When Samuel Hahnemann wanted to determine the effects of a particular but at the time an untested substance, he turned it into homeopathic potency, which in the form of sugary pills he then gave to volunteers who were not told the name of the substance. The person participating in the experiment had to .... write down clearly all his sensations, complaints, attacks and changes in health the moment they occur, noting the time elapsed between the taking of the medicine and the appearance of the symptom... The physician examines the record in the presence of the subject immediately after the experiment is completed... and questions him... about the exact nature of each statement written down... (Hahnemann: Organon, paragraph 139.). The gained material was recorded, compared with other records, and notable symptoms recurring in a significant percentage of the participants were included in the picture of the remedy. Similia similibus curantur, the like is cured by the like. The same symptoms that the remedy induced in a healthy person, it can also cure in the case of an illness. Thus through the systematic work of generations of homeopaths, the list containing detailed descriptions of hundreds of remedies was gradually compiled. From such descriptions, recorded experiments enlarged by more knowledge gained from the treatment, from contacts with the patients and from observing their social behaviour, the homeopathic Materia Medicas were created. The described effects of many remedies included in the Materia Medica also form the picture of a particular constitutional type. Such a type (we could surely call it an archetype) of a person would lean towards a particular way of thinking, behaviour, feelings and, naturally, a kind of illness. To describe it more vividly, let's find out more about the constitutional type we all know from our surroundings (we might even belong to it ourselves), as it is much common among the populace. The persons belonging to this type, and this is a significant trait in their personality, have a deep interest in the alternative methods of treatment and the subjects of spiritual nature. So we could anticipate that they form a part of the readership.
What I have to say about Lycopodium is a synthesis of its main characteristics described in the various Materia Medicas, but it comes also from my own experience with my patients, and moreover it is the result of my research of the social and archetypal relevance of Lycopodium. Included will be topics that cannot be found in the present Materia Medicas.
According to one statistical result, Lycopodium is given to about 3% of the patients, which makes it one of the most frequently applied remedies. However we meet with the Lycopodium type more often than this percentage would suggest. Persons of this type tend to be ambitious, intelligent, desirous of success, which they often achieve. They thrive in a competitive environment, competition improves their performance. The Lycopodium type can be found among important Governmental appointees, among top athletes. His or her presence in the Legislative Assemblies is given by the tendency of Lycopodium towards creating systems. The patient of the Lycopodium type is able and masterful in all situations that fall within the system, he solves them in the predictable manner and in accordance with the given rules (legal, moral, professional, etc.) When such rules are absent, he either tries to quickly formulate them or falls into confusion and irresolution. His aim is to get to the top of the system and to rule over others according to his individual properties, either in a democratic manner, but under certain circumstances even in a despotic and dictatorial manner. The basic inception of Lycopodium is strength. He might fall into disease, lacking the strength and ailing, losing, quitting, behaving as a coward; this is also the condition described in the Materia Medicas. Such a description would make the picture of the relatively healthy Lycopodium somewhat distorted. When healthy, he wants to display the kind of efficiency that would be obvious even from a distance, this show of strength is apparent in his every gesture. He likes to show his muscles, he tends to resolve conflicts either by negotiations within the system he has accepted, or by strength. It is fundamentally important to the Lycopodium patients that they maintain their "image" under any circumstances. With their health failing, they often feel an inner frailty, which they try to cover up at any cost, perhaps through an exaggerated, would-be strong behaviour. Lycopodium patients may quite often divorce, the Materia Medica lists their inability to psychologically bear close intimacy in life - in such a relationship their inner fragility could be exposed and their outer strong facade may be lost. In an intimate long lasting relationship, impotency may occur in men or lower sexual capacity in women - such impotence however is not experienced by the Lycopodium patients in the events of casual sexual encounters. This leads some Lycopodium types to frequently change their partners. While a healthy Lycopodium likes to assume responsibilities within the system (such as the director, the Prime Minister, the President of some organisation, etc.) with the advancing pathology there comes the inability to bear responsibilities, avoidance of responsibilities, inconsequential way of living (another reason for frequent changes of partners). A Lycopodium on the decline, while originally an extrovert, becomes a loner, which at the same time alarms him. His broad interest in the alternative treatment (including homeopathy), comes to a large degree from the fact that he suspects (justifiably) the orthodox medicine, with its chemicals, from taking away his strength. He also dislikes being subjected to X-rays and similar inner examinations, because it negates his laboriously maintained outer image. Associated with this is his sense of dignity. A Lycopodium must ever be dignified, always guarding his dignity (particularly the exterior semblance of dignity). He thus cannot withstand derision, especially when it concerns some exposed inner weakness. I used to know, but had not treated, an elderly man of the Lycopodium type, who despite not being particularly healthy had not seen a doctor for decades. Even when suffering from serious problems, he kept postponing his visit to a doctor. Finally, pressed by his family, he went there and subjected himself to an X-ray examination. Through the half-open door, however, he saw two doctors looking at the photographs of his entrails, saying "such a thing I haven't seen for a long time", and laughing. This man, hurt by their mockery, instantly left the hospital and returned only years later, when he was about to die.
