The Materia Medica of Milk collected articles

Language
English
Type
Paperback
Publisher
Homeolinks
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This book contains a wealth of information from provings, cases and group analysis on lacs in general and fourteen lacs in particular: Lac asinum, Lac caninum, Lac caprinum, Lac defloratum, Lac dolphinum, Lac equinum, Lac felinum, Lac humanum, Lac lupinum, Lac leoninum, Lac maternum, Lac owleum and Lac ovis.

The following internally well known authors and teachers have contributed articles to this book: Divya Chabra, Kees Dam, Patricia Hatherly, Nancy Herrick, Jessica Jackson, Linda Johnston, Jacques Lamothe, Patricia LeRoux, Anne Nidecker, Manish Panchal, Uta Santos, Joan Scott Lowe, Tinus Smits, Annette Sneevliet, Alize Timmerman, Frans Vermeulen, Jrg Wichmann, Anne Wirtz, Ananda Zaren and Harry van der Zee.
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ISBN9789080710320
Author-- Please Select --
TypePaperback
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2002-08-01
Pages263
PublisherHomeolinks
Review

Reviewed by Ilana Dannheisser

This is the first book to be produced by the publishers of Homeopathic Links, the international journal for classical homeopathy. A unique journal, Links is published in several languages and contains contributions by homeopaths from around the world. All the articles in this collection first appeared in magazine form in this highly esteemed quarterly journal. The first - a piece on Lac felinum by Divya Chhabra - dates from March 1995. A number of the others appeared in one edition, in April 2002. If you are a subscriber to Links, the book is not essential reading, as you would already have all the articles in the journals; it is, however, valuable to see the remedy pictures side by side, in one publication: because the book is the work of many different authors, the feeling is of one collective consciousness. The advantage is that each author illuminates a particular facet of the subject with a different colour and feeling.

It is interesting to compare the differences and similarities of ideas and styles. For me this is a valuable exercise, because a book like this is not just about materia medica, though that is the basic premise: underlying any discussion of the various remedies, lies the philosophy of provings, and the entire underpinning of our homeopathic practice. So while it contains a wealth of rich information, profound insight and considerable detail, there is work to be done in the evaluation and sorting of this information. Part of the result of this eclectic approach, is that there is some variation in attention to detail and rigour; there is a range of 'woolliness'. Whether or not that detracts from the meaning or the content, I think, is up to the reader. What is 'woolly'? Floating vague ideas, making generalizations based on limited substance, using concepts without explanation. Some authors are guided (it seems) mainly by intuition and spirit, others focus primarily on listing the symptoms of the provings, and a few achieve a balance with exquisitely grounded insight. What does it matter? Advances occur through creative, right-brain, divergent processes; sometimes we have to strive to be open, while at other times we need to work towards refinement and clarity - qualities which are the very opposite of woolly.

Animals represented are: donkey, dog, goat, cow (lac defloratum), dolphin, horse, cat, human (lac humanum and lac maternum), lion, wolf, sheep, pig and owl. Yes, OWL. No, I didn't think owls had milk either. For some reason this was where I started reading... heading straight for the strange, rare and peculiar. Apparently, when this article (written by Uta Santos-Konig, jorg Wichmann and Harry van der Zee) first came to the editorial board of Links, they did not know whether to take it seriously. In the book's preface for the article, you are invited to judge for yourself. We witness, "The dawning of a remedy" - Lac owleum. This is actually made from a secretion of the rump gland, which the owl applies to wounds, especially when the young are injured. And it is indeed called 'owl's milk' by hunters. But more importantly, we hear about a very different kind of homeopathy: the idea for an 'owl' remedy came in a dream "at a time when I was thinking deeply about a good remedy for a patient of mine, for whom I had been mainly thinking about snake poisons" (writes jorg Wichmann). This is homeopathy based on dream, meditation, insight, intuition. What follows is a tale of cases, of synchronicity, and generally speaking 'dances with owls'. More details I will leave for you to discover for yourself. Harry van der Zee reflects: "What does all this teach us? ...a conclusion I would like to draw is that we have no idea of the energies we are working with, of the laws that govern them, nor of the forces or beings behind them. We can call it synchronicity, but that is no explanation in itself..." Plotted on the continuum of spirit - matter, this was pure spirit. Needless to say you

will not find Lac owleum represented in a current edition of the Repertory.

The first article, 'The Lacs'; a group-analytical and signature view (by Kees Dam, April 2002) serves well to introduce and summarise the general idea of the book: as the milk remedies are a subgroup of the animal kingdom remedies, they can be studied through a group analysis (after Jan Scholten's method), which will yield the common themes of all the milks. Once the themes are adduced, the remedies can then be studied individually, in order to differentiate the unique themes of each one. There are clearly a number of common basic feelings arising from all the milks, but the coping mechanism (or 'compulsion', following Sankaran's notion) varies according to the way the different mammals appear and behave in their situation in nature. The doctrine of signatures plays a vital role in helping us to recognize this, as it reveals some of the most important clues about the nature of each substance. Further to that, symbolism, archetypes, fairy tales, and the study of animal behaviour all contribute to the synthesis of themes which help us to delineate the energetic essence of each remedy. Both the analyses of milk themes, and the descriptions of reactions to basic feelings (symptoms, that is, of disease calling for a milk remedy), are based on the homeopathic remedy pictures, as they are currently understood from provings and cases.

