Author: Priyanka Jain Gandhi
Amphisbaena vermicularis: something in the dark
by Priyanka Jain Gandhi
We often consider children’s cases to be difficult to explore. However the only thing that we need to do is to simply put our hand in the hands of the child and he automatically pulls us along into an unexplored wonderland of his own. When given his own space and freedom, he unveils his inner subconscious self through every little activity. This is what is known as being passively alert and purely witnessing a child.
An eight year boy came with the complaint of chronic bronchitis with a dry hacking cough, morning bouts of sneezing, and nasal blockage; he also suffered from recurrent acute stomach ache.
(He began his case by describing his acute stomach pain as that was most bothersome to him.)
“I have a stomach ache from time to time for the last four days. After I pass wind, the pain reduces. It’s a wandering type of a pain. It feels as if something is there in my stomach, something is doing something in my stomach, punching me, pinching me, holding something (hand gesture of gripping). The pain is very hard, it hurts a lot. I feel the inner skin is pulled in, as if two hands are pulling me from the inside. As if worms are there. (He spontaneously takes a paper and draws the following.)
(He has nothing further to say at this point. Up until now, we can follow that the child gives very peculiar expressions but only related to one area, his chief complaint. We need to explore other subconscious areas in order to understand and explore the peculiar expressions that we get in his chief complaint. Therefore, I ask him about his interests and hobbies, fears and dreams in general.)
I like to watch animals in the forest on television. I like to watch Man Survivor, Fox history and the National Geographic channel.
I had a scary dream of crocodiles coming and climbing up the stairs of our building. I am scared of crocodiles because they have long teeth, long mouths and they bite. They are dangerous and they eat you up.
At night, I fear that something will come out from under the bed, something black, in the dark. Some type of creature, like a lizard...some kind of crocodile or small type of creature that can bite, like a snake.
(I asked him to draw and describe in detail what he means. From the his earlier drawing, it is obvious that he has a good visual imagination and that he will be able to express himself better with the help of drawings. Drawing makes it easy for a child to express his inner feelings and sensations, so I make use of that here.)
“If I watch such things on Discovery TV, I get very scared. It’s like a lizard but longer.” He makes the following drawing.
“This is a snake which is coiled. Like a cobra snake. It will bite me. I am scared of snakes and crocodiles. At night, when the lights are off, I’m afraid to go to the toilet. Before stepping down from bed, I watch my steps. It’s like a lizard…like a snake… a worm like but big creatures… black. It is very long but not a snake… A snake is fat but this creature I am scared of is thin. It is thinner than a snake and longer than a cobra. It can bite.”
(He makes another drawing.)
“It will bite me. It has poison and I can die. Poison will go into my heart, it will hurt me and I will die. The pain is very hard. It is the same type of pain that is there in my stomach right now.”
(The child’s stomach pain is the same as the bite pain made by the creature he describes. Earlier, while describing his stomach pain, he drew a coiled creature around the two hands to describe pulling pain, worms. The creature that causes the pain in his stomach looks similar to the one he draws to describe the crocodile-like or snake-like animal that bites and of which he is scared. He is using different names to describe this creature that exists in several of his life experiences, be it his stomach ache or his delusion or his dreams or his fears. This creature thus cannot be just an image; it surely has to do with his core experience, the source. Also, he seems to know a lot about this creature. Now, my aim is to completely understand this expression, leaving no room for any assumption.)
(The child draws some more.)
“In this drawing, it has removed its tongue out because it has seen someone and now it will bite. Snakes also do that."
“It has power, it moves faster than a cobra; it is longer than a cobra. In one bite, it gives a small bottle filled with poison. When bothered it bites very hard, even if it is not bothered. It is not a snake… The poison is so strong…the prey can die in two or three minutes. The poison reaches the heart and stops it… it also destroys the blood. It has sharp eyesight and can see small creatures even at night. It hides under the leaves and remains ready. It bites and runs away into his hole. It stays in dark places. You can’t see this animal since it is black and it stays in the mud. It comes suddenly. It is thinner, faster, has sharp eyesight and has smaller eyes than snakes.
(As we know he likes watching Discovery and National Geographic channels, so I ask him “Have you seen this creature on Discovery?”)
“No doctor, I haven't.”
(At this point the child had nothing more to say, so I called the mother, who says: “As soon as he wakes up in the morning, he has bouts of sneezing along with coughs that last about an hour. With a great effort, he coughs up a very little bit of white mucous. Every five to six weeks, he gets an episode of asthmatic coughing that starts with sneezing, nose blockage, minimal nasal discharge and a dry cough. Gradually, that turns into a wet cough with wheezing and severe congestion in his chest, so much so that he needs to be nebulized and has to take his inhaler. He also receives antibiotics at that time. After eating anything cold, either ice creams or soft drinks, he instantly starts to cough.”
Analysis of the case
The entire description is of an animal which bites, causes death, which is poisonous, crocodile, snake, etc., pointing toward the Animal kingdom. The descriptions "it hides under leaves... bites... has poison... stays in dark places.. attacks suddenly" and examples of crocodiles, lizards and snakes indicates the Reptile sub-kingdom. The child goes to the source level and speaks of the creature, which is like a lizard, like a snake, like a worm that has poison and bites. Also, his drawing strangely depicts a lizard with legs.
In nature, this description of snake-like, lizard-like, worm-like creature led me to Amphisbaenians or Worm lizard.
As Rajan Sankaran writes in his book SURVIVAL - The Reptile, volume 1: They are sometimes called worm lizards, though they are neither worms nor lizards. They have features which link them both to lizards and snakes. They are considered poisonous. They are usually legless but some species have small front legs, positioned close to head and end in claws for burrowing. They construct their own burrows and holes. They are effective predators with their sharp teeth and powerful jaws, capable of exerting powerful crushing bites. Flicking of the tongue, like snakes and some lizards, is seen.
The available homoeopathic remedies from Amphisbaenians are: Amphisbaena vermicularis and Amphisbaena alba
Prescription: Amphisbaena vermicularis 1M, one dose
His stomach ache disappears immediately after the dose. During a period of one year, his chronic complaints of cough, sneezing, and chest congestion improve markedly. His general immunity gets better and his fears decrease.
He received seven doses of the remedy in one year.
Now, he can eat ice cream and cold drinks without any aggravation or getting colds and coughs. Sometimes, there is a little dry cough but it settles with a repetition of a single dose. Dependency on antibiotics and nebulization has completely reversed in a period of six months, since starting the treatment.
Learning from the case:
The child never saw a creature like the one he described but still he could draw and describe it perfectly. This is the beauty of the Homoeopathic Case-Witnessing Process - the source pattern flows through the sub-conscious to reveal itself.
Keywords: chronic bronchitis, recurrent stomach aches, fear of snakes, fear of crocodiles
Remedies: Amphisbaena vermicularis.