Sulphur is one of the 'biggest', or rather the 'most prescribed', remedies in homeopathy. The symptomatology is very extensive, Sulphur is the most frequently mentioned remedy in the repertory. However, the mental picture is not always the same. There are various and, at first sight, different Sulphur types described in the books. There is the classic 'ragged philosopher', but also the fat and happy 'loafer'. How can we fit these into one picture?
One very strong symptom, also verified by many authors as the central theme, is the 'delusion he is disgraced'. We already saw in the review of the Sulphu-ricums that grace and harmony are key concepts. Sulphur has the delusion he has fallen from grace.
Everything or nothing Clothing
Disconnected Beauty, grace, harmony
No integration Joy
Love and relationships, jealousy
The group analysis for Sulphur shows the theme that they cannot integrate love and harmony in their lives. They have a reaction of everything or nothing. That clarifies the fact that there are two types of Sulphur. One is untidy, dirty and disorderly. The other is (a little bit too) tidy, clean and polished. Sometimes both types can manifest themselves in one person. Someone can be very tidy and orderly at work, for instance, and very messy at home. Or, someone could be making a great untidy mess and then suddenly start cleaning everything down to the last corner. But there is no balance.
The theme of grace and beauty is represented in the rubrics 'delusion he is dis-graced', 'delusion old rags are beautiful', 'disgust', and 'aversion to bathing'.
The theme of Sulphur can also be expressed in their love life. Their relationships are often not very well integrated into their life. For example in men who get absorbed in their work, and who can’t understand that their wife also might like some attention. Sulphurs are often loners, like the philosopher or the tramp in rags.
The above picture shows that Sulphur might more often be prescribed for men than for women. In my experience this is true.
Coming back to the variety of Sulphur types, it is a well-known fact that Sulphur is complementary to many remedies, as Kent described. The Sulphur problem can often exist next to other problems, and can be coloured by these. For instance, the type of the philosopher in rags is only partially a Sulphur type. The rags obviously belong to Sulphur, but the philosopher is, in my opinion, a complementary characteristic, belonging to another remedy.
We could imagine the original situation for Sulphur to be the situation of a young man who is still on his own, while other people of his age already have a relationship. He feels unappreciated and unloved. He is out of grace with women of his age. He might become depressed and start to neglect himself. Taking care of himself becomes pointless, he is not attractive anyway. So he starts to look neglected and dirty. He might even see his appearance as the answer to what has been done to him: 'If you don’t think I am nice, I will show you what dirt really is'. And this is the second reaction pattern: pretending that it doesn’t interest him that others think him unattractive. Boasting and bragging, he battles on through life.