The Element Theory (Homeopathy and the Elements) has shown to be a powerful tool in analyzing and prescribing for cases. The rows of the periodic table represent basic life themes. The columns of the periodic table are the stages in a process of development, coming to a rise, culmination and fall. A short description of the Stages is in Table 1.
In literature one can find many examples of successful analyses with the Element Theory. Nice examples of course are those where the analysis was done without the Element theory and still all the information is there to confirm the theory. For instance, a case was presented where a man who wanted to become an artist, left Calcutta and his girl-friend for Bombay, was rejected there as an artist, and in his romantic moods went to prostitutes, thinking of his beloved girl-friend, but contracted syphilis. Antimonium crudum was prescribed on his romanticism. But there is: rejected (stage 15), as an artist (Silver series), with romanticism (Sulphur): together Antimonium crudum. Or he left (Stage 15) his girlfriend (Sulphur) to become an artist (Silver series).
Table 1: Stages
|1||The spontaneous start, the impulsive beginning. Things are done without being thought over, without reflection. This leads to naive, instinctive, simplistic and even childish or foolish behavior. It can lead to one-sidedness, which seems rigid. Manic. Alone and lonely.|
|2||Unsure, timid. Doesn’t know what he is worth, what he can do, so remains passive or adapts to the situation. He just watches and feels watched at the same time, so he hides. He wants and needs protection and support. Bewildered and overwhelmed.|
|3||Searching, for the right thing, trying and comparing possibilities. He feels unsure and easily underestimates himself, so he cannot come to a conclusion. He avoids a decision, does not commit himself.|
|4||The real official start. It can be the founding of business, a marriage, a contract. The decision is made, the commitment stated. But one can feel unsure, astonished that it can be done. This can lead to irresolution and amazement.|
|5||The preparation of the work, the plans and proposals after the start is made. But the work looks too big, the mountain to high too climb, insurmountable. So he is easily discouraged, disappointed in his provisory plans. He alternates between going on and giving up, avoiding and postponing the work to his unrealistic goal.|
|6||This is the challenge. One has to do things, prove one’s power. One is forced to act; it is inevitable and inescapable. It has to be done, the bridges are burnt behind him. It takes courage and bravery. In the extreme it is the daredevil. The fear of a possible failure can make him do his act alone, covered and secretive.|
|7||Training leads to perfection. He can do his act, but knows he has still to learn a lot more. He has to practice to become a master of everything. He wants to learn from others, likes to cooperate to see how others do things. He likes to teach and help others on their road to become a master.|
|8||This is the real work, everything learned so far has to be assembled, put together. But the amount of work is massive, huge. So one needs perseverance, endurance, power and force. One feels pressured due to lack of time, struggling against deadlines. One has to push and fight against the inertia of matter and resistance of people. One can be irritated by opposition.|
|9||The body of work has been done, but the last details have to be filled in. Practically the goal is reached. Virtually the work is finished. Minor adaptations can be made after the dress rehearsal. The book can be completed after the corrections of the proofreaders. The contract just has to be approved and signed. But the fear of a blunder, a failure at the examination can make one call the whole thing off.|
|10||The goal is reached. One feels at the top, the summit. It is the glory of the winner, the brilliance of a victory. Everything falls into place. It is obvious that one is oneself, the noble person that decides independently and is self-sufficient. One can become so convinced of the success and righteousness, that one becomes rigid, fixed and haughty. Balance and imbalance.|
|11||This is the maintenance. One has to hold and keep the position reached, things have to be conserved and preserved. One wants to enjoy the affluence and prosperity. One wants to expand and share the wealth and fortune. Sustenance is possible, but heavy. One protects like a guardian or shepherd. Benevolence. Benign tumors.|
|12||The power is exerted to the utmost, is overdone like a tyrant. One still has full power, but feels threatened from all directions. Suspicious of betrayal and attack, one defends the power in an exaggerated way. It is overdone, leading to opposition. It is too much of a good thing: overshooting, overdoing, overstating, and boasting. The conservative one rules by division, defending against revolution and decline.|
|13||The position can only be held partly, half. One has to retreat and retire. One has to reduce and shrink. But one holds on to old and obsolete things with nostalgic feelings. The antique and outdated things from the past, which are the best, must be retired and withdrawn. But they are held in honor in the reduced space. The atmosphere is musty, moldy.|
|14||Form without power; mask, facade, mummy, fossil. The real power is gone, but externally it still seems to function well. One is dismissed, put on a sidetrack. One feels powerless, weak, drained, discharged, empty and hollow. One hides behind the form, diverting real responsibility. Coward.|
