Editorial: diving into the depths, prescribing on the Sea archetype


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Editorial: diving into the depths, prescribing on the Sea archetype

by Carolyn Burdet

As homeopaths, our curiosity is aroused for the unexplored stream of similimum remedies in the natural world. Plunging into the depths of the sea, delving into the unknown realms of the underworld, overcoming the elements to surf the waves or defying extreme pressure and our own oxygen metabolism to explore the reef, is an exhilarating prospect, but the prospect of huge breakers crashing overhead, and being dragged down by the undertow currents is overwhelming. These are the Sensations, Fears and Delusions of the sea remedies.

The sea is the habitat of 230,000 known species, yet it is estimated that only 5% of the ocean has been explored, and biologists suggest over two million marine species may exist in those depths. A handful well-known remedies from the sea are cornerstones of homeopathy, yet there are 100 potentised sea remedies in our pharmacies, available to prescribe.

This newer portfolio of sea remedies is vividly described in two well-researched books:

"Survival: the Mollusc" by Rajan Sankaran and Sudhir Baldota simplifies key words and themes of the molluscs for Sensation case taking.

"Sea Remedies: Evolution of the Senses" by Jo Evans covers a wider range of species, exploring the sea creatures’ sensory chemoreception, behaviour, and extraordinary biology (to regenerate limbs, detect or filter bacteria, or effect on immunity), linking medical research to autoimmune or neuropathology.

Italian homeopath and author Massimo Mangliavori was lecturing on sea remedies several years ago, and UK homeopath Gordon Adam has been immersed in researching new sea remedies for ten years, compiling a repertory of sea remedy themes and rubrics. Geoff Johnson, a lecturer of Sensation homeopathy, pioneers new remedies into pharmacy as he discovers them through reaching the ‘source’ in sensation case taking. Anne Schadde, Jenni Tree, Marion Cattley, and Melissa Assilem have also explored these newer sea remedies in their cases and provings.

From this material we learn to recognise the sea realm in our patients, a case that is reminiscent of Natrium muriaticum, or Sepia but not quite, or Calcium Carb with a difference. Careful case-taking reveals the exact source, as the patient describes his or her experience and sensation and the behaviour of the creature involved becomes evident. In this issue, Geoff Johnson’s Limpet case describes “hammering” pains, and psychologically, the tenacity and the sheer overwhelming struggle to survive while being battered by waves crashing on the rocks.

For people who need a sea remedy, their environment can be overwhelming, as we see in Gordon Adam’s lovely case of Pearl in this issue. Vulnerability and sense of intrusion is heightened. Their response is to go inside and try to shut out frightening impressions.

Gordon Adam has initiated a collaboration between homeopaths, The Sea Remedies Project, which has conducted several provings of new sea remedies including: a trituration proving of Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris), and short meditative provings of Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita), Pearl (Pearl immersion), Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda), and Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys oliveacea ovum). He teaches workshops ‘Sea Remedies – Healing from the Depths’, each seminar a pearl of wisdom for discovering more about a particular class of sea species.

Delving deeper into psyche and soma, in her book on Sea Remedies, Jo Evans links the remedies to the mythology of their Latin names (Medusa, and Chiron the wounded healer), illuminating the connection to the archetype of the human collective unconscious. She points out how sea creatures sense and respond via their whole body, and expands our perceptions as homeopaths, enabling us to recognise the features of sea animals in our patients’ behaviour and complaints. The wealth of information that she provides makes it easy for us to cross reference the neurotoxins of other remedies, such as snakes and spiders.

Experiencing emotions and impressions as they wash through all the senses, is one of the identifying themes of a sea remedy, as is ‘secrecy’, and ‘undiscovered depths’. A trawl of the internet dredges very few publicly available sea cases. Is this an indication of the patient’s request for privacy or do homeopaths clam up tightly when asked to share their sea cases? Up to the surface rose a beautiful case from Karen Leadbeater, whose clarity resisted being submerged by the confusing sea mists! She mentions fossils in the case; Nautilus is related to ammonites. The patient is an architect. Nautilus grows its spiral shell in perfect proportion to the golden mean, adding new chambers, exquisitely decorating the interior.

