Author: Sally Williams
Editorial: provings and protocols
by Sally Williams
I have always been mystified by provings. In my early years as a homeopath I struggled with reading and understanding a published proving. I found that either the proving was a laundry list of symptoms arranged in order according to the repertory or it was a biased representation of the substance. I could never read a proving and feel confident enough to prescribe the remedy solely on the proving information. I wanted clear concise provings that offered a complete picture of the remedy.
In 1995 I began to study with Jeremy Sherr and the Dynamis School in Toronto, Canada and the world of provings was opened up to me. I began to appreciate their history, how to comprehend them and how to properly conduct a Hahnemannian proving. Jeremy would describe a proving as the shamanistic journey of homeopathy and I was excited that he had decided to lead us in a proving of Gallium. Unfortunately for me the process was unremarkable and I began to question if I really understood provings and the process. While I was discouraged by my experience, the anticipation of the proving coming together, being published and put into use by homeopaths around the world was exciting. Sadly, that proving was never collated or published. It was disappointing, but I began to understand the enormity of effort required to pull a proving together, synthesize the information and then have enough confidence in the quality and objectivity of the results to publish it.
In 2007 I was asked by a colleague from California to triturate Turk’s cap lily (Lilium Superbum) because it was no longer available as a remedy and it was native to my home state of New York. He needed it triturated to a 3c potency: stable enough to send to a pharmacy to be made into a remedy. I hesitated to say yes because I had heard scary stories of trituration provings where people suffered for weeks - even months after the proving because there was inadequate supervision, but the challenge was too exciting to turn down!
I researched how to conduct the trituration proving and that summer, gathered a group together to make the remedy. Not really knowing what to expect, I had the participants write down thoughts, feelings and the physical symptoms they were experiencing during the trituration. Our collective experiences during the 3 hour trituration process were powerful. The proving symptoms were clear and profound and from that point on I was totally hooked. The exploration into the world of a substance was thrilling. It was at that moment I understood that provings really are the shamanistic journey of homeopathy and I wanted to do more.
Since then I have developed an urgent desire to prove as many substances as possible to meet the homeopathic needs of the 21st century. As I conducted and participated in many trituration and Hahnemannian provings gaining more experience, the clearer the pitfalls of each method became to me. An important goal is to introduce more remedies that are effective and relevant to our times and rapidly changing world. Hahnemannian provings are effective and amazing experiences, but their process is lengthy and difficult to manage and bring to useful fruition in a timely way. Trituration provings are equally effective and substantially shrink the process time, but are sometimes criticized for the potential dangers of exposing provers to the crude substance. My sense of urgency to publish well managed and documented provings so they can be accessible as quickly as possible created stress and frustration. And so, in 2009, during a discussion of the pros and cons of both trituration and Hahnemannian provings with a group of colleagues; Pat Maher, Carol Jones and I took up the challenge of creating a proving hybrid we call “The Great Lakes Proving Protocol”.
In this edition you will find 4 provings: one trituration proving, one Hahnemannian proving and two Great Lakes Provings. I hope you enjoy reading them, comparing the proving protocols, and- most importantly- find the remedies useful in your practice. I also invite you to read the details of our protocol at www.greatlakesprovings.com, and to utilize the method to discover new remedies to grow our materia medica!
Keywords: provings, protocols