Back in the fall and winter of 1990-91 I prepared a series of homeopathic star potencies on my country property north of Minden, Ontario, where light pollution is at a minimum.(1) The procedure was as follows. Having at my disposal an eight-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain Celestron telescope, I inserted a half-inch diameter clear-glass vial encircled by a cork rim into the eyepiece aperture. For autumn viewing the vial was filled with well water; in the winter, I used vodka, neat, to prevent the fluid freezing. The telescope itself was set up in the middle of a free-standing stone enclosure some three feet high and forty feet in diameter, which was oriented on a north/south axis.
By means of the finderscope I kept the telescope contered on a chosen star for an interval of one hour. At the end of the viewing period I removed the vial from the telescope and to avoid human contamination placed it in a plastic container filled with sand. I then carried the container to the house, about 150 yards away, where I immediately potentized the fluid according to the single-vial Hahnemannian method from the 1X through the 6X levels, succussing it 48 times at each stage. The mother tincture along with the series of potencies was then stored in a dark place in amber bottles.
Except for a few casual investigations by my wife and myself, these star potencies remained essentially untested until the winter of 1997, when I had the opportunity to supply several of these star potencies to Jeremy Sherr, a British homeopath who is widely recognized for his systematic and painstaking approach in proving new substances (2) Among the remedies supplied was that of Polaris, the Pole Star, which I had originally prepared on 26 October 1990, in the hour before midnight.
There the matter rested until 25 June 1997, when right out of the blue I received a phonecall from the island of Westray in the Orkneys. It was Jeremy Sherr, who said that he was conducting a proving of Polaris with about twenty-four other people. He told me that the remedy was having a very powerful effect, there being visionary experiences reported as well as a profound nature rapport, among other things. Jeremy asked me to fax him any information I could find about this particular star, because the next day he was going to inform the group what it was that they had taken.
During a seminar held in Toronto the following September Jeremy was to reveal more about the Polaris proving, although he emphasized that the remedy picture was still in a preliminary stage. Worked up to the 30C potency, the remedy was taken by the group on June 21.(3) In this potency Polaris elicited symptoms that could apparently be sorted out into two overlapping sets. One set of symptoms had evident affinity with deep space, while the other set seemed more attuned to the immediate circumstances of the remedy's creation.
At the outset everyone in the group felt energy collecting in a triangular formation, sometimes painfully, just beneath their eyes, which then ascended upwards through the vertex in a way that actually seemed to make their hair stand on end. They also began experiencing an absolute stillness, feeling that they could just sit through the whole night and not move. On the other hand they also experienced the contrary property, where they simply could not stop moving. While in this latter phase a point come where everybody, save one, wanted to take off and tour the north of the island, although it was in fact drear and featureless. Then they started making jokes about going to the North Pole!
Having experienced the polarities of stillness/motion, north/south, getting lost/knowing one's way, some of the provers moved into a much deeper and more profound state, describing a sensation of floating up off the earth. One prover had several dreams which were initiated by great chord, like that of a pipe organ, yet inaudible in the ordinary sense. In the waking state she felt that her abdomen was becoming empty and hollow, like the vacuum of space itself. Another woman reported feeling like she was in the middle of space, just seeing the stars and the moon. "I'm going into deep space," she said, "a big, big, big place. I've never seen anything this big before." There were mountains and weird places, silvery and devoid of life. She felt she was becoming one with the wind, moving over the water and the sand, There were lightning flashes, explosions of light on her left side. None of this could she fit into human language; words could not do it justice. Over the period of a few days this same woman repeatedly visualized various upward- and downward-pointing triangles, which rotated and floated about until they eventually amalgamated in the form of a Star of David. A star!