|15||The loss. This is the stage of disappearance of what has been achieved, the bankruptcy, defeat, and death, being fired. Everything is burnt. It can be felt like a shock, being poisoned. One can fight and resist, refusing to give over. Or one can give in as a surrender, sacrifice or abdication. The best is to forgive and forget.|
|16||Things are over, in essence. Only the remnants and ashes are left, the leftovers. The remnants can be in a state of decay, putrification, producing an offensive and rotten odor and ugly view. One is disgusted and becomes an outcast. It is like a beggar in rags, seducing and tempting others to give. Only memories are left, bringing one in a state of fantasy of greatness. Deepening and reconciliation. Lazy.|
|17||This is the eradication, all has to be erased. It has to be ceased, extinguished, abolished, aborted and finalized. One can be forced to quit or flee, being expelled as an outcast. One has to let go everything, even forget memories. It frees, makes one loose from bonds. One can let go with humor. The opposite is to hold on to things, even taking them without asking.|
|18||This is the denial of action, of everything. It is the pause between actions: rest, holidays, sleep, meditation, coma, death. Things are latent, idle, inert, inactive and quiet. Externally there is no interaction or communication: autism, cocoon. Internally there can be a transformation. The sensation is of being free, floating, confused, and unconnected.|
The idea was that the stages were typical for the periodic table and the mineral kingdom. The Stages are an intrinsic part of the periodic table, the 18 columns being the 18 stages. But the idea behind the Stages is that of a process, developments, where things come into existence, grow, culminate, decline and in the end disappear again. This idea lies at the heart of everything in nature. Life comes and goes. In a way the idea of a process is the least obvious for the mineral Kingdom where elements are seen as unchangeable. It is more the plant and animal kingdom where the idea of life and process is more prominent.
The classification of the Plant kingdom is one of families, which are further grouped in orders and classes. The plant families have shown to have a general theme or problem. This is very much alike the series in the mineral kingdom. For instance, the family of the buttercups, the Ranunculaceae, has the theme of a child that feels alone and forsaken in a hard and raw world, where it needs protection from parents or other adults.
Sankaran came up with the idea to differentiate each family by miasm. The members of a family can be differentiated by specific miasms: acute, typhoid, ringworm, malaria, sycosis, cancer, tuberculosis, lepra and syphilis. These miasms are not the disease as such, but a way of being and perceiving the world, a way of how to handle the problem of the family. For instance, Aconitum is in the Acute miasm of the Ranunculaceae, so Aconitum experience the sudden, acute shock of being threatened and alone in the hard world.
When one takes a closer look at the miasms as Sankaran treats them, it turns that they are very much like the Stages. The Acute miasm resembles Stage one with concepts as: acute, sudden, unforeseen, impulsive, naive. Table 2 shows the relationships.
Table 2: Stages and miasms
Stages and miasms
For me the conclusion is that the Stages are a deeper idea of which the miasms are an expression. The Stages are abstract, rising from a mathematical formula, so they are underlying and not just limited to periodic table. The Stages turned out to be more basic than the periodic table as such. This is at first a surprise since the stages seemed to be intrinsic to the periodic table.
With the idea of the Stages being universal, they also can be applied to other kingdoms. The differentiation of plant families can be done with Stages. For me this feels more precise than using the miasms. The first advantage is that we refrain from the use of the concept of miasm, which has been used in homeopathy in so many different ways that it has given rise to many such disputes and much confusion. More important though, is that the Stages give a strait sequence, which is not the case for the miasms. And this advantage arises from the fact that the Stages are naturally given. The miasm on the other hand were deduced from remedy pictures. There were in homeopathy lots of discussions of how many miasms there are. Some said there were only three, like Hahnemann had projected. Later Tuberculosis was added, and Cancer. But the question remains, are there more miasms, more than Sankaran has described. For instance is polio is separate miasm, or should it be placed in one of the existing miasms? The stages resolve this problem by itself, as the amount is naturally given.
Sankaran made a huge step forward with the differentiation by miasms though. Finding them as basic themes and the way to use them was a deep insight. But the Stages refine the whole idea and bring it to a deeper level of abstraction and understanding, as they underlie nature. The miasms are an expression of the Stages and that is why they fit in so nicely.
The nosodes can be differentiated by miasm as Table 2 shows. In the Plant kingdom the plant families can be differentiated by Stages. An example is given for the Ranunculaceae in Table 2.
In the Animal kingdom families can also be differentiated by Stages. As an example this has been done for the snakes as given in table 3.
