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When I was studying homeopathy at college (1994-1998) we were encouraged to exchange returned assignments in order to benefit from each other's perspectives on the subject. This essay is offered in that spirit. It was written for a specific assignment and although there might be additional insights I would add now, it's presented here as I wrote it originally.

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Repertory | Rubric Differentiation

Assignment: Differentiate between the rubrics EUPHORIA, ECSTASY and EXHILARATION

 

Definitions

EUPHORIA [Gr. euphoria] an exaggerated feeling of well-being, especially irrational or groundless (Chambers)
[Mod L. from Gr. euphoria, the power of bearing easily, from euphoros, bearing well; eu-, well, and pherein, to bear] a feeling of well-being; especially, in psychology, an abnormal feeling of buoyant vigour and health (Websters)
A word used to express well-being, or the perfect ease and comfort of healthy persons, especially when the sensation occurs in a sick person. (OED)

ECSTASY [Gr. ekstasis – ek, from, and root of histanai, to make to stand] a state of temporary mental alienation and altered or diminished consciousness: excessive joy: enthusiasm, or any exalted feeling, rapture (Chambers)
[LL. ecstasis; Gr. ekstasis, a being put out of its place, distraction, trance, from ek, out, and histanai, to place] a trance, especially one resulting from great religious fervour – Whether what we call ecstasy be not dreaming with our eyes open, I leave to be examined; Locke – great joy, rapture, a feeling of delight that arrests the whole mind, as, to listen with ecstasy; a state of being overpowered with emotion, especially joy, the condition of being beside oneself with feeling, as, an ecstasy of delight; madness, distraction (obs.) (Websters)
Primarily a fixed state; a trance; a state in which the mind is arrested and fixed or as we say lost. A state in which the functions of the senses are suspended by the contemplation of some extraordinary or supernatural object. Excessive joy; rapture; a degree of delight that arrests the whole mind. Enthusiasm; excessive elevation and absorption of mind; extreme delight. (Part & Preston)

EXHILARATION [L. exhilarare, -atum – ex-, intensive, hilaris, cheerful] the state of being exhilarated (to make hilarious or merry: to raise the spirits of: to enliven: to cheer): joyousness (Chambers)
[LL. exhilaratio (-onis), a gladdening or enlivening, from L. exhilaratus, pp of exhilarare, to gladden] the act of enlivening the spirits; the act of making glad or cheerful; the state of being enlivened or cheerful; liveliness; animation; high spirits (Websters)
The act of enlivening the spirits; the act of making glad or cheerful. The state of being enlivened or cheerful. Exhilaration usually expresses less than joy or mirth but may be used to express both. (Part & Preston)


Remedies

MIND; ECSTASY: Acon., aether, agar., agn., am-c., androc., ang., anh., ant-c., apis, arn., astra-e., bell., berb., bry., camph., cann-i., Cann-s., canth., carb-v., carbn-h., cast., cham., chin., cic., cinnb., coca, cocc., coff., croc., crot-h., cupr., cupr-am-s., cur., cypr., ery-a., fl-ac., hyos., ign., iod., jatr., keroso., kres., lach., laur., lyss., nit-ac., nitro-o., nux-m., olnd., op., ph-ac., Phos., pic-ac., plat., plb., puls., sabad., sel., senec., sil., stann., staph., stram., sulph., sumb., thea., valer., verat.

MIND; EUPHORIA: androc., ange-s., anh., aran-ix., asar., chloram., cob-n., cortiso., dicha., germ., hydro-c., kres., lap-c-b., lap-mar-c., mand., ozone, palo., perh., thyr.

