Does anyone remember the English Homeopath and Teacher, John Damonte?
He developed a fairly sophisticated 4-Element Map to highlight patterns in the imbalances he observed in patients. Misha Norland, another famous English Homeopath took this further in his book ”The Four Elements in Homeopathy”.
I would like to introduce some of the more obvious and easily identified ’elemental’ characteristics of one or two substances found in the Periodic Table and then move on to describe how they are used in Ayurvdea.
So, following in the footsteps of John Damonte and Misha Norland lets see if we can identify some of the elemental characteristics of Aurum Met. Look at the list of rubrics ... does anything there intuitively suggest the dominance of any particular element? Aurum prides himself on his sense of responsibility so what about the rubric, 'anger from contradiction'? Getting 'Hot under the collar' is an expression that brings to mind the fiery nature of anger. So Aurum definitely has plenty of 'fire'!
On the opposite pole, Aurum can feel crushed and useless, he has failed and life is no longer worth living. Where has all his fire gone now? Making an intuitive leap we could say his fire has been 'put out' ... which suggests the water element has some role in the picture of Aurum's pathology. We do naturally associate the water element with emotions sometimes, especially with grief ... when we cry we 'melt into tears'.
So, fire and water play a part in Aurum pathology. Does the air element? We often associate the air element with thoughts - cold reason and subtle discrimination, both could be said to have cutting associations - cutting, like a cold wind. Aurum is full of self-reproach - which is virtually an act of cutting oneself.
So the three main elements are out of balance in the Aurum patient. These are counteracted by the remedy if its is given in the right potency because these elements are present in the remedy in similar proportions.
What a fascinating way to describe the characteristics and action of a Homeopathic Remedy!
The proving symptoms of Tungsten (below) show how changes the balance of the doshas due to the remedy affect the mood and perception of the provers. This study provides a remarkable insight into the proving experience.
|Doshas rebalanced by Tungsten|
The language they use gives us an exceptionally clear idea of how each dosha influences perception of the situation.
Pitta decreases markedly, and as Vata increases there's a feeling of detachment or spaciness, which is a very typical vata expression.
Dreamy calmness is typical of Kapha increase.
Historically, these elemental concepts gave rise to the historical idea of 'Hippocratic Temperaments'. Similar use is made of the element concept in Acupuncture and Ayurveda. Each system has its own inner coherence and beauty - and we can learn from them all, but a sometimes a little confusion can arise when making cross-cultural comparisons.
In Ayurveda, the Choleric temperament is traditionally associated with heat and the fire element (Pitta dosha). The Phlegmatic temperament is associated with moisture and water (Kapha dosha). The Melancholc temperament is associated with air and space (Vata dosha).
These elements can be mixed together in various ways, according to different schools of thought - in Ayurveda the fourth traditional element, earth, is not studied alone - it only found mixed together with water to enhance the description of Kapha... to give the muddy and sticky image of the mucous produced in Kali-bi conditions!
|Doshas after proving - Kapha (phlegmatic type sx).|
Do these correspondences conform to our expectations? Vata is characterised by air qualities such as worry, fear and coldness. Are these experiences confined to the naturally occurring gaseous elements like Oxygen, Nitrogen? Does Pitta manifest in the hot elements? Kapha in cold, static elements?
The table below shows some of the main characteristics of the three Doshas with examples of remedies which markedly exhibit these attributes.
|rLung, (Vata) the wind element is an aspect of the breath and it is closely associated with the nervous system. Normally, vata produces enthusiasm and creativity. |
Its balance is easiliy disturbed by desire and attachment. Concern with external factors, like the wind disturbing the treetops, produce excessive mental activity, which manifests itself as troubled, erratic thinking, capricious moods, excited loquacity and active dreams. This kind of stress, causes hurried, impatient, busy and often obsessional minds. As a result of being a bit impulsive and scatter-brained their finances can end up in a mess.
Elemental Properties and Modalities :
Light, mobile and quick. Coarse, rough, hard and piercing. These sensations are exemplified by the pains of arthritis. Its roughness can be seen in the hair and fingernails. It is dry and absorbant like the spongy tissues of the lungs.
We can easily find many examples of rLung symptoms which reflect these properties in the repertory and produce an analysis which gives a list the remedies of this type, (square brackets indicate B. Bhattacharya's analysis of each one).
Tripa, (Pitta) inner heat, is associated with the endochrine system. It normally gives clarity, determination and courage. When over-stimulated it manifests as competitiveness, then other people are percieved as being in the wrong, and we often feel that we are under attack. The result is dictatorial egotism, irritability and anger. When anger is out of control it becomes hatred and violence, which are often reflected in destructive dreams of battles and fighting.
Elemental Properties and Modalities :
Hot and dry. Light and quick. It is sharp, acidic, pungent and purging. Boils, ulcers and acid indigestion are typical Tripa complaints.
Badkan (Kapha) is associated with fluids, especially with the blood, and it also mixes with the earth element. Its softness and smoothness give tolerance and love. Its heaviness helps us to relax, so sleep is usually deep and there can be romantic dreams.
When it is stimulated by delusions, its heavy nature gives rise to physical and emotional sluggishness, apathy and dullness. This may produce a rather boring and monotonous voice.
Opinions and relationships are formed cautiously. Opinions are then held doggedly, which gives rise to ignorance and can result in a lack of consideration for others. In financial dealings, their cautious investments can amount to miserliness, and this greed itself produces a tendency to envy.
Elemental Properties and Modalities :
The water element in the body is cool, soft, oily, sticky and slow, like mucous. Earth is dry, heavy, solid and slow, like bone. Poor circulation and congestion are typical complaints.
Do these proposed correspondences conform to the expectations arising from our knowledge of the Periodic Table and of the corresponding remedies? Even though the three symptom repertorisations above take only a small number of generalised complaints the results are interesting. The more characterisitic symptoms we add the clearer the differences between the three temperaments becomes.
Vata is characterised by 'air 'qualities such as worry, fear and coldness. Are these experiences confined to the naturally occurring gaseous elements like Oxygen, Nitrogen? The remedies suggested certainly do worry and suffer anxiety.
Does Pitta manifest in the hot elements? Think of the burning symptoms of Hepar Sulp. Are kapha traits found in the heavy, cold and static elements? This is certainly true of the Calcs. Baryta carb is another heavy, slow remedy. Phos-ac suffers exhaustion badly.
Comment: Were the best rubrics selected to represent each Dosha?