Psychic Excavation and Pendulum Swing
Homeopathy entails psychic excavation. Once a client “graduates” from an effective remedy it is usually evident that an “onion skin” remedy-state layer has been peeled away. Seemingly an out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire experience, the transition is found meaningful since an underlying layer’s core issues and pertaining symptoms are now accessible for treatment. Some of these symptoms will overlap with the previous remedy; others will be new. Symptoms and behaviors arise indicating a drastic polarity shift that I liken to a pendulum swing.
Upon release of its potential energy a pendulum swings past the midpoint of its arc. The pendulum’s movement eventuates in a point diametrically opposed to where it started. Similarly, rather than merely reducing the magnitude of an existential issue’s charge (a pendulum unaccountably halting at the midpoint of its arc), a dramatic polarity shift in a client’s psyche is evident. Liberation from the prior remedy’s existential issue is signaled by the pendulum swing. This indicates that regardless of how good a remedy was, a new medicine is called for rather than repeating the old one.
Psychic Excavation with a Sisyphus-like Patient
My Sisyphus-like client reported detesting a job to which he felt chained. Though repetitious and pointless, the job “paid the bills.” He much regretted educational and career decisions that had led him to his occupational plight. Despite being well-off and possessed of various skills, he felt powerless to quit or even to look around for something else. “Let’s say I did?” he asked. “The new job would be no better than the one I have now, likely even worse.” In his relationships he felt misunderstood and powerless to do anything about it. I gave him Germanium metallicum.
The conclusion of the remedy’s several-weeks-long time frame indicated that psychic excavation was underway. As opposed to griping about his job, he now had a new complaint. Though drained of motivation to look for different work—or to do anything, for that matter—he revealed an upsurge of self-awareness and personal agency in our next session. My client spoke of anguish regarding his dysfunctional family of birth, of its gradual fracturing into multiple indifferent relationships. He reported an unrealistic desire to gain membership in someone else’s large family that he recognized as being compensatory.
Surfacing also was a feeling of being unmoored, floating with no sense of being anywhere, that indicated a pendulum swing: As opposed to being chained (in relation to his work), the opposite was now true. He became suddenly too free—untethered, disconnected, unmoored. This accounted for his lack of motivation and called for a different remedy, one fitting the new symptoms. My choice was Amethyst immersion derived from a precious gem of the same name and whose themes Peter Tumminello has wonderfully brought to light.2
Following Amethyst immersion my client not only gained his footing but in another pendulum swing transitioned from being unmoored into an opposite state. At our follow-up he presented as tethered to material goals. His suddenly raging ambition, intensity, and loquaciousness prompted my prescribing Lachesis muta, a remedy made from the venom of the Brazilian bushmaster snake (whose sycotic “ego versus id” issue is discussed in chapter 3).
In his analysis of the remedy Osmium metallicum Jan Scholten offers an alternative appropriation of the Sisyphus myth. A stage 8 metal situated close to the midpoint of the gold series on the periodic table of the elements, Osmium metallicum, both for good and for ill, represents nearly the zenith of the weighty responsibility theme of the gold series. In this reading Sisyphus, bulling his way to the heights, cannot quite reach them. The tragic theme—“failure through dictatorial behavior”—expresses a downfall resulting from arrogance and ambition, when the pressure to rise becomes implosive and/or attracts opposition.3
Condemned to push a huge boulder up a hill, Sisyphus imparts superhuman effort to his task. He succeeds in propelling the boulder upward, almost surmounting the hill’s crest before the treacherous rock escapes his grip and careens back down the hill. In its endless repetition Sisyphus’s task demands superhuman determination and strength.
As Scholten notes, conditions attached to Osmium metallicum’s existential issues include:
Problems with testes and ovaries: inflammation, cancer, cryptorchidism (undescended testes), sterility, amenorrhea, metrorrhagia (irregular uterine bleeding)
Afflictions of bones: necrosis
General inflammation: paralysis, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer, headache, swelling of the face
Eye complaints: visual disturbances, glaucoma
Heart ailments: high blood pressure, infarction, congestion of blood, cerebral hemorrhage, anemia
Whether providing Sisyphus with Germanium metallicum or Osmium metallicum, postal service and Amazon couriers will likely balk: “Make that delivery? No way in hell!”
Ministering to Bartleby the Scrivener
Sisyphus’s corrective, confining, and severe punishment reflected the respect that Zeus held for the former king’s power and the havoc of which Sisyphus remained capable. Sisyphus maintained a formidable presence. When the cards of life are dealt, a hand opposite to that of Sisyphus’s can also be held.
Suppose an awareness dawns that I am obsolete and altogether powerless. What if the individual’s endeavors have become inconsequential, rendering them a nonentity? Whether or not objectively true, such a mindset invokes Bismuth subnitricum, a remedy occupying a tail-end position (stage 15) within the periodic table’s gold series, whose theme is power. As an emblem of this state we find the protagonist of a short story by Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street.” The scrivener Bartleby is a type of clerk, a copyist, who refuses to perform the sort of writing demanded of him. In response to any request he obstinately repeats, “I prefer not to.” The narrator of “Bartleby, the Scrivener” casts back to when Bartleby first came to work for him. It was a time in the 1840s when the wealthy magnate John Jacob Astor owned a great deal of New York City real estate and unrest was rife among the working class. With the Industrial Revolution prompting drastic changes in working conditions, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto in 1848, calling for revolt among industrial workers. In the United States factory workers did strike, protesting the long hours they worked for low pay. Workers engaged in bookbinding, upholstering, shoemaking, and tailoring engaged in strikes. Rather than stage organized rebellions, white-collar workers on the brink of becoming obsolete could mount passive-aggressive, existential insurrections like the one made by Bartleby.4
Bismuth subnitricum’s physical symptoms include swollen glands, inflammation, necrosis, weakness, Parkinson’s disease, headache, eye pain and diminished vision, gastritis, ulcers, cancer, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Within the extremities a sensation of glowing heat in the thighs can be experienced. Males in need of the remedy are prone to testicular problems and infertility. Females in need of the remedy are likewise prone to infertility, in addition to ovarian issues.5
Ministering to Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
An instructive junior version of the Sisyphean “getting to the top is brutal” theme is exemplified by a different remedy. Positioned not within the gold series but in the first quarter (stage 5) of the ferrum series, whose overall concern is our relation to work or the task at hand, we have Vanadium. The Vanadium individual is a perfectionist perfectly aware that the job needs to be done. Doing it exactly right will elevate him, but fear of both failure and success torments him. Rather than Sisyphus, the exemplar is Shakespeare’s Hamlet, prince of Denmark. Hamlet knows monstrous evil would be redressed if his murderous uncle could be dispatched. Instead of taking action, Hamlet muses over an existential question: “To be or not to be?” He procrastinates; accidentally kills an elderly advisor to the king, Polonius; dithers; and torments both his girlfriend and himself with riddles.
About the Author: Jerry M. Kantor, L.Ac., CCH, MMHS, is a faculty member of the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine and owner of Vital Force Health Care LLC, a Boston-area homeopathy and acupuncture practice. The first acupuncturist to receive an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Anaesthesiology, Kantor is the author of Sane Asylums, Interpreting Chronic Illness, The Toxic Relationship Cure, and Autism Reversal Toolbox. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts. https://vitalforcehealthcare.com/
The Emotional Roots of Chronic Illness by Jerry M. Kantor, L.Ac., CCH, MMHS © 2023 Healing Arts Press. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. https://www.InnerTraditions.com
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