MIND; EXHILARATION: absin., acon., aesc., aether, agar., agar-se., agn., alco., alf., allox., alum., am-c., ammc., anac., anag., androc., ang., ant-c., arg., arg-n., arist-cl., arn., ars-h., arum-d., asar., asc-t., bell., bor., bov., calc-f., camph., Cann-i., cann-s., canth., caps., carb-ac., carb-an., carb-v., carbn-s., cean., chel., chin., chin-ar., chin-s., cimic., cinnb., clem., cob., coca, cocc., cod., Coff., colch., coll., cortico., cortiso., cot., croc., cub., cupr., cupr-ar., cycl., cypr., erio., eucal., eug., fl-ac., form., gels., graph., hydr., hydrog., hyos., ign., iod., iodof., kali-br., kali-n., lac-ac., Lach., lap-c-b., laur., lil-t., lyss., mand., med., meny., mez., myric., nitro-o., nux-v., Op., ox-ac., ozone, pall., phel., phos., phys., pip-m., plat., sabad., sang., scut., sec., seneg., sep., spig., spong., stram., sul-ac., sulfa., sulph., sumb., tanac., Tarent., teucr., thea., thlaspi, thuj., valer., verat., visc., zinc., ziz. (Complete Repertory ver 4.5)

The three rubrics represent similar states but there are important differences. In terms of a hierarchy, the lowest state is exhilaration, followed by euphoria, followed by ecstasy, but since euphoria and ecstasy represent quite different states, this might be represented diagrammatically as:

Rubric relationship diagram

rather than a straight line progression between the three. This idea is supported by examining the remedies present in the three rubrics. There are 163 remedies represented between the three rubrics. Looking at remedies that appear in more than one of the rubrics, of which there are 48, 40 appear in both EXHILARATION and ECSTASY, 5 appear in EXHILARATION and EUPHORIA, only 2 in EUPHORIA and ECSTASY and only 1 in all three. This is confirmed by a glance at the cross references in Synthesis and the Complete Repertory – both EUPHORIA and ECSTASY contain references to EXHILARATION, but neither have references to each other.

The root of ecstasy is ‘a being put out of its place’; it is most commonly used to describe trance-like states, often in connection with spiritual ritual. The definitions cite ‘overpowered with emotion’, ‘altered or diminished consciousness’, ‘beside oneself with feeling’, ‘the functions of the senses are suspended’ which describe a state of being outside normal frames of reference.

Euphoria, on the other hand, conveys a sense of greater connection with bodily sensation – ‘bearing well’, ‘an abnormal feeling of buoyant vigour and health’. There is no intimation of altered states of consciousness, or being ‘out of place’; in fact, an exaggerated sense of health would preclude anything being ‘out of place’. Neither do the definitions contain any reference to joyful emotions. Even though most people would probably equate euphoria with a joyous state (but see following paragraph) on some level, it could equally well apply to an emotionless state. (It does not appear in Kent’s Repertory as a rubric. In Synthesis, the additions are attributed to J Stephenson, G H G Jahr, J Mezger and J Sherr; in the Complete Repertory, J Stephenson, O Julian and J Sherr.)

True states of euphoria or ecstasy are probably encountered less frequently than peoples’ use of the words might indicate. Most likely they are more often describing exhilaration, which is ‘the state of being enlivened or cheerful’, or equating euphoria and/or ecstasy with a feeling similar to that induced by intoxication. This is brought out most strongly in the subrubric EUPHORIA, lightness, feeling of, as after an anesthesia by, chlorethylene, with; a state which bears no relation to the dictionary definition of euphoria (see Asarum below).

* * * * * * *

Given the large number of remedies within the rubrics, I decided to look at the ones which, according to this understanding of the differences in meaning and manifestation, were the most unusual: the one remedy that appears in all three rubrics and the two that appear in both Euphoria and Ecstasy (but not Exhilaration). These are Androctonos (all three rubrics), Anhalonium and Kresolum. Although Kresolum is an extremely small proving, I looked at the rubrics the three remedies shared and found surprisingly few (11), all of which (apart from ECSTASY and EUPHORIA) are pretty much universal. But even Androctonos (326 mental rubrics in total) and Anhalonium (200) only share 58 mental rubrics, of which 23 are ‘universal’, and many others extremely large. This seemed surprising, and I began to wonder if the terms ‘ecstasy’ and ‘euphoria’ had perhaps been confused, or whether ‘euphoria’ had been interpreted as ‘intoxicated’ or ‘light-headed’.

