Signatures, Miasms, Aids (Spiritual Aspects of Homeopathy) - Misha Norland
Misha's depth of understanding and philosophical outlook shine through in this wonderfully fascinating book full of original thought and unforgettable remedy signatures.
Signatures, Miasms, AIDS shows how a deeper knowledge of two key concepts, miasms and the doctrine of signatures, can enrich our understanding of remedies and the diseased states we encounter in our patients. It also helps bridge the gap between spiritual and scientific worldviews.
The book examines the historical and alchemical background of healing.
A well practiced, clear and concise model for potency selection is included.
New light is cast on Hahnemann's original three miasms, while Tubercular, Cancer and AIDS miasms are examined in depth.
New information is included from the extensive provings of the AIDS nosode and the frequently used remedy, Falco peregrinus.
Misha Norland is my dear friend and valued colleague for over two decades. He has a solid foundation in classical homeopathy, both in its philosophy and practice. Yet, he has the openness and creativity to explore new avenues and latest advances.
Dr. Rajan Sankaran, Homeopath, Author
For more than twenty years Misha has been a central figure in our world of homeopathy, and rightly so. He's a wonderful blend of a seeker's yearning to understand this world in great depth and a practical dynamo who makes things happen.
David Warkentin, Founding Director, Kent homeopathic Associates
I have known Misha for nearly 30 years. His dedication to the Art and Spirit of homeopathy is manifest through his wonderful teachings and collaborations on both sides of the Atlantic. His courses are renowned for their excellence in homeopathic learning the world over.
Miranda Castro FSHom, Homeopath, Author, Educator
- Author: Norland Misha
- 229 pages
- Printed in UK
Reprinted with the permisson of The Society of Homeopaths, (from "The Homeopath" magazine November 2003):
Reviewed by Nigel Summerley:
A few days before I received this book, I had to give a talk on homeopathy at the launch of a new low-cost clinic in the East End of London. At question time, one man said: "I liked what you said about the mental, emotional and physical. And I liked the fact you didn't start talking about the spiritual. When therapists start doing that, it always puts me off."
Apart from the danger of putting off potential patients, venturing into the spiritual aspects of homeopathy seems to raise the possibility of meandering off at all sorts of tangents, and for all sorts of meaning' to be found.
This book appears to come with three titles plus a subÂtitle - which suggests from the outset that it wasn't quite clear what it was to be about. In fact, it's more like three or four books in one, with little feeling of a unified whole.
After a quick skip around the doctrine of signatures and the eternal philosophy, we get the largest, most impressive and most accessible section of the book: portraits of a dozen polycrests, with the accent heavily on their homeopathic signatures, themes and miasmatic significance.
These portraits are at times joyfully reminiscent of the best of Catherine Coulter's work, but more concise and often sharper. The chapters on Pulsatilla, Natrum munaticum, Lycopodium and Thuja are particularly recommended, both to students and to seasoned practitioners.
Then comes an excellent section on the AIDS miasm and the provings of the AIDS nosode and Falco peregrinus. Here everything really gels in a challenging and informative largely untrammelled by anv spiritual spin.
And finally there is a look at the evolution of the miasms from Hahnemann's time to the present day, plus worthwhile notes on potency selection.
There is often a lack of rigour in the language and in what is accepted as established fact: "Boehme had a series of divine revelations", rather than "claimed to have had"; or, "the shamans, bards and wizards of ancient cultures sang objects and beings into existence" rather than "were said to sing".
And there is also some carelessness of editing, evidenced, for example, by Ihis quotation: "as we have seen. Mercury is the amalgamating metal", which is placed 30 pages before the section on Mercury's amalgamating properties.
It s noticeable too that Norland and Robinson have a penchant for the word shit' -which is employed six times during the book. But when it comes to sex, the seven-letter word they embrace is 'coition' rather than one beginning with 'F'. Curious.
In the end, much of the investigation of signatures seems to prove one thing -that you can take almost any two things and make a connection between them. Lachesis, for example, we are told, has a left-sided or 'sinister' tendency - and the dramatic villain always used to enter from stage-left. Spooky or what? But then stage-left is on the right if you're in the audience. So where does that leave us?
However, Norland does go along with Hahnemann in rejecting the old simplistic use of the doctrine of signatures which related the appearance of an object to its medicinal uses. Instead, he puts forward the idea of signatures as "a direct path though the myriad proving symptoms". The remedy pictures he paints so beautifully certainly offer the reader such a path.
And he does makes a crucial point in support of the doctrine of signatures: "Even if we don't accept the concept of signatures, they make excellent mnemonics to help us remember the 'shape' of a remedy."
