Homeopath Peter Holl participates in developing new pathways in homeopathy.
It was a chance meeting early summer at the Chennai airport. Peter was on his way to attend a conference abroad. At the check-in, he explained that the conference, in the south of France, would be conducted by the renowned homeopath from Mumbai, Rajan Sankaran. “That's someone with an amazing intuition. Some Aurovilians have been studying with him for the last years. All the time he shares new insights in homeopathy. It is an experience all by itself.” Sankaran, it appears, is the proponent of a new method of homeopathy, which Peter hails as a dramatic improvement on the traditional methods of homeopathy. As we part, Peter agrees to talk more when we all are back in Auroville.
It's half a year later when we meet again. Peter, while abroad, has been in another encounter with gravity – a fall from his bike which aggravated a shoulder joint, already damaged by an earlier accident – but it hasn't dampened his spirits. With boyish enthusiasm he talks about the conference, Rajan Sankaran and his own love of homeopathy.
The new method of homeopathy
So what is this new way? “Earlier,” says Peter, “the patient would come with the complaint and the homeopath would ask many questions: about the patient's background, family, dreams, and so on. Those first interviews could take hours and were necessary to determine the typology of the patient and match it with the rather limited number of remedies available. We were going from the broad picture to the problem. It was a rather unsatisfying process. Not all patients enjoyed the probing into their private lives, and not all remedies were successful.
“But now we concentrate on the main complaint and follow the patient from there to where the problem has crystallised and energy has been blocked. We question the patient about what he or she is experiencing in connection with the problem; in this way the patient will lead us deeper and deeper into his or her inner experience. Our main question is always ‘tell me more…' Interestingly, most people are quite at ease talking about themselves in this way, unlike the old method.
“Usually within the first half hour, the patient will repeatedly use certain words, which for us are the keys to finding the cure. These words relate to various areas or ‘kingdoms' as they are called in the new method of homeopathy – the mineral, the plant and the animal kingdom. The key words for the mineral kingdom are about structure and organisation. The related problems arise from a break in this structure or organisation, e.g. breaking of relationships or failure in performance. For the plant kingdom the key words are about sensitivity – sensitivity to changes in the external environment and the capacity to adapt to these changes. The related problems are often emotional or physical strain or hurt. The key words for the animal kingdom all have to do with life, death and survival, ‘victim versus aggressor' or ‘me against the other'. Through the patient's answers we get a first understanding concerning where, in which kingdom, the remedy has to be found.
Peter gives an example. “The homeopath asks, ‘What is bothering you?' The patient replies, ‘Pain in the stomach.' ‘How does it feel?' ‘Like an ache or a bruise.' ‘Tell me more about the ache?' ‘It feels like a punch in the stomach?' ‘Tell me more about the feeling of punch?' ‘Oh, actually it was quite shocking to hear from my husband that he had an affair. But I had to say nothing and be in control.' The case went further on, but the word ‘punch' was the key.
“I concluded that I had to look into the plant kingdom for a remedy as the problem was about sensitivity and adapting to the situation. The sensation ‘punch experienced as a shock' led me to the Compositae family – Arnica, Calendula, Chamomile, etc. – which all are used for treating shocks from being injured and insulted. Then we use another classification of remedies in so-called miasms, which describes various issues connected to the experienced situation, such as the depth, the pace and perception of the problem. In this case the issue was ‘to be in control'. This is the so-called ‘cancer miasm' and its remedy is Bellis perennis, the daisy.”
Peter gives another example, of a patient who came with tonsillitis and after half an hour talked about the Mafia. “For those who practise the new homeopathy, this is a clear indication of the core of the problem – fear gripping the throat.” Exploring the case history, done in the way of the new homeopathy, becomes like painting a picture where, says Peter, “the patient is the painter; the homeopath serves as canvas.”
Peter touches here on the different attitude of the homeopath in the new way of homeopathy. “Before,” he explains, “we used to listen with a sharp analytical mind, trying to match symptoms to known cures. In the new method, we try instead to empty our mind and follow the patient. The homeopath tries, as it were, to ‘take the patient into his own consciousness,' carefully listening to what the patient says and doesn't say – the pauses, the half-finished sentences. At the same time we pay close attention to the patient's body language. What do the hand movements express? Are the arms used to stress the spoken word? For these movements are very indicative of the energy pattern. Why does the patient cry at a particular moment? – and so on. The best way for the homoeopath is to ask no more leading questions, to be very quiet from inside and completely following the patient's words and gestures and direction.
