When people feel their skin becoming “too tight”
Snakes are reptiles. They prefer a solitary way of life as they tend to be loners, having poorly developed social behavior. Meeting a snake often triggers fear and discomfort in people in our culture. Many snakes are poisonous. They bite or choke their victims and they lie in wait like ambushers. A striking feature shapes the life of all snakes. As they grow, they have to shed the skin that has become too tight. Snakes have been mentioned in human history since Adam and Eve. They are inevitably a part of being human.
In homeopathy we know and value the remedies from the snake family as valuable constitutional remedies. In addition, we use them purely organotropically, i.e. primarily for physical complaints or as part of miasmatic therapy when it comes to the treatment of chronic diseases. Snake remedies have had their place in homeopathic materia medica for many years and have proven themselves many times over.
The principle of phenomenology is predominant for finding homeopathic remedies. In other words, in the given case, a homeopathic practitioner is looking for a remedy whose sphere of action coincides with exactly those phenomena that reflect the current state of illness or disorder of the patient.
The clinical diagnosis is of course recognized. For the choice of homeopathic remedies, however, the decisive factor is how and what the patient feels with his current illness, i.e. what his personal symptoms are. In doing so, we refer to the homeopathic drug provings and the long-term therapeutic experience of the homeopathic professional world. These have found their way into the homeopathic materia medica.
Good homeopathic practice means that the patient’s phenomena are perceived without any judgment in homeopathic anamnesis. A patient shows himself as he is or how his state of mind is presented in a purely phenomenological way. This is how it is perceived and on this basis the choice of homeopathic remedy is made. After a thorough anamnesis and case assessment, the symptoms and individual phenomena then lead to the chosen remedy.
In addition to this linear-causal approach, homeopathic drug discovery and therapy can be enriched by other strategies. We find this for example in process-oriented homeopathy (cf. Krüger and Krüger, 2004) as well as in transpersonal and symbol-psychological homeopathy (cf. Krüger and Krüger, 2004; Hiener, 2001) and also, and this is what this consideration should preferably be about, in Paracelsus’ theory of signatures (see Rippe, 2004). The latter teaches us to look carefully at what wants to reveal itself to us through the substance and the nature of the thing in itself.
Snakes also have unique and typical characteristics or phenomena. These signatures can point the way for holistic homeopathic therapy. From a constitutional and process-oriented perspective, helpful conclusions can be drawn from this for the therapeutic as well as life-world issues of people who, from a homeopathic point of view, have an affinity for the healing potential of a remedy from the snake family and for whom a potentized snake remedy could possibly do well in the context of homeopathic therapy.
The snake, companion with wisdom, seduction and healing power
The snake plays a central role in the biblical creation story. We owe the original sin to its seduction art with the separation of man from the light-filled original source and his expulsion from paradise. The snake seduces people with ruse and perfidy. It stimulates his motivation to push his limits and arouses in him the desire to be interested in new horizons and expanded wisdom. It seduces him and yet at the same time, as the other side of this coin, it opens up new paths for him. Whether and how to do this is decided by the human being with his free will. But the snake planted the seeds with its seductive art.
In addition to the biblical human history, we also encounter the snake in mythology. Three goddesses of fate stand by man here. In Greek mythology, these are the moirs Moirai or Moirae (the fates) They correspond to the Parcae (the sparing ones) in Roman mythology. The goddesses of fate decide the thread of human life. The three are: Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (alloter) & Atropos (the unturnable, a metaphor for death).
Their task is to spin the thread of life, measure its length and finally cut it off. Lachesis, the bushmaster snake, is one of them. As the goddess of fate, it has the task of measuring the length of the thread. This requires wisdom. In addition to its art of seduction, the snake also embodies the aspect of wisdom.
Another component is revealed in medicine and medicine. The healing staff of Asclepius, the god of healing in Greek mythology, is entwined by a snake. In the symbol of the Aesculapian staff, the snake reveals a reference to medicine and the art of healing. Wisdom, seduction and healing power are the three aspects that can be recognized from these signatures in the nature of the snake and its mythology.