As I was compiling cases for this issue of Interhomeopathy, someone presented with an autoimmune condition, in a Sepia-like state, spent from giving out. She expanded to describe a feeling of having no boundaries, “transparent” from exhaustion “with blue rings under the eyes” (this was not Sepia language). She described a sense of predators lurking in the depths, “sea monsters with tentacles that sting you to death.” She has been stung by jellyfish all over the world, and has great sensitivity to stinging comments. She was invoking materia medica of Chironex – whose name is derived from Chiron the wounded healer.

Her previous homeopath, hearing her image of a multi-headed hydra, prescribed a substance with venom, a neurotoxin capable of causing autoimmune dysfunction. In the absence of ‘snake themes’, other than a visionary quality in the patient, they prescribed a ‘shy snake’. Chironex, the Box Jellyfish, has the same neurotoxic venom. It also has clairvoyance, and Cnidarian sea creatures – a group that includes stinging sea anemones, coral and jellyfish – have a mythic connection to Medusa and the Hydra.

How can a patient siphon all this in their case giving? It is as if they tune in to the collective unconscious, their archetype floats into their subconscious. Our hope as homeopaths is that if we can reach a person at this level of depth, the remedy and potency will resonate so deeply that the shadows can be integrated into awareness, bringing acceptance, calm and inner strength, rekindling the capacity to restore them to health.


Cathedral Cove, Hahei, New Zealand; Jürgen Weiland

Categories: Editorials
Keywords: editorial, sea remedies

Sea remedies: a vast little-explored treasure source of healing potential

by Gordon Adam

“The sea is a symbol of the dynamism of life. Everything comes from the sea and everything returns to it. It is a place of birth, transformation and rebirth. With its tides, the sea symbolizes a transitory condition between shapeless potentiality and formal reality, an ambivalent situation of uncertainty, doubt, and indecision.” Phillip Robbins[1]

The sea is regarded as the source of all life; it covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface, and contains virtually all of the known elements[2]. Given its huge significance for life on the planet, only a small number of homeopathic remedies sourced from the sea are widely prescribed: Natrum muriaticum, Calcarea carbonica, Sepia, Ambra grisea and Spongia, although there are currently nearly 100 sea-sourced remedies available. The sea is the habitat of 230,000 known species; it is estimated that only 5% of the ocean has been explored, and biologists believe that over two million marine species may exist!

More than in any other realm of nature, there is a huge healing potential lying dormant in unproved sea creatures and sea plants, and in seldom prescribed sea remedies that are already available. This has led me to engage in the study of sea remedies over the last 10 years, initially through setting up ‘The Sea Remedies Project’.[3] More recently, I have taught sea remedies in a series of workshops which have included short provings[4] of new sea remedies.

From work done by Massimo Mangialavori’[5], and my own research[6], some themes that are characteristic of sea remedies have emerged:

Sea & Water
Watery language e.g. “flow; drift; sink; swim”.
AFFINITY WITH WATER; people who need sea remedies often like to be near water or by the sea; sea hobbies; swimming, scuba diving, surfing, sailing, coastal path walking. Water seems frightening, with hidden unseen depths and threats e.g. fear of drowning, fear of sharks.

Vulnerability & Protection
VULNERABILITY: They feel VULNERABLE and have a need for PROTECTION. Fear of being injured, touched, invaded or penetrated, including sexually; need for SAFETY: “I stay inside my shell.” WITHDRAWAL from bad experiences; try to hide or escape, withdraw emotionally. Physically there may be contraction, spasms, cramps, and numbness.

SENSITIVE to PAIN and SUFFERING, sensitive to mental impressions; sensitive to MUSIC; noise; odours. EMOTIONS; BEING HURT; NUMBNESS; emotional indifference; unfeeling; numbness of extremities.

Relationship Problems

ISSUES WITH BEING OPEN, INTIMATE, Sexual. LACK OF TRUST. PROBLEMS CONNECTING to other people; WITHDRAW inside themselves; difficulty with communication. Problems relating to their partner, children, close family; estrangement; feel forsaken, abandoned, misunderstood. Ailments from: loss of relationship; disappointed love. HURT and GRIEF: A tendency to dwell on negative past experiences, withdraw as a protection against further hurt or loss.

Need for Private Space
Need for PRIVACY. Prefer to be ALONE IN THEIR OWN SPACE and not be disturbed. INTRUSION. CLAUSTROPHOBIA; AGORAPHOBIA. Feelings of ISOLATION, they keep people at a distance.