Here, though, come some of the generalizations I alluded to earlier. The ideas concerning the nature of milk, and the common basic feelings of all the milks (the 'signature'), show profound wisdom and insight. But I had difficulty when a correlation was suggested between a 'milk theme' and a pathological expression. For example: "Milk, growth failure to thrive; when the milk is bad or too little, this leads to emotional consequences and a physical developmental arrest in growth." Yes, milk is about growth and nurturing, but does that mean that a case of 'arrested growth' must need a milk remedy? Or when someone is feeling forsaken, with a sense of separation, must it mean that something has gone wrong with bonding during breast-feeding? Is the author suggesting that a milk remedy is always indicated for these situations? (In which case we would hardly ever need any other remedies to cure our cases.) Or is it that whether or not a patient actually experienced a difficulty during breastfeeding (we mayor may not know the true circumstances), their expression of disease shows a feeling 'as if' he or she did. I do wonder, though, if this can be taken too far: "Content, sufficient - not enough, jealousy; when the baby has had enough, he feels satisfied and content, and surrenders himself to an upcoming sleep. The opposite is a baby that doesn't get enough and cannot be content; this can be a fertile soil for poverty consciousness and jealousy." For me, huge concepts such as 'poverty consciousness' can mean so many different things and arise from a number of circumstances. Food for thought, in any case.

Another example, from the discussion of physical manifestations as reactions to the basic (conflicted) Lac feelings: 'Alternating symptoms', meaning 'sides alternating', is seen in the cases and provings of the Lac remedies. "Maybe this has something to do with the procedure of breastfeeding first the baby drinks at one breast, and when it's empty is goes to the other and at the next feeding it starts again with the first one." An interesting idea, but it is still 'maybe'. Maybe though, it doesn't matter.

The group analysis themes of the Lac remedies vary in degrees of generality and precision: feelings such as "anxiety, forsaken, depressed" are very general, as they are common to a wide range of remedies throughout materia medica; whereas "loathing, dirty, jealous, cleaning, sex" lead us towards animals themes in general; then we have such themes as "mamma, child, cold, ice, contact aggravates, eating disorders, falling, not grounded" which seem to me to be more direct and precise expressions of the substance of milk.

Is it important to differentiate between what aspects of a case are animal in general, mammal in particular, and species-specific? If we can do this, we will have advanced our understanding even further. For example, Sankaran says that the idea of 'dirty', which we see so strongly in Lac caninum, is really general to all animal remedies, and expresses the conflict between our human and animal natures. (Sankaran and the Bombay School have done the most, in my view, to clarify the general indications for the kingdoms, including the animal remedies.) In Lac caninum, the degree of subjugation and domination is highest, because the dog is the most subjugated animal, and therefore the degree of dirtiness and self-disgust would be most prominent. Cats choose to be dominated, for their survival, and so the emphasis shifts to that of choice/no choice, which is why 'prostitute' is an image associated with Lac felinum. After Wichmann prescribed Lac owleum, he realized how much owls and snakes have in common: large staring eyes, connection with wisdom, predators, catching their prey with swift action, the laying of eggs. But which theme is truly, deeply, owlspecific? The first case when Lac owleum was given was for a man who sat on a tree for hours before dawn. Now, that does sound like an owl.

In the most straightforward article about the proving of Lac asinum, Jacques Lamothe (France, June 2001) outlines the proving symptoms following Kent's schema (Mind, Vertigo, head, etc). This is prefaced by an explanation of how the proving was carried out, and the key ideas and symbolism of the ass. He also expresses the general view about the need to do animal provings: "We think there is something animal in man, and that in some men there is a great deal of some animals, as some patients have their animal equivalents." It is interesting to note the physical sensations: pains, pins and needles, paraesthesia in head, trunk and limbs, and a feeling around the eyes 'like a blindfold' or 'carnival mask'. Again, when interpreting the data, whether physical, psychological or from dreams, my question remains: what part is animal, what part is milk, and what part is donkey? As Lamothe comments, with only 124 symptoms "it is difficult to talk about clearly...This work is only a beginning and demands further experiment" There are no cases presented.

There are four articles on Lac caninum, our best-known milk. The first is a superb exposition by Vermeulen, discussing the main themes through the dog's anatomy, behaviour, social life, relationship to man and cultures' symbols. (Vermeulen gives an equally thorough treatment of Lac defloratum as well). This article is followed by three cases: of a girl with anorexia (by Annette Sneevliet, Sweden),) of a middle-aged woman, with depression (by Ananda Zaren, USA), and of sexual abuse in children (by Patricia le Roux, France), which also contains a useful comparison with other abuse remedies. It just goes to show how much there is to learn, even about a remedy that has been in use the longest of all the ones in this book.

Without doubt, my most enjoyable read was "The story of the cat, A Lac felinum proving" (by Divya Chhabra, India, 1995). We are taken through the process of the proving, the stages along the way, with stunning clarity of imagery, philosophy, purpose, reasoning, intuition and honesty. This proving was the second 'landmark' in the history of current provings. Divya discloses her initial doubts: "Can a single dose really change anything in the patient? Are all these symptoms in the repertory and material medica really correct? After experiencing the complete change of state that followed one dose of Magnesium sulphuricum 30c [her first proving experience] there was no room for doubt" Thank you, Divya, for putting it so directly.

What Divya is so good at is taking you through the stages of discovery: - after the first few dreams (and this proving is largely based on dreams) she realized "we had plunged into the world of animals". What she understood or did not understand at the beginning, unfolds during the proving, until the full picture is attained, as if pieces of a puzzle are falling into place. The first themes to come through are "sensuous, not being given due respect, intolerance of hunger, a dirty, disgusting feeling, sexuality" - all these are general themes of the animal kingdom. But then the defining, particular idea presents itself: to submit oneself to save a relationship, or for money, "The feeling arising from a conflict and a choice." Research into cats' nature reveals that the cat is the only animal to domesticate itself, unlike dogs and cattle, which were domesticated for man's needs. "1 felt quietly grateful for the part of the universe that had opened before me that I had touched and experienced. I looked at the cat with new eyes, I understood their delicate fastidiousness, their moodiness, their clinging to their independence, their allowing themselves to be stroked when they like, their sudden bursts of ill temper, and unsheathing their claws for no apparent reason...They made a choice, gave up their wildness, their freedom, their respect for food, for survival. Was it worth it? The unresolved conflict remains in the universe around. We carry it with us and its remedy is Lac felinum."