Androctonos amoreuxii

ANDROCTONOS

Scorpion’s presence in these rubrics appears to relate to the unbridled and exaggerated nature of all the emotions evidenced in the proving, which might be expected in an animal remedy given the connection of animal instincts and emotions (very strong liking and disliking to people. Very intense, ranging from immense sexual attraction to extreme hatred … emotions were so intense he wanted to rip his chest apart to let them out. He lost all control over his emotions, which seemed to come from a deep and distant part of himself, a darker side … incredible upsurge of energy, laughing, felt very high, then low, then high again … a feeling of great energy and confidence, a magnetic state. His emotions were more intense than ever before … felt euphoric, relaxed, ‘spaced out’ … felt unusually well all day … strong sense of being ‘centred’ … felt good, happy, satisfied with life). This contains justification for the use of both EUPHORIA and ECSTASY – EUPHORIA relates to the sense of feeling ‘unusually well all day’, ‘a feeling of great energy and confidence’, and ECSTASY to the state of being overpowered by emotion, although the statement ‘felt euphoric, relaxed, ‘spaced out’’ highlights the confusion in the meaning of the word ‘euphoria’ in common parlance.

Anhalonium lewinii

ANHALONIUM

The Mescal button cactus or Peyote, as the Indians call it, is used in shamanic ritual to induce ecstatic trance states so its presence in the rubric ECSTASY is not in the least surprising. Other related rubrics are:

  • BESIDE ONESELF, being
  • CLAIRVOYANCE
  • CONFUSION of mind; identity, as to his; depersonalization
  • DELUSIONS, imaginations;
  • body, body parts; able to go out of body and walk around, looking down upon
  • eternity; mingled with present
  • floating in air
  • flying; he or she is
  • identity, errors of personal
  • light; full of
  • outside his body
  • separated; world, from the, that he is
  • space; decomposition of space and shape
  • strange; everything is
  • time; space, and, lost or confused
  • unreal; everything is
  • visions, has
  • voices, hears
  • MERGING OF SELF with ones environment
  • MISTAKES, makes; localities, in
  • space and time, in
  • time, in; present merged with eternity
  • MUSIC; drums produce euphoria
  • PROPHESYING
  • REALITY, flight from
  • THOUGHTS; monotony of
  • persistent; separated; will, thoughts separated from
  • VIVACIOUSNESS

The remedy’s mental picture seems to relate to ecstatic states to a far greater extent than euphoric states. Even the rubric MUSIC; drums produce euphoria, seems to indicate a more ecstatic than euphoric state and highlights the problems that common usage of the terms – confusing one for the other – might produce. The differentiation appears to hinge on whether it is possible to be euphoric at the same time as ecstatic and, according to the strict definition of the terms, it would appear not. Anhalonium’s state is most definitely ‘a being out of its place’, rather than a centred, more visceral feeling of extreme vigour or ‘bearing well’. Following this logic, I found it difficult to make a connection between the remedy state and the state of euphoria. Its presence in VIVACIOUSNESS might indicate that it should also be present in EXHILARATION, and perhaps this state is the closest to EUPHORIA. However, there is none of the heightened animal emotions of Androctonos. The two remedies share 58 mental rubrics (as mentioned above), of which

  • CLAIRVOYANCE
  • DELUSIONS, imaginations; identity, errors of personal
  • separated; world, from the, that he is
  • unreal; everything is
  • DREAM, as if in a

would seem to relate more to ecstatic states than euphoric, increasing the justification for Scorpion’s presence in ECSTASY, but not Anhalonium’s in EUPHORIA.

