
Enter stage left Saturn (Nick) with a frisbee ring about his head striding seriously to the accompaniment of the music for “grandpa” from Peter and The Wolf by Serge Prokofiev. A slide of the planet Saturn is projected on to the screen.
I am Saturn, the Roman god. In Greek mythology I am known as Kronos, the God of Time. I am the son of Uranos (who is heaven) and Ge (who is earth). I am an old soul and I am afraid of change.
With my birth was commenced a new generation of deities who would deprive our ancestors of their power. In turn, my mother predicted to me that one of my sons would deprive me of my authority, so I swallowed my own children as soon as they were born to prevent this from coming to pass. I became an authoritarian and a ruthless seeker-after and user of power. I used destruction, oppression and tyranny to get my way.
As time went on, my wife Rhea, who wanted children, deceived me into swallowing a stone instead of my son Jupiter. When he was born she hid him away on the isle of Crete and raised him there, unbeknownst to me. When Jupiter grew older, he conspired against me, and masterminded my overthrow. And I fled into exile, to the Western fields of ancient Italy, and established there a golden age, a utopia similar to the one I had created before my banishment.
I am wise, ambitious, logical, disciplined-a perfectionist. I am capable of right action, of making good laws and ensuring that order prevails. I am hard, but I am just, I am cold but I am capable. I am conventional and controlling. I have the capacity to sink into stagnation and petrification if my rigidity continues unopposed or unbalanced.
It takes me 28 years of earth time to complete my heavenly cycle. (I am kind of slow.) The color black is mine, as is the element lead, both of which symbolize the heaviness and inertia associated with my archetype. My energies are dense and they tend to limit and crystallize.
I am grounded, serious, responsible and persevering in my endeavors. I am the rock, the solid ground on which you stand. My gifts are logic and discipline to help you in the pursuit of your goals.
Listen to me carefully…if you ignore or reject me, your life will have no form, your path will be aimless…your feet will never touch the ground.
Enter from stage right Mercury (Miranda) with a winged hat flitting into the spotlight to the accompaniment of the music for “Peter” from “Peter and the Wolf ” by Serge Prokofiev. A slide of the planet Mercury is projected on to the screen.
I am Mercury, the Roman god. In Greek mythology I am known as Hermes. I am the son of Jupiter and Maia. Saturn then, is my grandfather. I am a young soul and I thrive on change.
I am a trickster, a joker, I started my pranks at an early age- my first day of life on earth, in fact. I stole my father’s oxen and I covered up the evidence and returned to my cradle.
I am the god of ingenious devices, the celestial alchemist. I preside over all which requires skill and dexterity. One of my inventions was the lyre, which I gave to Apollo, who was so pleased with me that he rewarded me with a golden wand, which is endowed with the power to settle all differences. I am the master of healing differences and reconciling enemies. I have the power to put people to sleep and wake them again.
Once, I encountered two serpents quarreling near the road and, when I extended the golden rod of peacekeeping, they entwined themselves about my wand and found peaceful coexistence there. Because of this, the wand has become a symbol of healing-the caduceus.
I move quickly; it takes but a year in earth time for me to complete my celestial cycle and I pass all the other planets in that time. My orbit is unpredictable. (Many of you know what difficulties are possible when I am retrograde!) The color silver and the element quicksilver are mine, symbols of brightness and elusiveness.
I am the winged messenger of Jupiter. Communication is my archetype. I am driven by a desire to relate, to build bridges and integrate.
My freedom is very important to me and I am anti-authoritarian. I am ever cheerful and I love to play, but I can be fickle. I can be superficial and exaggerate and I must take care not to become too fragmented.
I move easily in that zone between the conscious and unconscious and I can show you the bridge by which you can discover your inner truth.
Allow me to help show you the way and you will live in balance, reject me and you will turn to stone…
We are going to dramatize for you today a few of the ways in which these archetypal energies can interact with one another in the healing professions i.e. what can happen when Saturn and Mercury collide …when each camp becomes entrenched and polarized. These archetypal rhythms and myths are a part of our richness and creativity …and our shadow.