Furthermore, on the philosophy of provings in general, Divya writes: "I realized that the proving speaks the unspoken feeling of the substances in our universe to us, of both animate and inanimate substances. Their secrets, their spirit, their unresolved conflicts are revealed to us in the proving. Is this the root of all disease? Is what we have around us unresolved conflicts of the process of evolution? Every thing gained, every change has a price that must be paid. Does every substance that evolves one step leave a conflict, which crystallizes as disease? Is that what we must resolve to move ahead?"

It seems to me that these ideas, and the way they are put, form the centre of the circle around which the rest of the book revolves, synthesing proving symptoms, the doctrine of signatures, and clinical experience.

To different degrees each remedy in the book opens and reveals itself like a character in a novel, whether from a proving or a case, and we see both the remedy and the animal with renewed perception. For me the most satisfying articles are the ones in which the cases bring to life the characteristics of the remedy, through the patient's language and story. Where there is a list of proving symptoms, on the other hand, the information remains as it is - a list; in these cases it is acknowledged that the remedy pictures need to be filled in, rounded out, and more connections need to be made between the centre and the periphery, as our understanding progresses.

A remedy picture is, surely, much more than the sum of its parts, or the totality of its symptoms; there must be a relationship between the central conflict of the remedy and its manifestation.

In addition to those articles already mentioned, there are five articles on Lac caprinum, including two provings, two cases and an article about the character of the goat (the real one, on the hill); two on Lac defloratum, comprising a case, and a discussion of the substance and symbolism of milk; the proving, and a case, of Lac delphinum; four cases of Lac equinum; five further cases of Lac felinum; two articles on Lac humanum, including a general discussion of breast feeding; two cases

of Lac leoninum; a case of Lac ovis (sheep's milk), where the prescription was made on the basis of group analysis, rather from a proving; and lastly, the proving of Lac suis (pig).

So as you can see, there is plenty here to consume, savour and digest in the fullness of time. The Materia Medica of Milk is essentially a reference book. You can cruise in and out, or chew over one section indefinitely. Most of these remedies are in their infancy, with room to grow. Part of the message is that it is no longer absolutely necessary to give a remedy which has had a proving; if the patient has taken on the 'persona' or essential conflict of another animal, and the 'signature' is recognizable, that is enough to go on (see Lac ovis). On the other hand, the remedies which have had provings at the deepest level demonstrate most coherently and explicitly the dilemma of the substance (as evidenced especially in the contribution from Divya Chhabra), so that when a case presents itself in front of you, there is no doubt about which curative substance to employ.

This book review is reprinted from Volume 17, Autumn 2004 edition of Homeopathic Links with permission from Homeopathic Links.

Reviewed Jay Yasgur, R.Ph., M.Sc., USA

And so my review of Homeopathic link's Materia Medica of Milk begins. This book consists of cases and articles concerning fourteen milks. Well, thirteen that is, as owls do not produce milk, (Lac owleum) but rather a liquid substance which, it is suggested, possesses healing properties. Woodsmen do refer to this substance as 'owls milk' though, and with the help of their beaks, owls dab it onto wounds, especially when their young are injured:

'Since wounds treated with this substance heal very fast, it was used widely in folk medicine during the medieval times, though it was rare and expensive. Later the whole thing was disregarded as superstition, until, in the late seventies, a Hungarian biologist rediscovered the healing properties of this secretion of the owl's rump-gland.' -p. 248

I will not go into this further as it is impossible for me to relate the fascinating material in these seven pages. However, I will say that Harry van der Zee's sub-essay, 'Dances with Owls', contains an amazing case analysis.

Lac asinum, Lac caninum, Lac caprinum, Lac defloratum, Lac delphinum, Lac equinum, Lac felinum, Lac humanum, Lac leoninum, Lac lupinum, Lac mater- num, Lac ovis, Lac owleum and Lac suis are all covered, to one degree or another. The first chapter, written by Kees Dam, covers the subject in a generalised fashion via group analysis and doctrine of signature viewpoint:

'The theory of group analysis in homeopathy is developed by Ian Scholten and by now extensively applied in practice...The procedure is this: take a group of remedies with one common element (i.e., the muriaticums or the kalis) and analyse the remedy pictures: common themes in these remedies can be attributed to the common element.'

'Analysing in this way you can come to a kind of remedy picture of the common element...The deduced, (not proving based) remedy picture of these elements can then be used to "synthesise" a compound remedy (salt) of these elements and predict its remedy picture.' -p.8

Kees talks about the 'provings', which have been in our collective unconscious in the form of fairytales, myths, provers and archetypes and '...it would be a shame not to investigate this treasure to see if it can be of homeopathic use'.

Using Sankaran's feeling/compulsion model, the Lac element contains the feeling aspect while the mammal contains the compulsion aspect. These aspects are often clearcut:

'The Lac element represents the vulnerability - the child part that was hurt - and the mammal element represents its reaction to that vulnerability - the coping/survival mechanism, the compulsion. Of course the mammal part will give its own, unique colouring to the Lac vulnerability and also the (common) Lac element on its own will already produce compulsions and coping mechanism that we will find more or less in all Lacs.' -p. 9

He maintains that the compulsion is present in order to cope with the basic feeling, which is unbearable. 'If "fear of being alone" was the basic feeling, then the compulsion (which is always an action or leads to an action) would be: desire for company.'