Although she was not Jewish, this same prover reported that the word
Niphilem was running through her mind. Niphelim in Hebrew means "Giants,"
a word which occurs in the Biblical story of a time when a race of Giants
walked upon the earth and mated with the daughters of man, producing a
hybrid species which met an obscure fate. Because they were in perfect
communication with the animals around them, these Giants would not eat
Many of the provers experienced states of irretrievable loss and deep sadness for the fact that they could no longer communicate with the species of the animal realm. Many felt that they were bearing witness to the time when the primal connection between humans and animals was broken, and that this separation was unfixable and now had the character of a deep truth. Nevertheless, some of the provers tried communicating through animal sounds, avoiding human language altogether. The sadness at the gulf which separated the life realms was conveyed by one prover in feeling like a beached whale, left high and dry at ebbtide.
These feelings of rapport/separation with nature may in fact be attributable to the circumstances attending the remedy's preparation. Sitting in the darkness with my right cheek to the telescope's barrel, I was aware that there were bears in the surrounding woods, particularly at that time of year. At other times I too had yearned to communicate with the deer which I had seen browsing in the stone enclosure.
But then there were other symptoms reported that seemed directly connected with the telescope itself. Someone experienced the delusion that the folds of his brain were unfurling, becoming like pipes, through which he could communicate; and another prover actually visualized some sort of brass cylinder, the length of which could be adjusted as part of the process. Other symptoms whose source might be considered more ambient than cosmic were: extreme chilliness, especially with cold thighs; a unaminous craving for hot chocolate; aggravation from wind, yet wanting to be in the cold wind; and pain in triangular shape around eyes (as from squinting for an hour through the finderscope).
The day on which he was to reveal the source of the remedy, Jeremy held a guessing contest, promising half-seriously a round-trip ticket to Paris for the winner. The group began converging on the star source so quickly, that he was forced to preempt them, so as not to be suddenly out of pocket.
Provings like this will help resolve the issue raised by the noted homeopath, George Vithoulkas, who questions whether "imponderable" remedies acutally possess curative powers. Vilhoulkas himself expressed the opinion that for the sake of rationality the entire class of remedies which lack a material substrate should be jettisoned from the homeopathic Materia Medica. (4) Included among these imponderables would be remedies such as Electricitas, Galvanismus, Magnetis Polus Articus and Australis, Sol and Luna, and X-ray. These are all admittedly minor remedies, so that their absence would not be keenly felt by most prescribers. Yet the attempt to normalize homeopathy by trimming off a few troubling features will do nothing to remove its essential wonder and mystery as a science rooted in the alchemical tradition. And is it not profoundly curative - does it not heal our sense of separation - to know that we can take into our beings the energy of a star (5) that is many light-years away?
1. In this endeavour I received invaluable guidance and support from Drs. Asa Hershoff and Robert Posen.
2. To this point Jeremy Sherr has published complete provings of Chocolate, Scorpion, Hydrogen, Neon, Brassica, Iridium, Diamond, Germanium, Salmon, and American Bald Eagle.
3. By taking the astrological dimension into account, even the time at which the proving began cannot appear arbitrary. Astrologers will typically express the quality of a star in terms of a combination of certain planetary energies. According to Reinhold Ebertin, the Pole Star, with a zodiacal longitude of 28 degrees Gemini, is to be regarded as a blend of the Sun, Venus and Saturn. I myself was born on 21 June 1944, when Venus, Sun, and Saturn were in close conjunction, from 28 degrees Gemini to 0 degrees Cancer. For further information on the subject of star energies, see R. Ebertin, 1971. Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Tempe, Arizona: American Federation of Astrologers, Inc.
4. In his address to the International Congress for Classical Homeopathy, held in April 1997 in Berlin, Vithoulkas also cautioned against superficial research and flaky methodologies.
5. With this particular telescope the
actual field of view at prime focus (i.e. without an eyepiece) comprehends
some three-quarters of a degree in diameter. Obviously, as a dimensionless
point of emission, Polaris cannot be separated from a cone of space that
extends to infinity. Mingled with this one star, which is the brightest
simply from Earth's point of view, are the energies of millions of other
stars, not to mention whole galaxies. Only the sun and the moon, which
occupy the telescope's entire field of view, can be isolated as light sources
from the background of space. Yet even here there is a residual source
of contamination in the fact that the telescope's transmitting window,
which is coated with magnesium fluoride, can absorb up to 10 percent of
the incident light.