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This book review is reprinted from The Homoeopath with permission from Nick Churchill of The Society of Homoeopaths.
2 Artizan Road, Northampton NN1 4HU, United Kingdom.
Using Realms in Homoeopathy, The Triangle and Using Mappa Mundi in Homoeopathy, The Circle
By Peter Fraser
Winter Press, West Wickham
2006, paperback, both 54 pages
ISBN 187458124X and 1874581258
Here are two slim volumes which attempt to explain the use of 'maps and systems' in homeopathy. Like, I suppose, most readers of this journal, the system of homeopathy with which I am familiar centres around a single remedy, a minimum dose, prescribed on the basis of similarity, and provings. We homeopaths need to understand the patient and the disease and match the two. These are our maps and the rest is commentary.
The first volume deals with so-called 'realms', the earth, the sky, the sea and the underworld, linked in a triangle with the earth in the centre. The second volume uses a circle to link earth, air, water and fire with the humours, melancholic, phlegmatic, sanguine and choleric in a 'mappa mundi'. All the terms are used throughout with Capital Letters, as if they have become proper names. There are references to the Old Testament, to creation, to classical myths and mediaeval stories. I have read each book twice through and pondered further on some of the pages, but I cannot understand how the concepts relate to homeopathy. I think the author has reified some of the ideas, meaning he treats the ideas as if they exist as objective reality rather than as ideas. We have the idea of miasms from Hahnemann to work with, if we need to use a typology for our patients and their tendencies to certain patterns of illness. A philosopher might call this a heuristic device. We have the botanical, biological, periodic, bacteriological and other systems of classification to understand our medicines.
Peter Fraser is a homeopath, not, as far as I can tell, registered with a professional organisation other than an institute which he has himself founded. He is obviously well read, scholarly, and experienced having carried out and published numerous provings. But I am mystified how the esoteric and ancient notions in these books add anything to the practice of classical homeopathy as we know it, although he appears to take this for granted. The introduction of the esoteric ideas of Swedenborg into homeopathy by Kent are an example of homeopathic thought being diverted from the ideas of Hahnemann.
Further volumes are promised which will include discussions of Swedenborg, Kabbala, correspondences, archetypes, and transformations. I am at a loss to explain how these might help us understand our patients. Hahnemann did his best to dissociate himself from the esoteric so perhaps we should not be too eager to expose these myths, which I feel will detract from the credibility of the art and science of homeopathy.