Listening to Stone, Wood and Shell - Anne Schadde and Juergen Hansel
Lapis lazuli, Lithium carbonicum, Ephedra sinica, Ginkgo biloba, Lignum aquilaria agallocha, Cypraea eglantina (Cowrie snail)
Reprinted with the permission of The Society of Homeopaths, (from "The Homeopath" magazine, Autumn/Winter 2004):
Reviewed by Jo Evans:
'Listening', in the broadest sense, is what we do with our patients, with the language of provers, and it is also a good word to apply to understanding the energy of new remedies. The word 'listening,' in the title of this book, provides a clue to the art and sensitivity with which the proving information is presented. It combines art and science in well-judged measures.
Six new provings are presented in this book. Cypraea eglantina (the remedy was made with cowrie shell and a part of the snail), Lithium carbonicum (the element Li., prescribed in conventional medicine for manic depression), Ephedra sinica (an ancient plant used in traditional medicine, but also linked to amphetamines and ecstasy), Ginkgo Biloba (the tree called the 'living fossil' by Darwin, one of the oldest plants on earth, and a big seller in popular herbal medicine for its reputed ability to help prevent memory loss), Lignum aquilaria agallocha (eagle wood, a wood used since Biblical times for its incense and fumigation properties, spiritual yet erotic in its aroma), and Lapis Lazuli (the intensely blue stone, flecked with gold pyrite which appears in Buddhist symbolism representing compassion and healing). Here we have a vibrant chorus of energies to 'hear', feel, and understand.
For each proving we are provided with similar chapter sub-headings: Substance (about the proving material, its uses, symbolism, toxicology etc.), Proving (if it has been proven before, about the current proving, how many people, male and female etc, and the exact words and symptoms of the provers under appropriate repertory headings, but not grouped into themes), Summary (bringing together themes by grouping the words of the provers, disease pictures, comparisons with other remedies, polarities of the remedies, stories of synchronicities taking place during the proving, and general comments), and Repertory (the solid rubrics to come from the proving).
This is not a proving book to buy simply for reference. We have the potential to search and reference new provings on homeopathic software when studying a case, and the task of reading a list of proving symptoms can be a drier, more challenging one. This book has the facts and figures you would expect from a proving, in condensed form, yet manages to also present each remedy in a coherent and memorable way, with many 'extras', for example cross-referencing the cowrie shell with other similar sea remedies (Conchiolinum, Murex, Pecten, Calc carb., Sepia), or Lapis Lazuli with other stones, Lapis albus, Lap-c-b (limestone), Lap-gr-m (granite), provings from Nuala Eising.
Those who delight in synchronicity, myth, symbol, and the poetry of Goethe (and that is just some of it) will find it woven in here, as well as the results of six Hahnemannian provings, presented in the provers' own words. Reading this book was an enriching and pleasurable experience, after which the remedies naturally lodged in the consciousness, and unconscious, ready to prescribe.
Reprinted with the permission of Homeopathic Links, Volume 18, Winter 2005:
Reviewed by Ivo Wiesner, Czech Republic:
This book is devoted to provings, those provings conducted with excellence and a sense of detail, using the modern approach introduced by Jeremy sherr.
In homeopathic proving we want to tune into spirit of the potentised substance and are drawn into a kind of shamanistic experience located along the borderline of science. As good observers we experience not only subjective mental, emotional or physical symptoms during proving but, more profoundly, we are invited to share the spirit of mythology, ethnology, traditional medicine, pharmacology, biology, and chemistry of a proved remedy. The book is written with great respect for this level of the world and for this reason I found it such rewarding reading.
The Foreword was written by Rajan Sankaran who characterises homeopathic provings as "human voices of nature" with modern emphasis on delusions, dreams and synchronicity driving provings into the deepest sensation and understanding.
After a short Methodology chapter explaining the rules to be followed during provings the book continues with six chapters describing six homeopathic provings of six remedies (homeopathic trituration to 3C and further succussion up to 30 C was performed at the Enzian pharmacy in Munich from where remedies may be ordered). Each chapter is further divided into sections: Substance, Proving, Summary, and Repertory. The book ends with a Bibliography and Sources of supply.