Spirituality is vital if we are to fulfil our 'higher purpose', but do the samplings from the likes of mythology, alchemy, theosophy and symbology referred to here have any relevance to true spirituality? Or might they be a ragbag of second-hand, second-rate concoctions from the limited human imagination? This may
sound uncharitable but surely these are questions we have to go into with great care.
Unless we do, won't so many of our potential patients - like my East Ender - go on being ready to turn and run at the very mention of the word spirituality?
A second review by Francis Treuherz:
It is always a pleasure to review a book by an honoured colleague, and even more so when it is by one of my first teachers. I can see lhat this book is a long-term development from the ideas on miasms which I first heard in lectures in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The ideas re familiar and I have had time to test them out in my practice. I do have some sort concept of these miasms, and I do find that this is useful clinically from time to time, certainly with the 'big five, (psora,, sycosis, syphilis from Hahnemann, and tuberculosis and cancer thereafter). My caricature of bese concepts as under-function, overproduction and destructivness (mirrored by the itch, the clap and the chancre) are faithfully lirrored in Misha's book.
His ideas are sophisticated without being sophistry, wise without being too clever, and clear despite the 19th century origins of much of the material. They will be of value to the neophyte student and i the experienced practitioner alike.
There is a mention of Claire Robinson as someone who helped the author, not least with Misha's dyslexia and his preference for the spoken over the written word. We are not told if she is a writer or a homeopath, but I can assure you that Misha with this help is every much as fluent and readable a writer as he is a teacher.
Misha reviews his understanding of these miasms very clearly in the fourth and fifth chapters. He then draws 13 remedy pictures, firstly (and predictably) Sulphur, Calcarea carbonica and Lycopodium clavatum, and then Natrum muriaticum, Silica, Rhus toxicodendron, Thuja occidentalis, Pulsatilla nigricans, Lachesis muta, Mercurius, Tarentula hispanica, Tuberculinum bovinum and Carcinosin. The third part of the book deals with AIDS as a disease and miasm, and also as a proving substance. This section also examines another recent proved remedy, Falco peregrinus. At the end there is a summation chapter on miasms, an appendix chapter on potency selection and lastly, a glossary.
The first three chapters discuss the doctrine of signatures, outer form and inner spirit, and the hermetic tradition in relation to homeopathy. This is where I am in difficulties in appreciating the ideas. My early - and to some extent private - studies of homeopathy were partly to clarify for myself why and how this wonderful and new (to me) system of medicine had apparently become entangled in mysticism and mystique, and why it had come to be regarded as something as a sect. I studied in depth the origins of Kent's philosophy in Sweden-borgianism, and the relationship of the ideas of Rudolf Steiner to Homeopathy. (These two papers were published before the age of computers but are now available from me by e-mail to any reader who requests them, from: email@example.com). Having examined these areas I cannot see why there is any necessity for homeopathy to be attached in this way to any esoteric notions. I should be quite happy if the hermetic tradition remained hermetically sealed. Hahnemann rejected the doctrine of signatures as not being relevant to Homeopathy.
I know that there are many ways of finding the simillimum, that there are remarkable incidences of serendipity between provings and the life of the medicine. The danger lies with the confusion of testable ideas and concepts, like similars and provings/ with untestable ideas like miasms, which then become reified. Miasms are an idea, a heuristic device to clarify the identification of patterns of disease and their cure. There is no necessity to link them with Buddha, Christ or Moses, with Hermetic philosophy, Chakras, or the Vedas. The spirit and art of homeopathy for me lies in how we relate to our patients.
The characterisations, symbolism and explanations of the history of AIDS, both in the West and in Africa, are well researched and presented, although some of the analogies and descriptions are hard to justify.
The chapter on potency once again uses esoteric ideas of earth, air, fire, water and ether on which to base the selection of potencies. This emulates or even repeats the Kentian origins of the potency scale which we still use today - 6c, 30c, 200c, 1m, 10m, which probably has its source the esoteric and mystical work of Swedenborg. I prefer to relate potency to the physical and mental state of my patients. I love the materia medica chapters, they are a very useful part of the book. The insights offered enable one to see the patients before one's eyes, right there in the chair.
While the book reads so well, and has obviously been written and edited with care there are just a couple of real omissions. One is that Hahnemann's 'half-acute' miasm of rabies has been omitted. Characterised by one of Foubister's students in Calcutta, Dr SP Dey, as onset delayed and manifestation violent, this is an important miasm. The other is the omission of a bibliography. Statements like mine about Dr Dey are there throughout the book. We cannot assume that all readers will know where to find the references; a very few are cited on the page; all authors should be referenced in order to credit an original source for her or his idea. and to enable the reader to find the text if they so wish.
In summary, this is a well-written and controversial book. Some readers will love it for the very same reasons that I do not wholly approve of it. I love it even if I do not approve of it.
An extract from Misha's book - The Hermetic Tradition and Homeopathic Principles -forms the second article in the current Journal.
