Keith Souter explores those unfathomable emotions that are often at the root of our distress
It is said that love makes the world go round. It has also been said that hate keeps it spinning. The sheer power of these emotions has been recognised since the beginnings of time.
It is probably true to say that love is the most unfathomable of the emotions. The Ancient Greeks, those masters at encapsulating sentiments and emotions into the form of deities, made the goddess Aphrodite the very essence of love. It is likely that she was derived from the earlier Assyro-Babylonian goddess Ishtar, a voluptuous warrior deity, and the Syro-Phoenician goddess Astarte, patron deity of orgies. The spread of the various cults and the amalgamation of one into another would have been inevitable in those dim and distant days when one maritime power traded, fought and overcame another.
And so Aphrodite came to be venerated throughout the Aegean. But just as today we recognise different types of love, so too was Aphrodite known by different names in different centres according to the character of the love which was being represented. Thus Aphrodite Urania, the celestial Aphrodite, was the goddess of pure or ideal love. Aphrodite Genetrix or Nymphia, was the protector of marriages. Aphrodite Porne was the goddess of lust, venal love and the patroness of prostitutes. Finally, Aphrodite Anosia (the impious) was the goddess of unfaithful lovers. She was the goddess of gracious laughter, sweet deceits, the charms and delights of love.
Not only was Aphrodite worshipped, but she had a retinue of other deities who loved her, followed her or supposedly had played important parts in her “life”. Among these was Eros, (Cupid to the Romans) a beautiful winged deity who fired arrows from a golden quiver at unsuspecting mortals. The effect was instant love and passion, as if the wounded party had been smitten in the heart.
Another was Psyche (meaning the soul). According to legend she was a maiden of such beauty that Aphrodite herself became jealous. In order to teach the mortal a lesson she sent Eros to punish her. As it happened, Eros fell in love with her and visited her nightly, until her two sisters urged her to discover his identity. Eros left her and she went through agonies as she tried to recapture her lost love. For Aphrodite’s part, jealousy deepened to become the most bitter hatred.
This little aside into the realms of Ancient Greek mythology is fairly instructive. It shows that there are many different types of love, and that pride, jealousy and bitterness can all be somehow related in the dynamics of relationships. Hate, the negative of love, can stem from any of these. They are all deep and powerful emotions which may lie at the heart of our distress and be the roots of a myriad of ailments.
By this term I refer to those conditions which come about through unrequited or disappointed love. They can vary from the loss of interest in life of the proverbially “heart-broken”, to stress-induced asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, or even the development of degenerative diseases.
Nowadays we recognise the condition of Broken Heart Syndrome, whereby the sudden loss of a loved one can result in a state that mimics a heart attack. Research has demonstrated that this is actually a stress cardiomyopathy. It comes about through the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones, which effectively stun the heart. At its worst it can be fatal, but usually it is entirely reversible.
Broken relationships, marital breakdowns, family squabbles – all of these can produce problems in the individual beyond the initial trauma, sometimes for many years. Pinpointing this may lead to a means of easing distress. The following remedies may help.
Aurum metallicum – for great depression and possible self-harming or suicidal thoughts in generally melancholic types.
Calcarea phosphorica – for fretfulness, skin problems, vertigo, migraine and rheumatic problems, coming on after unrequited love. They are often worse the more they think about the problem. They are better on their own, although they cannot settle and move from room to room.
Causticum – for illness or ailments after disappointed or unrequited love in oversensitive types who are always sensitive to the plight of others, despite their own cares and woes.
Cimicifuga – for depression and the feeling of impending doom after an unsuccessful romance. They may develop painful conditions that feel like electric shocks. Women may suffer gynaecological problems.
Hyoscyamus – for severe restlessness, even amounting to fits after a disappointed love affair. May become jealous, suspicious or angry and may tear up love letters or destroy all reminders of their former partner or lover.
Ignatia – the great remedy of loss. Reactions may be quite hysterical. There is usually a tendency to the “three Ss” – sitting, sighing and sobbing.
Natrum muriaticum – for the development of ailments like migraine with zig-zag vision, depression, palpitations and skin problems after disappointment in a relationship, in melancholic types who are always worse for consolation. They may keep their tears for private moments.
Sepia – for loss of interest in everything and indifference to everyone, even their loved ones. They may have a general tendency to be “brown and down”, but some physical activity (classically dancing) may transiently lift them.
Staphysagria – for disappointed love in extremely sensitive people, where there may be violent outbursts. Pride is characteristic and they may feel indignant because of the personal slight. They may bottle things up and become quite ill.
Hate is one of the hardest emotions to live with. Whereas love is associated with the heart, hate has been associated with the soul. When it persists for long enough it can almost literally seem to eat away at the soul. All positive emotions become forfeit to the unrelenting burning heat of hate.
When hate rears its head it can never do the individual any good. All sorts of ailments may arise, yet not be linked up with this emotion. It is one of the negative emotions that the individual needs help to release. Homeopathic remedies may help, along with other psychological or counselling techniques.
