This book review is reprinted with permission from Homeopathic Links.
Marina van Haalen
9737 SJ Groningen
Tel: +31(0)50-541 66 30 9-12h
Fax: +31(0)50-304 93 05
The Dynamics and Methodology
of Homoeopathy Provings
by Jeremy Sherr MCH, FSHom, RSHom
Dynamis Books, 6 North Malvern Rd.
Malvern, Worcestershire, WR 14 4LT
Tel: 0684-563192 / Fax: 0684-892764
Reviewed by Louis Klein, Canada.
Provings are a phenomenal and miraculous process; it is through provings that seemingly inert substances come to life. We are witness to the curative properties hidden inside the substances that occur around us. Provings are the foundation of our homoeopathic science. When initiating the science and art of homoeopathy, Hahnemann made it clear that in order to be a part of his inner circle, a dedicated homoeopath had to participate in provings. He envisioned provings as a path to restore world health.
Today, in order to conduct effective provings,
more modern interpretations and further explanations of Hahnemann's work are needed.
Jeremy Sherr is well qualified to offer us guidance in the modern methodology of
homoeopathic provings. His solid experience
has been gained from his own provings of Hydrogen, Scorpion, Chocolate (and 9 other
newer substances). He writes in an articulate
manner and substantiates his experience and
methodology with quotes from Hahnemann,
Herring, Kent and other past masters.
There are many provings being conducted today primarily to ascertain the 'deeper' mental state of the prover and to satisfy the homoeopath's thirst for an 'essence' or signature of the remedy. The proving is conducted in a partial way, until this thirst is satisfied or until the participating provers get a 'feel' for the remedy. Often, only dreams or other fragments of the proving information are recorded, which can be helpful but is incomplete.
My experience is that speculation surrounds an unproved or poorly proven remedy. The remedy can still be applied and eventually understood, but with great difficulty. It often tends to be used for everything and anything. A well proven remedy has the foundation to support its effective use and through clinical application we can enhance our understanding of the remedy's true nature.
Jeremy rightly categorises provings as superficial ones and good, well-rounded ones. What, then, is a well-rounded proving? We need only to look back to Hahnemann's provings and then to Jeremy's Hydrogen proving to see that it is one which clearly brings out the characteristic indications of the substance, for its use in treating disease on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and general.
A lack of consistent protocol throughout a proving diminishes the credibility of the results. The methodology presented in this book is a guideline on how to obtain an unprejudiced result in a proving. In other words, he teaches us how to do a well-rounded proving, without skewing its results toward primarily physical or mental symptoms or, even worse, toward only the supervisor's preconceived 'suspicious', based on its signature in nature or the supervisor's previous use of the remedy. Provings containing these flaws are done 'with prejudice' and are of dubious quality. Setting the highest standard for provings and embracing the concept of a proving that is well-rounded and non-prejudicial, Jeremy illustrates that outcome reflects intention and urges us toward consistency in our protocol. By helping the reader to understand the dynamics of provings, this book prepares us more knowledgeably to evaluate remedy provings and their clinical use. Understanding an under proven remedy is like trying to ascertain what an elephant looks like just by seeing his tail and head. Based on our limited information, we may conjecture wrongly that the elephant's body and legs are very thin. Ultimately, in my experience, the more facets of the remedy which emerge in the provings, the more prolific the curative results. When we view the more "well-rounded" picture we see that the elephant actually has a large body.
"The Proving of Hydrogen" by The Dynamis School demonstrates the excellence of a good, well-rounded proving. It contains an array of intriguing contradictory symptoms; but, to some, it presents too many symptoms. What initially may seem a perplexing abundance, in fact, allows us fully to see all the possibilities of this remedy. Hydrogen's signature representing its position as first on the Periodic Table, is "light" and "unity", and we expect to see symptoms such as "feeling in the presence of pure energy", or "in the presence of God". Out of its complex picture appear the symptoms of a person who has feelings, in the extreme, of being "ungrounded", "elated", and "too positive" and, thus, is unable to accomplish life tasks. Hydrogen's opposite symptoms, "delusions as if being pulled downward", "as if the mind were pulled downward", "as if dirty", and "as if persecuted", though confusing at first, are actual indications of its dual nature. "Negativeness", "isolation", and "hopelessness" represent this polarity, demonstrating the remedy's effective use for bi-polar, manic-depression as well as for its singular mood states. My clinical application of this new and important remedy confirms Hydrogen's suitability for patients whose symptoms can be summed up in the rubric: "Conflict between higher consciousness and worldly existence".
Translating proving information with accuracy and verity into repertory symptoms is absolutely essential to the survival and authenticity of our profession. In The Dynamics and Methodology of Homoeopathic Provings Jeremy gives clear directions on how to repertorise proving symptoms and how to add symptoms from the proving to the repertory. He states: "Converting proving symptoms into repertory language is an exacting and painstaking task, and its successful conclusion is dependent upon the quality of the information gathered during the extraction and collation procedure. It is via the repertory that the proving information comes 'alive' and is transformed into a useful tool. The responsibility of the repertoriser is to truthfully interpret the proving information into a format that is easily understood and accessible to the homoeopaths". (p. 80) After demonstrating how to perform this task accurately, Jeremy discusses the more controversial subject of how to grade the repertory symptoms. He then treats us to chapters on antidoting provings, remedy reactions, extraction of symptoms, editing provings, toxicology, use of computers, and much more. The book also features a useful appendix of 182 names of contemporary provings and a non-copyrighted "instructions to provers and supervisors".
For all homoeopaths intending to prove, supervise or in any way participate in a proving, this book is indispensable. Jeremy provides us with important protocol learned from his own well- founded experience. Through careful description of methodology, he furthers the science and elevates the art of homoeopathy. The practitioner who wants to enhance his or her clinical practice by attempting to interpret a proving, will find here an in-depth understanding of the structure of this complex process.
This book is both enjoyable to read and valuable in its clinical application. It is profoundly important for homoeopathy's progress and should be studied by every homoeopath.
Homoeopathic Links - Spring 1995