AH: You have become known for your many provings. Do you feel that these
are your main contribution to Homoeopathy?
The provings are a very important part of my work, but I would not say
that they are the main thing. My main efforts have been in postgraduate
What are the guiding principles of your post graduate education?
As you know homoeopathy is a life long study. When a student finishes
school this is just the beginning of the journey. The schools put a
lot of time into teaching basic principles and materia medica, but there
is much more to be learnt. We can go deeper into every aspect of homoeopathy
- philosophy, materia medica, cases. Homoeopathic learning is not linear,
it is more like a spiral, we come back to the same paragraphs and remedies
again and again, each time from a higher perspective. Becoming a homoeopath
is a process of personal potentisation. We begin as mother tinctures
and slowly raise our consciousness by succusion and dilution. Succussion
is akin to the hard grind of study. After a period of being knocked
about comes a phase of dilution, of realisation, as we let ourselves
go and our consciousness expands. Too much dry study becomes boring
and mechanical, while too much dilution leads to theorising and speculation.
Homoeopathic education should consist of a fine balance of both these
processes. As we become dynamised by succusion and dilution our perspective
changes. With each rising potency we perceive finer aspects of cases
and remedies, we see things in a simpler and more profound way. This
process is a bit like the process of cure during homoeopathic treatment.
Similars and provings, like sucussion, provide a learning experience,
whereas the similimum provides an expansion of consciousness akin to
dilution. After a good remedy the patient might have the same problems
as before, but he sees them from a different point of view, they become
smaller and less significant.
this reason it is important to have periods of continuous education
with one teacher, so that the student can be potentised to a higher
degree. It is a bit like the old system of learning by apprenticeship.
This is especially important in clinical work. It is of little benefit
to see a case taken with no follow up, or with one follow up. The true
nature of treating chronic disease, of the second prescription and case
management, can only be demonstrated in long-term cases work, a minimum
of three years.
the student has mastered a particular approach, they can adapt it to
who they are, to their own individual style. Then it is beneficial to
have a period of integration and rest before learning another approach.
put a lot of emphasis on philosophy, but I believe that philosophy should
have practical application. I like to say that we should have our head
in the clouds with our feet firmly on the ground, and hopefully, keep
the two connected.
How do the provings fit in?
The reason I do so many provings is that they are an essential part
of homoeopathic education. I would go so far as to say that a homoeopath
that has not experienced a collective proving has not yet fully become
a homoeopath. It is a right of passage into our profession, it completes
the circle. Every class I teach is asked to undertake a proving, and
until today every class has agreed. After the proving the students are
always amazed at the difference in their homoeopathic understanding.
There is an enormous leap of perception and ability. As a direct result
of the proving, materia medica, philosophy, repertory and technique
become clearer and more and precise. An added bonus is that the class
becomes a much tighter unit, which is important for the future of homeopathy
as well as for the fun factor.
How many provings have you done?
not sure- about 20. 10 have been published: Androc, Hydrogen,
Chocolate, Adamas, Eagle, Brassica, Germanium, Neon. I have recently
published the proving of Plutonium Nitric, which includes a toxicological
materia medica and repertory of radioactive substances. I have quite
a few other provings in various stages of production. The noble gases
are nearly ready to go- Helium, a new Neon, Argon and Krypton. Salmon
is more or less finished, as are Yew tree and Olive. Next in line are
Gallium, Polaris and Jade. Lots and lots of work, but I have many helpers.
Without them this work would be impossible, and I would like to thank
them all .
What needs to go in to a proving to make it complete?
The proving itself is only the initial and easy stage, the pregnancy.
The important factors at that stage are organisation, intention and
awareness. It is important to use provers and supervisors who have spent
some time together. Close supervision is essential, as are group meetings.
Otherwise provers tend to miss an incredible amount of symptoms. Proving
symptoms are, and should be, very delicate and fine sensations. Provers
often mistake symptoms for their normal sensations, but once they are
supervised they realise that these are highly unusual events for them.
Our sensitivity as provers is not a matter of how loud the symptoms
shout, it is a matter of how well we listen to whispers. Most homoeopaths
have done many provings of their 'constitutional remedies', but they
attribute these proving symptoms to life events, bad luck, aggravations
or 'everything coming out'.
provings never make it to the next stage, they get lost in the bottom
of someone's hard disk. It is after the proving that the real work begins,
and it can take years. On my Web site I have a database of current provings.