The following dramatizations are strictly fictional. Any resemblance of any of the characters to persons living or dead, is strictly coincidental.
Act I – us versus them
The following conversation is conducted over the telephone between a (fictitious) medical doctor, Andrew Marshall (Nick) and a (fictitious) alternative practitioner, Ursula Roundtree (Miranda). The two are seated at their respective desks. Nick is dressed in a formal suit jacket and Miranda in a soft, casual cardigan and chiffon scarf.
Andrew: This is Dr. Andrew Marshall calling. May I speak with Arousal Roundtree?
Arousal: This is Arousal speaking.
Andrew: I am calling you about my patient, Mrs. Davis. I have advised her she should have a hysterectomy for heavy menstrual bleeding at menopause because of fibroids. She has told me she has consulted you for some kind of alternative treatment and despite my best efforts to reason with her she has persisted in following your recommendations not to have a hysterectomy and to try your kind of therapy. I am very disturbed by this and I want to know who you are and what you are telling her.
Ursula: Mrs. Davis has consulted me for treatment. I guess I could have told you. Actually I am a homeopath. Maybe you have heard of homeopathy.
Andrew: I have heard of it. But this is a very serious condition. It isn’t something to be treated by herbal remedies. It is a life-threatening problem. Are you aware of the fact that this woman could bleed to death?
Ursula: Gosh, are we talking about the same patient? It was Mrs. Pamela Davis wasn’t it?
Andrew: Yes that is right. Mrs. Pamela Davis.
Ursula: Let me get her chart Dr. Marshall. Oh yes, her bleeding did not sound that severe to me and because I have helped many similar cases with homeopathy I supported her wish not to have surgery.
You know, Homeopathy is a very different system of healing from herbal medicines. We use minute amounts of substances that can cause similar symptoms in healthy people. It’s completely safe and non-toxic.
Andrew: Yes, well …I didn’t call you for a lecture on homeopathy. I called you because I am dealing with a seriously ill patient and I don’t think you understand the gravity of the situation. Have you taken her blood pressure? Do you know that her hemoglobin is significantly low from the amount of bleeding she has been doing?
Ursula: Mrs. Davis did give me that information. Her picture was very clear and so I felt I could suggest that she wait a little while before deciding to agree to invasive surgery, to see whether the remedy could stimulate her vital force.
Andrew: This woman has a serious illness which is totally curable by a simple surgical procedure and somehow she has it in her head that she can avoid this procedure. Now I know why. Do you have a license? Do you have medical training?
Ursula: I am a registered homeopath. And actually I don’t sense that Mrs. Davis is as sick as you are making her out to be. We feel that unnecessary hysterectomies are very stressful and so I do support her choice to try an alternative to surgery. Or at least to try it for 6 months or so.
Andrew: I don’t know what a registered homeopath is. Who are you registered with? You have not convinced me that you have any valid medical training that would allow you to determine whether or not this woman needs a hysterectomy. You are interfering in the medical care of my patient and nothing you have told me suggests that you have any medical competence whatsoever. If you do not remove yourself from this case I will report you to the Medical Board for practicing medicine without a license.
Ursula: Gosh. Let’s wait a minute. Doesn’t this patient have the right to choose a non-invasive therapy for her complaint Dr. Marshall?
Andrew: If I thought a non-invasive therapy would be sufficient I would be the first to recommend it. It’s people like you who keep cancer patients from getting effective treatment.
Ursula: And it’s people like you who are so closed to alternatives that your patients suffer needlessly.
Andrew: I don’t see any reason to continue this conversation.
Ursula: Me neither.
They slam the phone down on one another and each reflect on the conversation on their own.
Andrew: That patient needs surgery to deal with her symptoms. That woman is a fool to think she can help in any way.
Ursula: It makes me so angry. He thinks he knows everything. He’s so rigid. I wish I had the freedom to help people without this sort of unpleasantness happening.
