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SAMUEL HAHNEMANN - Miasmatic Understanding Through Facial Analysis
By Grant Bentley and Louise Barton
The energetic force that lies within us (our vital force) shapes both our material body and our mental outlook. This energy accounts for the type of circumstances that we encounter in our lives and our stress response to those situations.
Hahnemann first discovered the three primary forces. He called them miasms – psora, sycosis and syphilis. Hahnemann used pathology to define his miasmatic categories and his sound fundamental ideas have been applied imperfectly as a result. His miasm theory is best understood and clinically applied by describing the action of the causative factor (the force or miasm) as a stress response rather than a disease. While true that disease will result because of these stress responses (the miasm) the actual disease that will result cannot be predicted.
Hahnemann was the first to uncover this trio that underpins all universal law. That is psora, sycosis and syphilis – but instead of using disease names the HFA method reflects on the force behind each of these groups. Psora throws out – outward motion, sycosis traps – circular motion and syphilis degenerates – inward motion.
The three forces or motions are expressions of energy. Our material universe is three dimensional – a substance can move outward, inward or spin upon its own axis and our bodies are perfect demonstrations of this blueprint – every facial feature will push outward, be circular or draw inwards.
Each feature on our face can be examined to determine which of the three forces has exerted its influence the most. Hahnemann understood the concept of dominance. He knew that the weaker was always suppressed by the stronger – this applies to disease, to energy, to material substances and to us. Whichever of our facial features is most dominant will present a perfect representation of our internal force (or miasm). Hahnemann also understood that when two forces (or diseases) of equal strength joined - a new force would result. The same applies to three forces of equal strength.
Rather than hypothesizing on his life and which miasm he may have been influenced by we need to examine what history tells us to be fact.
Firstly his facial features. The first photograph of an individual was taken in late 1838 or early 1839 (1) and as Hahnemann died in 1843 there is only one known photograph taken of him – this photograph was taken on 30th September 1841. There were numerous portraits painted and some sculptures prior to the photograph – these too offer some information about his facial features.
To accurately determine the overall forces that shape any face we really need a number of photographs to see all the features – including hairline, teeth, the bridge and forehead on profile. However the one photo we do have of Samuel Hahnemann gives us the majority of information, and as the dominance is clear we can accurately determine his actual miasm.
These images can be viewed at http://homeoint.org/photo/hahnema1.htm and were printed with permission (Homeopathe International) in Appearance and Circumstance (Grant Bentley 2003 - page 276).
When we examine each feature of Samuel Hahnemann and categorize next to the three forces his overall analysis is as follows
Outward (psora) 8
Circular (sycosis) 0
Inward (syphilis) 8
Lines – between eyes
Lines – nose to mouth
Lines – under mouth
Lines – cheeks
Chin - shape
Hahnemann shows an equal distribution of outward and inward features. We can therefore say with great confidence that his miasm (indwelling force or defence mechanism) will be tubercular (the combination of outward/inward force in equal proportion).
* - some images only – we are allocating half a point to down-turned eyes and half a point to small eyes in case one of the features is incorrect.
The Victorian College of Classical Homœopathy commenced a research project in 1999 to determine whether there was a link between facial structure and the concept of a miasm. This research has been applied clinically for the last eight years, demonstrating that life circumstances of patients from within the same energy force (miasmatic) group are often very similar. Our indwelling force directs us when we are under stress resulting in strong similarities between people belonging to the same miasmatic group. Hahnemann’s life circumstances are an example and demonstrate the qualities of tubercular energy.
When a person is dominated by two forces that are opposite but of the same strength, their principal drive will be formed from the interaction of these two forces. In the same way that the colour yellow (outward) and the colour blue (inward) when joined together form the colour green, we know that green is neither yellow nor blue. Green is its own unique colour and the tubercular miasm is neither outward nor inward force, but the contact between the two. The best term to depict the interaction between inward and outward force is reaction.
It is very fortunate that Hahnemann was both tubercular (and therefore reactive by nature) and that the very first substance he ingested as a proving was both tubercular and reactive in its nature – China Officianalis. Without this act of serendipity we may now not have this wonderful healing method known as homœopathy. But fortune was smiling on Hahnemann and his curious outlook combined with Cullen’s depiction of China as having bitter properties, led him to consume the substance even when he wasn’t sick. The rest as they say is history.