Table 3: Stages and snakes
Some homeopaths will ask what is the advantage of all this. One might think it is just a theoretical exercise. In my experience that is not the case. It is just the opposite: it is a very powerful tool in understanding remedies and analyzing cases. It has the same power as it had for the mineral kingdom. There is only one drawback, which is that the Stages are not given by nature for the Plant and animal Kingdom, as they are for the mineral kingdom. In the mineral kingdom, the place in a column gives the Stage. In the other kingdoms the Stage has to be deduced from the remedy picture. But one needs only a few clues for that deduction and then the whole idea of the Stage can be applied.
Stages and Plant Kingdom
The stages can also be applied to the Plant Kingdom. An example is that of a woman with breast cancer. She felt very unprotected and had a fear of being forsaken by her partner. Hydrastis was chosen as it is in Stage 12, known for cancer, and the theme of forsaken and unprotected is that of the Ranunculaceae. In table 4 the relationships for the Ranunculaceae are shown.
Table 4: Stages and Ranunculaceae
The Stages are most of the time seen as 18 in number. But as can be seen from the pt the idea of process can also be reflected in 8 stages, as in the Carbon series and the Silicon series. The idea of process can even have 2 stages as in the Hydrogen series. So it could be the case that some families can be better differentiated by 8 or even 2 Stages. This is an open question at the moment. The amount of Stages is given by the formula: 2* n*n, where n is the number of the series.
An important aspect in this theory is the idea of fractals. Fractals express the idea of a repetition of patterns on different levels of size. A part of a pattern has the same pattern in itself again. Picture 1 is an example of it. Fractals are ubiquitous in nature. We can see them in cloud patterns, coastlines, spirals and mathematical formulas.
In the mineral kingdom we have a very prominent example of a fractal. The Lanthanides are all in stage 3. But we differentiate them with the 18 Stages. One part, Stage 3 here, is differentiated in the same way as the whole. So all the Lanthanides have the theme of searching of Stage 3; they are searchers. But they all have it in a different way, depending on their own Stage. The example below will show the idea.
Comparison Series and Stages
A nice example of the fractal ideas is the periodic table; itself. The basic division is into 7 rows, the series. This is the division in 8, where the 8th stage is missing as being non-existent. The rows themselves are then divided or differentiated into 8 or 18 Stages. Frans Maan has shown this in his book “Homeopathy in Reflexive Perspective”. The relationships are shown in Table 4.
Table 4: Stages and Series
|Stages 8||Stages 18||Series||Theme|
|1||1||Hydrogen||Existence, coming into being, foetus|
|2||2||Carbon||Questioning, who what am I, child|
|3||3-9||Silicium||Relating, unsure, trying, teenager|
|4||10||Iron||Grounded, convinced, adult|
|5||11||Silver||Maitaining, controlling, middle age|
|6||12-16||Gold||Power that can be lost, old.|
|7||17||Uranium||Ending, end of life.|
Terbium oxydatum case
This case is from the book Secret Lanthanides. The Lanthanides are a very good example of the strength of the Element theory. The differentiation between the Lanthanides is for the biggest part done by the Stages and to a lesser extent with the themes and symptoms coming from the provings.
A man of 55 years of age has been suffering from Crohn’s disease for about 20 years. The first 5 years were really bad, with severe inflammation. He was treated with cortisone, which made him worse: he couldn’t even walk anymore in the end. Then he decided to stop the cortisone, much against the will of the doctors. He also rejected a colon resection. Since then he has an exacerbation once every 2 years: severe diarrhea, stool is watery and sour smelling, with a lot of blood and mucus, sometimes very light, even white, worse from cold beer and from spinach. He can feel in his abdomen where the spinach is. He tried all kinds of treatment like Chinese herbs, Swedish herbs, chiropractic therapy and vitamins which helped in part. He once also tried group psychotherapy, but stopped it after he had been the center of a role play. He lost his self-control and had the feeling of falling into a black hole, as if he wasn’t anyone anymore. He decided never to do such a thing again. Self-control is very important for him. He’s been using Avatar techniques for 10 years. It’s difficult to be in a vulnerable position, to open his heart to other people. He then gets the feeling that they want to take everything from him, that he will be sucked dry. If he is too open all the shit will come up. This state is also the result of his marriage. His wife was very egocentric and lazy. He had to do the housework and cooking after coming home from work. She seduced him into buying a bigger house with a better kitchen, with the promise that she would do the housework then. Later she seduced him in a similar way into having children. After 3 months of marriage he already wanted to divorce, but she succeeded in getting him to stay for 20 years.
He was also abused by the company he worked for for 20 years. He had invented a lot of things, but wasn’t getting the salary that was appropriate for his quality of work. After 6 years of lawsuits, he managed to get a quarter of what he was entitled to get from the patents. He felt unimaginably rejected. He is following his own mind, knows what he wants. He developed himself spiritually with the help of a friend and is taking a training course to be a yoga-teacher. He does not express anger, but when it comes up, it is like an explosion.