Dr. Dam continues, in this fifteen-page introduction, to more deeply discuss these feeling/compulsion aspects, the differential diagnosis of the Lacs and the signature and signs of the Lacs. He concludes by singling out four Lacs in order to offer a bit more detail.

There is little proving data on the Lacs and much of this book is speculative in nature. There is plenty of group analysis and dream provings, i.e., 'Lac caprinum: A Dream Proving Confirmed' (p. 67, by Dr. Dam, who is probably the world's authority on this remedy) are cited. There is opposition to this way of thinking within the homeopathic community yet this book is littered with bold and controversial rationales:

'This remedy is a good example of a remedy that was understood and prescribed based on group analysis and signature before a proper proving was done. A colleague of mine (Anne Wirtz) in Amsterdam prescribed Lac felinum quite successfully over a period of six months in a dozen cases.'

'Her reasoning was this: compared with dogs, cats go their own way more and they are more independent. They decide when they want to be cuddled. They are allergic to being forced. They have a certain grace and elegance; they are quite clean (washing themselves all the time). They are also more on guard: attack and retreat, cautious and somewhat suspicious.'

'With this signature in mind (complemented with symptoms from the Lac caninum proving like 'Lack of self-confidence and self-worth') Anne managed to prescribe Lac felinum successfully. A basic pattern she recognised in her cases was (sexual) abuse in childhood. The survival pattern was: I am going to do it by myself, I don't need anybody else, surviving their own way (the independent nature of cats)."-p.18,19

Regardless of what one thinks of these 'speculative rationales' one must recognise that some benefit is produced. That being said it also needs to be mentioned that there is no substitute for provings. Period. Provings is one of the homeopathic sheet anchors. We must never lose sight of that.

Concerning symbol and signature, Alize Timmerman puts this subject in perspective in her essay, 'A Case of Lac felinum: The Symbol in a Remedy as a Key Factor'. Timmerman makes use of the speculative method in her analysis yet is quick to remind us, in her conclusion, to not go too far:

'When following this procedure one will discover that, more often than not, characteristic symbols are more related with the self of the patient than with the form or function of the particular plant or animal the remedy is taken from. Surely the signature of the plant, animal or mineral, might be related to the complaints of the patient, but the only true homeopathic attitude is to look closely to the patient and analyse his or her symptoms in the context of the patient, not in the context of the animal or plant, from which the remedy derived.'

'Therefore proving and clinical experience of remedies remains the basis for understanding the properties of homeopathic remedies. Only if a proving and clinical experience show related symbols with behaviour of animals or external features of plants or the chemical properties of elements, one may use signature as a tool in the prescription practise.' -p. 165.
A Wirtz concludes the Lac felinum section with four cases (p. 166-173)

Linda Johnston's case, 'Don't Tell Me What to Do!: A Case of Lac equinum' is noteworthy. She includes the verbatim case of this 78-year old woman with a chief complaint of weakness, shortness of breath, palpitations, high blood pressure, and chronic hoarseness. She was on several different remedies over an eight-year period before receiving Lac equinum.

Dr. Johnston offered this case verbatim so that the reader could '...see a case in its "natural habitat", with all the presumably unrelated and laborious details still intact. It is in the next several paragraphs that we see how her analysis proceeds. She pro- vides a five, six, nine, and ten-month follow-up discussion.

Lac defloratum (p. 108-114) by Frans Vermeulen is fascinating and happens to be the complete chapter from his materia medica, Prisma - The Arcana of Materia Medica Illuminated - Similars and Parallels Between Substance and Remedy (2002, isbn: 90-76189-07-2). Though there is little homeopathy in this chapter it just might sway you into purchasing Vermeulen's important work. He discusses the natural history of the cow, milk in general, lactose, cancer, diabetes, allergies, symbolism, etc. and references the proving which Swan conducted in 1871,2:

'Swan - 3 provers (1 male, 2 female), 1871-72; method: 15C (Fincke) in drop doses every hour; 'after nine hours there was aggravation'; the second female prover, Dr. Laura Morgan - the prover who provided most of the mind symptoms of Lac caninum took 200C, manner not stated. A graduate of the allopathic college in New York, Laura Morgan was converted to homeopathy by making this proving! Swan adds eight cured cases.' -p. 114

Lac suis or Lac suilinum K. Dam, p. 254-260) is the final essay. The author relates his experience of conducting a meditative proving among homeopaths at a lecture he gave in the fall of 1996 (at this time a swine plague had swept Holland):

'My intention was, after lunch, to let them "meditate" for 3-5 minutes, and then collect the outcome. I must confess that I didn't have too many illusions about the outcome of this little and short proving, but... one never knows. It turned out to be one of the most impressive provings that I ever encountered. Three minutes after the distribution of the remedy, while we were waiting in the queue in front of the buffet, several participants came to me with all kinds of (frightening) phenomenae...'-p.254,5

Dr. Dam offers his analysis of this meditative proving and finishes his essay with a case of peripartal pelvic pain syndrome (this syndrome is prevalent in Holland, England, and the Scandanavian countries in general) and sinusitis.

I have only a few minor complaints. There is no index, no general annotated bibliography and no separate listing of Lac provings. These three inclusions would've been helpful. Melanie Grimes, the English language editor, did a credible job considering the massive amount of editing required. One thing, which concerned me about the editing, was the allowance of so many parenthetical statements. Parentheses are generally reserved for words and phrases, which would otherwise take up too much space in proportion to an explanation. When parentheses are overused they often create a choppy feel to the narrative, slow the readers pace and may create confusion. You can get a feeling for what I mean by referring back to the quote, p. 18,19, earlier in this review. I could provide more examples and there are other aspects I could discuss but they are of relatively minor import.

