I have been reviewing "The Spirit of the Homoeopathic Medical Doctrine" written by Samuel Hahnemann in 1813, and found in "The Materia Medica Pura". This is a wonderful dissertation on homoeopathic philosophy and the healing arts. Most interesting is Hahnemann's application of the homoeopathic principles of cure to psychology. Vide Materia Medica Pura, page 15.
"Such a spiritually reacting being is our living human organism, which with automatic power expels from itself a weaker derangement (disease), whenever the stronger power of the homoeopathic medicine produces in it another but very similar affection; or in other words which, on account of the unity of its life, cannot suffer at the same time from two similar general derangements, but must discard the primary dynamic power (medicine), more capable of deranging it, that has a great resemblances to the former in its power of affecting the health (its symptoms). Something similar takes place in the human mind.
For example; a girl plunged in grief by the death of her companion, if taken to see a family where the poor, half-naked children have just lost their father, their sole support, does not become more sorrowful from witnessing this touching scene, but is thereby consoled for her own smaller misfortune; she is cured of her grief for her friend, because the unity of her mind cannot be affected by two similar passions at once, and the one passion must be extinguished when a similar but stronger passion takes possession of her mind, and acts as a HOMOEOPATHIC remedy in extinguishing the first." *
Two thousand five hundred years ago a women came to Gautama Buddha with her dead baby whom she carried with her. She asked Buddha if he would resurrect her child. The Buddha said 'Yes, under one condition. Find a house (family) where no one has died and I will restore your child'. She went from house to house and soon she realized the universal nature of suffering and impermanence and gained insight. She returned to the Buddha to offer thanks, then allowed the baby received its funeral rites and found peace.
This is homoeopathic mind cure. Through the power of sympathy for the grief and suffering of others one's own healing process begins. The power behind this is compassion. The old homoeopathic psychologist notes that the suppression of grief by heterogeneous influences like anger or strictness only caused more distress as does the palliative method like trying to make someone artificially happy. The Hofrath continues:
"But the girl would not be tranquilized and cured of her grief for the loss of her companion, if her mother were angrily to scold her (heterogeneous alloeopathic influence), but, on the contrary, her mind would be still more distressed by this attack of grief of another kind; and in like manner the sorrowing girl, if we were to cause an apparent but only palliative alleviation of her grief, by means of a gay entertainment, would subsequently in her solitude sink into still more profound sadness, and would weep much more intensively than previously for the death of her friend (because this affection would here be only of an opposite, enantiopathic character).
And as it is here in psychical life, so is it in the former case in organic life. The unity of our life cannot occupy itself with, and receive, two general dynamic affections of the same kind at once; for if the second be a similar one, the first is displaced by it, if the organism be more energetically affected by the latter."
*Article Journal, March, 1813, republished in Vol., ii, 3rd edition 1833. The Materia Medica Pura, Hahnemann, translated by Dudgeon, Volume I. B. Jain, New Delhi, page 15.
The combination of HETEROGENEOUS psychology, palliative suggestions and allopathic drugs greatly complicates mental disorders, which are often based on inheritance, diathesis, and chronic miasms. Hahnemann founded homoeopathic mind cure on the homoeopathic principles which include psychology, philosophy and metaphysics. Homoeopathic mind cures must be HOMOGENEOUS (homoio+genos, similar kind) to the symptoms of the individual while taking into account causation, chronic miasms and the general state of the constitution and temperament.
This field is closely related to homoeopathic psychology as were the master's experiments in magnetism and Mesmerism in which the human mind/body complex is viewed as a bio magnetic field.
Psychology and Mesmerism
Hahnemann integrated his understanding of theology, philosophy and psychology into "The Organon of the Healing Art." The main sections on homoeopathic psychology and the treatment of mental disorders are found in aphorisms 210 to 230. There are, however, many other references to the use of mind cure. In §17, note 17a, he points out that disease mistunements can be caused by imagination, and therefore, can be cured by similar imagined remedies. In §26 the old homoeopathic psychologist echoes his early observations recorded in the Materia Medica. Vide Organon.
"This rests upon the following homoeopathic natural law which was divined here and there from time immemorial, but was not hitherto fully acknowledged, and which lies at the foundation of every real cure that has ever taken place:
IN THE LIVING ORGANISM, A WEAKER DYNAMIC AFFECTION IS PERMANENTLY EXTINGUISHED BY A STRONGER ONE, IF THE STRONGER ONE (WHILE DIFFERING FROM IT AS TO MODE) IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE WEAKER ONE IN ITS MANIFESTATION.*"
*Both physical affections and moral maladies are cured in this way [i.e., by very similar, but stronger dynamic affections].
"4. Mourning and grief are extinguished in the emotional mind on hearing an account of another's still greater bereavement, even if the account is only fictitious."