Kresolum (coal tar)

KRESOLUM

Kresolum is a very small proving, having only 99 rubrics in the entire repertory. 37 of these are in the MIND section. It is therefore a difficult remedy to get a sense of. It is obtained from coal tar and is used in its crude state as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It is listed as a Jahr/Mezger addition in Synthesis and a Julian addition in the Complete. It’s mental state seems to relate more to ecstasy than euphoria, and the first line of Vermeulen’s description of the mental state of the remedy – ‘Euphoria and serious organic affections (paralysis; polyneuritis)’ would seem to be a complete contradiction in terms (Vermeulen, 1996. p485) – though of course it may represent the full extent of the dictionary definition if a person feels an exaggerated sense of health and well-being while suffering serious physical pathology. The rubrics BESIDE ONESELF, being; SCHIZOPHRENIA; TALK, talking, talks; repetition of same phrases, indicate more ‘a being out of its place’ than a state of ‘bearing well’. As with Anhalonium, I found great difficulty in identifying confirmatory rubrics for EUPHORIA. Again I was forced to conclude that the interpretation of ‘euphoria’ as meaning ‘high’ or ‘intoxicated’ may account for the remedy’s presence in the rubric.


It seems that what has happened is that the state of euphoria which can result from intoxication has led to the word ‘euphoria’ becoming conflated with all the other effects of intoxication as well – an error along the lines of “all fathers are men therefore all men are fathers”. The apparent disparity between the dictionary definitions of the terms ‘ecstasy’ and ‘euphoria’ and the remedy states described above pose a problem. Either the terms have to be interpreted more loosely (in line with that incorrect understanding) in rubric selection, or the remedies Anhalonium (Synthesis – Jahr and Stephenson; Complete – Stephenson) and Kresolum (Synthesis –Jahr and Mezger; Complete – Julian) have a certain dubious quality in the rubric EUPHORIA. Not having access to the original material justifying the repertory additions, I was unable to explore this further. Androctonos seems the only remedy of the three justified in appearing in both rubrics.

I then decided to look briefly at the five remedies appearing in both EXHILARATION and EUPHORIA. These are:

  • Asarum europæum
  • Cortisonum
  • Limestone
  • Mandragora
  • Ozone
Asarum europaeum © Mo Fayyaz

ASARUM

Asarum is a Jahr addition in Synthesis and a Julian addition in the Complete. It appears in the main rubric, and in the subrubrics – alternating with, quiet, desire for; alternating with, sadness; lightness, feeling of, as after an anæsthesia by, chlorethylene, with. The existence of this last subrubric, apparently at odds with the dictionary definition of the term ‘euphoria’, again leads to the conclusion that the word has been interpreted more loosely in a sense of ‘light-headed’, ‘intoxicated’.

 

CORTISONUM

Cortisonum is a Jahr addition in Synthesis and attributed to Julian in the Complete. It is a small proving with only 35 mental rubrics. It appears in the main rubric, and in the subrubric alternating with, sadness. There is little in the mental picture to support its presence in EUPHORIA in the dictionary sense of the word, but neither is there much sense of ‘light-headedness’ or ‘intoxication’. It appears in CHEERFULNESS, gaiety, happiness; tendency, and in the subrubrics – alternating with, moroseness; and alternating with, vexation; and in CONCENTRATION; difficult; CONFUSION of mind; and MEMORY; weakness, loss of.

Limestone

Limestone appears in the Complete from Nuala Eising’s proving. The proving extracts contain plenty of observations to support the interpretation of ‘euphoria’ in the dictionary sense – ‘I feel in myself that I feel lovely. But when I look in the mirror, I see a very haggard, tired face, especially around the eyes.’ ‘Very aware of my feet, the way they make contact with the ground. The way they support my body and carry my body around. This is a very sensual feeling.’ ‘Everything seems really clear – crystal clear. People say I’m much more irritable or over the top pleasant. Sometimes I feel exhausted – great difficulty moving. But once I move I feel really energetic, a heightened sense of well-being.’ ‘Very highly charged weekend … Felt like a different person – emotions too much for me. Very open – over the top – easy to stimulate.’ ‘I feel full of life – too much. Like a lush jungle or fireworks.’ ‘The sun comes out and I feel better immediately – high and everything is wonderful.’ While the remedy contains plenty of spaced-out feelings as well, the sense of euphoria as ‘bearing well’ is clearly there.