Andrew: That woman knows nothing of science. She has probably never read a research paper in her whole life. She’s a charlatan. She should be put out of business.
Ursula: That doctor knows nothing of healing. He can’t stamp on me just because I do not work to the same rules as him.
Andrew: Those half baked alternative practitioners make me so mad.
Ursula: I hate those rigid doctor types. Oh dear …hatred …I just don’t like being treated like that. He made me feel …like a child. I don’t like that feeling. I felt like I was talking to my domineering mother. My mother …back to that again …It looks like he really pushed my buttons big time. Oh boy. I don’t like to admit it but there is a way in which he was right. He is her primary care provider. I should have communicated with him when she consulted with me. Damn it. If I put myself in his shoes I guess I can understand why he was so angry. I am not going to leave it like this.
Ursula Roundtree picks up the phone and calls Andrew Marshall.
Ursula: Dr. Marshall, this is Ursula Roundtree calling. I would like to apologize for getting angry with you and slamming the phone down.
Andrew: Yes …
Ursula: I also want to say that it was wrong of me not to have contacted you after Mrs. Davis consulted me, and it was unethical to have gone against your recommendations.
Andrew: Your apologies are accepted.
Ursula: You are right. I didn’t realize the gravity of Mrs. Davis’s medical situation and I am pleased to have that information.
Andrew: Well. I am glad you are able to see it that way.
Ursula: You know I have had some medical training. It wasn’t nearly as extensive as yours. But sometimes, my enthusiasm for homeopathy gets in the way. By the way, did you notice that Mrs. Davis experienced an improvement in her menorrhagia with her last menstrual period? And actually seemed to feel a bit better in herself?
Andrew: Well …now that you come to mention it she did seem pretty perky for a hemoglobin of 11. And her notes do also indicate that her bleeding has lessened …I didn’t connect that with her visit to you.
Ursula: I have observed that patients who are healing sometimes feel better in themselves before their presenting complaint improves. I know it is too soon to tell whether her bleeding will subside, but…well …I wonder whether you would agree to letting Mrs. Davis try homeopathic treatment for, say, a month or so, and if in that time her bleeding was reduced and her hemoglobin rose then …
Andrew: Well …You know her hemoglobin did only drop 2 points. I would be agreeable to following her hemodynamics for two more menstrual periods if that is what she really wishes as long as she doesn’t develop any troublesome signs. I would want to see her every two weeks during this time to keep a close eye on her progress.
Ursula: Thank you Dr. Marshall. I am really pleased that we have been able talk about this some more.
Andrew: Thank you for calling back. I hope we can get a good result here. Of course time will tell.
Act II – it also happens in the family
The following conversation is conducted over the telephone between a (fictitious) MD/homeopath, Jane Peabody (Miranda), and a (fictitious) physician’s assistant, Rick Newhouse (Nick). The two are seated at their respective desks. (In this Act Miranda wears Nick’s formal jacket and Nick tosses Miranda’s scarf around his neck.)
Rick: Rick Newhouse speaking.
Jane: This is Dr. Jane Peabody calling. I understand you are a physician’s assistant who is working with a patient called Mr. Chavez. He is coming to me for homeopathic treatment. I understand you have been giving him homeopathic remedies (without much success). Can you tell me what you have prescribed? It will help if I have this information before he comes in for his first office call.
Rick: Mr. Chavez first came to me for stomach pains which improved after I treated him with Stomach No. 3 from Pfannenstiel Pharmaceuticals. We also did some work with aura balancing and supplements. Six months ago he developed an ulcer on his leg which I think is because of his poor circulation from varicose veins. I tried some Chinese herbs and acupuncture and some homeopathy and we seemed to be getting somewhere at first but lately I am beginning to wonder if he really wants to get better.
Jane: So which homeopathic remedies have you given Mr. Chavez, Rick?