If we look at these aspects in the context of the doctrine of signatures (Doctrine of Signatures – Plants meant to heal certain organs and body parts, like the liver or the eye for example, must show a certain “signature” by resembling the thing they treat.), the snake to the inclined observer symbolically reveals a polar field of tension between the components of wisdom and seduction and the healing center as a balancing force.
In conclusion, keeping the balance in this area of tension can be seen as one of the tasks that corresponds to the homeopathic remedy-picture of some important snake remedies and with which the affected people are confronted in their lives from a constitutional homeopathic point of view. People have to learn to use their (powerful) potential for their own good and for the good of others in a socially acceptable manner and not to use their power or, in karmic terms, to use it to the disadvantage of others.
The flip side of the coin is not uncommon, e.g. with Naja or Crotalus constitutions, that man transforms his power and creativity into powerlessness and does not live or want to live them. From a systemic-psychological point of view, karmic and systemic entanglements can be the causes for this. A fourth component, which is essential for holistic naturopathic therapy, especially homeopathy, shows itself as a signature in the process of molting snakes. If a snake’s previous skin becomes too tight, it has to strip it off and a new, larger skin appears. However, this fact includes a weak point. The new skin still has to harden in order to ensure that it is able to defend itself. Until then, the snake is exposed to external dangers relatively without defense. It is a condition that represents a certain defenselessness and which should certainly cause the snake some discomfort. If we transfer this signature to people, some valuable conclusions can be drawn that are important for homeopathic therapy and the understanding of the situation of affected people and their homeopathic constitution.
Typical for snakes in homeopathy
Homeopathic experience shows that snake remedies, despite the fact that they are also valuable for men, are often used in gynecology in homeopathic practice. The two main remedies are Lachesis (bushmaster snake) and Naja tripudians (king cobra). Frequent topics typical for women in naturopathic practice include for example:
- Menopause complaints, climacteric
- Discomfort in puberty
- Pre-mentrual symptoms, called PMS syndrome
In order to expand the catalog in general, the following topics should be added:
- Complaints since emigration
- Morning discomfort
- Heart valve discomfort
As homeopaths, we pay close attention to such complaints and circumstances in our patients and try to integrate them into the therapy in a solution-oriented manner. We do this partly to understand the dynamics of a case or, very specifically, to find an appropriate cure.
In the group consideration, as it can be made for many families of homeopathic remedies, e.g. the potassium salts, the acids, the spider remedies or even the snake remedies, similarities can be worked out. These can be very helpful as they can show us the way to a homeopathic family of remedies and the ultimate remedy.
In the systemic overall view of the selection presented above, one can now ask oneself whether all of these phenomena have something in common and whether and to what extent they may be relevant for the therapy.
Against this background, it can be seen that the circumstances described above are all characterized by a dynamic or a process. They all represent transition states.
- Be it the menopause, where the woman changes from the state of childbearing woman to the state of the wise woman,
- puberty, where the young person develops his personality and individuality and organically as well as mentally and spiritually the organs of creation become active,
- menstruation, which is often accompanied by premenstrual symptoms.
These are all states that show people on a threshold, and in states of change. The same applies to the life situation in the event of immigration or a change of residence or job if the person leaves his familiar surroundings. Even if we change from night to day rhythm, at night or in the morning, we are at a transition.
Physically, this also applies to the function of the heart valves. They represent the transition of blood flow to the heart, e.g. from the atrium to the ventricle or into the bloodstream. It’s always about change, change and transition. Of course, this list can be expanded, as homeopathic practice shows. This should be about the common circumstance of transition. For homeopathic practice, the question arises, how do people feel about it? What happens in the state of transition and which remedy can be helpful here?