Anacardium orientale – is a very useful remedy in easily offended, hypochondriacal types. They become vindictive and malicious in their hate, although they often seem to vacillate in their decision-making. They may be subject to mood swings; at times being vitriolic with a desire to swear and rant, while at other times they seem on the point of forgiveness. This polarity is characteristic, as is a basic inferiority feeling. They may secretly feel inferior to the object of their hatred.
Cuprum metallicum – for hate in those people who get fixed ideas in their mind. They become suspicious and spiteful. If they can even a score they most assuredly will. They tend to suffer spasms and cramps and may be aware of a metallic taste in their mouth.
Lachesis – for hate in talkative or loquacious types. They can become extremely angry and will look for a means of verbally hurting the target of their anger, and then when they have them at their mercy they go that bit further. It is as if they have a desire to put the knife in (figuratively speaking) and then give it a twist for extra measure. They may feel bloated at times and generally hate having constrictive clothing about their necks.
Natrum muriaticum – for hate in melancholic types who are easily offended and who tend to hold grudges, often for years. They can actually seem to nurture their hatred, which they find totally justifiable. They are worse for consolation and generally have a craving for salty foods.
Nitric acidum – these people cannot and will not forget a slight, and may feel totally unable to forgive. They themselves find it difficult ever to apologise. They cannot let matters drop and may be incessantly bringing the subject up with family and friends, to the point of losing sympathy. They are generally prickly in nature and may pester people about their problems and their health.
Phosphorus – for hate in creative, artistic types who are very sensitive. They generally like being the centre of attention and dislike being shoved from that position, easily developing a hatred of the one who upstages them. They may hold grudges and their temper may erupt swiftly like a newly-struck match.
Sulphur – for those people with a strong sense of justice. They can develop hatred of institutions and organisations. They may be of a philosophical nature, with a tendency to slouch, lean and fidget. They can be extremely good campaigners, because they are so passionate in their hatred.
William Shakespeare was the first to describe jealousy as “the green-eyed monster” in The Merchant of Venice and then Othello, which is a masterful description of this awesome emotion. Those who are afflicted by it can find themselves perpetrating great acts of maliciousness or smaller deeds of spite. It is a completely negative emotion which can cause harm to the individual, as well as to others through the actions of the jealous person.
Defining jealousy is difficult, but I believe that Spinoza encapsulated it when he described it as a “mixture of hate and love”.
When there is a real conscious feeling of jealousy, then the following remedies might help.
Apis mellifica – for those who tend to be as “busy as bees”. They can be workaholic, controlling types who can be very irritable when crossed. They can be “stung” by jealousy and be very protective of family and loved ones. When anyone threatens their security, their home, their relationship, they will be prepared to sting back. They have a highly suspicious nature. Physically they are subject to problems with mucus membranes, skin and joints. They tend to be clumsy.
Arsenicum album – for fussy, tidy, restless people. They may become jealous of anyone who possesses neater or more aesthetically refined things than themselves.
Hyoscyamus – for talkative, suspicious types who tend to be immodest. Their jealousy may be so intense that they may act rashly and make a fool of themselves. They may go into fits of laughter about inconsequential matters. They may also develop a fear of being poisoned, so will become suspicious of food, medicines and drinks.
Lachesis – for talkative, suspicious people who often experience bloating. They are highly susceptible to jealousy and may be driven to fits of temper which comes out as verbal abuse. This jealousy pattern may be apparent in females premenstrually, or around the time of the menopause.
Lycopodium – for worried, highly-strung individuals who anticipate events with fear, often for a disproportionately lengthy period of time beforehand. They may envy people who can carry off any situation, while they agonise for days. They tend to be professionals and may become acutely jealous of their colleague’s attainments or popularity.
Nux vomica – for fiery, irritable types who tend to use stimulants. They are constantly pressured and are often high-achievers. Their jealousy smoulders on and they are liable to bouts of irritability. They are impatient, never satisfied with their lot and prone to jealousy. They are often plagued with digestive problems.
Pulsatilla – for timid, weepy types who are very changeable. They are easily influenced by others. They get peeved at people, become jealous very swiftly, yet will tend to bottle their emotions up. They are rarely thirsty and have to be reminded to drink.
Stramonium – for intense, talkative types. They tend to have rapid mood changes and although they may seem placid, they can flare up and feel as if they could do violence. They can bite, scratch or strike out when in such a mood. They tend to be full of fears; of the dark, of animals, and of being alone. Jealousy may seem totally out of context. They may be prone to stammering.
These remedies can be extremely useful in people who have problems with these emotions, or in whom ailments have come about as a result of these deep and powerful emotions. The right remedy in these states can be liberating.
As to the inevitable question of potency, when dealing with emotions and conditions arising from emotions, I find that the higher potencies work best. For an individual using these remedies the 30c taken twice or three times a day for three days should, if appropriately selected, be adequate to start the re-balancing process.
Keith Souter MB ChB FRCGP MFHom MIPsiMed DipMedAc is a part-time GP in Yorkshire. He also has a private holistic medicine practice and is a newspaper columnist as well as the author of Homeopathy for the Third Age and Homeopathy: Heart & Soul.