There are nearly 900 now, but I think only about 5% have been published.
People aren't prepared for the amount of work needed to complete a proving.
After the proving comes the extraction, shifting the valid symptoms
from the invalid symptoms, uniting them into one person format, arranging
and editing. Most of my provings go through 40-50 edits. It would be
a lot easier to publish the provings as 'Prover 1 day 1', 'day 2', 'day
3' etc, but really they should be united to 'as if one person' in order
to reflect the totality.
symptoms are then arranged in homoeopathic order, i.e. pain upper extremity,
pain shoulder, pain arm, elbow, wrist, hand, etc, each with modalities
in alphabetical order and following chronological development. Then
come the various types of pain - burning, cutting, lancinating etc,
each with its sublocalities, modalities and chronology. It's very tedious,
especially with sections like extremities and head. After that the Generals
must be extracted from the particulars- times, modalities, pain types.
For instance if there are sharp pain in the abdomen head and elbow we
can enter to sharp pain as a general. After this everything must be
arranged in themes. This is where dreams are most difficult as they
contain many themes and can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The
next stage is to repertorise the proving, which is a very lengthy and
delicate process. In the early provings I tended to repertorise every
little symptom, but I found that I had flooded the repertory with Hydrogen.
This has happened with other people's new provings too - often the first
proving, where the homoeopath is over zealous and keen to represent
every minor nuance. But we need to maintain a balance with the rest
of the repertory. I became a bit more careful, so that Germanium is
probably under repertorised. The next stage is the layout and publication.
So it is no wonder that many provings don't see the light of day. The
problem is that those people that the proving gets stuck with can tend
to become ill. I have seen it many times. Once the force of a substance
is unleashed by the proving, it doesn't like to be blocked. The remedy
must be used.
the near future I hope to publish whole provings on the web, both my
own and others, so as to simplify the process.
What are the most common pitfalls in provings?
One problem is the desire to fit the proving into a central theme to
match the substance. Another is finding the fine balance between including
nothing and including everything. Too much conventional science will
kill a proving. For instance, some homoeopaths feel that for a symptom
to be valid, it should appear in at least three provers. What this achieves
is a flat proving with only common symptoms and no peculiars, no character.
The materia medica and repertory are composed mostly of symptoms experienced
by single provers, for instance the haughtiness of Platina, the isolation
of Camphora, the divine vengeance of Kali-Brom. By definition peculiar
symptoms are experienced by single provers. An interesting side effect
is that the more peculiar a symptom the less points it will have in
the repertory, so that we cannot infer that a bold type symptom is always
more important then a low type symptom.
the other hand we should be careful not to include incidental occurrences
that happen during the proving and do not really belong to it. It is
often difficult to tell what is proving and what is not, especially
as a proving cannot produce a symptom that is not potentially part of
the prover. It is a very fine balance. In the end it is safer to include
a controversial symptom so that it has a chance to be confirmed or denied
clinically. Time and again I have been amazed that symptoms which I
was very sceptical about were later confirmed as important parts of
the proving. For instance, the desire to live in the country of chocolate
seemed to me to be an incidental and unrelated symptom, but it has proved
to be an essential part of the remedy. With every proving I do, I trust
the symptoms more. The process works. Homeopaths who participate in
provings are not out to cheat or invent symptoms, they are generally
issue is the amount of doses. It seems that the less a prover takes
the more powerful the proving will be. Retaking the remedy often weakens
the proving, as Hahnemann himself observed.
What about the placebo provers?