The aspect of the molt, fate and chance
In addition to phenomenology, the principle of potential orientation represents another premise of homeopathy. Hahnemann spoke of the life force in this context to which we direct our healing impulses in homeopathic therapy. Because light drives out darkness, which is Kabbalistic wisdom.
With the homeopathic remedy, the sick or suffering person should be given the opportunity to rediscover their own potential and to use their own healing power for their health and well-being as optimally as possible. In this respect, homeopathic remedies are initiators.
The task of homeopathy is to support people as well as possible in all of their life situations, in the challenges and life tasks that arise, and so also in states of change and transition into new phases of life, which is like the snake in the state of molting. In the state of molting, the snake is weakened. Here, molting means defenselessness. And so transitional situations and, in a figurative sense, conditions of molting represent special challenges for people in this homeopathic category.
Transition means change and abandoning the familiar. Leaving the familiar completely or partially, opening up to new things is not easy for everyone. It is legitimate that some people have a harder time than others. And so it does not surprise homeopaths when people feel uncomfortable in stressful situations of change when symbolically shedding the old skin and opening up new horizons, suffering from the state of transition and even getting sick from it. It is important to perceive the potential hidden behind this condition and the chance that the “new skin” offers constitutes growth and to make something good out of it. How nice that nature, in accordance with the hermetic laws, also provides the other side of the coin and has a helpful remedy or a whole family of remedies ready from the treasure trove of homeopathy.
From the signatures shown, in accordance with the homeopathic materia medica (Nistl, 2019), some salient homeopathic healing topics of snake remedies can be summarized. These represent a topic-specific extract from the comprehensive spectrum of effects of homeopathic snake remedies.
Below is an overview:
Molting – Transition
- Worsening of well-being and symptoms in the morning (typical for Lachesis muta, Naja tripudians, Crotalus horridus and Elaps corallinus) or when the weather changes (Crotalus, Lachesis, Vipera berus). If symptoms always appear in spring, Crotalus can be helpful if there are other indications that confirm this remedy.
- Worsening of well-being and symptoms of any tightness, e.g. by too tight clothes (typical of Lachesis muta on the neck)
- Those affected are very delicate, sentient and sensitive to the environment (the new skin is not yet hardened).
- Any upheaval can cause problems (as shown above).
- After molting, it’s better again if you can make the transition. This means that people will be better off after the transition. What is very noticeable in Lachesis is the modality of symptom relief when secretions set in. That is, the Lachesis woman suffers from severe premenstrual problems and her condition improves suddenly when the bleeding starts and the menstruation flows. It is the same when the nose is runny or even when the Lachesis woman can spend a lot of money or when she can burst out sexually. The bushmaster snake usually has an extensive sexual act. Similarly, these people attach great importance to passionate sexuality.
- If molting processes are suppressed, as can happen analogously according to naturopathic understanding by vaccinations, since humans are deprived of the chance for self-development, Crotalus horridus can be indicated as a remedy. This is especially the case if there are skin problems after vaccinations. Ultimately, these represent nothing other than the organism’s attempt to bring back to the surface what it does not want. Crotalus can support such healing processes, according to homeopathic experience. It is part of the drug picture of Crotalus that creative potentials are sometimes not lived or suppressed (addiction = escape, e.g. into alcohol addiction), which of course is not necessarily conducive to the actual plan of human life.
- Heart valve discomfort, typical of Naja (e.g. mitral valve regurgitation).
Symptoms on and in the throat
The neck represents the transition from the lower to the upper human being (connection of heart and mind, seduction and wisdom). The snake is defenseless at its neck. Many symptoms appear on the neck, including cancer (Lachesis).
- Neck tightness, often people cannot bear tight clothing on their necks. We often meet the typical Lachesis woman in loose, flowing robes and with an airy neckline.
- Inflammations, e.g. sore throat in Lachesis (left-sided are very typical, with a lot of throat clearing and phlegm formation), sore throats also in Crotalus horridus, Crotalus cascavella, Elaps and Naja.
