Author: Jan Scholten
Theme: village, neighbours.
Theme: task, work, duty, useful, practical.
Theme: normal, routine, hand work.
Identification with the community
The main identification in the Iron series is with the community, the tribe, the village. The community they live in is seen as part of them, or they part of that community. The people outside of the community are easily seen as strange, foolish, dangerous, or even as enemies.
Task Work Duty
The central theme of the Iron series is the individual task. This theme already presents itself very clearly in the first element of the series, i.e. Kalium. The other elements have a similar feeling of having to fulfil their task. The strong drive to work hard is well known in Calcium. They feel very responsible and want to fulfil their task as best they can.
The task is not only a task, it is also a duty, there is a certain element of force behind it, as if they had been ordered by some else to do it. This forceful element is characteristic of all the metals, but the sense of task is typical of the Iron series.
Trade Craft Civil servant
These people are the ones who carry out the tasks. They may have a trade, like being a baker, a butcher, a carpenter, but they can also be the government official who follows his orders to the letter. The division of tasks in society is an important theme. Everybody gets a task in which he can specialise, as in a beehive or a colony of ants, where every individual has a specific task.
Skills Technique Perfectionism
In order to carry out their task they have to have certain skills, which they have to learn through a form of training. They want to develop their skills so that they can become craftsmen and enjoy the fruit of their labours. They like to develop their craft to perfection. Their sense of duty increases the drive to precision and perfectionism. They also like others to notice that they are acquitting themselves of their task in the best possible way.
Of course there is also the practical aspect of their task: they have to earn a living. That is why they tend to judge everything according to whether it is useful or not. They are very practical in their approach to work, very pragmatic.
The sort of work they like doing is very routine orientated. They are the craftsmen who repeat the same actions hour after hour.
They like everything to be in order, to divide things into little boxes, so you know where everything is. They need to have things well defined and bound by rules and regulations. [The Dutch are very good at this!]. This desire for order is an expression of their underlying anxiety: ‘Am I doing well enough?’ We see this very strongly in Arsenicum album with his extreme fastidiousness and in Cuprum metallicum with his spasmodic rituals.
Control is another key phrase of the Iron series. They feel they have to keep checking all the time to see whether things are up to standard. This control may result in a suppression of feelings. It can even lead to rigidity. Or the exact opposite may occur, and they may feel that they will be controlled by other people. The beginning stages in this series are more flexible and still able to change their routine. But the later stages are much more conservative and use this control to make sure that everything remains the same as it always was.
The feeling of being observed or criticised is a theme that belongs to the whole Iron series. It is most prominent in stage 2, where we find Calcium, the remedy we know to be extremely sensitive to being observed.
Criticism is another sensitive issue and we find problems related to either giving or receiving criticism. Every remedy in this series has its own way of handling criticism, whilst the opposite, i.e. the handling of compliments, is also part of this whole theme.
The beginning stages of the series are more timid and inclined to withdraw into their shell. In the end stages we see more anger in reaction to criticism, because they feel that by now they are wise enough themselves to know how things should be done.
A typical example of an aggravating influence is exam time. This is when their knowledge and expertise is going to be put to the test. They will be judged by their superiors, the Silver series and the Gold series. The exam itself is symbolised by Niccolum, at the top in the Ferrum cycle. Zincum, stage 12, two stages beyond Niccolum, represents the retakes. Cobaltum, stage 9 just before Niccolum, represents the anxious moments just before the exam.
Failure Fault Guilt Crime
The sense of duty can easily lead to a fear that they can’t fulfill their task. This fear can be so strong that they consider the most minor mistakes as a complete failure. In a later stage it may provoke feelings of guilt. Not only have they failed, but they know they could and should have done better, so they are also guilty. The feeling of guilt can in extreme situations take the form of a sensation as if they have committed a crime.
The sense of failure comes back in their dreams. They dream of falling, of unsuccessful efforts, of being criticised, of missing the train, of forgetting their passport, of failing their exam etc. The physical expression is often a feeling of tiredness, with or without anaemia, and even paralysis.
In the beginning stages of the Iron series the failure often takes place before they have even started: they just miss the train (Cobaltum), they are searching for their luggage (Scandium), they have to learn too much for the exam (Manganum). In the end stages the failure comes to light afterwards: they failed an exam in the past (Zincum), they get swept away (Gallium), they are being obstructed, guilt (Bromium).
They want to be normal, just as everyone else. They have an aversion to be special. Their motto is ‘act normal, that is already crazy enough’.
Pursued Tried Police
The more mistakes they make, the more restless they become. They feel hurried and they try even harder to avoid mistakes. Later on the guilt grows stronger, resulting in the feeling that they have committed a crime. This makes them feel persecuted, as if the police are hot on their heels, the law is just about to catch up with them. A typical symptom in the Iron series is the restless legs, partly caused by the feeling they have to get into action to perform their task, and partly caused by their sense of having to run because they have failed.
The phase belonging to this series is that of young adulthood. Adolescence is the time of attending college, a time of learning and exams. It is the time of choosing the direction you want to go in, choosing your profession and undergoing the training.
The area that plays a large role at this stage is the village. In former times it used to be the tribe. It is the community in which everyone has his own function, but everyone still knows everyone else.
In a village everyone has his own trade and through this trade he earns a living and receives acknowledgement for his contribution to the community.
Fears: failure, criticism, opposition, observed, anticipation.
Dreams: fruitless efforts, paralysis.
DD: Silver series. The Silver series also has a task, but a more independent one. Both series may have jobs related to science, but the Iron series are the technicians and laboratory assistants, whilst the Silver series are the inventors.
This is clearly related to the issue of order. The Iron series doesn’t like to venture beyond the well trodden path, he likes to stick to the rules, whilst the Silver series thinks regularity is a ‘swear-word’.
DD Gold series: In the Gold series everything is a lot heavier. They also feel responsible, but this goes far beyond their own task. They also feel responsible for other people, the people they have to lead. They feel responsible for whole groups, for organisations, businesses and whole villages, whilst the Iron series feels mainly concerned with his individual task. They have to carry out the task that has been given to them and they have to do it well.
DD control: This is an important issue in the Iron series. They want to control their own work and they also feel controlled by their superiors. The Carbon series may have a desire to control things, but more as a means to suppress their fears. The Silicon series may also show a tendency to control, but more directed towards the family or friends. The Gold series controls others to get them to work for their own organisation.