Tendencies of the human type Lycopodium towards autocratic behaviour are quite pronounced with some individuals - for instance the American homeopath George Vithoulkas lists Mussolini as a typical Lycopodium. Traits of Lycopodium are discernible in the behaviour of the leader of Iraq Sadam Husain, etc. These, of course, are the extreme cases - here it is necessary to point out that anybody, any constitutional type, includes the whole scale of degrees of ethics, from the highest to the lowest, from saints to criminals, depending on the level of mental pathology. Husain thus might represent a man on a low level of ethical evaluation and a high level of mental pathology. On the other hand, the high social model of Lycopodium is portrayed in the modern film and TV myths by the dashing heroes who fight on the side of law and justice. A typical idealistic Lycopodium of his time was Belmondo, the muscular fighter of the movies, a fleeting lover living inconsequentially, strong and fearless, addicted to powerful and fast cars, ever competing and always winning. The current idealistic Lycopodium on the TV and film screens is represented to the point and in every detail by Bruce Willis. It is interesting, how perfectly the actor (without any doubt a true Lycopodium) collaborates with the script writer and the director, in forming and building up archetypal situations of quite specific kind. Perhaps the secret of success of many films lies exactly here.
From the above it might be concluded that Lycopodium represents a model of behaviour which is unambiguously masculine. Nevertheless, in the population there are numbers of males as well as females who belong to this type. Because of this, Lycopodium women are to a large degree disadvantaged - sometimes they cannot (or even do not want to) aspire to reach the ideals of womanhood established by the society. They are oriented more towards the type of behaviour and activities generally perceived as "masculine". They are industrious and become absorbed in their profession, with energetic behaviour and a strong grip of hand, in family life they try to dominate over their partners or at least claim the rights to the family representation. Because of their desire to accomplish, their houses shine with perfection, their children are well dressed, etc. They organise the family activities, only letting their partners take the decisions that account for new situations, those falling outside the established way of life - for example moving to another house, naming children, etc. When their health is on a decline, first affected usually become the female organs - this is logical, as it is their femininity that Lycopodium women perceive as being their weakness, as something that does not quite agree with their disposition. While in a healthy woman or man, the mental qualities of Lycopodium are expressed only latently or in their creative aspects, in cases of oncoming pathology they might lead even to dramatic confrontations with other people, with their partners, etc. - sometimes to an overall collapse, a surrender, a total withdrawal (which however does not suit them), tearfulness, and to a fast development of chronic physical illnesses.
Characteristically, illnesses of this "masculine" remedial type usually manifest first on the right side of the body, or on the right pair organ (in Taoism the right side is depicted as "Yang" - masculine), later they move to the left. Disabled first is the right side of strength and action. It is apparent that the emphasis on competition, strength, external brilliancy and efficiency, sometimes concealing an inner stringency and inner suffering, the stress on combativeness and aggressiveness, to a large degree all characterise the contemporary human society. Lycopodium types figure prominently in the present times, and this makes the homeopathic Lycopodium one of the most important remedies - even from our society's point of view. The Lycopodium type, when mentally healthy, influences in a healthy way his environment, if unhealthy he acts destructively - as is the case with the other homeopathic types.
His notion of spirituality is also typical and it is often associated with the term strength. I have discovered that archetypically linked to Lycopodium is the alchemical legend of St. Christopher, to whom everything was fortitude. Briefly, about this legend:
In the land of Canaan (in Palestine) there lived Christopher, a man of a giant size. He was very proud of his growth and his strength. He resolved that he would serve the strongest man in the land, a mighty Prince. While in his service, he however noticed that Prince made the sign of a cross whenever the Devil's name was mentioned. Asking for the reason, he found that the Prince was scarred of the Devil, because the Devil is stronger. Christopher thus went to serve the Devil. Under his authority he robbed and murdered, but only until he saw Satan run away from the cross at the cross-roads. Christopher then decided that the Christ must be the strongest, as even the Devil himself feared him, and that he wanted to serve the Christ. A hermit explained to him that he did not have to serve the Christ the same way he served both his previous lords, and realising that it would be difficult for a giant to reach the heaven as other people do, through abstention and praying, he initiated him into the secrets of the religion. He urged him to fulfil his pledge to God by serving the poor and by carrying people over the river. Christopher then carried pilgrims on his shoulders. Once, a small child asked to be carried over, and as Christopher entered the stream, it gradually became heavier, until it appeared to Christopher that he was carrying the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. Nevertheless, he made it to the other bank with the child, who then told him: "Don't be surprised, you had born the One Who Bears the World. To prove to you that I am the Christ, your Lord, I will plant your walking stick into the ground and tomorrow you will find it full of fruits". It so happened. After this he was baptised by St. Babylas, the Bishop of Antioch, and accepted the name Christophoros (he who bears the Christ). Eventually he died a martyr.