Inhibition, Guilt & Shame
INHIBITED, not spontaneous. Feel unable to be themselves; restricted by feelings of guilt and RESPONSIBILITY; feel under pressure, heavy, burdened, weighed down. Ailments from reproach. Ashamed; poor self image. Need for recognition.

Food & Nurture
Relationship problems can start with MOTHER; FOOD and NOURISHMENT, eating disorders, anorexia or overeating. FOOD ALLERGIES, intolerances: salt, milk, wheat, fish and shellfish, rich food. Cravings for SALT, milk and fish.

Immaturity & Dependency
DEVELOPMENTAL PROBLEMS; emotionally and psychologically. Immaturity; reluctant to leave home; internal conflict between self-sufficiency, dependency and independency.

Gender Issues
SEXUAL AMBIGUITY; homosexuality. Reversal of male/female roles and responsibilities.

RESISTANT TO CHANGE. Anxieties about moving house. Difficulties with MOTION; stiffness; paralysis. Some remedies have to move and be active; overwork. Weakness, exhaustion, M.E from over-exertion.

HORMONAL CHANGES: menopause, PMT, uterine prolapse (especially Calc carb, Sepia, Murex, Octopus)
GLANDS: all glands, particularly
THYROID and TESTES. Pain, swelling, induration, ulcers of glands (especially Calc carb, Sepia, Spongia, Nat mur, Sea Salt, Ambra grisea, Asterias, Murex)

HEART and CIRCULATION: Palpitations; fast or abnormal pulse; high or low blood pressure. Varicose veins; distension of blood vessels; sluggish circulation, heart pain. (especially Nat mur, Sea Salt, also Octopus, Cephalopods, Eel serum)

LUNGS: asthma; difficult breathing; wheezing; whistling; congestion of chest and lungs; constriction and oppression of chest. Coughs; suffocative; or dry and spasmodic; asthmatic cough. (especially Spongia Tosta, Calc carb, Sepia, Pecten jacobaeus)
WATER RETENTION; watery discharges.
DRYNESS: e.g. throat; cough; inside nose; skin. (especially Nat mur, Sea Salt, Calc carb, Spongia, Sepia, Octopus)
SKIN: Allergic skin reactions; burning, itching, stinging. Herpes; urticaria; vesicles; ulcers. Dry skin. (especially Cnidarians ~ jellyfish, urchins, coral, also Sea Salt)
CANCER: cancerous ulcers. (especially Calc carb, Sepia, Sea Salt, Ambra grisea, Asterias, Murex)
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: (especially Cnidarians ~ Coral, jellyfish)

‘Sensation’ language is often used by patients who may need a sea remedy:
SEA: ‘at sea’, adrift, awash, ebb and flow, in the flow, seasick, salty, clear, murky, choppy, swirly, changeable, alive, wild, storm.
DEEP: depth, ‘out of my depth’, ‘hidden depths’, dark, sinking, submerged, underwater, unseen things, drowning, gasping for breath, suffocated, diving, timeless, vast space, immense.
FLOATING: ‘tossed about’, ‘like a ship at sea’, swimming, afloat, bobbing along, buoyant, balance, bubbles, light, dancing.
WAVES: ‘it comes in waves’, tides, ‘up and down’, periods, rhythm, tidal wave, tsunami, cycles, moon, full moon.
FISH: fishy, ‘wet fish’, slippery, slimy, oyster, mermaid, Neptune, crab, whale, shark, dolphin, shrimp, squid.

SHELL: protection, ‘I stay inside’, ‘my house is important to me’, ‘in my shell’, ‘soft and vulnerable inside’, ‘hard exterior’, spiral, ‘I close up’, ’half and half’ (=bivalve), ‘I build a wall’, ‘I withdraw’, ‘I hide’, ‘I close a door on it’, ‘I go into a cave’, Intrusion by drilling, breaking, intruding, crushed, smashed.

SEASIDE: seashore, beach, coast, ashore, ‘head in the sand’, shells.
DESERT ISLAND: lost, castaway, marooned, stranded, remote, detached, disconnected, estranged, distance, on an island.
WATER: flow, fluid, pressure, heavy, energy, movement, overwhelming, powerful, awesome, flood, flooding, danger, peril, engulfed, awash, cold.

