Author: Carolyn Burdetn
Editorial: diving into the depths, prescribing on the Sea archetype
by Carolyn Burdet
As homeopaths, our curiosity is aroused for the unexplored stream of similimum remedies in the natural world. Plunging into the depths of the sea, delving into the unknown realms of the underworld, overcoming the elements to surf the waves or defying extreme pressure and our own oxygen metabolism to explore the reef, is an exhilarating prospect, but the prospect of huge breakers crashing overhead, and being dragged down by the undertow currents is overwhelming. These are the Sensations, Fears and Delusions of the sea remedies.
The sea is the habitat of 230,000 known species, yet it is estimated that only 5% of the ocean has been explored, and biologists suggest over two million marine species may exist in those depths. A handful well-known remedies from the sea are cornerstones of homeopathy, yet there are 100 potentised sea remedies in our pharmacies, available to prescribe.
This newer portfolio of sea remedies is vividly described in two well-researched books:
"Survival: the Mollusc" by Rajan Sankaran and Sudhir Baldota simplifies key words and themes of the molluscs for Sensation case taking.
"Sea Remedies: Evolution of the Senses" by Jo Evans covers a wider range of species, exploring the sea creatures’ sensory chemoreception, behaviour, and extraordinary biology (to regenerate limbs, detect or filter bacteria, or effect on immunity), linking medical research to autoimmune or neuropathology.
Italian homeopath and author Massimo Mangliavori was lecturing on sea remedies several years ago, and UK homeopath Gordon Adam has been immersed in researching new sea remedies for ten years, compiling a repertory of sea remedy themes and rubrics. Geoff Johnson, a lecturer of Sensation homeopathy, pioneers new remedies into pharmacy as he discovers them through reaching the ‘source’ in sensation case taking. Anne Schadde, Jenni Tree, Marion Cattley, and Melissa Assilem have also explored these newer sea remedies in their cases and provings.
From this material we learn to recognise the sea realm in our patients, a case that is reminiscent of Natrium muriaticum, or Sepia but not quite, or Calcium Carb with a difference. Careful case-taking reveals the exact source, as the patient describes his or her experience and sensation and the behaviour of the creature involved becomes evident. In this issue, Geoff Johnson’s Limpet case describes “hammering” pains, and psychologically, the tenacity and the sheer overwhelming struggle to survive while being battered by waves crashing on the rocks.
For people who need a sea remedy, their environment can be overwhelming, as we see in Gordon Adam’s lovely case of Pearl in this issue. Vulnerability and sense of intrusion is heightened. Their response is to go inside and try to shut out frightening impressions.
Gordon Adam has initiated a collaboration between homeopaths, The Sea Remedies Project, which has conducted several provings of new sea remedies including: a trituration proving of Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris), and short meditative provings of Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita), Pearl (Pearl immersion), Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda), and Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys oliveacea ovum). He teaches workshops ‘Sea Remedies – Healing from the Depths’, each seminar a pearl of wisdom for discovering more about a particular class of sea species.
Delving deeper into psyche and soma, in her book on Sea Remedies, Jo Evans links the remedies to the mythology of their Latin names (Medusa, and Chiron the wounded healer), illuminating the connection to the archetype of the human collective unconscious. She points out how sea creatures sense and respond via their whole body, and expands our perceptions as homeopaths, enabling us to recognise the features of sea animals in our patients’ behaviour and complaints. The wealth of information that she provides makes it easy for us to cross reference the neurotoxins of other remedies, such as snakes and spiders.
Experiencing emotions and impressions as they wash through all the senses, is one of the identifying themes of a sea remedy, as is ‘secrecy’, and ‘undiscovered depths’. A trawl of the internet dredges very few publicly available sea cases. Is this an indication of the patient’s request for privacy or do homeopaths clam up tightly when asked to share their sea cases? Up to the surface rose a beautiful case from Karen Leadbeater, whose clarity resisted being submerged by the confusing sea mists! She mentions fossils in the case; Nautilus is related to ammonites. The patient is an architect. Nautilus grows its spiral shell in perfect proportion to the golden mean, adding new chambers, exquisitely decorating the interior.
As I was compiling cases for this issue of Interhomeopathy, someone presented with an autoimmune condition, in a Sepia-like state, spent from giving out. She expanded to describe a feeling of having no boundaries, “transparent” from exhaustion “with blue rings under the eyes” (this was not Sepia language). She described a sense of predators lurking in the depths, “sea monsters with tentacles that sting you to death.” She has been stung by jellyfish all over the world, and has great sensitivity to stinging comments. She was invoking materia medica of Chironex – whose name is derived from Chiron the wounded healer.
Her previous homeopath, hearing her image of a multi-headed hydra, prescribed a substance with venom, a neurotoxin capable of causing autoimmune dysfunction. In the absence of ‘snake themes’, other than a visionary quality in the patient, they prescribed a ‘shy snake’. Chironex, the Box Jellyfish, has the same neurotoxic venom. It also has clairvoyance, and Cnidarian sea creatures – a group that includes stinging sea anemones, coral and jellyfish – have a mythic connection to Medusa and the Hydra.
How can a patient siphon all this in their case giving? It is as if they tune in to the collective unconscious, their archetype floats into their subconscious. Our hope as homeopaths is that if we can reach a person at this level of depth, the remedy and potency will resonate so deeply that the shadows can be integrated into awareness, bringing acceptance, calm and inner strength, rekindling the capacity to restore them to health.
Keywords: editorial, sea remedies.