This is a bold, solid, spirited work, which should be on the shelf of every homeopath's library. The editors and publisher must've realised this as they produced a book of high quality materials in all respects. It is even sewn and wrapped, a rarity in today's book production.

This is the first volume in a series from Homreopathic Links. Let's hope that future volumes will be as well done as this, which Corrie and Harry have overseen.

Review

Reviewed by Ilana Dannheisser

This is the first book to be produced by the publishers of Homeopathic Links, the international journal for classical homeopathy. A unique journal, Links is published in several languages and contains contributions by homeopaths from around the world. All the articles in this collection first appeared in magazine form in this highly esteemed quarterly journal. The first - a piece on Lac felinum by Divya Chhabra - dates from March 1995. A number of the others appeared in one edition, in April 2002. If you are a subscriber to Links, the book is not essential reading, as you would already have all the articles in the journals; it is, however, valuable to see the remedy pictures side by side, in one publication: because the book is the work of many different authors, the feeling is of one collective consciousness. The advantage is that each author illuminates a particular facet of the subject with a different colour and feeling.

It is interesting to compare the differences and similarities of ideas and styles. For me this is a valuable exercise, because a book like this is not just about materia medica, though that is the basic premise: underlying any discussion of the various remedies, lies the philosophy of provings, and the entire underpinning of our homeopathic practice. So while it contains a wealth of rich information, profound insight and considerable detail, there is work to be done in the evaluation and sorting of this information. Part of the result of this eclectic approach, is that there is some variation in attention to detail and rigour; there is a range of 'woolliness'. Whether or not that detracts from the meaning or the content, I think, is up to the reader. What is 'woolly'? Floating vague ideas, making generalizations based on limited substance, using concepts without explanation. Some authors are guided (it seems) mainly by intuition and spirit, others focus primarily on listing the symptoms of the provings, and a few achieve a balance with exquisitely grounded insight. What does it matter? Advances occur through creative, right-brain, divergent processes; sometimes we have to strive to be open, while at other times we need to work towards refinement and clarity - qualities which are the very opposite of woolly.

Animals represented are: donkey, dog, goat, cow (lac defloratum), dolphin, horse, cat, human (lac humanum and lac maternum), lion, wolf, sheep, pig and owl. Yes, OWL. No, I didn't think owls had milk either. For some reason this was where I started reading... heading straight for the strange, rare and peculiar. Apparently, when this article (written by Uta Santos-Konig, jorg Wichmann and Harry van der Zee) first came to the editorial board of Links, they did not know whether to take it seriously. In the book's preface for the article, you are invited to judge for yourself. We witness, "The dawning of a remedy" - Lac owleum. This is actually made from a secretion of the rump gland, which the owl applies to wounds, especially when the young are injured. And it is indeed called 'owl's milk' by hunters. But more importantly, we hear about a very different kind of homeopathy: the idea for an 'owl' remedy came in a dream "at a time when I was thinking deeply about a good remedy for a patient of mine, for whom I had been mainly thinking about snake poisons" (writes jorg Wichmann). This is homeopathy based on dream, meditation, insight, intuition. What follows is a tale of cases, of synchronicity, and generally speaking 'dances with owls'. More details I will leave for you to discover for yourself. Harry van der Zee reflects: "What does all this teach us? ...a conclusion I would like to draw is that we have no idea of the energies we are working with, of the laws that govern them, nor of the forces or beings behind them. We can call it synchronicity, but that is no explanation in itself..." Plotted on the continuum of spirit - matter, this was pure spirit. Needless to say you

will not find Lac owleum represented in a current edition of the Repertory.

The first article, 'The Lacs'; a group-analytical and signature view (by Kees Dam, April 2002) serves well to introduce and summarise the general idea of the book: as the milk remedies are a subgroup of the animal kingdom remedies, they can be studied through a group analysis (after Jan Scholten's method), which will yield the common themes of all the milks. Once the themes are adduced, the remedies can then be studied individually, in order to differentiate the unique themes of each one. There are clearly a number of common basic feelings arising from all the milks, but the coping mechanism (or 'compulsion', following Sankaran's notion) varies according to the way the different mammals appear and behave in their situation in nature. The doctrine of signatures plays a vital role in helping us to recognize this, as it reveals some of the most important clues about the nature of each substance. Further to that, symbolism, archetypes, fairy tales, and the study of animal behaviour all contribute to the synthesis of themes which help us to delineate the energetic essence of each remedy. Both the analyses of milk themes, and the descriptions of reactions to basic feelings (symptoms, that is, of disease calling for a milk remedy), are based on the homeopathic remedy pictures, as they are currently understood from provings and cases.

Here, though, come some of the generalizations I alluded to earlier. The ideas concerning the nature of milk, and the common basic feelings of all the milks (the 'signature'), show profound wisdom and insight. But I had difficulty when a correlation was suggested between a 'milk theme' and a pathological expression. For example: "Milk, growth failure to thrive; when the milk is bad or too little, this leads to emotional consequences and a physical developmental arrest in growth." Yes, milk is about growth and nurturing, but does that mean that a case of 'arrested growth' must need a milk remedy? Or when someone is feeling forsaken, with a sense of separation, must it mean that something has gone wrong with bonding during breast-feeding? Is the author suggesting that a milk remedy is always indicated for these situations? (In which case we would hardly ever need any other remedies to cure our cases.) Or is it that whether or not a patient actually experienced a difficulty during breastfeeding (we mayor may not know the true circumstances), their expression of disease shows a feeling 'as if' he or she did. I do wonder, though, if this can be taken too far: "Content, sufficient - not enough, jealousy; when the baby has had enough, he feels satisfied and content, and surrenders himself to an upcoming sleep. The opposite is a baby that doesn't get enough and cannot be content; this can be a fertile soil for poverty consciousness and jealousy." For me, huge concepts such as 'poverty consciousness' can mean so many different things and arise from a number of circumstances. Food for thought, in any case.