All those who have undertaken provings have found that placebo provers
get symptoms that are highly related to the proving. This is because
a proving is an artificial epidemic. Once the infecting dynamic force
takes hold of the group, it will effect everyone who is involved. This
is because of the proximity principal. It is similar to a bottle of
Arnica which has one tablet left inside. If we fill it with sac lac
all the tablets will become Arnica. A strong dynamic force will effect
a group of people who are connected in some way, either by physical
proximity, or by spiritual proximity, or any other connection. This
is why provings are much more powerful in a group that is united in
some way. When a class has studied together for a while they begin to
develop a communal vital force. When you infect this class with a proving
it is as if you have connected it to a powerful amplifier. This is the
reason that provings with random groups of unconnected provers are less
impressive. Once the proving force is unleashed, anyone in the group
circle can get infected. Of course, this depends on susceptibility,
but the force is very strong. An epidemic of cholera will effect most
people, regardless of individual susceptibility. In fact, it has been
a recurring observation that placebo provers or non participating members
of the group can develop the most powerful symptoms. I have often observed
this in people who have a strong fear of taking the remedy and avoid
it somehow, they seem to get the strongest effect, often in a curative
manner. It seems that the more you try to block the force, the more
it will get you.
will sometimes experience the symptoms via friends or family, while
nothing seems to happen to them personally. I remember one instance
during the salmon proving, which was, of course, double blind. A few
days into the provings, this guy's girlfriend takes a strong aversion
to him and smears the whole house with baked salmon. It was everywhere-
in the bed, bath, remedies, and video. She totally salmond him out,
but he himself experienced no personal symptoms, apart from fishy smells.
Can provings be dangerous?
Of course they can, people do suffer. But generally most provers benefit.
After every proving I have asked each member of the group how they felt
they were affected. The statistics seem to be that about 80% feel better
or that they have learnt something. 5-10% feel worse, and 10% feel nothing.
But we cannot take a proving lightly. They often go on for months and
sometimes years. The most important factor is to take the case of each
prover and sift out those with a low dynamic factor, those who can't
'bounce back' from life's events, be they physical or emotional. If
they tend to get stuck on issues for a long time and in a bad way, they
Some homoeopaths feel that provings are not valid.
Strange, isn't it. The whole concept of homoeopathy is based on provings.
Without them it does not exist. We use our classic remedies every day,
and all that data comes from provings. So I find it difficult to understand
how any homoeopath can invalidate them.
It is possible that they feel that the proving protocol isn't tight
enough, or doesn't fit their idea of a protocol. If that is the case
they should produce provings and cases according to their methodology
to validate their opinion.
examination will show that most new provings have a much, much, tighter
methodology then the old ones. Many of the old provings, especially
the later ones, were extremely loose, with no double blind, no placebo,
no sifting and editing of symptoms, no supervision and poor detail on
the mentals. Many of them were causal affairs. Kent said that since
Hahnemann you could not count 25 decent provings, yet these homeopaths
don't hesitate to use them. There is no comparison of quality, yet they
will use the old and shun the new. So it is a prejudice, a fear of change
and renewal. But without new provings homeopathy will stagnate. Some
homoeopaths feel that we have enough remedies already, but if our patient
needs a newly proved remedy this is no excuse.
best proof of provings is in the pudding, and by that I mean cured cases.
I have received clinical confirmations of my provings from hundreds
of homoeopaths with thousands of cases from all over the world. Successful
cases that had not been cured with other remedies. What else could I
wish for - it is a wonderful feeling and the ultimate validation of
the homoeopathic process. How and why anyone would deny these successes
is beyond me. Homeopaths are putting a lot of hard work into these provings,
and getting great results. Nula, Rajan, Nancy, Lou, Schuster, Anna Schade,
Misha, Steve and many others. Interesting that it is often those who
have done no provings that protest the most. Yet it is true that we
should be very careful when incorporating new data. it is important
to keep a high standard and to confirm the process clinically.
Which of your remedies seem to be used most.
The more they are published, taught and repertorised, the more useful
they are. People tell me of many wonderful cases of Androc and Hydrogen.
Next in line are Chocolate, Diamond, Salmon and Plutonium. But the most
amazing of all has been Germanium, which I would not do without. Interesting,
because it was an awful proving.
: Why does Germanium seem important.
Probably because it is a remedy that produces extreme lack of importance,
which is very important. It fills a huge gap in the materia medica.
One of the main ideas is a lack of self esteem and feelings of failure,
which are so common today. There may be a lot of suppressed anger and
suppressed emotions, they just can't come out, yet all external influences
seem to flow inwards. This is the principal of a semi conductor. There
may be anxiety about the opinion of others, easy offence, estrangement
and alienation. Take a common case of dyslexia for instance. Though
the kid is probably very bright, he feels stupid and a failure, worries
about everybody opinion of how inadequate he his, which results in a
lot of suppressed emotions. Of course, this is only one example, and
it should not be used routinely. But the picture is a very common one.
