The two distinct realms we’ve learned upon studying Heilkunst are distinguished by these two opposing directional forces. The word “below” makes us think of depth, darkness, the unknown, the murky waters in the deep of the ocean yet to be explored and the fears that hide beneath. We’ve termed this place the “Chthonic Realm“, for the word in Greek means “the underworld, the dwelling between the surface of the earth and nether regions” and to make it even more interesting, there are two currents described as either the “hot stream” or the “cold stream” to differentiate how each is expressed
“Above” represents the “Ideogenic Realm”, which is where the highest diseases are formed from false ideas, beliefs and illusions. They are treated with remedies whose symptom picture includes a false sense of identity and include many such as the states people find themselves in after taking hallucinogenic or recreational drugs. In fact, many of the remedies used to treat ideogenic disease actually come from these substances. If you’ve ever experimented with these types of drugs and/or read about or seen movies where people are using these substances, you’d quickly become familiar with what kinds of mental states they are meant to treat.
I will start with the chthonic realm and the remedies encompassed there.
The Hot Stream
The “Hot Stream" suggests a state of heat exhibited by someone who seems more physically or emotionally hot and who has a more outward form of expression. Horror films give great examples of these expressions; one of the most obvious being “Carrie” , especially in the scene where Carrie lets out her fury and starts a fire that also represents the inner fury and violence that can be produced from some one in Belladonna state (one of the “hot” remedies). This manifestation is a very obvious state too as its expression is one of instinctual desires catapulted out radially like an erupting volcano.
The Cold Stream
The “Cold Stream” exhibits a more inward, cold and introverted manifestation of expression. There is more of a sense of coldness to their modes of interacting with others and the world. They are less emotional and more analytical (e.g. Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rainman, which depicts a Baryta Carb state) with the tendency to be inward looking. The cold stream is linked more to the mind and the intellect and less to the emotions.
The Cold Stream remedies are
Arnica is well known for its use in treating physical shocks and blows but in this case it pertains more to the mental/emotional trauma that can occur. This can result from an initial trauma that caused this patient to feel the need to protect themselves from ever getting hurt again, thus creating walls and making themselves impenetrable. The trauma they endured could be anything from physical blows, concussions, financial loss or anything that could be considered a shock. The Arnica state can be an extremely guarded one, fearing anything that is hard and penetrating. They don’t like consolation and want to be left alone. In essence, they feel like they are emotionally bruised, or wounded souls. There is a general feeling of mistrust of others and a haughty attempt to fend for themselves. They are like wounded animals that want to hide and, if approached, can attack. They never admit that they need help and insist that “everything is okay”, even if it is really is not.
This state is linked to a dysfunction in the physical body causing a physical rigidity/hardness and a sort of bruised feeling. The patient can appear social but they are usually loners and don’t want to talk to anyone or be approached. They may even have a general fear that their heart will stop and they will die suddenly.
The Baryta Carb state can be described as immature, dependent, insecure, underdeveloped and anxious. The patient may appear “dwarfish” and there can be an immaturity that exists on all levels, such as a single organ or the whole body. There is a disruption in the basic functions which do not allow the person to develop into a responsible adult. The patient may also exhibit a coldness in which this tends to be more in their mind or intellect or they keep to themselves but are dependent on another for their survival. They have a hard time understanding their emotions and can’t feel them. The thought of growing up and becoming a responsible adult where they have to take charge of their own life and do everything for themselves is overwhelming. The patient has an inability to connect socially and emotionally to the world and the people in it, which is the reason they don’t want to be left alone. They have a feeling they are still a child amongst adults. They don’t know how to laugh or to have fun and they can get anxious at the slightest change, such as leaving the house. They feel hugely inadequate in dealing with things on their own and cannot venture out by themselves.
Bufo can appear as physically overdeveloped and yet be intellectually underdeveloped. Childishness, lack of control, high sexuality are all characteristics of this type. Every urge must be gratified right away. Typically, they may go off alone to masturbate. They can also get violently angry and can also be described as being low-minded, with a tendency toward obesity, a strong desire for sweets and a predisposition to early senility. They are driven by their hormones and have a huge sexual appetite. They can have big thick lips where their mouth is slightly open with their tongue visible. The tongue can be protruding and can represent the brain and its under-function. There may also be a toad-like appearance since the remedy actually derives from the cane toad. The character “Sloth” in the film The Goonies, is reminiscent of Bufo.
The Helleborus state is characterized by a sense of absence. Similar to an absence seizure state when the person is gazing across the room but they hear nothing and see nothing, it is as if the spirit that animates them has disappeared.