(Readers may be puzzled to note that the same title is reviewed twice By Nigel Summerley and Francis Treuherz. The simple explanation is that Francis' review was sent in a few weeks after Nigel Summerley had offered to review Misha's book. Although unsolicited, it seemed a shame to waste Francis' readable and interesting piece of work. Ed).
Reprinted with the permission of The Homeopathic Links magazine, Volume 17, Summer 2004:
Reviewed by Dr.J. Roczenzwaig, MD, Ph.D., New Zealand:
If ever a new book on miasms was needed, it is this one. Instead of repeatÂing what everybody else has already writÂten about miasms, Misha Norland takes a fresh look at them and at the Doctrine of Signatures.
Going through the different philosophies and religions, he interprets the miasms according to those, showing how they beÂlong to our daily lives, no matter what our beliefs, or lack of, are. Miasms become actual entities we can recognise no matter through which prism they are looked at, they become real and alive and not just a theoretical scaffoldÂing.
The Doctrine of Signatures is also apÂproached that way, although not in such depth. It is clearly emphasised as a means of learning, of memorisation and explaÂnation, not as a scientific instrument to discover hidden qualities of a substance.
Thirteen polycrest remedies are then reviewed and analysed in the light of their multi-miasmatic belonging, clearly demonstrating that there is not a single remedy exclusively covering a single miasm, although there are predominances, some of them being major, like Sulphur and Psora. This will very much rejoice those of us who claim that a remedy, as well as it can be, will never destroy a miasm; but that is another huge discussion...
The book continues with an analysis of the new AIDS miasm and its proving; the interesting approach here is the parallel drawn between the clinical and biological evolution of the disease AIDS and the appearance and behaviour of the miasm, as reflected in the proving too. The interesting proving of Falco Peregri-nus is thrown in as an illustration of a remedy belonging to the AIDS miasm and the Doctrine of Signatures is used to illustrate the choice of the substance for the proving: well done!
In its conclusion, there is a 'DevelopmenÂtal model of miasms' where the socio-cultural presentation of miasms is reÂviewed; absolutely fascinating!
The appendix of the book relates potenÂcies with elements: Fire, Air, Water and Earth. This was explored in detail earlier on by David Little, but although it makes an interesting reading, I am not sure I would adopt it as my potency selection, it is too speculative for my personal taste.
This is a well-written book I would cerÂtainly recommend to everybody who is studying miasms, without hesitation.
Reprinted with the permisson of The ARH (from 'Homeopathy in Practice' magazine, January 2004 edition):
Reviewed by June Sayer MARH;
I always find it fascinating to explore the doctrine of signatures so I was excited to read the first chapter of this book as it
gives us an insight into the historical and alchemical background of homeopathy.
There are allusions to the doctrine of signatures in the writings of Galen but they were first applied to Western medicine by Paracelsus. Boehme, a 17th-century German shoemaker mystic, was inspired to write a book entitled The Signature of All Things, and it was his thoughts on signatures and the language of nature that influenced Emmanuel Swedenborg, the Swedish mystic.
James Tyler Kent read the works of these mystics and the idea of signatures found its way into mainstream nomeopathy. It is said that Samuel Hahnemann dismissed the idea of signatures because he thought it simplistic, yet they can be found in his writings.
The doctrine of signatures is based on the premise that if we know the form of an object we can know something of its medicinal use. The language of nature says that if we know the name of an object we : so know its form, and vice versa.
Misha says, 'We cannot view a tree as just its fruits without taking into account its leaves, branches, trunk and roots, as well as the habitat in which it grows.' This comment reinforces what we have been taught from the masters about perception during case-taking and the selection of remedies to treat the whole person and by understanding the inner and outer aspects of a medicinal substance as homeopaths we are able to work with the law of similars.
The chapter on hermetic tradition and homeopathic principles explores the comparisons of ideas dating from the alchemist Hermes Trismegistus (1399-1257BC). Aphorism 9 of the Organon is compared with the principle of unity; the law of similars is compared to the principle of correspondences, polarity is expressed by Hahnemann as primary and secondary action and levels of consciousness or planes of existence are viewed in homeopathy as the spirit, the dynamis and the physical body.
The section on miasms explains the origins of the psoric, sycotic and syphilitic miasms along with a discussion on the psychology of the miasm and how they are seen in clinical practice.
In the second part of the book 11 polycrest remedies and the nosodes Tuberculinum and Carcinosin are described, each with an interesting background, their connection to a particular miasm and remedy characteristics. Even with what I believed to be a good personal knowledge of these polycrest remedies, I found useful snippets of information that I have been able to add to my memory bank.
In part three of the book we are given an introduction to AIDS itself, along with a short history and some observations of AIDS patients. There is a short description of the AID