An important method that is being used in this book is studying the remedies in groups. For this I use the term 'group analysis'. This method is not entirely new. Clarke (1985, part 1, page 358), Morrison (1988, page 2), and Vithoulkas (1991 a, page 235) also use it. In this book group analysis will be taken even further.
It might be useful to read this chapter again after having studied a few examples of the remedies. Parts of this chapter that might not make sense yet will probably become clear after studying them again. The method of working with the different remedies, illustrated by the various cases, will then also become more clear.
The group analysis method
Until now the commonest method of studying homeopathic remedies has been to look at all the remedies separately. In group analysis we look at groups of remedies and we extract from these groups that which is common. The next step is that those symptoms will be used in the various remedies which contain that element.
We also apply this method in the Ferrum group, a group of chemically related metals. The character of this group is such that the common traits are a bit more general.
Levels: local, general, mind
The group analysis is the least successful on the level of local complaints. Some general guidelines can be given, but there are very few specific symptoms that stand out.
On the level of general characteristics group analysis can be applied very well. This is the level that contains most of the characteristics as described by Morrison (1988). In principle it is quite possible to make a good prescription using these charac-teristics. But a little uncertainty remains. If, for instance, we find indications for Nat-m and Phos, then Nat-p could be a good solution. But what to do if we find indica-tions for Calc and Nat-m? Do we go to Nat-c or to Calc-m as the correct remedy? Or should we not give a 'combination remedy', but Calc followed by Nat-m?
It is on the mind level that group analysis can offer the greatest benefits. Once the central themes of the component elements are known it will be possible to deduce the theme of the combination remedy. The great advantage hereby is that we do not only get the separate themes of both component elements, but also the combination of those themes. An example can clarify this. The theme of Nat-c consists of 'alone' from Natrum and 'dignity' from Carbonicum, which gives the combination 'alone in his dignity'.
Well known remedies
An incidental effect of group analysis is that new light will sometimes be shone on to well known remedies. For instance, Magnesium carbonicum can be seen once again as a combination of the Magnesium and the Carbonicum element. In a similar way certain aspects of remedies that we know already can become clearer.
Variations on a theme
The group analysis gives every remedy its basic theme. This consists of the basic themes of the combining elements. These themes become combined into the basic theme of that remedy.
Combinations of concepts
We have to note, however, that every basic theme of an element can be worded in different ways. There are various ways of expressing the basic theme, therefore there will also be various ways of expressing the combination themes.
Let us have a look at, for instance, Natrum muriaticum. For the Natrum element you could say, for example, 'nothing', 'alone', 'forbidden'. For the Muriaticum element you could say, for example 'mother', 'care', 'pitiful'. The theme of Nat-m could then become 'no mother', but also 'alone in his cherishing'. But also 'it is forbidden to be cared for', or 'it is forbidden to cherish others'. These are varying expressions of the same sort of basic feeling, although the form appears to be different.
It appears that it doesn’t matter very much which word we use as conjunction or preposition to the two basic definitions. Thus we can formulate the theme of Mag-p. as 'getting angry in order that he may go and study', or as 'getting angry because he may not go and study'.
It also seems that we can add the word 'not' without any problem. 'Not' only appears to show the other side of the coin. We can compare this with desires and aversions which can occur in the same remedy: for instance, the desire or aversion to salt in Natrium muriaticum We can even compare the beginning stage of a disease where there is still a hold on everything, and the later stages where things start to fall apart.
They are two sides of the same problem. Another parallel can be seen in hypnosis. Negative suggestions done under hypnosis are taken as positive: 'don’t fall' is taken as 'you must fall'.
In a certain sense our definitions are expressions of what Jung (1985, page 362) calls an 'archetype'. It is advisable not to stick too rigidly to a definition. It could well be that somebody needs Nat-m but has not had any problems with his mother. For example, an older man loses his wife and has the feeling of being left uncared for and alone. In this case there is no problem with the mother, but the central theme of Nat-m is there.
The link of Carbonicum to the father, Muriaticum to the mother and Sulphuricum to the partner makes it especially easy to solve many cases. Problems in this area can usually be found in the history of the patient. But there is also the danger of wanting to reduce all problems to this theme. Then we would only look at the father and not at the specific importance in that specific case. For instance, sometimes the partner can fulfil the role of father. In that case, by focusing on the term 'partner', we can lose sight of the essence of the situation.
The themes can also be projected in different ways. Let us take the example of Natrium muriaticum again. This can then become 'my mother is strict', but also 'I have to be strict' can thus be projected differently, either on to your own mother, or on to yourself as mother. Changing the projection also causes the theme to be passed on from mother to daughter, from father to son, etc.
A nice example of changing the projection is described by Spring (1991, page 8). The delusion of Kali-br is that he is the object of God’s wrath. This usually means that someone has the feeling that God is taking revenge on him. In the case described by Spring the situation is the other way round. A woman is in love with a man who is unfaithful to her. She discovers that he has, and has had, many women and that he was unfaithful to them all. She then gets the feeling that God instructs her to take revenge on behalf of all women. The situation has been turned around completely in this case. The woman is the subject, instead of the object as in the normal interpretation.
Complements can colour the picture
If we look at the picture of Magnesium muriaticum we can see many forms that express the central theme. The central theme is the idea that aggression can end a sense of security. How this theme is going to express itself depends on the complementary problem. Imagine that Graphites is the complementary remedy. In that case the instability and the emotions will increase. We will probably get a sort of manic depressive picture. If however Kalium carbonicum were the complement, then we would rather expect a picture of a pacifist. The strong and duty-bound character of Kalium carbonicum will make this person look for a constructive solution to his problem. The solution could then be very peaceful, with a total avoidance of aggression. And again, if we imagine Nat-c to be the complement we could expect yet another different picture. We could then expect to see a very withdrawn and depressed person.