The main points that bind this legend to this homeopathic type are: Above all, strength as the criterion that determines values. Disease is perceived as a loss of strength. Occasionally there is a tendency towards solving problems from the position of strength. Weakness, a great weakness, is the antithesis to strength. For example, many of those who operate with the bio-energy, healers who use the mental "healing power", happen to be Lycopodium types. They maintain that they pass their strength to the patient. Among homeopaths there are again Lycopodium types, who assume that homeopathic pills contain a special hidden energy, strength (and not information). Lycopodium types (men) often exercise to grow large muscles. Even those who originally had no obvious disposition for it, through a determined exercise are able to gain athletic figures.
Going on we can see, as in the legend, the tendency to serve. A person of the Lycopodium type usually serves something or someone. He does not act on his own behalf, but as a servant of someone. A noble servant, of course, a voluntary servant. Like a knight in the service of his (often Lachesis) lady. As an economist serving a particular, and to mankind, beneficial economical concept. In the service of his nation as a statesman. In the service of his company as its weighty staff member. As the Father (Mother) serving the family. As a general serving his homeland. Always in the service, but always at the top. Sometimes he serves the money, he might even be a miser. Money means strength. Lycopodium invariably serves that perceived as magnificent, that as being the most influential.
Like St. Christopher, the Lycopodium type does not assume a priori and inflexible attitude towards problems. He takes advice from others, accounts for new situations. For a while he serves the Devil, then God, to him it is not a great contradiction. He always serves the strongest - it might even be a strong idea. In the legend of St. Christopher we can see the development of a Lycopodium individual from being the servant of the lowest, the sensual, to the highest, the spiritual.
It is appropriate to add that C. G. Jung considers the archetype of a child in dreams and legends to be the symbol of the soul. Christopher thus first discovers the lowest levels of existence, the world of sensuality and aggression, later the spiritual values, symbolised by the child who is "as heavy as the world", whom he consciously carries and protects from the danger, represented by the water stream. The process of discovery is in the form of a service.
One of my Lycopodium patients, the father of the Lachesis girl appearing early in the book, told me some two years after commencing the treatment, about an unusual dream. While in some town, he was a witness to an accident. A car hit a small child and it was about to run it over again. He took the child into his arms and walked away with it. For a long time he carried it around the town, such a long time that it felt odd to him. Finally he took it to the hospital for examination. People in the hospital did not want the child, eventually with reluctance they examined it, and said that it was unharmed. Again he carried the child away, but feeling that he could not hold it forever, he put it to the ground. The child made a few steps, looked at him with a deep expression and said: "I am God."
This patient had never heard about the legend of St. Christophorus (the Bearer of the Christ), or Christopher, I made him read it only when I heard his interesting story.
To Jung a child symbolises the soul, the promise of spiritual growth. Such a growth already manifests itself in the unconscious of the patient. The patient wants to serve his soul. He wants to go up, not down. Dreams are the unconscious talking to us. In the dream, the patient answers the fundamental question of the Grail: "Whom do you want to serve?"
"Where are you going?"
There is another connection of the dream described above with the legend of St. Christopher: the child is saved by the Lycopodium patient from the car accident. There is an important relationship between Lycopodium and cars! The Lycopodium type loves driving cars, particularly strong cars that allow him to dominate on the road. If they do not already own a Mercedes, they would love to have one. Also women of this type are usually good drivers. And another connection: in the modern times St. Christopher became the patron of drivers.
Because the Lycopodium type is so ambitious and effective (in the case of an advanced constitutional disease, however, timid and weak), and because he often assumes leading positions of power and key roles within the system, his influence on contemporary society is very pronounced and, in my opinion, even peremptory. Let's examine the basic characteristics of the modern global society:
- Accent on competition, marketing is the principle of economy.
- Accent on money, money is the basic measure of values. Most Materia Medicas register well above average interest in money as being characteristic of Lycopodium. We can already see such interest in money, for example in saving, with very young, four or five year old children, even when not at all encouraged by their parents.