Another example, from the discussion of physical manifestations as reactions to the basic (conflicted) Lac feelings: 'Alternating symptoms', meaning 'sides alternating', is seen in the cases and provings of the Lac remedies. "Maybe this has something to do with the procedure of breastfeeding first the baby drinks at one breast, and when it's empty is goes to the other and at the next feeding it starts again with the first one." An interesting idea, but it is still 'maybe'. Maybe though, it doesn't matter.

The group analysis themes of the Lac remedies vary in degrees of generality and precision: feelings such as "anxiety, forsaken, depressed" are very general, as they are common to a wide range of remedies throughout materia medica; whereas "loathing, dirty, jealous, cleaning, sex" lead us towards animals themes in general; then we have such themes as "mamma, child, cold, ice, contact aggravates, eating disorders, falling, not grounded" which seem to me to be more direct and precise expressions of the substance of milk.

Is it important to differentiate between what aspects of a case are animal in general, mammal in particular, and species-specific? If we can do this, we will have advanced our understanding even further. For example, Sankaran says that the idea of 'dirty', which we see so strongly in Lac caninum, is really general to all animal remedies, and expresses the conflict between our human and animal natures. (Sankaran and the Bombay School have done the most, in my view, to clarify the general indications for the kingdoms, including the animal remedies.) In Lac caninum, the degree of subjugation and domination is highest, because the dog is the most subjugated animal, and therefore the degree of dirtiness and self-disgust would be most prominent. Cats choose to be dominated, for their survival, and so the emphasis shifts to that of choice/no choice, which is why 'prostitute' is an image associated with Lac felinum. After Wichmann prescribed Lac owleum, he realized how much owls and snakes have in common: large staring eyes, connection with wisdom, predators, catching their prey with swift action, the laying of eggs. But which theme is truly, deeply, owlspecific? The first case when Lac owleum was given was for a man who sat on a tree for hours before dawn. Now, that does sound like an owl.

In the most straightforward article about the proving of Lac asinum, Jacques Lamothe (France, June 2001) outlines the proving symptoms following Kent's schema (Mind, Vertigo, head, etc). This is prefaced by an explanation of how the proving was carried out, and the key ideas and symbolism of the ass. He also expresses the general view about the need to do animal provings: "We think there is something animal in man, and that in some men there is a great deal of some animals, as some patients have their animal equivalents." It is interesting to note the physical sensations: pains, pins and needles, paraesthesia in head, trunk and limbs, and a feeling around the eyes 'like a blindfold' or 'carnival mask'. Again, when interpreting the data, whether physical, psychological or from dreams, my question remains: what part is animal, what part is milk, and what part is donkey? As Lamothe comments, with only 124 symptoms "it is difficult to talk about clearly...This work is only a beginning and demands further experiment" There are no cases presented.

There are four articles on Lac caninum, our best-known milk. The first is a superb exposition by Vermeulen, discussing the main themes through the dog's anatomy, behaviour, social life, relationship to man and cultures' symbols. (Vermeulen gives an equally thorough treatment of Lac defloratum as well). This article is followed by three cases: of a girl with anorexia (by Annette Sneevliet, Sweden),) of a middle-aged woman, with depression (by Ananda Zaren, USA), and of sexual abuse in children (by Patricia le Roux, France), which also contains a useful comparison with other abuse remedies. It just goes to show how much there is to learn, even about a remedy that has been in use the longest of all the ones in this book.

Without doubt, my most enjoyable read was "The story of the cat, A Lac felinum proving" (by Divya Chhabra, India, 1995). We are taken through the process of the proving, the stages along the way, with stunning clarity of imagery, philosophy, purpose, reasoning, intuition and honesty. This proving was the second 'landmark' in the history of current provings. Divya discloses her initial doubts: "Can a single dose really change anything in the patient? Are all these symptoms in the repertory and material medica really correct? After experiencing the complete change of state that followed one dose of Magnesium sulphuricum 30c [her first proving experience] there was no room for doubt" Thank you, Divya, for putting it so directly.

What Divya is so good at is taking you through the stages of discovery: - after the first few dreams (and this proving is largely based on dreams) she realized "we had plunged into the world of animals". What she understood or did not understand at the beginning, unfolds during the proving, until the full picture is attained, as if pieces of a puzzle are falling into place. The first themes to come through are "sensuous, not being given due respect, intolerance of hunger, a dirty, disgusting feeling, sexuality" - all these are general themes of the animal kingdom. But then the defining, particular idea presents itself: to submit oneself to save a relationship, or for money, "The feeling arising from a conflict and a choice." Research into cats' nature reveals that the cat is the only animal to domesticate itself, unlike dogs and cattle, which were domesticated for man's needs. "1 felt quietly grateful for the part of the universe that had opened before me that I had touched and experienced. I looked at the cat with new eyes, I understood their delicate fastidiousness, their moodiness, their clinging to their independence, their allowing themselves to be stroked when they like, their sudden bursts of ill temper, and unsheathing their claws for no apparent reason...They made a choice, gave up their wildness, their freedom, their respect for food, for survival. Was it worth it? The unresolved conflict remains in the universe around. We carry it with us and its remedy is Lac felinum."

