The Mappa Mundi
The Mappa Mundi provides a map with which to navigate, understand and make use of polarity – acknowledging the essence of dualism in nature, epitomised by the concept of primary and secondary action. It organises the 4 elements and temperaments onto a circle, plotting pertinent Homeopathic information alongside each aspect so that we can perceive where our patient’s disturbance and it’s opposite compensation are chiefly manifested.
Use this free Interactive Map which allows you to click on different elements to read more about each one and the practical application thereof. Use the Back arrows of your browser to navigate back to the start (Main Map).
It can be of practical use in case analysis, allowing you to see which polarity is highlighted by the patient’s food cravings, modalities, organ affinities and psychological characteristics. It can also help to differentiate remedies that all seem to cover the case symptomatically, thus tying in with a “Genius” approach; matching the affinities & sphere of action of a remedy with the patient’s disease state. If the seat of the pathology is in the Bladder & Digestive system, then you would expect to see remedies with an ‘Earth – Water’ polarity coming through in the Case Analysis.
Also known as the Circle of Elements, the Mappa Mundi is designed to bring a focus to the inherent forces in nature and how they are expressed through humans. This is especially useful in states of sickness – when homeostatic balance is replaced by a tension of opposites in which the patient expresses symptoms that see-saw from one pole to another, e.g from chill to fever. It can be used as a guide to the salient Homeopathic information as presented by the patient, highlighting the dynamic and characteristic symptoms that might otherwise get lost in the sea of data of the case.
It also lends itself to being used alongside traditional medicinal practices – e.g. Chinese medicine, Greek Unani Medicine, Ayurveda & Medical Astrology as there is considerable crossover among approaches informed by Elemental forces. The simplicity of seeing ourselves as a part of nature and therefore subject to it’s forces is a real positive of using an Elemental Map such as this.
Observing nature and the way it behaves
- Man is a part of nature and cannot behave in ways that contravene natural laws; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
- Every ‘state’ a human embodies within the microcosm of his internal economy will have a correspondence from within the macrocosm of nature.
- Every pattern of behaviour has its partner in the natural world, sharing that type of behaviour through the law of similars.
Polarity – Within every action exists the equal and opposite action
The Vital Force (VF) acts by dynamically and appropriately responding to fluctuations in the external and internal environment. As Hahnemann writes in the Organon, the VF meets the primary action of the drug / morbific influence with an equal and opposite reaction. The VF intuitively attempts to heal itself by generating symptoms that are opposite to the ‘morbific influence’ / disease.
A homeopathic remedy (or any medicinal agent/ stimulus e.g. cold wind) acts upon the VF and causes a primary action in which the VF remains passive and receptive. It then rouses itself to produce the exact opposite/ secondary action in the same proportion to the degree of the primary action.
A hand bathed in hot water is at first much warmer than the other unbathed hand (initial action), but once it is removed and thoroughly dried, it becomes cold after some time, and then much colder than the other hand (after-action).
Organon aphorism 65.
Symptoms try to restore balance
Being stuck in a state of disease means that your body is unable to effectively meet the demands of the internal imbalance. The VF instinctively tries to rebalance things by producing the opposite set of symptoms that would nullify the disease. But… When the VF is weak, this = stasis, immovability, rigidity & sickness, often expressed clinically in a tension of opposites (more on this shortly…)
E.G. Posture: a stance that is too rigid topples easily. Too many conditions must be met in order to keep that person in their exact position of comfort. E.G. A chronic migraine sufferer may have to avoid lots of foods that trigger the condition, taking medication to ward off attacks, and retreating to a dark room to lie completely still during an attack. A stance that is dynamic and ready for action responds to stress through adaptation. The healthy VF or immune system keeps the body in perfect harmony without us even being aware of it!
The tension of opposites
This is an important aspect in case taking and analysis. In Homeopathy, we are always looking for the most dynamic aspects of the case, where symptoms are highly polarised or even contradictory. When a person is sensitive to a certain situation or feeling, they can often express one pole or the other, or fluctuate between the two. E.G, with Molluscs (Calc-carb) – the animal has a shell in which they can feel both safe, cosy and protected or at other times trapped, suffocated and closed-off from the world – isolated and forsaken.
Health means that you are not bound by your complexes. You can be free to explore your creativity, and to fulfil the “higher purposes of existence”. It is usually the Solar principle (Ego) that drives us to seek identification through the way others perceive us, our possessions, career, values, creative exploits… The Soul or Lunar principle is often neglected – that is our subconscious, that which binds us together as humans and brings us back to our animal nature.
An over-identification with one aspect of ourselves, and denial of others leads to a polarised state of susceptibility. E.G. over-identification with the Ego, which is an illusion created on the mental level of consciousness, seems to be key to the roots of becoming stuck in disease. The World of duality springs from the separation of ego & soul, solar & lunar, male & female archetypes – active and passive, assertive and receptive, sperm and ovum. There is an illusion that these two parts are distinct and separate from one another, leading to a tendency to identify more predominantly with only one aspect of ourselves and consign unwanted characteristics to our ‘shadow’ self.
Perhaps this fundamental split plays an important role in maintaining ill health through chronic disease? Does not homeopathic prescribing work in such a way as to uncover the uncompensated / subconscious aspects of the being, allowing for better integration and wholeness of self? Dreams, delusions and sensations are ways in which we seek to find the aspects of ourselves that remain in the shadow. Perhaps that is the true meaning of a medical practice that is termed holistic – to bring together the disparate parts that are vulnerable until unification occurs? This is what Jung termed individuation – the process of unifying the disparate elements of the psyche into the personality.