- Accent on power in politics, the arms race and the resolution of international conflicts through power. Power has fundamental value both in the politics and in the private life. Desire for power, for manipulation of others, is one of the main characteristics of the Lycopodium type.
- The contemporary ethical standards usually demand that a person should not outwardly express any inner suffering, any stringency. People should say that they are "all right", and look all right if possible, regardless of the reality (the demand on the exterior image of efficiency, typical of Lycopodium).
A great deal more could be said about Lycopodium. With Lycopodium I have had a wide and long lasting experience. In the same way we could analyse any other constitutional type. Materia Medicas understandably do not take such a complex view of any type. Each of the Materia Medicas notes somewhat different aspects of a remedial type, so it is always useful to have several of the Materias. I think, that perhaps ten would be enough.
The Status of Remedial Types in the Society
Very often we meet with the fact that certain professions are sought predominantly (but not exclusively) by people of a particular remedial type.
With Lycopodium, as already stated, it is for instance politics, professional sport, management - the areas that invite competitiveness and allow success.
The Sulphur type is often found in the vicinity of computers - working with computers suits this constitutional type's inclination towards theoretical (not practical) solution of problems, which in their lives is also expressed in many other guises.
The Phosphorus types acquit themselves well in creative work, for example as actors, because of their ability to easily express their feelings and to gain sympathy. There is a need in these people to show up. The Materia Medica lists the desire to show up entirely, naked, without inhibitions. If a patient stated on her visit to a homeopath that she is a striptease dancer, it would be the obvious direction as far as choice of the remedy is concerned.
Arsenicum album types are often found in accountants' offices, as their significant mental quality is love of order, sometime pedantic. Everything has to be in its place. They would sacrifice themselves for their conception of the world. They would lay down their lives for it. The cases have been known, of people belonging to this type (mentally pathological, of course), who committed suicide, after finding their flat in a disorder.
Lachesis types can be found wherever they are allowed to display their suppressed emotions, creativity and the sometimes exaggerated reproof of their environment - in art, religious movements, etc. Very often, even regularly, they are in a partnership (business, marital) with Lycopodium. The two remedies are much alike - in a mirror-like reflection, however. With the first the disease begins on the left side, with the other on the right, the first does not like to compete, the other does, the first always finds his own way, the other often follows (and tries to overpass), the first cannot stand heat, the other cold... Dozens of such polarities could be found in the mental and physical domains. They often cause the partnership of these two types to be quite dramatic, while at the same time a productive one. Both partners complement each other perfectly - what one is lacking, the other one has, situations that make one feeling depressed, exhilarate the other, etc. The Materia Medicas consider these two remedies to be complementary, reciprocal. We could continue with this, perhaps too simplified, list of mental characteristics, which determine the societal status.
Naturally, the societal status cannot form the core of the diagnosis - this must be made on the basis of totality of all symptoms. It however has its place in the diagnoses.
Treatment on All Levels
Taking the constitutional remedy can mean a great deal to people. It not only influences the state of their health, but their relationship to others and of others to them. This is because the influence of constitutional remedy changes the person.
A weak person becomes stronger. An amenable person seeks equality, a passive person begins to approach his or her problems more actively. Just as the influence of the patient's disease was discernible on all levels, including the social life, manifesting now is the newly gained health. The disease, disorder or entropy, originating in dynamis, the non material governing centre, becomes manifested in the psychology, in the emotions and in the physical organs of the ill person, but it is also entrenched in the social structures which during the years this person had built around herself. Thus a woman of the type Staphisagria (which includes in its psychological characteristic the consequences of a personality suppressed by someone stronger, rape, humiliation) may often marry a domineering person. While in such a relationship on a daily basis, she may indeed become subdued, allow herself to be tormented, to be psychologically and physically abused. She even arranges her life, so that she can receive as much torture and abuse as possible. When such a woman is given the remedy Staphisagria, she begins to resist her suppression, ceases to act submissively and starts to react defensively. There is a conflict with the pathologically domineering husband. The situation becomes so intense that it results in a divorce, which in this case would be a relief. Of course, homeopathy offers another and often explored possibility. The patient also brings her husband to a homeopath. He is given one of the remedies, which in their characteristics include excessive assertiveness. The outcome is, that the husband's domineering attitude is somewhat restricted, the wife's self-confidence is increased - and a new healthier relationship is formed, this of course often happens only after some dramatic conflicts.
It is similar with an occupation. A person on a constitutional decline could become bogged in the line of work that does not satisfy him. When the homeopathic remedy is applied, it may happen and in reality often does happen, that there is a change of the working place, change of the profession. It is a shift of direction, aimed towards the previously suppressed ambitions.