As a mesmer, Hahnemann was aware of mind cure, suggestology, trance and altered states of consciousness and bio energetics. The early mesmers looked on the human soul as a potentized bio-magnet with positive and negative polarities, lines of force and centers of energy. We have eyewitness accounts of Hahnemann performing a combination of magnetic healing and psychology on a number of patients. The mesmerists work to infuse life energy and to balance the circulation of the vital force and use hypnosis to induce altered states of consciousness to release trauma and guide the individual through different levels of awareness though suggestion.
There were several experienced homoeopaths cum mesmers close to Samuel Hahnemann. One of the most extraordinary experiments was carried out under the observations of Dr. Heinrich A. von Gersdorff, who worked with Hahnemann on provings and organizing the material for The Chronic Diseases. The two men were intimate friends, and Hahnemann was godfather to one of his children. Dr. von Gersdorff's knowledge of psychology, hypnosis and Mesmerism was documented in the following paper in 1833, the year the 5th Organon was published.
"The cure of a dangerous disease by idiosomnambulism and the homoeopathic remedies prescribed by the patient in his magnetically clairvoyant condition, after the careful observation made personally and described by Heinrich August Baron Gersdorff," Esienach, 1833, published by Johann Fr. Barecke.
Von Gersdorff stayed in contact with Hahnemann by letter after he left Coethen for Paris. He accompanied his son, also a homoeopathic physician, to Boston, Mass, USA. in 1849 where he took a position at the university. He died in 1870 at the age of 77.
Dr. Melanie Hahnemann, the second wife of Samuel, also experimented with Mesmerism and hypnotism. Vide Rima Handley's A Homoeopathic Love Story, The Story of Melanie and Samuel Hahnemann, page 182.
"She had, she said, experimented with the former herself when she had magnetised or hypnotized a young girl to find out where her father was. The subject discovered that he was in California, and this fact had been verified."
Hahnemann was not unaware of the controversial nature of Mesmer's work. Specially prepared areas with magnets and magnetic waters, padded rooms with hysterical and mentally disturbed individuals going through catharsis, and others receiving treatments in altered states of consciousness was a bit too much for the orthodox establishment. Nevertheless, Hahnemann saw that the inevitable fanaticism and mysticism associated with the Mesmerists was no obstacle to true cure if the operator was compassionate. Vide Organon §288.
"If the mesmerizing person of either sex is capable at the same time of good-natured enthusiasm (or perhaps even a degenerated form of it, such as bigotry, fanaticism, mysticism or obsessive philanthropy) then he is all the more in a position, with this philanthropic, self-sacrificing action, not only to direct the power of his prevailing good nature exclusively upon the object requiring his help but also, as it were, to concentrate it there, thus occasionally working wonders."
The study of the human mind and psychology predate Freud. Many of the techniques used for generations have made a great come back in our times. As in Hahnemann's day, there is a certain amount of charlatanism and mysticism mixed with very effective means of treatment. The use of suggestion, guided imagery, and hypnosis find their origin in the Mesmers. Talking of, reenacting, or reviewing under hypnosis, a distressing experience is similar to the original complaint but certainly not the same as the original incident. If a person was traumatized by a car accident one would not put them through a new car accident (isopathy). The remedy must be similar in kind, slightly more dynamic, and the treatment given in minimal doses without unneeded repetitions that disrupt the natural healing process. Many group therapies make use of the similar greater sufferings of the group to cure the smaller individual suffering of a person. The principle of similar suffering is the basis of support groups and certain forms of encounter techniques are also homoeopathic. .
For management of the mental patient Hahnemann suggests the use of balancing qualities (raging with quiet fearlessness, silence with attention, disgusting behavior with inattentiveness, etc. Vide §228), but for cure, he points to dynamic psychological similars and homoeopathic remedies. This is similar to the management of patients suffering from physical conditions. The homoeopath covers up those who are cold, gives water to the dehydrated and feeds the malnourished as these are merely physical potencies of the natural world. The spirit-like mistunements of the vital force and mind however, need spirit-like dynamic homoeopathic remedies. Such psychologically dynamic remedies must be applied in a single remedy, given in small potent amounts, and not repeated unnecessarily. All the rules of The Organon apply.
The death of Hering's second wife, Marianna Husmann, the mother of his children Max and Odelia, deeply affected the bereaved doctor. He loved her very dearly, felt he had not appreciated her enough, and did not know how to go on without her. At the funeral he fell into an exalted state of mind where he spoke inordinately without being aware of what was happening around him. After this he developed a deep melancholia with aversion to women as the reflection of his loss was too painful for him. This mental torment became so serious it began to disturb his practice of Homoeopathy. Hering was cured of this state through seeing a ballet on the ancient Greek theme of tragedy that purifies the spirit through pity and terror. Of this experience Constantine said;
"Fortunately I was cured in a way corresponding to the law of Similia".