Rick: I tried a combination with Graphites, Hammamelis and Carbo. veg. for about six weeks and then I gave him Sulphur 1M daily (as well as hammamelis ointment externally) for a couple of weeks and I thought we were getting some results because he had an aggravation of his symptoms but he didn’t improve. Then because he had some swollen glands in his groin I gave him Hepar Sulph, Silica and Mercurius for three months. I got this idea after this great course I took in Santa Fe.
Jane: I am not sure I understand you correctly. Do you mean to say that you have been giving these remedies in combination?
Jane: As a classical homeopath I am appalled by your prescribing style.
Rick: We don’t all have the temperament to prescribe a single remedy in these serious cases and then just wait. I am a person who wants results and I will use whatever method I can that will help my patients. I am not about to have them wait and suffer.
Jane: That’s all very well, but…this patient is apparently still suffering in spite of your combinations and your aura balancing. I am of the opinion that these mixtures are the work of seriously misguided practitioners. I must ask you to stop treating him while he is consulting with me as I don’t want his case confused by your reckless prescribing.
Rick: Isn’t it up to Mr. Chavez to decide what treatments he wants? You classical homeopaths are so rigid. You want to control everything the patient does. How do you think that makes them feel? You are quite out of touch with the reality of what you are doing.
Jane: I know exactly what I am doing. I am making sure my patients get better. I think we need to set clear treatment boundaries here, so as not to mess-up his case further.
Rick: I think you are taking somewhat of a haughty approach with me. I am a dedicated healer. I spend a lot of time going to seminars and studying. You think you have the answers with your single remedy, narrow approach to prescribing with waiting forever. I mean, Mr. Chavez is my patient, I did not refer him to you, I will continue to treat him as I see fit as long as he wants to come to see me. And if you wish to prescribe and wait with your high-falutin’ classical homeopathy feel free …
Jane: I resent your attitude. You are the sort of practitioner that gives homeopathy a bad name. I am guided by the principles laid down by Samuel Hahnemann, these are not high-falutin’, they have stood the test of time.
Rick: Hahnemann lived 200 years ago. There have been a lot of changes and discoveries since then. I don’t think we need to stay stuck in the mud of the 1700s. We ought to be able to think for ourselves and advance our art.
Jane: Yes but Rick, don’t you see that if you mess with the principles then you mess with the whole basis of homeopathy. Don’t you realize the damage you can do with foolish prescribing?
Rick: These medicines are perfectly safe. We can’t do any damage with them. That is one of the main reasons I do this.
Jane: You are wrong. We can do damage. If we don’t carefully observe the effects of our treatments we can compound a patient’s problem. Homeopathy is powerful. You know that our medicines have the power to create symptoms of disease in healthy people. I am sure you’ve seen a patient inadvertently prove a homeopathic medicine.
Rick (after reflection): I guess I have seen that a few times.
Jane: And I am sure you have seen a patient’s superficial symptoms improve while their deeper, and more serious complaint gets worse.
Rick: Actually that is a problem I struggle with occasionally. I’ll tell you what. We know that Mr. Chavez is not getting better and I have tried my best to help him. And, well, you have a very good reputation with people you have helped …maybe I can learn some about classical homeopathy from you. How about I sit in with you. I am sure Mr. Chavez wouldn’t mind if I sat in on his consultation. This might be an opportunity for me to learn some more in-depth about homeopathy. How about putting your money where you mouth is so that I can learn from you?
Jane: Rick. Really. Classical homeopathy isn’t learnt in an afternoon sitting in. It takes years and years of very hard work.
Rick: I am not suggesting for one moment that you can teach me every thing you know in one afternoon. I am not that naive. But perhaps this would be an opportunity for me to follow a case along so that I can experience your work at first hand. I would like that.
Jane: I like your enthusiasm. You seem to care about your patient’s welfare. I don’t have a facility for students to sit in with me. I have another suggestion. I have a set of classical homeopathy lectures on tape. Why don’t you borrow these and when you have listened to them let’s meet and discuss them.