Wisdom and Seduction
Duality, division and doubt show up here.
- Doubt. People often doubt whether the decisions they make are right or not. Lachesis includes for example the question mark. An indication of the duality and inner division.
- Conscience. The voltage shown can be easily discharged unilaterally, e.g. verbally. The snake has a forked and very sensitive (sharp) tongue. She can use it to hit and hurt people in a targeted and very sensitive manner. The next day the person wakes up with a bad conscience. This is basically a miasmatic and sycotic issue. It occurs in many homeopathic remedies in the remedy picture and is therefore not only typical of snakes, but it is definitely noticeable in Lachesis.
- Split. Many snake constitutions live occasionally or for their entire life in a state of inner confusion. Man is looking for his own identity. He is split (split tongue). In this respect, there are often lateral (one-sided) symptoms, e.g. with Lachesis and Naja preferably on the left, with Crotalus rather on the right side.
Power and powerlessness
Another form of division. Basically, the serpent is powerful. Her topic is to learn and live a socially acceptable way of dealing with her potential. This is especially true of the mighty Lachesis. But it also applies to Naja, who is often exposed to powerlessness and finds herself in a state of dependency from which she should break free for the sake of her own incarnation.
- Breaking the cycle of perpetrator – victim. This can also be understood karmically.
- Accept your own strength and femininity. The teeth of the king cobra (Naja) are taken out violently. It is powerless and dependent on it. She has to dance to someone else’s pipe (flute) and ekes out her existence in a basket that is much too narrow. It is important for people to remember their strength and to live their potential, to take responsibility and break out of the basket. Eventually the king cobra regrows its teeth that were torn from it.
- Living your own creative power, not just sexually – moving from reaction into action.
Unity and Authority
A person with an affinity for homeopathic snake remedies for body, soul and spirit finds redemption in the unity of being and in self-authority. The motto is awareness of power without a demonstration of power. The moult offers the opportunity to do this. Overcoming the division and the debilitating moulting phase towards a healthy and perfect identity is the goal pursued in holistic homeopathic therapy. In doing so, in accordance with Aristotle, we proceed from the premise: Anima forma corporis, the spirit forms the body. In this respect, the high and higher potencies are well suited to addressing these issues homeopathically. Potentized remedies in high potency can provide valuable and helpful impulses for this. They can stimulate people and help them to resolve karmic and systemic entanglements, to find their own rhythm again and to go their (new) paths with authority. Ultimately, of course, this also has an effect on the body.
As constitutional remedies, all homeopathic snake remedies each have their own comprehensive remedy picture and psychogram. The homeopathic snake family symbolically stands for light and shadow, for wisdom and seduction and thus for rhythm. And rhythm means life. Because man is a rhythmic being. Every single remedy from the snake family with its specific degree of effectiveness can be used individually and curatively in this topic area so that the affected people, symbolically speaking, do not have to get out of their skin, but can grow into their new skin and feel good in their skin, also in and after the state of change.
For an in-depth study, reference is made to the author’s homeopathy training program at the Isolde Richter School of Natural Healing. Information at www.isolde-richter.de.
Hiener, Sarah S. (2001): The homeopathic soul mirror. 2., revised edition. Stühlingen: Schulamith Publishing House.
Krüger, Andreas; Krüger, Arne (2004): Berlin Homeopathy. Stories about process-oriented homeopathy in humans and animals are told by the Krüger brothers. 1st edition Bonn: Verle. Folk medicine.
Nistl, Manfred (2019): Basics of Homeopathy. Kenzingen: I. Richter online shop. Available online at https://www.heilpraktiker-online-shop.de/49110/grundlagen-der-homoepathie-manfred-nistl.
Rippe, Olaf (2004): Paracelsus Medicine. Ancient knowledge in today’s healing arts; Philosophy, astrology, alchemy, therapy concepts. 3rd edition Aarau: AT Publishing House.