28 June 2018 (online)
While summer is coming in the Netherlands, the month of June represents different seasons around the world, seasons that have their own characteristics and their own influences on the life and health of people.
The Dutch are, among many other things, notoriously known for complaining about their bad weather. Rheumatism was a common complaint in the old days, before the advent of central heating. I remember very well how the windows in winter were covered with ice flowers, how only the sitting room fire was lit and the room warm; all other rooms being icy cold, and the beds were covered thickly with horse-hair blankets. It was a time when homeopathy was virtually unknown and unavailable, except to the happy few.
In the Netherlands, contrary to America and the United Kingdom, where they had C. Hering, J.T. Kent and F.H.F. Quinn, the first homeopaths who became known were German by birth (F.W.O. Kallenbach, J.P.F. Schönfeld) or Swiss (P. Schmidt). Dutch homeopaths (S. Van Royen and N.A.J. Voorhoeve) were few and far between. C.M.F. von Bönninghausen was born in the Netherlands, but he soon moved to Germany.
Although there was freedom to practise homeopathy, there was little interest. Holland or the Netherlands (Holland is actually a particular part of the Netherlands) was a rainy country, swamp-like, below sea-level, a malarial country. Tuberculosis also was a high-risk disease with epidemic status. Not the most health-friendly climate, but I suppose every country has its own health hazards, and in that light it is not strange to read how Hahnemann in his ‘Organon’ emphasised the need for considering climate and weather conditions in treating our patients.
When I introduced the subject of climate and weather conditions for this issue, many homeopaths stated that they had no ‘connection’ to this topic. I am therefore very happy with the contributions we do have for this issue and I hope they will work as an inspiration. It is not uncommon to find your patient affected by climate, weather and environmental conditions in some way. After all we are nature!
Environmental conditions, especially those created artificially in buildings to prevent unwelcome forces of nature might also change our awareness of these forces, but they nevertheless remain. We are frequently affected with colds, when not dressed warmly enough in winter when we go out because it's always warm inside, or overheated in summer because we are used to air-conditioning. The subject of climate change is high on the attention list worldwide. It will affect our living conditions to a degree we cannot begin to imagine. We are an integral part of these changes and this makes it even harder to know how this is affecting us. Agreed, there must be a predisposition to be affected by climate and weather conditions but from a certain level onward it will affect us all, despite the amount of control we believe we have over it. A controlled environment can even desensitise our perception of these influences. As homeopaths we must not make this mistake and stop paying attention to patients who are especially vulnerable to this. Underestimating its effect can lead to chronicity of complaints.
Therefore, this edition has the underlying theme of climate and weather conditions and their influence on health and disease. While June is the start of summer for the Northern hemisphere, we need to realise that this is not so for the Southern hemisphere and we have included articles related to climate, coming from different parts of the globe.
As the guest editor for this issue, I have put some emphasis on the Dutch climate and I welcome especially the Dutch authors who are new to the field of writing and I hope that seeing their work published will be just as inspiring for them as it is for me. Let this be a confirmation that your work is appreciated and I hope this will not be your only contribution to this beloved Journal!
I am also very pleased to say that this is not the only focus for this issue and that I am equally happy with the contributions by our, often loyal, authors from other countries.
Not only countries but we humans too go through ‘seasons’ or phases of life and experience the specific qualities belonging to them. Sometimes they are welcome and sometimes not, but inevitably they come along. In the Bible, there is some mention of this and, while I am not familiar with it, this might also be so in the other world religions. There are verses in the Bible in which Noah says to God that every season has its own function (Genesis 1:14), and in Ecclesiastes (3:1–2) we can read that there is a time for everything. We might remember the song ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, from the band ‘The Byrds’, written by Pete Seeger in the 1950s: this is an adaption from these Bible texts.
‘To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and a time for every purpose under heaven’. ‘A time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant a time to reap…’.
For this last joint issue of ‘Harry van der Zee and Corrie Hiwat’, I am especially happy with the ‘season’ Harry has entered. It is a season I would like to call, for him, ‘a time to reap’. You have read in the previous issue of Links how he wrote his ‘Thank You’ editorial as a farewell. As my colleague and dearest friend of so many years, I grant him all that he envisions for himself in the near and further future and hope to share this with him, as many seasons we are granted in this lifetime.
I cannot begin to mention the extent of his contribution to the world of homeopathy, a world indeed. But I must make an attempt and the review of his work by Jay Yasgur (‘A Taste for Language’, pp. 160–164) in this issue will be an addition to my more personal words. His 23 years of editorship will leave its mark in the history of homeopathy.
The list of things he has done in service of his editorship would not describe his personal qualities; therefore I would prefer to mention these.
Take a person who always seeks that something he does will be beneficial to the larger totality.
Take a person who, despite his own needs, will always take into account the needs of others and often let those prevail.
Take a person who believes that everything is possible.
Take a person who chooses for integrity instead of compromising himself.
Take a person who over and over again opens his heart, even when he should know better.
Take a person who will work and work, not tirelessly, but nevertheless finishes his work.
Take a person with an enormous amount of humour who can laugh at himself and has a command of language that would make him a world-class writer.
That is Harry, and much more.
Who would not love such a man?
Harry has harvested superb material for Links and the homeopathic community for many years. Now both he and Homoeopathic Links are entering a new season. Turn, turn, turn.
The Leaf – The Light
Full of delight I see her fall asleep
in a valley behind misty hills.
My skin remembers her embrace,
her love that nourishes, then kills.
I long for light, so long for her light!
Despite the scorching summer heat
drying up the stream of life inside,
her light, my sun … I need, I need.
I cannot stop, once tender green,
but seek my love, yes more … still more,
until the last drop ‘s drained out of me
and I exit through winter's door.
Worth dying for? I don’t regret, oh no!
I'll do ‘t again, each spring I start,
till autumn colours forever glow,
the light, the love, my heart.
Poem inspired by ‘Bough’: ‘The Leaf – The Light’ by Harry van der Zee (2014)