Many people have difficulty reading provings.
I can understand that, but studying provings is by far the best way
to know materia medica, because you get the exact unabbreviated symptoms.
It is often that word or expression in a proving that will lead one
to the remedy. It is much easier if they are arranged in convenient
themes, or when the master prover explains it, because they understand
the concept. This is why I produced the videos, so that peoples without
access to my seminars would get to use the remedies.
What about learning new remedies from cases and families?
This is interesting and useful, but provings are much more precise.
One proving is like 20 cases, each from a different point of view. Furthermore,
there is no doubt about the prescription. Many of the cases used to
infer on a remedy are similars, and we can not be sure that the whole
case relates to the remedy. Both methods are useful, but the best is
a proving followed by cases.
What is the relationship of provings to epidemics?
They are essentially the same things, one artificial, one natural. This
is why I teach epidemics at the same time as I do a proving.
Epidemics are a conflict between the collective and the individual.
The force of a collective disease is usually much greater than individual
susceptibility, so that most people will be affected. For example, you
are going about your life peacefully, and your only concern is your
unfinished Ph.D. Suddenly, there is a change of regime. The fascist
right wing party comes to power and institutes martial law. This is
going to affect your life, because the collective has more power. Some
it will affect greatly, some less, but it will touch everyone's lives.
You will probably forget all about your PhD while you spend time cleaning
guns and barricading your house.
is also the connection between stronger dissimilar disease and epidemics.
A stronger dissimilar disease is usually an epidemic, which knocks the
individual over, suspending his private life, and disease until it blows
over. It looks like an unfortunate and unrelated random event, but we
all belong to some collective and are effected by it (unless we are
a noble gas!).
What is the importance of understanding epidemics?
The subject of epidemics is essential. Until now homeopaths have been
dealing with the individual, we had to master that part of the craft.
But now we need to move to a higher level, to the level of the community.
Once viewed from the collective point of view, individual prescriptions
reach deeper and further. This can be seen clearly in family dynamics,
for example in the case of a difficult child. True cure can only be
achieved if the child is viewed through the collective of the family,
bringing the parents issues into account, and possibly treating the
real doctrine of treating the individual via the collective was pioneered
by Hahnemann in his system of treating epidemics. His discovery is totally
radical and was a stroke of pure genius. No other system of medicine,
as far as I know, has such a sophisticated method of treating epidemics.
What is so special about this system?
The amazing thing about Hahnemann's method is that it brings both into
account, the individual and the collective, but in the right sequence.
Hahnemann understood that when a disease is collective, be it epidemic,
endemic or sporadic, it becomes a whole entity, a giant organism. It
is a bit like prescribing for a hive of bees. It would be ridiculous
to prescribe for each bee separately, we need to understand the nature
of the hive first. But we cannot give all the bees the same remedy,
because there are workers, soldiers, queen etc, and they are all essentially
different. Trying to prescribe for each bee separately would be ignoring
the collective, the larger totality. Prescribing for the collective
only would be ignoring the individual, which is not in accordance with
are basically two ways to treat an epidemic. One is in serial and one
is in parallel. The series system is to treat each patient as they come
along, and to hope to get closer and closer to an accurate prescription.
The chances of finding the right remedies are much reduced. In a difficult
epidemic there will not be much success with this method, because each
patient is only a small part of the totality. It is difficult to perceive
the whole, just as if we were trying to treat a patient by prescribing
for his fingernails one at a time.
second system, prescribing in parallel, is to take the case of many
patients, and then combine all the generals and particulars until they
become more and more defined. For instance, one patient has a sore throat,
the next has a sore throat at night, the next has cutting pain in the
throat, the next has cutting pains in the throat at 3 am, the next has
throat pain at 3 am. It becomes clear that cutting pain in the throat
at 3 AM is the common denominator. This is similar to seeing one patient
over many consultations and coming to know the precise nature of their
disease. Once enough symptoms are collected we can find the few remedies
that make up the genus epidemicus. We may then think that it would be
right to give a combination of these remedies to all the persons suffering
from the epidemic, but this would be crude and imprecise. We now go
back to the individual and find out which of the remedies suit them
according to the peculiar symptoms. Thus the individual prescription
is made via the collective eye. If we were to prescribe a remedy that
is not part of the Genus epidemicus, it would help the individual to
a certain extent, but suppress the epidemic, just as if we prescribed
for a person's knee without taking the whole case. The knee may get
better but the patient would be suppressed.