Nevertheless, the conflict with the environment that might occur during the healing process, with the patient trying to assume the new position to which he is now entitled, might also have negative results. For instance, a grandmother whose present social situation is built around caring for her perennially ill grandson, might subconsciously perceive his cure as endangering her own significance - and she might smother the curing process by taking her grandson to an allopath and suppressing the symptoms in a reverse order. Or the patient's domineering partner, seeing that the other is beginning to "get out of his hands", might relentlessly insist on recommencing the allopathic treatment and thus bringing the process to a halt and turning it back.
Because benefits that come from the constitutional remedy are truly significant, it is sometimes likened to the mysterious elixir of alchemy. Personally I think it to be reasonable. Seeing a child that is strongly disadvantaged by the chronic disease, who could mostly expect only unpleasant things in life, then the same child, a year or two later, who having received the remedy, is among the healthiest and the most active of children and who can enjoy life to the full, such a sight makes it obvious that the homeopathic remedy must be something more than an ordinary treatment.
When I lecture, I am often asked what is the constitutional remedy, how could it be characterised and distinguished from other remedies. The answer is simple. Everybody has his or her constitutional remedy, and it is the remedy characterising utmost the individual personality - from psychology to emotions and general reactions to the actual pathology. Every person has the nearest similium, regardless of whether they are ill or healthy.
If the constitutional remedy is applied, what does it mean to a healthy person? Above all, prevention of the possible future illness. Improved efficiency certainly, better memory, certain development of positive qualities and confinement of the negative characteristics, from psychology, to emotions, all the way to matters physical. The expected outcome might be for instance improved social circumstances. Homeopathy does not admit to people ever being absolutely healthy. Anyone, even the healthiest person, has many symptoms in the areas of psychology and emotions. This is why the constitutional remedy of any person can be established. Once, on her own request, I gave the constitutional remedy of high potency to my forty year old colleague, even though she was a rare person - never being ill throughout her life. Unfortunately, her children already had chronic illnesses - naturally homeopathically curable. When she saw what the remedy did to the children, she also asked for it. In present times even a history of ruddiness in a family does not mean much.
Is Constitutional Remedy Unchangeable?
Another often asked question is, would constitutional remedy remain the same throughout life, or can it change? The answer must be somewhat broadened. I would say that from this point of view, the remedies could be divided approximately into four groups. In the first group there are the remedies that in practice never include the whole picture of a person. They are the remedies used predominantly for acute problems, such as Plantago, Hecla lava, Coffea and many others. To the next group belong a large number of remedies, which are not normally used as constitutional, in most cases covering only a limited number of symptoms, but which with some people may turn out to be their constitutional remedies, covering the whole personality. Hypericum, Arnica, Millefolium, Asparagus and many others belong here. Then there is the sizeable group of remedies, which may be described almost exclusively in accordance with the overall constitution, such as Kali carbonicum, Natrum sulphuricum, Pulsatilla, but which after a period of treatment may turn into something else. From my own practice I can cite the case of Pulsatilla, a boy treated since the age of seven, who was cured by this remedy from the risen temperature that lasted for a year, from a nightly pollution and from repetitive colds, and kept healthy (without any allopathic treatment) for another twelve years. During this period he went through the rising scale of potencies, from C 200 to 1M, 10M, all the way to CM. However, at nineteen years of age the young man got tonsillitis with all the signs of Lachesis, which after this remedy went away in a day or two and improved him generaly for years. Pulsatilla thus changed during the treatment into Lachesis. My personal theory is that there are several basic types (the fourth group), which if correctly diagnosed and applied, cannot change into anything else, lasting throughout the life. Among these are Phosphorus, Lachesis, Sulphur, Arsenicum album, Natrium muriaticum and several others.
I will venture a little theory: With the progress of humanity and society, the number of miasma increases, rises the pollution of health and psychology. With it there are more remedies and remedial types. During treatment, during this inverted journey back to health and to the primal essence, the miasma decrease, from the lesser remedies we move to the more fundamental remedies. Homeopaths call it "the peeling of an onion", removal of the miasmal covers. Eventually the opus is closed by few of the most basic, fundamental remedies. Persons of the types Sulphur, Phosphorus, Lachesis or Arsenicum, etc. thus having a certain advantage in belonging to the few outstanding primal types, should not need another diagnose. Nevertheless, in an absolutely prevailing number of cases, the previous wide group of remedies can bring the work to its conclusion.
© Jiri Cehovsky, 1994
poslední aktualizace: 30.08.2006