Hahnemann chose a substance that displayed the qualities of the tubercular miasm – reactivity and sensitivity. His own reactivity and sensitivity allowed him to demonstrate to himself the proving qualities of China and these observations formed the foundations for the law of similars.
Qualities observed in tubercular people
The central core of the tubercular miasm is reactivity. Reactivity ensures that a tubercular person often has acute senses, an active mind and as a result very good observational skills. These patients will be both physically sensitive as well as highly alert and have a reactive nervous system. Each part of us is a representation of the whole and it is not surprising that the tubercular patient also has a highly reactive immune system. When out of balance they will over-react to both their environment and circumstances around them. This alert state is seen in an organism that can be in a perpetual fight or flight situation. Adrenaline surges lead these patients to be either adrenaline junkies or to avoid stress at all costs and seek the most harmonious environment they can find.
A natural outcome of these chemical surges is the desire for stimulation. Many tubercular patients are easily bored and will seek stimulation – either physical or mental – sometimes this is seen in a strong desire for change which can be expressed through job changes, home changes, relationship changes or travel. Another quality borne of the desire for change is adaptability.
Having sharp senses and a keen eye for observation, many tubercular patients are drawn towards knowledge. Loving a mental challenge that both stimulates and diverts them from boredom, the tubercular person will often fight with words. Communication is their specialty, this skill culminating from their mental insight combined with a very strong memory that is the consequence of frequent surges of adrenaline.
Those who are observing can also be described as critics. The role of a critic is to tell it like it is or even to find fault. Observing becomes a way of life and this vast intake of information can result in both new ideas and new methods. Many tubercular people are avid readers, inventors or creators of new information. Their natural inclination toward mental challenge allows for focus with specialized topics and it is common to see tubercular patients who are highly skilled in one area but often poorly skilled in others.
We both create and are drawn to life events due to the energy force (miasm) that resides within us. Whether we avoid a particular topic or seek it out that issue induces a special status, shaping and forming our personality, our life circumstances and our individual reaction to stress. Whichever miasm we belong to, its energy force will dominate our lives and ultimately, if we are out of balance for too long, results in pathology.
Having the ability to analyse the internal force (miasm) of an individual, through assessing the shape, size and lastly the dominance of their facial features means we can confidently determine Hahnemann’s miasm. To further confirm our analysis we can also utilize our knowledge of the types of behaviours and circumstances we commonly see in tubercular patients.
Born two hundred years before most homœopaths now living, none of us have the benefit of knowing Hahnemann in person but we can assess his personality and traits through his actions, writing, letters and the observations of others. It is especially factual to summarise a patient or in this case our founder, through the actions the subject has undertaken throughout their life and the circumstances that have occurred around them.
Firstly we know that Hahnemann was an intelligent and observant child and later displayed these qualities as an adult. From an early age he was solving problems directed towards him by his father. By the age of twelve he was fluent in English, French, Greek and Latin as well as his native German. He taught Greek to his fellow students at this tender age. By his early twenties he was a qualified doctor and to increase his income, a translator of medical books. Before he turned thirty he became disillusioned with medicine and began to earn his living from translations alone which would have been meagre compared to what he could have earned if he stayed with medicine. Many of these translations were scribbled with his own opinions on the subject matter as he criticized the original author’s work. Hahnemann also moved numerous times during this period citing poverty as the main factor.
The first three decades of Hahnemann’s life display a number of tubercular qualities – observant, intelligent, an ability to communicate, problem solving, changing environments, dissatisfaction and criticism.
Dissatisfaction is an outcome of boredom, wanting to change to another topic because the current focus doesn’t stimulate adequately. Hahnemann was quick to find fault with both his environment and those around him. Between 1792 and 1804 he moved fourteen times never staying in one place longer than a year, and often only a few months. Both a qualified doctor and a well known translator it could be argued that he didn’t really give any one place enough time to establish himself, and his wanderlust ways were in fact one of the reasons he and his family were so poor. When the tubercular miasm is understood it isn’t surprising that Hahnemann moved the way he did.