knowledge and technique of treating epidemics are about to become essential
to the homoeopath, because epidemics as we once knew them are about
to return. The big infectious diseases have been suppressed by allopathy,
and have gone into hiding for decades, but they cannot be suspended
forcefully for an indefinite period of time. When they resurface, they
will, unfortunately, be more violent and more difficult to suppress.
A homoeopath who will attempt to treat these epidemics in series, i.e.
one at a time, will have limited success at best. Imagine trying to
take the cases of a million people, one by one. These teachings should
become a part of every curriculum, in a practical as well as a theoretical
are quite a few ramifications to the homoeopathic doctrine of treating
epidemics, most significant of which is the nature of miasms. I will
not discuss miasms here, as this knowledge is useless until a homeopath
has worked with quite a few epidemics and practised for quite a number
of years. Suffice to say at this point that studying miasms without
reference to 'Chronic Disease' is like seeing the movie 'Prince of Egypt'
and imagining that you know the bible.
ramification is in the treatment of individual pathology. If we prescribe
only for the psychological or general picture it is akin to finding
the genus epidemicus and not proceeding to individualise. In treating
a single case we should often follow the sequence of treating epidemics,
i.e., collecting the particulars (including mentals), forming a totality,
choosing a group of remedies, returning to the main complaint. This
keeps ones feet on the ground without loosing the overview.
result of the epidemic concept is political and commercial. From the
political point of view we can devise a system of government which respects
the individual while taking the collective into account. This system
would not be an anarchy of individual rule, nor a democracy which is
a dictatorship of the majority, but a combination of the two.
it is time for homeopaths to move into company prescribing. This may
be done in various forms. One could take the case of a company as a
whole, and prescribe for management and interested individuals in this
light. Another way is to take on a company as a wholesale project, for
instance, treating any interested workers for one day each week. It
would be easy to prove that homoeopathy can reduce work loss, increase
satisfaction and productivity, promote creative harmony. Once we have
the statistics from one company, it would be easy to convince others.
This would take homoeopathy to a higher lever of social involvement
and provide occupation for more homoeopaths, who could consequently
treat more people. Naturally, one would hesitate to treat the Pentagon,
as this demands a miasmatic approach. But treating Apple computers could
we must develop the homoeopathic answer to epidemics, posidemics. This
means working collectively in research. There are many collective diseases
that will not be solved correctly unless we unite forces. Epidemics
like AIDS and anorexia need a collective approach.
What are your views on the kingdoms?
Understanding kingdoms is very useful in prescribing, but I do not believe
that the simplistic way they are used is the answer. We cannot say that
what looks like an eagle is always an eagle. Helium also looks like
an eagle; Hyoscyamus looks like a wolf, cimicifuga like a caged rat.
Brassica produces the flat-billed platipus. Marble looks like a cat.
Isopathy, or what I call WYSIWYG homoeopathy, is a cruder form of similarity.
The world of analogies, or simple substance, is not linear.
What is your future vision for homeopathy?
My dream is that we will have full time 6 years homoeopathic medical
schools, which teach true medicine from a homeopathic and holistic point
of view, using the best teachers available. The colleges we have today
are great beginnings, but they are insufficient. In the fourth and fifth
years students would treat in hospitals, and would visit third world
countries for practical experience. In the sixth year one could teach
miasms. All we need is collective goodwill and sponsors and this will
become a reality. Then we can make a real difference to the world.
Finally, what other projects are you working on?
I've nearly finished two books. One on the nature of the syphilitic
miasm, which is a collection of essays on syphilitic remedies. I wrote
it in a somewhat different mode, a bit whacky, so I call it 'The joys
of Syphilis'. The second is on the homoeopathic classification of disease,
a philosophy book.