Books on provings, like any documentary texts, are meant to be an easy read, for coffee breaks or after post-lunch relaxation. To help the reader to the maximum, the authors have arranged the list of all noted symptoms into comprehensive blocks making serious study easier and orientation less exhausting.
All six compounds/remedies chosen for proving speak for themselves about why they were selected. It is for their peculiarity, mysterious nature or attractive history. Allow me in a few lines to give a taster of what it is about.
Lapis lazuli - the stone of the rulers, called ultramarine in Europe. Its magical powers take away blockages within the emotional realm and thus heal the affairs of the heart chakra by liberating it from compromises and restraint. Mind and general symptoms of this remedy mirror the main mineral constituents of this Lapis - Natrium, Sulphur, Silicea, and Aluminium - which combine in Lapis, and give us (as we can guess in advance) more than the sum of their parts by opening themes like consolidation and disintegration; lightness and heaviness; womanliness, motherhood and pregnancy; religion and order; water and dryness; heat and cold.
Lithium carbonicum - new proving of an old remedy well known for its treatment of manic depression. The first proving was done already by C. Hering who reported many symptoms of the urinary tract (frequent urination, burning in the urethra). This chapter puts new themes of the remedy obtained from the new proving into the context of previous sources taken from repertories.
Ephedra sinica - ancient power plant of traditional medicine from around the world with its alkaloid ephedrine among the first natural compounds chemically synthesized. Owing to its chemical structure ephedrine is related to amphetamines (sometimes it is called "natural amphetamine") and Ecstasy - popular life-style drugs of our times. In the homeopathic proving potentised Ephedra clearly presents itself as a drug remedy (provers felt physically/mentally stimulated, reporting a very pleasant state). Homeopathic symptoms were related to elation; disinhibition; power; productivity/exhaustion; appetite; isolation; unity; altered states of consciousness; female sexuality.
Ginkgo biloba - this tree, famously known as a living fossil from the Mesozoic Era, is among the oldest plants on earth. It is remarkably resistant against insects, bacteria or fungal attacks as well as against pollution; it defies fire and radioactivity. It is a dioecious tree resembling Yin and Yang polarity. In western pharmacology it relates to ischemia, circulatory problems and brain debility. The homeopathic remedy was prepared from trituration of leaves, bark, and root together. The proving enhanced the themes of unity/duality (being torn apart and reunited, cf. alchemy principles); polarity of left/right hemisphere; feeling of splitting.
Lignum aquilaria agallocha - very old wood used for ritual fumigation. It is the most precious of all scented woods. This tree grows only in the deepest jungles of Indonesia and in Assam (India) - reputedly 'the heart of the earth'. It is thought that in the fumigated scent there are pheromone-like substances. The secret of fumigation is in the production of resin, which only develops after symbiosis with fungi. The proving revealed core themes related to fears; energy; calmness/indifference; mind concentration;irritability; self-confidence or sadness/discouragement.
Cypraea eglantina - called Cowrie Shell or Porcelain Snail. Because of its wonderful colours and smooth, shiny surface - a porcelain-like beauty - it has been collected for centuries in the coral areas of the warm Indian Pacific. It was used as a currency B.C. by Chinese and Arabic traders. The homeopathic remedy was prepared by trituration and succussion of a shell. Proving symptoms are related to anxiety/fear; impressionability; exaltation; heartlessness/in-difference; money; boundlessness/unreality; mind concentration; slowness/stupefaction; sadness/depression/feeling abandoned; symptoms related to time and space; solidarity.
I will close this sharing of my impression of the book by answering a question which reviewers are routinely asked. To whom may the book be recommended? To every serious practicing homeopath who wants to keep his/her Materia medica and Repertory up-to-date with newly proven remedies, to every editor responsible for updating Repertories - for whom this book will make editorial life a bit easier - and of course, to all advanced students of homeopathy who should become well acquainted with modern provings following Sherr's guidelines.
By participating in a homeopathic proving, the enterprising homeopath will experience expansion of his/her consciousness at a deeper level. Self-experience during proving should thus be an integral part of homeopathic practice because such journeys strongly foster the inner growth required by patients to guide them through their disease crisis. This book is a fine account of six such adventurous journeys.