Rick: Yeah. I would be willing to listen to those tapes. And we’ll see if they excite my interest. That sounds fine. I’ll tell you what. I have some tapes also. About dream provings. As a matter of fact, even some strict classical homeopaths are experimenting with them. I would love to know what you think about them.
Jane: I’ll try and make time to listen to them.
Act III – we have met the enemy and he is us
The following conversation is conducted at a cocktail party between a (fictitious) homeopathic practitioner, Marvin Wallace and a (fictitious) naturopathic physician, Gloria Wellborn. (In this Act Nick wears his own jacket and Miranda her own scarf.)
Marvin: Gloria Wellborn. I was hoping to meet you here. I’m Marvin Wallace, I’m the homeopath in town. Am I right in thinking that you are the naturopathic practitioner?
Gloria: That’s right Marvin. It’s good to meet you too. It’s been far too many years that our paths haven’t crossed. Have you tasted the walnut pate’ yet? It’s to die for!
Marvin: Gloria, I wanted to tell you about the course I’m teaching at my office. As you probably know I have studied for twenty years with some of the finest homeopaths in Europe. Including three years in Greece. I’m going to be teaching classical homeopathic prescribing, some of the finer points of case analysis and follow-up, for members of our alternative medical community. I’d love to have you join us.
Gloria: Um…gosh…what night is it going to be?
Marvin: I am planning the first tutorial for a week from Tuesday, at 7.30P.M.
Gloria: Damn, I won’t be able to come. That’s the night of my belly dancing class. Have you ever tried belly-dancing Marvin? Men can do it too, you know. It’s really fun…and wonderful exercise! Since Chenille’s birth, my little girl, I’ve gotten a bit of a tummy, but it’s firming up nicely now.
Marvin: Right…uh…Gloria, I am not sure I have time for belly dancing. Actually there’s another thing I wanted to mention, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about a patient I’m seeing, who used to see you, as I understand it. Her name is Melissa Peterson and she came to me for migraines, she was having them when you were seeing her wasn’t she?
Gloria: Yes, Let me think. I had a dickens of a time with her headaches. We did some Gestalt therapy about her relationship with her mother-did she tell you about her mother? Well, anyway, we did a process which was really intense and had a beautiful outcome-a real breakthrough for her. I was hoping it would help her with her headaches, but they didn’t get better. I tried several migraine remedies but they didn’t do anything much.
Marvin: I prescribed Picric Acid, it was to me, a clear case of it. And her headaches have now cleared up and she feels much better in herself. You know, Gloria, I think my class would really help you. We talk about penetrating to the real essence of the case-determining the fundamental way in which a patient misperceives their environment. Maybe you could take a sabbatical from your belly dancing class and I could help you become a more effective prescriber. I encourage you to give it some thought.
Gloria: Thanks a lot for the offer, Marvin, I think my soul and my tummy need the dancing right now. I hope you get a lot of students for your class. I’m not really interested in that way of prescribing. It’s too much work for me. I like that keynote method best. I know it doesn’t work all the time, but then nothing does, does it? Try the pate’ if it’s not gone, it’s really good.
Marvin: Maybe you would be better off leaving homeopathy to those who know what they are doing and just sticking with what you know. I don’t think you should be dabbling in a system of medicine that you are not thoroughly familiar with.
Gloria: I know what I am doing Marvin. I just don’t know as much as you do.
Marvin: It would be the same as if I were to play with some of your naturopathic methods without really understanding them.
Gloria: I don’t like where this conversation is going. I know your reputation in town. And I know you speak disparagingly behind my back-about me and the way I practice. It seems to me that you think you are the only person in this town that knows anything about homeopathy.
Marvin: You may be right Gloria.
Gloria: Oh. I know you are very serious about this and care very much about your patients and your work. But Marvin, I just want you to know that I care too. I just have a different approach. And I actually believe that this town is big enough for the two of us. Do you remember a Mr. Martin? Mr. Daniel Martin?