Salt is the main mineral constituent of sea water (3%). As Natrum mur is a polychrest well-represented in homeopathic repertories, it is often prescribed in cases that may do better with another sea remedy.
Natrum mur, Sepia and Calc carb appearing in the top six remedies in a repertorisation, suggests looking at other sea remedies as possibilities for the case.
‘Animal kingdom’ themes or language in a case that looks like Natrum mur is a clue to consider other sea creature remedies.
If the case is Natrum mur, with sea themes, (but no animal kingdom themes or language), you could also consider Aqua marina (deep sea water), Sea Salt (from beach water), and Himalayan Crystal Salt.
Remedies made from shells, or other calcareous material of the sea creatures, often use words and phrases that suggest the mineral kingdom.

If a patient does well on one sea remedy, but the remedy action is less than hoped for, consider other remedies in the same biological group. For instance if Sepia helps to an extent but not quite enough, you could consider other cephalopod remedies: Octopus (solitary, hiding in a cave) or Nautilus (‘up and down’), or Squid (squid shoal as a social group and has propulsion, whereas Sepia is solitary and has stasis).

New sea remedy cases, provings, and materia medica information is gradually becoming more available on the internet, and in recent welcome publications by Jo Evans[7] and Rajan Sankaran[8] . However, our overall knowledge of sea remedies, like our knowledge of the sea itself, is still in its infancy, and much work remains to be done. The cases presented in this current issue of Interhomeopathy will hopefully shine a bit more light into a vast little-explored treasure source of healing potential.


[1] From the proving of Aqua marina by Phillip Robbins (1999)
[2] The major elements found in the sea (in order of prevalence) are: Chlorine, Sodium, Magnesium, Sulphur, Calcium, Potassium, Bromine (also Iodine another Halogen), and Carbon. Other important elements in the sea which are indispensable to organic life include Phosphorus, Oxygen, and Nitrogen. Sodium Chloride salt comprises 3% of the total mass of sea water.
[3] ‘The Sea Remedies Project’ was set up in 2004. It involved a group of about 20 local homeopaths and homeopathy students researching lesser known and newly-proved sea remedies and then presenting them to other members of the project in bi-monthly meetings in Bristol. The project ran for about 5 years.
[4] Trituration proving of Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris). Short meditation provings of Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita), Pearl (Pearl immersion), Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda), and Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys oliveacea ovum)
[5] ‘Remaining in a Safe Environment: the Sea Remedies’ – transcription of Massimo Mangialavori course by Vicky Burley.
[6] A computer repertory comparison of rubrics containing all of the sea polychrest remedies. The rubrics were placed into groups, and themes drawn out.
[7] ‘Sea Remedies: Evolution of the Senses’ by Jo Evans
[8] 'Survival: the Mollusc' by Rajan Sankaran and Sudhir Baldota

Wikimedia Commons; Bangalley Head, Australia; Nigel Howe

Scallop shell; Jürgen Weiland

Categories: General
Keywords: sea remedies, float, drift, sink, swim, vulnerability, sensitivity, protection, privacy, relationship, inhibition, immaturity, gender, movement

Evolution of the senses: Cnidarian remedies

by Jo Evans

We carry, in evolved and adapted forms, the sensory structures of ancient sea creatures within us. The bones of our middle ears evolved from the gill arches of reptiles, the origins of our sensory organs, nervous system, brain and immune system originated in forms of sea life.

The traditional five senses normally applied to human beings know no boundaries in sea life; more than five senses operate in the oceans, electric and magnetic senses being two of them. Early animals, such as jellyfish, provide clues to the story of the senses. Smell and taste are chemically infused; touch and smell melt fluidly into taste; movement, balance are linked to sound and touch.

Homeopaths work with the connection between language and sensation. We work with the script of the case: the exact words of the patient describing how they feel as reflected in the words of homeopathic proving experiments. Each remedy speaks in emotional and physical symptoms, but by paying attention to the language of the senses, the homeopath can approach the essence of a case with greater clarity.

Jellyfish, Coral and Sea Anemone Remedies (Cnidarian Remedies)

- Corallium rubrum (Red Coral) Anthozoa.

- Anthopleura xanthogrammica (Giant Green Sea Anemone) Anthozoa.

- Stichodactyla haddoni (Haddon’s Sea Anemone) Anthozoa.

- Physalia pelagica (Portuguese Man of War) Hydrozoa.

- Medusa or Aurelia aurita (Moon Jellyfish) Scyphozoa.

- Chironex fleckeri (Box Jellyfish) Cubozoa.

Common Sensations of Cnidarian Remedies

Burning, stinging. Pins and needles, electric currents, tingling, throbbing, pulsing.