Furthermore, on the philosophy of provings in general, Divya writes: "I realized that the proving speaks the unspoken feeling of the substances in our universe to us, of both animate and inanimate substances. Their secrets, their spirit, their unresolved conflicts are revealed to us in the proving. Is this the root of all disease? Is what we have around us unresolved conflicts of the process of evolution? Every thing gained, every change has a price that must be paid. Does every substance that evolves one step leave a conflict, which crystallizes as disease? Is that what we must resolve to move ahead?"

It seems to me that these ideas, and the way they are put, form the centre of the circle around which the rest of the book revolves, synthesing proving symptoms, the doctrine of signatures, and clinical experience.

To different degrees each remedy in the book opens and reveals itself like a character in a novel, whether from a proving or a case, and we see both the remedy and the animal with renewed perception. For me the most satisfying articles are the ones in which the cases bring to life the characteristics of the remedy, through the patient's language and story. Where there is a list of proving symptoms, on the other hand, the information remains as it is - a list; in these cases it is acknowledged that the remedy pictures need to be filled in, rounded out, and more connections need to be made between the centre and the periphery, as our understanding progresses.

A remedy picture is, surely, much more than the sum of its parts, or the totality of its symptoms; there must be a relationship between the central conflict of the remedy and its manifestation.

In addition to those articles already mentioned, there are five articles on Lac caprinum, including two provings, two cases and an article about the character of the goat (the real one, on the hill); two on Lac defloratum, comprising a case, and a discussion of the substance and symbolism of milk; the proving, and a case, of Lac delphinum; four cases of Lac equinum; five further cases of Lac felinum; two articles on Lac humanum, including a general discussion of breast feeding; two cases

of Lac leoninum; a case of Lac ovis (sheep's milk), where the prescription was made on the basis of group analysis, rather from a proving; and lastly, the proving of Lac suis (pig).

So as you can see, there is plenty here to consume, savour and digest in the fullness of time. The Materia Medica of Milk is essentially a reference book. You can cruise in and out, or chew over one section indefinitely. Most of these remedies are in their infancy, with room to grow. Part of the message is that it is no longer absolutely necessary to give a remedy which has had a proving; if the patient has taken on the 'persona' or essential conflict of another animal, and the 'signature' is recognizable, that is enough to go on (see Lac ovis). On the other hand, the remedies which have had provings at the deepest level demonstrate most coherently and explicitly the dilemma of the substance (as evidenced especially in the contribution from Divya Chhabra), so that when a case presents itself in front of you, there is no doubt about which curative substance to employ.

This book review is reprinted from Volume 17, Autumn 2004 edition of Homeopathic Links with permission from Homeopathic Links.

Reviewed Jay Yasgur, R.Ph., M.Sc., USA

And so my review of Homeopathic link's Materia Medica of Milk begins. This book consists of cases and articles concerning fourteen milks. Well, thirteen that is, as owls do not produce milk, (Lac owleum) but rather a liquid substance which, it is suggested, possesses healing properties. Woodsmen do refer to this substance as 'owls milk' though, and with the help of their beaks, owls dab it onto wounds, especially when their young are injured:

'Since wounds treated with this substance heal very fast, it was used widely in folk medicine during the medieval times, though it was rare and expensive. Later the whole thing was disregarded as superstition, until, in the late seventies, a Hungarian biologist rediscovered the healing properties of this secretion of the owl's rump-gland.' -p. 248

I will not go into this further as it is impossible for me to relate the fascinating material in these seven pages. However, I will say that Harry van der Zee's sub-essay, 'Dances with Owls', contains an amazing case analysis.

Lac asinum, Lac caninum, Lac caprinum, Lac defloratum, Lac delphinum, Lac equinum, Lac felinum, Lac humanum, Lac leoninum, Lac lupinum, Lac mater- num, Lac ovis, Lac owleum and Lac suis are all covered, to one degree or another. The first chapter, written by Kees Dam, covers the subject in a generalised fashion via group analysis and doctrine of signature viewpoint:

'The theory of group analysis in homeopathy is developed by Ian Scholten and by now extensively applied in practice...The procedure is this: take a group of remedies with one common element (i.e., the muriaticums or the kalis) and analyse the remedy pictures: common themes in these remedies can be attributed to the common element.'

'Analysing in this way you can come to a kind of remedy picture of the common element...The deduced, (not proving based) remedy picture of these elements can then be used to "synthesise" a compound remedy (salt) of these elements and predict its remedy picture.' -p.8

Kees talks about the 'provings', which have been in our collective unconscious in the form of fairytales, myths, provers and archetypes and '...it would be a shame not to investigate this treasure to see if it can be of homeopathic use'.

Using Sankaran's feeling/compulsion model, the Lac element contains the feeling aspect while the mammal contains the compulsion aspect. These aspects are often clearcut:

'The Lac element represents the vulnerability - the child part that was hurt - and the mammal element represents its reaction to that vulnerability - the coping/survival mechanism, the compulsion. Of course the mammal part will give its own, unique colouring to the Lac vulnerability and also the (common) Lac element on its own will already produce compulsions and coping mechanism that we will find more or less in all Lacs.' -p. 9

He maintains that the compulsion is present in order to cope with the basic feeling, which is unbearable. 'If "fear of being alone" was the basic feeling, then the compulsion (which is always an action or leads to an action) would be: desire for company.'

Dr. Dam continues, in this fifteen-page introduction, to more deeply discuss these feeling/compulsion aspects, the differential diagnosis of the Lacs and the signature and signs of the Lacs. He concludes by singling out four Lacs in order to offer a bit more detail.

