Homeopathy 2004; 93(03): 166-167
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2004.05.003
Book Review
Copyright © The Faculty of Homeopathy 2004

Dreams, Symbols, & Homeopathy

Yubraj Sharma

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
27 December 2017 (online)

Jane Cicchetti

North Atlantic Books; California, USA

Price: $15.95, ISBN:1 55643 436 7, 1993

The book is largely written for the homeopathic practitioner, but kept easy enough for therapists or physicians of other persuasions. It would be of particular interest to psychotherapists, counsellors and shamanic healers. There is a basic chapter on the principles of homeopathy to enable other readers to understand somewhat the references to our materia medica. At approximately 225 pages of text the book is broad ranging and bravely attempts to enter regions of the psyche in greater depth.

The book is divided into four sections. The first discusses certain basic principles of healing, archetypes, homeopathic medicine and the relationship between mind and body. The second section explores the realm of the subconscious/unconscious, the shadow, anima/animus (male/female archetypes). The third takes the reader deeper into dream analysis, the mind–body paradigm and dreaming techniques of communicating with the psyche. The fourth part explores various remedies in relation to their dream symbols. Classes of medicines portrayed are trees, vines, milks and the seven sacred metals.

In the first section most of the mythology references to symbols and archetypes are from classical Greek models. Mercurius/Hermes is particularly well discussed in relation to the healer and to sleep healing within the Asklepion temples. Few references only are made to Indian and Celtic mythology, in other parts of the book.

In the second section the development of human consciousness is explored, to understand the place of myth and archetypal symbols in ancient civilisations. Most of the philosophy stems from Jungian models. There is brief mention only of the role played by constellations and the zodiacal belt, although this undoubtedly played a large part in the daily life of ancient man. Anthroposophical medicine is mentioned briefly.

There is comprehensive coverage of the archetypal symbols, providing a sense of the richness of the human psyche. There is limited discussion on how these fit into the framework of the soul, spirit and enlightenment process as found in world spiritual teachings. There is little discussion of perspectives of the structure of the mind, astral/emotional body or the nature of the soul. The nature of memory is not fully explored. The shadow is, however, explored in greater depth, and illustrated with reference to the materia medica, such as Causticum and Anacardium. Interesting points are made in respect of how the shadow of the patient can become ‘dumped’ onto the homeopath. Similarly symbols in relation to the anima/animus and sexual archetypes are analysed in depth. Well-known male and female remedies such as Nux vomica and Sepia are used to illustrate these concepts. An important chapter discusses the integration of these aspects to achieve wholeness. This is explored in relation to suppressed traumas and automaton zombie-like behaviour is mentioned.

In the third part the author indicates how the awareness of the physician can bring up the case more vividly. Case taking and analysis is covered in the section. There is a useful section on how to study the life of dreams, with practical ideas on recording and analysing the experiences. Dreaming in children is little explored, it would be useful in view of the marked symptomatology found in many of our younger patients with night-terrors and dream-disturbed sleep. Some detail on shamanic therapy is provided, but this is limited in content, few techniques of ancient and modern shamanism are mentioned. However, the technique of soul rescue or soul retrieval, integral to shamanic work, is in part covered in this section through describing the dreaming journey. This is explored in relation to ancient cultures as well as methods for the modern practitioner to use in practice. The shamanic use of talismans, herbal sage, stones, drums and the like is omitted.

In the fourth section there is interesting new proving information concerning tree remedies. These include the New Zealand Kauri tree, South American Cow tree, Gingko biloba and others. The information is provided in the context of cultural usage and mythology surrounding these trees. Vine-based remedies discussed with such perspectives in mind are Bryonia, Alcoholus (from the grapevine), Rhus tox, Passiflora and Clematis. There is, however, a lack of information about many of the well-known psychotropic substances, which might be used as homoeopathic remedies and are yet to be proved. There could be an exploration of the symbolism of existing remedies, such as Cannabis, Coca, Opium, Anhalonium. There is a limited commentary on Ayahuasca, a key modern remedy for the shamanic dreaming journey, although acknowledgement is made of this information being available in modern provings reported elsewhere.

The milk remedies discussed are human, cow, cat and dog. Again reference is made to the mythology and cultural history surrounding these animals. Brief mention is made of the other Lac remedies, by way of a table charting the keynotes within the Mentals and the dreams. There is a very good section on the seven sacred metals, connected to the solar system planets from the viewpoint of alchemy. These are the Saturn-Plumbum, Jupiter-Stannum, Mars-Ferrum, Venus-Cuprum, Mercury-Mercurius, Moon-Argentum and Sun-Aurum remedies. There is integration of information concerning the physical diseases relevant to each metal with the archetypal myth of their connected gods/goddesses. Little mention is made of the planets themselves from an astrological or astronomical perspective.

An exploration of the symbol of the Internal Saboteur is provided in the last chapter. This is brought in relation to those situations where the patient fails to respond to the well-selected remedy, or meets the therapy with excessive resistance. Remedies particularly discussed in relation to this symbol are Alumina, Lyssinum, Absinthium, Aconite, Agaricus, Folliculinum and Lilium tigrinum.

This is a fine work, providing useful tools for the homeopathic physician, whether for understanding the materia medica or when undertaking new provings. The information is readily adapted for self-reflective and personal development. However, there is not enough room to explore the many areas opened through this approach, and many topics are left tantalisingly mentioned only in brief. The author may prompt much more research and exploration into this area of our art. Many of the subjects touched by the author can be found more fully developed in other specialities, such as astrology, shamanism, spiritual treatises and world mythology. It is up to the homeopathic world to accept this challenge and integrate this information into the materia medica. Comparison can especially be made with the work of Frans Vermeulen (Prisma) in his integration of myth, culture, science and the provings. Prisma is, however, written as a detailed materia medica rather than an exploration of tools and techniques. Jane Cicchetti has nonetheless brought a range of analysis that adds to the richness of homeopathic philosophy.