He was a dreamer as a child. At school he used to perform just above the level that he had to achieve. His father compared him with his sister. His father was very closed and stopped kissing him at bedtime, when he was 6, saying “You are a man now”. From then on he wondered what he was doing in this world, asking himself why he should behave as an adult.
Family: 3 siblings have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease; Down’s syndrome.
His ex wife left the care of their 2nd child to him; she is a very sensitive, schizophrenic girl.
Lower back pain. Acne.
Color preference: 9DE (dark red).
Weather: -> spring, <-autumn.
Time: < 3 p.m..
Aversion: celery (3).
Food: < cold food, < cold beer, spinach.
A very prominent theme in this case is the abuse. He uses the word himself and feels abused by his wife and by his employer. This indicates strongly oxygen.
At the other hand he continues with his wife for 20 years, controlling himself strongly. He is very controlled, maintaining his self-control at all times. This is also expressed in his avatar training, which is mind and thought control. Self-control is a theme of the Lanthanides, and especially of Terbium, which is Stage 11 of the Lanthanides. Terbium has to maintain (Stage 11) self-control at all times. Once he went into group psychotherapy and there he lost control and self-control. This is terrible. He feels as if falling into a black hole. This is another expression of the Lanthanides, it is an expression of the shadow of the mind.
When asked about his self-control he says that when he is too open and vulnerable others will take everything from him, that he will be sucked dry. This can be translated as: keeping (Stage 11) self-control (Lanthanide) in order not to be taken (Oxygen), to be sucked dry (Oxygen). Another form is keeping (Stage 11) self-control (Lanthanides, Terbium) in order not to let the shit (Oxygen) come out.
Lanthanides: Avatar training, yoga trainer, self-determination, averse doctors, spiritual development, sensitive child, desire meat.
Oxygen: Crohn’s disease, a stool problem; abused and seduced by his wife, abused by his company, left alone by his father; caring for his handicapped (schizophrenic) child.
DD Stage 12: Dysprosium is more fighting to keep in control; he’s just keeping control.
DD Thulium: the black hole is the same, but in Thulium it’s complete. In Terbium it’s there rarely, just as a glimpse, but it’s mostly under complete control.
DD Sulphur: the marriage problems can indicate Sulphur; but the abuse is more extensive, both by the company and being left alone by the father; so it’s more like Oxygen.
3-4 days after Terbium oxydatum MK he got an aggravation. There was a lot to do for the company he worked for. After that he improved. It was astonishing what he could do in the past month. And it went well, even while he still had diarrhea. He can even drink cold beer. He feels much better.
The quality of life (on a scale from 0 to 100) improved from 65 to 80. He feels freer and more cheerful, he can let things go. In the past he became moody with his complaints. Now he feels safe when he meets people that are on the same level as he is. He has discovered that he used to have an inferiority complex.
Three years after the start of the treatment he realizes that there are no symptoms of the disease left.
Problem: deduction of Stages
The deduction of the Stages for the other kingdoms is done by remedy pictures. This can be incorrect sometimes, as is my experience and that of Sankaran (Insight into Plants, Sensation). This is due to the fact that the remedy pictures themselves are uncertain and incorrect in certain parts. This is an instance of the GIGO rule: Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Problem: Families are Stages themselves
A second problem is the possible confusion between the family picture and the Stage picture. A good example is the one above for the snakes, the Ophidi. The family picture of the snakes has themes as: jealousy, suspicion, attacked, attacking, constriction and betrayal. These themes are similar to those of Stage 12 and to a lesser extent 13 and 17. So one could be tempted to put all snakes in Stage 12. But then differentiation has become impossible. The strategy is to subtract all the family themes from the individual pictures of the snakes and then Stage them on the remaining part of the picture. This is very similar to the staging of the Lanthanides: all are in Stage 3, but can still be differentiated by the normal staging. It is an instance of the theme of fractals: the Stage 12 theme of the snakes is further differentiated by the Stages themselves.
As far as we can see at the moment, it seems that the Stages are a very powerful tool in understanding remedies and analyzing cases. The level of abstraction is going farther that it was before, leading to a better understanding of homeopathy. It’s an open question whether they are applicable in all situations. A more philosophical question is what the real background of the Stages is.
Maan Frans, Homeopathy in Reflexive Perspective, Den Bosch, 2000.
Sankaran R. An Insight into Plants, Bombay 2002.
Sankaran R. The sensation in Homeopathy, Bombay 2004.
Scholten J., Homoeopathy and Minerals, Utrecht, 1993.
Scholten J., Homoeopathy and the Elements, Utrecht, 1996.
Scholten J., Secret Lanthanides, Utrecht, 2005.