Reprinted with the permission of The ARH, (from the Journal 'Homeopathy in Practice', Autumn 2005 edition). Reviewed by Elizabeth Adalian MARH.
A proving of a new spider remedy will be of interest to the homeopathic community, so I was pleased to have the chance to write this review.
My first impression on seeing the book was that its presentation was somewhat rudimentary. Later I realised this was probably intentional to portray the essential theme of the remedy - Portia
The passion of the author shines through the book - it took her three years to collate, analyse and present the material. I admire her dedication in bringing this remedy to light.(as his writing is so embedded in the culture). However, the author's reference to literature sparks my interest - the tale of Bluebeard, which is later mentioned, also helps to allow the picture of Portia emerge.
The proving starts with the story of how Portia came to the awareness of the author. Her graphic description of the film which inspired her to discover this remedy stays in the memory. It also helps define the depth of this tiny little one', as it is denoted in the title. This contributes to setting the stage for the portrayal of the dark side of the remedy. Her observation of the essence of Portia (and its vibrational subtleties) are in depth and useful in revealing the true nature of this complex spider.
Inevitably, some nuances are lost in translation from the German. I appreciated the quote from the German author -Stephan Zweig - but, inevitably, the text has more resonance for a German reader
Comparisons to other remedies, especially other spider or animal remedies, are lacking; for example, Theridion (another spider remedy) shares Portia's tremendous sensitivity to noise. Portia's blood-thinning characteristics could be compared to snake remedies. There are, however, many references to Python -another remedy proved by this author. This is helpful as it demonstrates the opposing manifestations of the themes in the two remedies.
Although this is described as a book one can dip into, the text is overly dense for this to occur easily. The provers' statements come across as overly anecdotal and unfocused - again, this could have been intentional to convey the chaos of the remedy. However, the author's use of synchronicity appeals to me in this context. She allows herself to be drawn into the dynamic field with the provers. This opens up many coincidences which the remedy brings with it. An interesting observation is that, in a proving, just like in treatment, 'the whole personality can be integrated to release the unopposed side and the resulting ensuing awareness'.
The background to the spider's origins, as well as the repertory section, are very clear.
Certain symptoms made an impression on me - for example, phantom pregnancy and co-dependency - two different issues which are more prevalent these days in the consciousness of our evolution. Chemical sensitivity is another issue which this proving brings to light - again, an issue which is a theme of our time.
The focus is mainly on women. I would have liked to know more about the effects on men and children. (The other spider remedies have such a strong affinity for children.)
The ability to write from the heart of the author's own experience of the proving adds to the intrigue of the remedy.