“The lights are on but nobody is home” is the perfect description for this state. They believe that the world is so antagonistic that they need to shut down in order to escape from it. It is as if they stop feeling, hearing and even seeing everything that is going on outside of themselves, so as to retreat into a world of self-absorption. The initial stages can be characterized by one where the patient is indifferent, dull, has no “light” in their eyes and who cannot comprehend what people are saying or feeling.
The Hot Stream remedies are
The Belladonna state comes up when there is a feeling of a sudden threat from outside from which they need to escape. This can give rise to symptoms that are sudden, feverish, red, throbbing, intense, can be violent, fearful, anxious and excited. The Belladonna type has a desire for dancing and they are a presence that cannot be ignored. They have a vivid personality and don’t need strong stimuli or support from other people or require consolation. They are strong character types and don’t have huge anxieties except maybe about their health. Their anxieties can alternate with rage and their menses. There is a fear of animals and a fear of dogs which is interesting because when they are in their angry states they can bark and growl like a dog. They have a huge imagination, are irritable, impatient, have sudden flares of anger and can literally explode with anger. They can have anger alternating with weeping and may struggle with the compulsion to get violent and bite. They can lose control and strike people around them and be very destructive. Belladonna fevers can cause one to be afraid of being touched or jarred and have a lot of redness. They would want to hang or stab themselves if they were to carry out suicide and will set fires.
“I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature”
– Edvard Munch
Abandoned and left alone in the wilderness is what makes you think of the Stramonium state. In this terrifying state, their brain may shut down and they may not recognize any familiar surroundings or people around them. In this state of panic all they want is to be in a safe and secure place. They fear the dark because it represents the unknown and they feel threatened by the possibility of danger. They may imagine seeing ghosts and spirits in the dark and upon closing their eyes, they prefer to be in the light.
The original cause for someone to go into the Stramonium state is sudden shock. It could be an intense scare, fever that affects the brain and/or an emotional shock. They say that in the early stage it is a sign of the unconscious barely controlled with it going to a state of spasms and ending up in a full-blown state of the unconscious being manifested and expressed in violent insanity. It is the most violent realm and in its extreme state, they can be harmful to themselves and others. Their anger and violence can dissipate as quickly as it came and it is a state seen in many horror movies where the victims enter a Stramonium state upon seeing a ghost or fearing that someone is out to get them.
The Hyoscyamus state comes about because the patient suddenly feels let down, betrayed and deserted by someone on whom they are totally dependent. It causes them to be in a state of fear and panic and they have a humongous fear of being alone. They are suspicious and don’t trust others, believing that others are trying to poison them. They can expose themselves, talk to themselves, jest, laugh loudly, swear, expose themselves sexually and act silly, among other things.
The extreme state of Hyoscamus makes me think of the Joker from Batman for the picture of “mania of a quarrelsome and obscene character.” The Joker exhibits this same inclination to laugh at everything; he’s suspicious, foolish, laughs insanely at everything and is shameless in his behaviour. In the more extreme states there can be violence with a desire to kill. The main fear is of being betrayed by the person they are most reliant on and with this can come jealousy and the ultimate fear of being left alone in the world to fend for themselves. The symptoms can come and go quickly and there is a distortion in the astral function leading to a twisted sense of acting out their desires and impulses, commonly leading to some kind of inappropriate sexual behaviour that involves exposing themselves in public.
The Veratrum state leads one to become desperately obsessed with their social ranking because to lose one’s position would mean the death of self. It is linked to a distorted identification with their false ego, believing that they need to do whatever it takes to stay at the top of the social ladder. This can lead the Veratrum type to gamble, cheat, deceive and manipulate their way to the top. The deepest fear is that they believe they are of no significance and so to save themselves they will do all that they can to stay afloat. They may believe they are a religious leader and be deluded in thinking they are the only ones in communication with God, for example.
The delusion is that they had a social position that they lost. To keep up with appearances, they can be very demonstrative about what they have and of their extravagance. Nothing can prevent them from keeping up with this facade and thus they have a profound confusion about their own identity. They have a delusion of superiority and can be overly critical, haughty and think they are better than others. The Veratrum state, to the outsider, is seen as highly out of touch with reality.
The Ideogenic Realm
The ideogenic realm is based on illusions, delusions and core beliefs that cloud one’s mind with what they perceive to be true. They believe their delusions and create a world based on their beliefs. This is where the spiritual diseases originate and are termed the “highest diseases”. They are commonly linked to two original beliefs and fears:
- I am alone
- I am not in control
Following are the remedies pertaining to this realm.