- Feels like jelly, weakness, collapse of structure, numbness, empty.

- Itching, crawling.

- Dislocation, dismemberment, disorientation, disabled.

- Beaten.

- Swelling, enlargement, elongation.

- Squeezed, pinched, compressed, constriction, pulled, drawn backwards, pressed downwards.

These can naturally include real pains and also delusions as to the nature of the body.

Characteristic Sensations of Cnidarians

- Heat and Burning; external burning and internal coldness

- Electrical shocks, pulsating pains, pins and needles, numbness

- Stitching/stabbing

- Dislocation (Corallium rubrum)

- Lack of substance, dissolving, collapsing, weakness with trembling, like jelly

- Floating or flying sensations or dreams

A Sense of dislocation

In the homeopathic remedies made from jellyfish, coral and sea anemones, there is a sensation of dislocation. The body may feel dismembered, dislocated, spineless. The group has an affinity with neurological disease and conditions involving weakness, such as post viral fatigue syndrome and ME; with the endocrine system (pineal, pituitary and adrenal glands), after long or short-term stress, with illnesses and symptoms that relate to feeling ‘burnt out’.

The initial phase is hypersensitive, hyperactive, speedy, living on adrenaline, and a tendency, like the mythical Medusa, to ‘lose their head’. In the next stage, the patient may describe feeling ungrounded, floating, not quite in their body, disorientated. In the later stages they are heavy, exhausted and numb, and emotionally cut off. There is a sense of unreality and inability to make contact with the environment.

Yet, there is also a sense of inner vision and the ability to see beyond reality. These are remedies of extremes: fast and slow, heavy and light, joyous or apathetic, ultrasensitive or numb with burning symptoms. Cnidarian remedies burn brightly, then burn themselves out.

- Emotionally impulsive: they “lose their head”. Ultra sensitive, overwhelmed by emotions, uncontrollable reactions.

- Burnt out, with nervous exhaustion and neuromuscular complaints.

- Strong desires and aversions. Highs and lows. Intense, burning sexual desire. Violent passion.

- High sensitivity to pain, intolerant generally.

- Stinging others: critical, contemptuous. Dictatorial, abusive, angry. Lack of empathy.

- Violence: beaten, broken, forced-apart sensations. Aggressive. Desire to fight or hit.

- Delusion of being outside the body, ungrounded, double.

- Weakening of boundaries and inhibitions; as if drunk.

- Altered perception of time and distance.

- Inner vision and clairvoyance; prophetic dreams.

- Feeling detached, as if watching oneself from outside, or above; dreams of espionage.

- Light: Fluorescent colours, green. Photosensitive. Sensation of incorporeal light.

- Darkness: dark mood, black cloud, shadow.

- Right-brain: impulsive, timeless, creative, lateral thinking, visual, intuitive, sees the whole picture before the details, able to encompass many things at once.

- Left-brain action is less capable: difficulty with calculating, writing, logic; confusion.

- Over-reacting, oversensitive, quick.

or Numb, distant, detached, slow.

- Desire for music, dancing, laughter, joyful

or Unable to enjoy. Aversion to the sight of others’ enjoyment. Laughter is irritating.

- Sensitive to rudeness or can be rude, abusive, intolerant.

- Lack of adaptability or Go with the flow.

- Connected, enlightenment, lightness, floating, filled with light, tranquillity, bliss

or Separation, cut off, darkness, heaviness, depression.

Physical Affinities: Cardiovascular. Immune. ME, post viral fatigue. Endocrine system (pineal, pituitary and adrenal glands). Neuromuscular. Arthritis. Urethritis. Skin urticaria, oedema, eczema, ulcers, herpes. Gastrointestinal: diarrhoea, poisoning. Dehydration, sunstroke, photosensitivity. Cough, whooping cough, sinusitis and tonsillitis.

This abridged extract from Sea Remedies, Evolution of the Senses, by Jo Evans, published by Emryss explores the sensory symptoms of remedies from the Cnidarian phylum: coral, sea anemones and jellyfish. The book is available from the Narayana bookstore http://www.narayana-publishers.com/Sea-Remedies/Jo-Evans/b7346. Sea Remedies, Evolution of the Senses includes detailed materia medica of 24 remedies from a number of phyla and chapters exploring the evolution of the senses.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons
Olindias formosa; KENPEI
Pillar coral; public domain

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