Marvin: Oh yes, Mr. Daniel Martin, I lost him several years ago. I heard his prostate trouble cleared up completely. Did he see you?
Gloria: Yes he did. You know you aren’t going to see the patients I help. They aren’t going to come to you. They are going to stay with me. And I have a very busy practice. I don’t help all the people all the time. But then neither do you. We can’t do that, either of us.
You have a distorted impression that I am an ineffective practitioner because those people I haven’t helped are coming to see you. But you must know that, don’t you?
Marvin: (sighs): I guess I had never really thought about it that way. You are right. Sometimes I do lose sight of the fact that practitioners are individuals too, with their unique ways of working …
Gloria: We are all mostly trying to do our best you know. You work on your own don’t you?
Gloria: I know that this is hard work that you do, this classical homeopathy, and I have heard you are really dedicated. I imagine that you might feel isolated at times.
Marvin: Aren’t we all?
Gloria: Yes we are, to a certain extent. I just want to extend an open invitation for you to come and have lunch with me. I would really like it if we are able to find a way to respect each other’s way of working, and who knows, maybe even work together.
Marvin: Maybe. Time will tell …anyway, thank you for your invitation.
Archetypes of our times
Miranda and Nick alternate paragraphs in addressing the audience with the following.
We have endeavored to portray to you today what can happen when there is a collision of those energies which are symbolically attributed to Saturn and Mercury. We have examined this in the context of relationships between health care providers, both within the homeopathic care system and between homeopaths and providers in the mainstream medical system.
Saturn is represented in the strict parent, providing firm and useful guidelines and discipline; and being harsh, overlimiting and hostile in the extreme. Mercury is represented in the explorer, the free spirit, the trickster and wild child. This child is spontaneous and creative, and can become undisciplined and fragmented without boundaries. When we call on and use the power of healing, we invoke the energy and archetype of Mercury. When we assume our roles as authority figures, as health care experts, as doctors and homeopaths, we invoke the energy or archetype of Saturn.
Alternative health care practitioners have transferred a Saturnian energy onto the AMA, onto orthodox medical doctors: perceiving them as rigid and dogmatic, ruthless and full of restrictive rules and regulations. They are perceived as capable of devouring their patients (and the alternative practitioners) to protect themselves and their positions. Within the homeopathic community we have projected Saturnian energy onto the strict, so-called classical homeopath. Conversely the alternative medical practitioner is perceived by the mainstream physician and the AMA as flighty, insubstantial, not to be taken seriously and dangerously irresponsible.
Projecting the shadow
We all project shadow parts of ourselves onto others as a way of avoiding those parts of ourselves which don’t fit our agenda: these may be parts we don’t like in ourselves and/or those which are unacceptable to others. Alternative health care practitioners have stereotyped allopathic physicians as Saturnian and have identified themselves as Mercurial: as creative and visionary healers. Saturnian energy is perceived as “bad” in this New Age of ours: it is slow and dark and limiting. By projecting this image onto those who disagree with us, we become blind to that very same energy in ourselves. Projections go both ways, with members of the mainstream medical community projecting their unconscious Mercurial attributes onto members of the alternative community. In fact, as we have portrayed here, the same projections can happen within the homeopathic family.
This projection of shadowy parts of ourselves complicates communication and makes conflict resolution difficult. When we are embroiled in one of these conflict situations with other health care professionals we become self-serving and forget that we are neglecting our allegiance to our patients. When patients defer to us as a higher authority, they transfer a parental role onto us: it is up to us to honor that trust. We fail them by breaking our contract to care for them by acting out age-old patterns of conflict- especially ones that mirror dysfunctional family dynamics.
We need Saturn. Without rules, regulations, discipline and authority, we have no foundations, we are insubstantial and cannot be taken seriously. Saturn grounds the Mercurial mind when it flies out too far. Alone, these rules become dense and rigid and can crumble. We need Mercury to shed light into Saturn’s darkness, to lighten the burden of responsibility, to bring creativity into Saturn’s rational realms.