There is little proving data on the Lacs and much of this book is speculative in nature. There is plenty of group analysis and dream provings, i.e., 'Lac caprinum: A Dream Proving Confirmed' (p. 67, by Dr. Dam, who is probably the world's authority on this remedy) are cited. There is opposition to this way of thinking within the homeopathic community yet this book is littered with bold and controversial rationales:

'This remedy is a good example of a remedy that was understood and prescribed based on group analysis and signature before a proper proving was done. A colleague of mine (Anne Wirtz) in Amsterdam prescribed Lac felinum quite successfully over a period of six months in a dozen cases.'

'Her reasoning was this: compared with dogs, cats go their own way more and they are more independent. They decide when they want to be cuddled. They are allergic to being forced. They have a certain grace and elegance; they are quite clean (washing themselves all the time). They are also more on guard: attack and retreat, cautious and somewhat suspicious.'

'With this signature in mind (complemented with symptoms from the Lac caninum proving like 'Lack of self-confidence and self-worth') Anne managed to prescribe Lac felinum successfully. A basic pattern she recognised in her cases was (sexual) abuse in childhood. The survival pattern was: I am going to do it by myself, I don't need anybody else, surviving their own way (the independent nature of cats)."-p.18,19

Regardless of what one thinks of these 'speculative rationales' one must recognise that some benefit is produced. That being said it also needs to be mentioned that there is no substitute for provings. Period. Provings is one of the homeopathic sheet anchors. We must never lose sight of that.

Concerning symbol and signature, Alize Timmerman puts this subject in perspective in her essay, 'A Case of Lac felinum: The Symbol in a Remedy as a Key Factor'. Timmerman makes use of the speculative method in her analysis yet is quick to remind us, in her conclusion, to not go too far:

'When following this procedure one will discover that, more often than not, characteristic symbols are more related with the self of the patient than with the form or function of the particular plant or animal the remedy is taken from. Surely the signature of the plant, animal or mineral, might be related to the complaints of the patient, but the only true homeopathic attitude is to look closely to the patient and analyse his or her symptoms in the context of the patient, not in the context of the animal or plant, from which the remedy derived.'

'Therefore proving and clinical experience of remedies remains the basis for understanding the properties of homeopathic remedies. Only if a proving and clinical experience show related symbols with behaviour of animals or external features of plants or the chemical properties of elements, one may use signature as a tool in the prescription practise.' -p. 165.
A Wirtz concludes the Lac felinum section with four cases (p. 166-173)

Linda Johnston's case, 'Don't Tell Me What to Do!: A Case of Lac equinum' is noteworthy. She includes the verbatim case of this 78-year old woman with a chief complaint of weakness, shortness of breath, palpitations, high blood pressure, and chronic hoarseness. She was on several different remedies over an eight-year period before receiving Lac equinum.

Dr. Johnston offered this case verbatim so that the reader could '...see a case in its "natural habitat", with all the presumably unrelated and laborious details still intact. It is in the next several paragraphs that we see how her analysis proceeds. She pro- vides a five, six, nine, and ten-month follow-up discussion.

Lac defloratum (p. 108-114) by Frans Vermeulen is fascinating and happens to be the complete chapter from his materia medica, Prisma - The Arcana of Materia Medica Illuminated - Similars and Parallels Between Substance and Remedy (2002, isbn: 90-76189-07-2). Though there is little homeopathy in this chapter it just might sway you into purchasing Vermeulen's important work. He discusses the natural history of the cow, milk in general, lactose, cancer, diabetes, allergies, symbolism, etc. and references the proving which Swan conducted in 1871,2:

'Swan - 3 provers (1 male, 2 female), 1871-72; method: 15C (Fincke) in drop doses every hour; 'after nine hours there was aggravation'; the second female prover, Dr. Laura Morgan - the prover who provided most of the mind symptoms of Lac caninum took 200C, manner not stated. A graduate of the allopathic college in New York, Laura Morgan was converted to homeopathy by making this proving! Swan adds eight cured cases.' -p. 114

Lac suis or Lac suilinum K. Dam, p. 254-260) is the final essay. The author relates his experience of conducting a meditative proving among homeopaths at a lecture he gave in the fall of 1996 (at this time a swine plague had swept Holland):

'My intention was, after lunch, to let them "meditate" for 3-5 minutes, and then collect the outcome. I must confess that I didn't have too many illusions about the outcome of this little and short proving, but... one never knows. It turned out to be one of the most impressive provings that I ever encountered. Three minutes after the distribution of the remedy, while we were waiting in the queue in front of the buffet, several participants came to me with all kinds of (frightening) phenomenae...'-p.254,5

Dr. Dam offers his analysis of this meditative proving and finishes his essay with a case of peripartal pelvic pain syndrome (this syndrome is prevalent in Holland, England, and the Scandanavian countries in general) and sinusitis.

I have only a few minor complaints. There is no index, no general annotated bibliography and no separate listing of Lac provings. These three inclusions would've been helpful. Melanie Grimes, the English language editor, did a credible job considering the massive amount of editing required. One thing, which concerned me about the editing, was the allowance of so many parenthetical statements. Parentheses are generally reserved for words and phrases, which would otherwise take up too much space in proportion to an explanation. When parentheses are overused they often create a choppy feel to the narrative, slow the readers pace and may create confusion. You can get a feeling for what I mean by referring back to the quote, p. 18,19, earlier in this review. I could provide more examples and there are other aspects I could discuss but they are of relatively minor import.

This is a bold, solid, spirited work, which should be on the shelf of every homeopath's library. The editors and publisher must've realised this as they produced a book of high quality materials in all respects. It is even sewn and wrapped, a rarity in today's book production.

This is the first volume in a series from Homreopathic Links. Let's hope that future volumes will be as well done as this, which Corrie and Harry have overseen.