This book review is reprinted with the permission of the International Foundation for Homeopathy
By Nancy Herrick, M.A, P.A.
$39.95, 407pages, paperback, 1998
Reviewed by Don Beans, Ph.D., LAc.
This book is a significant contribution to the literature of homeopathy. Its importance lies not only in the eight new remedies it details, but also in the shift for modern homeopathy that it portends. This shift recalls an era when practitioners relied on their own experience and internal perceptions rather than engaging in intellectual exercises or the simple recollection of facts. Ms. Herrick is pointing the way.
Aphorism 141: "Of all the provings of the pure actions of simple medicines in altering the human condition, and of the artificial disease states and symptoms that they engender in the healthy person, the most excellent provings remain those that the healthy, unprejudiced, conscientious and fine-feeling physician employs upon himself, with all the care and caution taught here. He knows with the greatest certainty that which he has perceived himself." (Hahnemann)
Eight new animal remedies are detailed in this excellent book. The remedies are the milks of elephant, lion, wolf, dolphin, and horse; the blood of the rat; dinosaur fossilized bone; and the butterfly. Much has been made about the nature of animal, plant, and mineral remedies in a general way, including the unifying characteristics of each kingdom. Ms. Herrick has gone or long way to turn this conjecture into fact by illuminating, through these well done provings and her own analysis of the information, the mental and emotional life of these creatures. The experiences of the provers are readily evident in their proving notebooks, which are an integral part of the text. The underlying theme of each remedy is revealed using Ms. Herrick's insight and direct quotes from each prover. In addition, a repertory of symptoms is provided for each new remedy, with several valuable additions, particularly in the mind and dreams sections.
The value of the provers' and proving master's perceptions is great. Other books of provings leave to the individual homeopath the task of deciding what information is important. This does not allow for the expertise of the proving master to be brought forth. With her characteristic ability to penetrate to the core issue of a remedy, Nancy Herrick has given homeopathy new remedies that will have a deep effect on prescribing. This book will also exert an influence on new provings and our view of remedies in general.
From the Wolf proving:
"One interesting fact links two of the provings in this book. Researchers have discovered evidence that at a certain point in history, wolves went into the sea. Over millennia, they developed flippers and lost their legs. The dolphin is thought to have evolved from wolves or wolflike animals. Given that three water-related themes (WATER, DANGER IN WATER, and FISH) came up in this proving, we can only speculate on the existence of a field of consciousness that still links the land and sea version of this mammal."
Great changes in the practice of homeopathy are possible as we begin to understand remedies from our true experience and prescribe from a real, internal understanding of the remedy.
This book also deserves a place in contemporary literature outside the homeopathic community for the way it leads to understanding of the feelings of the group mind of various animal species. Allowing for a true and deep understanding of the other sentient inhabitants of the planet is a great contribution to the field of ecology.
It also offers a new way of thinking about the messages from ancient traditions. In many native traditions, a portion of the animal is eaten to transfer the essential spirit of the animal to the hunter. The heart of the deer and of the crow are used in the Huichol culture of western Mexico for this purpose. In this way, the spirit of the animal can help the hunter-not understand the hunted animal-but to guide the hunter spiritually in his life and relationship to the natural world.
"Some observers now insist that our civilization's very survival depends on softening our relationship to nature, on each one of us reaching out with compassion to communicate and commune with animals." [Jim Nollman, Utne Reader, March-April 1998, 421]
Suspend the belief that a homeopathic book is just about homeopathy. Allow the experience of members of the animal kingdom to speak to you. Learn these few remedies and then, perhaps, as Hahnemann has said, know them through your own perception. Use this wonderful volume as a way to renew yourself and your prescribing.
Visually, the book is a treat, with its generous layout and clever animal graphics.
Animal Mind, Human Voices clearly establishes Ms. Herrick as one of the guiding forces of homeopathy of this generation.
Donald R. Beans is a licensed acupuncturist in private practice in Bigfork, Montana, and a graduate of the IFH Professional Course. His practice includes homeopathy, nutrition, and acupuncture. He is also the author of five multimedia presentations on various aspects of health care and numerous articles.
RESONANCE - September/October 1998