While Hering was in his deep melancholia he heard that a famous German dancer, Fanny Ellsler, had arrived in New York. Constantine was drawn to see a German artiste perform in the USA even though he disliked ballet. Hering was accompanied by his friend, Professor Knorr, to the Academy of Music in Philadelphia to see the dance drama. The story was a fairy tale in which a goddess descends to earth in the form of a mortal and falls in love with a man whom she marries. Her husband mistreats her and "clips her wings" so she dies and the angels come to take her back to heaven. Of this Hering said:
"This beautiful exhibition of woman's tenderness and devotion, so often unappreciated by ordinary husbands, who too late discover the worth of those who have loved and cherished them when on earth, now left to grieve and wonder why they could have been so cruel, with only the hope left them of a reunion in a better world, which should lead every man toward heaven, all of which made a deep impression on my sick mind."
The grief and suffering of the heroine combined with her devotion and love resonated so deeply with Hering that his pity and pain for her cured his own melancholia with aversion to women.
"It was Fanny Ellsler, the woman, faithful to her nationality, the charming talented artist, who, with her inimitable interpretation of the fairy tale, brought back my health and reason to me, the bereaved physician. In earlier days I had disapproved of the ballet; could see neither art nor reason in its artificiality as I then considered it"
Hering never forgot this homoeopathic cure by drama and music. The experience changed his negative impression of the performing arts which he gathered in his youth when witnessing a dance in Amsterdam before departing for South America. Six years after the loss of Marianna, Dr. Hering married his third wife, Therese Bucheim, and fathered a child. Hering remained sound in body and mind until the age of 80 when he retired to his Heavenly Home after returning from a house call. Hering died with "his boots on" after practicing Homoeopathy for 54 years. I hope I can do the same.
Kent on Mind Cure
Kent comments on homoeopathic psychology in his writings and offers Hahnemann the credit for introducing homoeopathic mind cure. Vide Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy by James Tyler Kent, Lecture XIII, The Law of Similars, page 104.
"This law of similars is seen prominently in the natural world. We see it from man to man. It is easily illustrated among the insane. It is the secret of mind cure, and there are many instances of mind cure that are based on the laws of similars. One example of this is seen in the young girl who has lost her mother or lover and as a consequence, is depressed with grief, is constantly sobbing and has become melancholy. She sits in a corner, hears nobody, thinks no one can pity her because no one has had just such grief. Let us apply allopathic treatment to her.
"Come, there is nothing the matter with you; why don't you brace yourself up; why don't you try to arouse yourself?' But this only throws her into a deeper state of melancholy. Scolding and harsh treatment do no good.
"But introduce the homeopathic treatment, employ a nurse if you will who is a good actress and who has gone through the same identical grief, and let her make a big fuss in the other corner. Pretty soon the patient will say, "You seem to have the same grief that I have'. "yes, I have lost a lover." "Well, you can sympathize with me", and the two fall to bellowing and weep it out together.
"There is a bond of sympathy. Sometimes a curable case of insanity can be reached in this way, and thus we have a mind cure. Hahnemann made use of this plan in curing insanity. When a patient would exert her will, but is unable on account of physical encumbrances, the homeopathic remedy will restore order. "
The homoeopathic principles hold the key to a deeper study of psychology than is commonly understood. Sympathy and similars can go a long way in the realms of the psyche. The combination of homoeopathic psychology and Mesmerism represents a largely unexplored region of the Organon of the Healing Art. The early homoeopaths were great experimenters who applied the homoeopathic laws of healing in some amazing ways. Such cures by the imponderabilia are the use of strange, rare and peculiar methods to cure what is strange, rare and peculiar to the individual part. Such methods have been mastered by a few strange, rare and peculiar homoeopaths.
A homoeopathic colleague who worked in a mental institution used psychological similars in the following case. There were two very nice ladies who both thought they were "Mother Mary". After observing their benign character, he decided to introduced them so they could talk and get to know one another. After becoming comfortable they both told each other they were Mary, Mother of Jesus. That led to a long talk which cured them both of this fixation. They became good friends through the healing process and regained their mental health. This entire experiment was closely monitored but no intervention was needed. This was a "single dose" mind cure.
Yours sincerely, David Little
Study Guide: The mad genius Frederick Hahnemann, the son of Homoeopathy's founder, knew how to apply dynamic imponderabilia. Humphreys gave the following account of Frederick. "He cured a girl who had been blind from birth. He asked the girl to look straight into the sun until she could see. She saw the sun and later the father." This homoeopathic use of the blinding rays of the sun to cure a girl blind from birth was the strange, rare, and peculiar method which was needed at that exact time. Such usage of similars borders on the miraculous.