Agaricus comes from the fly Agaric, often used recreationally as magic mushrooms. This state is characterized by one who has a weak will and who depends on a more dominant figure. There is a fear of taking responsibility for their own life and a hypochondriacal anxiety about dying from an illness such as Cancer. This is interesting because it is related to the Cancer type of a weak will and years of repressing one’s own desires. They have trouble expressing their anger, instead manifesting through involuntary twitches and muscle spasms. They are generally very anxious types, complaining, worrying and moaning. They may be preoccupied with the tragedies of others too, especially if it involves cancer.
The Anacardium state is depicted well by the movie “The Black Swan” where the main character played by Natalie Portman is a ballerina set on being the main star in the upcoming production of “Swan Lake”. While she is perfect for the part of the white swan, she doesn’t quite have what it takes to depict the black swan, which is when she allows her dark side to emerge and the two sides – angel and devil, are expressed perfectly within the movie. The Anacardium state conveys conflict between these two sides – good and evil within the individual. Often they have grown up with tight restrictions of over-controlling parents and are punished easily for following their wills. This oppression leads to a repression and suppression over time, making way for this other side to emerge and in the extreme state can lead to violence, a desire to kill and/or cruelty. With this behavior, too, there may come a sense of absent-mindedness and a lack of confidence.
Anhalonium describes a person who is lost to their own surroundings where they become one with all. This leads to a loss of boundaries and the confusion between where their identity ends and another’s begins. Many spiritual groups and thinking may include this sort of “we are one” thinking and the other side of the coin to this belief is that ultimately, the “I” does not exist and leads to the feared delusion that “I am nothing”. There is a feeling of isolation and separation, not knowing their own identity, like standing in front of a void ready to merge with everything else, losing any sense of identity in the process.
Anhalonium comes from Peyote or mescal buttons which are used ceremonially or recreationally and can bring about this feeling of “oneness”. It promotes a feeling of being lost without an identity or will of one’s own, making it difficult to find the real meaning and purpose to their existence.
The Cannabis state evolves from a sense that the world is an unsafe place, but without it life would be a bore. Not being able to control the external world creates a need for seclusion and safety from it. They create the delusion that they are living behind a glass barrier that allows them to see what’s out there, but won’t get hurt in the process. They can be oversensitive, isolated and feel inadequate in facing the world head-on. Within the crystal ball they feel safe and allow their imagination to run rampant with colourful visions and fantasies.
Cocaine Or Coca
The Coca state leads one to be quite ambitious, but it is never enough. They will reach great heights and then more, fearing that if they lose their high position or rank, they will lose everything. There is a desire to be more exceptional, sensational and extraordinary from everyone else, at the same time isolating themselves and causing loneliness. It is interesting that with this comes a fear of heights, as if they think that tumbling down will cause them to lose their identity. Similar to Veratrum’s love to be on top, Coca is deluded into thinking they are already someone great, whereas with Veratrum they believe they’ve lost their position of importance and thus have to do everything they can to gain their position back.
One person described the feeling of being on cocaine as “I’m on top of the world”, with “I am immortal”. This is the Coca state of being deluded into thinking they are more important than anyone else and expected to perform for others.
The Hura state is the feeling of a leper, an outcast who is isolated from the rest of society; they feel alone, friendless and hopeless. This remedy has been used for cases of Leprosy. Before this state moves into deep hopelessness though, the Hura state can cause the individual to become extremely busy in hectic activity as if to save themselves from the dreadful fate to which they so believe they are doomed. They believe they will lose their friends and be left alone, unwanted, cast out and in despair — hopeless of their recovery. There is a feeling of unluckiness and they try to hide what is most ugly about themselves with the longing to be a part of society again. They may have dreams of death, graves, dead bodies, funerals and mutilation.
Hydrogen is a feeling of having your head in the clouds. It leads to one who is spacey, has a hard time connecting with their physical body, uncoordination, lack of concentration, confusion with highs and lows in mood. When you think of Hydrogen, the chemical element that fills up 75 percent mass of the entire universe, it is a gas that is rarely in its free state, bonding with other elements to form things like water. In this way, the Hydrogen state is like the element on its own wandering around the universe looking for something to ground itself into the earth with, but not knowing where to go or how. It can lead to a deep feeling of being alone in the universe with no identity to grasp onto, no sense of self and a feeling of just floating around directionless and without a home.
The common theme in Thuja is a state of fragility. There may be a feeling that they are made of glass in that they are easily broken, containing an inner weakness they desperately try to hide. The ideas they have are very fixed and this rigidity can show up in a very neurotic state with obsessive compulsive traits. They can get stuck in tiny details, fixated on them, unable to let them go and making mountains out of mole hills. They may have peculiar symptoms of feeling something alive in their abdomen, that they will break like glass or that their soul is separated from their body. They seem to be controlled by a stronger will than their own and often have a sense of guilt and think they need to be punished.