For example, if you see a patient making flowing arm movements while talking, the cure may be found in the animal kingdom, in some type of bird remedy; if a person talks about floating, ocean, water, the cure might be some type of fish remedy. Ideally, the homeopath listens with an empty mind. He cannot allow any of his own preconceptions to interfere or any kind of judgement on the patient to come in, and he should certainly not try to jump to conclusions. And in our experience, if the homeopath is silent, the patient opens up more and gives additional valuable information.” In this way, while keeping the focus on the initial complaint, the interview can go very, very deep. Peter calls this silent listening “a yoga of sorts.”
Then comes the moment where the homeopath has to find the cure. Says Peter, “There is always a risk of getting lost in the amount of data given. But though one would logically suppose that the homeopath would analyze all the data and rely on a rational choice, that's often not the case. More usually, homeopaths rely on a gut feeling – an intuitive hunch that this or that is the remedy to be taken.” He admits that this is also his own experience. “Often, the cure just stares you in the face. The connection between the problems that are presented to you, the source (kingdom) of the problems, and the possible remedy – it all comes to you in a flash.” This by itself doesn't eliminate the need to check the various homeopathic handbooks and review the case against the experiences of other homeopaths. “But,” says Peter, “the first hunch is often the right one and is later validated when the patient returns with an evaluation of the effects of the remedy.”
A vast range of medicines
In finding remedies, the new method of homeopathy also accesses a vaster range of medicines than the old school. Each of the three kingdoms provides a rich source of remedies, which increases almost daily when yet another ‘proving' of a new remedy is published on the Internet. Remedies have been made using the saliva of a rabid dog; the cocoons of butterflies; the milk of mammals such as the lion, the dolphin and even human; the feathers or blood of birds; and so on. Each remedy has its own characteristics, and each has extensively been proven. But says Peter: “If I have the feeling that the cure lies in a particular remedy that is not yet available, I wouldn't hesitate to develop the medicine myself. I have learned to trust the power of my intuition.”
Peter has come a long way. Starting as a bank clerk in Germany in the 1960's, and joining Auroville in 1973 after having received The Mother's Darshan, it wasn't till the 1980's that he first developed his interest in homeopathy. “I was staying in a community in Bavaria – I had left Auroville because of weak health – and there I experienced that homeopathy works.” His interest developed further in studies with Auroville homeopaths and he started practicing at the Auroville Health Centre under the guidance of Dr. Kamala Tewari. Yet, he says, he was often tempted to throw his books out of the window and do something else. “But when I got to know about the new method of homeopathy and started studying with Rajan Sankaran this all changed. The new homeopathy has become my ‘path,' my own yoga of sorts.”
Together with Sigrid, another Aurovilian, Peter has started offering homeopathic consultations at Inner Health in Prayathna, following the new method. Their qualifications were confirmed when attending a homeopathic seminar in Mumbai. “The Auroville homeopaths were surrounded by experienced homeopaths from all over the world. I discovered that we were able to meet them on the same level. That was a big boost to my confidence; to realise that homeopathy in Auroville is on par with the world.”
“Each spot of the body is symbolical of an inner movement; there is a world of subtle correspondences. The particular place in the body affected by an illness is an index to the nature of the inner disharmony that has taken place. It points to the origin; it is a sign of the cause of the ailment. It reveals too the nature of the resistance that prevents the whole being from advancing at the same high speed. It indicates the treatment and the cure. If one could perfectly understand where the mistake is, find out what has been unreceptive, open that part and put the force and the light there, it would be possible to re-establish in a moment the harmony that has been disturbed and the illness would immediately go.”
The Mother, Questions and Answers 1929 – 1931
Homeopathy: how does it work?
Homoeopathy, since the time of Hahnemann, has been based on the clear, scientific collection of evidence, and continues to be so. But homeopathy has also been criticized as being not a physical science, as the remedies used are so much diluted that not a single atom of the original substance remains – even though it yields physical results.
One view regarding how homeopathy works, which is gaining increasing acceptance, is that it is an energy science and that its remedies are purely energy medicines.
Energy supports the entire structure of our physical world. Each particle of matter is energy and every object in our three-dimensional world has an energy signature that is its fingerprint, much like a DNA code. This energy, through the process of ‘potentisation' [the process of shaking the medicines with sharp shocks] or ‘succussion' [dilution of medicines without sharp shocks] ‘is opened up (dynamised) and energised more deeply and strongly than before. Taken as remedy, its vibration affects the vibration of various fields of the aura of a human being. When the correct potency of the correct remedy corresponds with the compromised field of the aura, ‘catalysation' occurs and the person's vital force responds to enable a cure.