Resolution of the conflict
For the conflict between these two to be resolved, Mercury has to listen to Saturn and take him seriously. Mercury is easily overwhelmed by Saturn’s rigidity and can lose his adaptability and lightness when in the grip of Saturn’s energy; for Saturn can devour Mercury’s spirit and he senses this. Mercury has to use cunning to retain a sense of himself, to persuade Saturn that his point of view is of value.
[While we appreciate that both Saturn and Mercury are portrayed as masculine archetypes, it is important to remember that these myths and their meanings belong to women also. Implicit in our dramatizations is the understanding that these archetypal behaviors are common to both genders.]
The rule-makers have to pay attention to the creative process to come alive …and then they can work together in harmony. This isn’t as easy as it may sound, or as easy as we have made it out to be in our mini-dramas.
The ancient conflict between symbols of liberation and containment -between adventure and discipline, freedom and security-is played out daily in our lives. Some would seek an ideal of working towards a happy middle ground where there is no harshness and no conflict: this is a naive wish for an eternity of happy endings. (Saturn himself was a Utopian at heart.) This represents stasis, with an absence of polarity and the search for resolution. Our creativity depends on tension between opposing forces-and a resolution of that tension. Conflict situations are potentials for transformation: they are opportunities to learn something about ourselves: as well as those with whom we are engaged in conflict.
Healing the healers
We observe with great care that which is hidden in the psyches of our patients. We tune into their stories, their affects and their language, both verbal and non-verbal so as to perceive their blind spots, those areas of strong feeling or paradoxical reactions which guide us to the essence of their dis-ease. Likewise, we must be willing to continually awaken to our own pathology, to the hidden zones of our own psyches. Without this, we risk an inner myopia and gulfs of misunderstanding between our patient and our colleagues.
We have dramatized this struggle in some of the ways we have seen it at work in our community, both as we interface with mainstream medicine and in our interactions with other alternative health care practitioners (our peers). We have acted out these interactions in order to personalize them and bring them to life.
We hope that as a result of this presentation you are encouraged or even inspired to examine your own process around conflict. You might find it interesting to ask yourself how the tension between Saturnian and Mercurial energies are represented in your personal history, and how they may be acting out in your lives now-both personal and professional.
200 years ago Samuel Hahnemann created homeopathy, integrating the Saturnian component of perseverance, discipline and logic with the Mercurial elements of creativity and defiance of the established order. Each of us has a responsibility to honor this legacy by carrying on the work he started.
In aphorism 144, Hahnemann tells us that “the essence of all true wisdom” is to “know thyself “. The time is way overdue to hold up a mirror to ourselves, to examine our behavior, to minister to our wounds, to stop seeing the wounded only in others …because there is some healing work to be done in our communities for history not to repeat itself, for homeopathy to survive and flourish another 200 years-and many more.
Joseph L Henderson, Ancient Myths and Modern Man. Man and His Symbols, conceived and edited by Jung (Picador, 1964).
J. E. Cirlot. A Dictionary of Symbols (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1962).
John Jocelyn, Meditations on the Signs of the Zodiac (Harper and Row, 1970).
Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch’s Complete Mythology (Octopus, London 1989).
M.A. Dwight. Grecian and Roman Mythology (AS Barnes and Co., NY 1882).
E. C. Whitmont. The Symbolic Quest (Princeton University Press, 1978).
E.C. Whitmont. The Return of the Goddess
(Crossroad, NY 1986).
Donald Grabau (astrologer)
Anita Fahs (astrologer)
Nicholas Nossaman MD, DHt, is a practicing homeopathic physician in Denver, and has a special interest in poetry, pantomime and Jungian psychology.
Miranda Castro FSHom, RSHom (NA), CCH is a professional homeopath and writer who lives in Seattle, Washington. Her special interests are humanistic psychology, ethics and needlework.
Special thanks to Ellen Goldman ND, DHANP for operating the video and to Tess Nossaman for narrating the introduction -and to both for their support, guidance and wisdom.