His "whole intellect was in a state of ferment...and complete internal revolution." [Haehl, vol. 1, 48] …. Hahnemann was "distracted by mental labours, which drove him restlessly from town to town." [Haehl, vol. 1, 48] Once he had finished "wrestling with his thoughts," [Haehl, vol. 1, 48] and "the work of the mind accomplished,". (2)
Many tubercular patients describe the intense activity that takes place in their brain impacting on both their mind and thoughts. It is common for these individuals to have difficulty in switching these thoughts off and many cannot sleep well, or only sleep lightly, their senses always on alert. Hahnemann was known to stay up all night every third day to complete his work, but perhaps this habit was a natural outcome of an inability to sleep rather than his work motivating the routine. Very few practitioners whether alternative or conventional would recommend a schedule of this nature – it is well known how important a good nights sleep (every night) is to us. Hahnemann was ahead of his time in understanding the importance of fresh air, exercise and good food, and he would have understood the value of sleeping every night.
When Hahnemann translated the medical work written by Cullen in 1790 he was taking on more than just the role of a translator – his critical eye was testing every opinion written for both accuracy and validity. Criticism and the ability to criticise is a quality of tubercular people that can be either a personal demon or a salvation and way of understanding life. His personal criticism of the opinions of Cullen led Hahnemann to prove China, and from this one act homœopathy was born. However later as Hahnemann developed his new system he bore the brunt of the criticism of others and he was well known for his tirades in response.
By 1804 Hahnemann settled in Torgau for a period of seven years. Having spent the previous fourteen years undertaking provings and returning to the practice of medicine in 1796, it can be argued that his need for stimulation and change was being satisfied in the development of his new method, homœopathy. Between 1804 and 1811 he wrote numerous essays, the first edition of the Organon (1810) and Materia Medica Pura (1811).
The need for stimulation and adrenaline for some tubercular patients manifests in the desire to fight or take on the establishment. From 1812 Hahnemann moved back to Leipzig with the chief intention of taking on the established medical system of the day. He also secured a job at a teaching university and was known for his red faced, spittle spraying, emotive lectures contradicting opinions on all aspects of medicine. His vast academic knowledge combined with his passion and ability to communicate made his lectures favorites at the university.
However as time progressed his lectures were less well attended. A strong memory combined with bitterness for the lack of acceptance he was receiving, led his lectures to become both long winded and harsh, as a consequence his audience lessened dramatically. It was said that he became uncontrolled and incoherent. Hahnemann was not known for his political correctness, and this trait for being ahead of their time and out of step with the mainstream is found in a number of tubercular patients.
His attacks on others led to the natural outcome of attacks upon himself, and combined with his inability to dispense his own medicines, he was again forced to move. Persecution is common to many tubercular remedies – China is in bold under this rubric.
Between 1821 and 1835 he resided in Coethen in virtual isolation, free to dispense his own medicines, live in peace and tranquility, and continue to develop his ideas including the miasm theory. Many tubercular patients desire isolation and being left alone by the rest of the world to pursue their own works.
Reactivity and adaptability go hand in hand, and even though Hahnemann was forced out of regular medical practice, he was able through his writings and disciples to spread the methodology of homœopathy beyond Europe to the Americas. He was revolutionary for his time in his acceptance of lay practitioners, most notably Boenninghausen and his second wife Melanie, in both learning and practicing homœopathy. This adaptability also came to the forefront at the advanced age of eighty when he met the much younger Melanie, married her, packed up and moved to Paris. Tubercular people can adapt to new circumstances more easily than people from other miasms because of the reaction of the forces within them, and Hahnemann’s ability to not only start afresh in a new country away from his family, but to make the majority of his fortune in his last eight years of his life is a testament to his adaptability.
Summary of major tubercular traits
- Sensitivity – Hahnemann’s personal sensitivity allowed him to be a prover of many remedies, even those not tubercular in their nature
- Change – known for his wandering ways Hahnemann also applied the concept of change to his work, constantly upgrading and changing or improving his ideas. His potency methods alone led him from the decimal to the centissimal and finally to the LM’s. His case books from Paris showed a practitioner experimenting with remedies, potency and the concept of miasms to the very end
- Discontent – this trait allowed Hahnemann to move away from the current medical practices of his time and continually attempt to advance homœopathic practices
- Adaptability – Hahnemann’s ability to adapt allowed him to both change his environment and his ideas, even at an age when the majority of people would settle in to a quiet pace at the end of their days
- Observant – without his observant eye Hahnemann could never have achieved the immense perfection of the system he both founded and developed
- Critical – having a critical eye meant that Hahnemann could see fault in what existed, allowing him the ability to come up with new ideas and methods