Mandragora

MANDRAGORA

Mandragora is in the rubric EUPHORIA; alternating with sadness, in Synthesis, attributed to Jahr. It is in the same rubric in the Complete, sourced from Julian, and also appears in the main rubric as a result. Again, it is not a large proving with only 39 mental rubrics. It also appears in the rubrics CONCENTRATION; difficult; CONFUSION of mind; DELIRIUM; DELUSIONS, imaginations; possessed, he or she is; MEMORY; weakness, loss of. There is nothing to support any exaggerated sense of well-being, and again the conclusion must be that ‘euphoria’ has been interpreted in a different sense.

Ozone

OZONE

Ozone appears in the Complete from Anne Schadde’s 1993 proving. It appears in the main rubric and in the 4 subrubrics alternating with, despair; alternating with, indifference; lunch, after; out, when going. In Anne Schadde’s summary published in Homœopathic Links 1/96, she cites ‘Euphoric sensation, as if on speed, as if tipsy’, ‘Positive feeling, conspicuous loss of tension, going as far as a floating sensation’ among the first mental symptoms. Here again we have the clear association of ‘euphoria’ with ‘intoxication’. Elsewhere in the same issue of Links, in an Ozone case given by Bernd Schuster, we have ‘He gets into sudden euphoric states. “Then a tree can make me feel joyous, this gets me into feeling as high as a kite.”’ Other similar rubrics appear: DELUSIONS, imaginations, divided, two parts, into; floating in air; influence, is under a powerful; lifted up, he or she is; separated, mind and body are; thing inside her; FEAR, self-control, losing; LIGHTNESS, feeling of; MEMORY, weakness, loss of (and many subrubrics); MISTAKES, makes (and many subrubrics); RELAXED feeling, letting go; STUPEFACTION, as if intoxicated, but there is also WELL; feels very; and WELL; feels very; wants to do a lot. It is therefore difficult to draw any definite conclusions about the sense of the word ‘euphoria’ in this particular remedy – the quotation from Links leads to the supposition that ‘euphoria’ has been used in the sense of ‘intoxicated’ while the final two rubrics give a hint of the word’s proper meaning.

* * * * * * *

In conclusion, it seems likely that the Jahr/Julian additions (and possibly the Schadde) are mostly derived from an interpretation of ‘euphoria’ as ‘intoxicated’ (or even ‘ecstatic’) which, in the strict sense of the dictionary definitions, is not correct. It is interesting that these additions originate from European sources where senses of words may undergo subtle changes in translation. However, since many people, including native English speakers, would probably be comfortable with this interpretation of the word and might well use it in that sense to describe their feelings, it is perhaps the dictionaries’ definition that needs to be extended to be more in tune with the evolution of the language. Perhaps another solution might be to add the rubric INTOXICATED, as if, to the repertories. What is certain is that an awareness of the variance needs to be borne in mind when using these three rubrics. Since it is unlikely to be the only such example in the repertory, it underlines the importance of using the repertory as just one of many less-than-precise tools in the process of refining the diagnosis and that, in the final analysis, there is no substitute for sound materia medica study.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Allen, Timothy F. 1874 (reprinted 1995). The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica. (12 volumes) B Jain, New Delhi.
  • Chambers English Dictionary. 1988. W&R Chambers, Cambridge, etc.
  • Eising, Nuala. 1996. Granite, Marble, Limestone: The Provings. Eising, Galway.
  • Murphy, Robin. 1995. Lotus Materia Medica. Lotus Star Academy, Pagosa Springs.
  • Oxford English Dictionary (Complete). 1971. Compact Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford, etc.
  • Schadde, Anne. 1996. The Proving of Ozone in Homœopathic Links 1/96. Homœopathic Links, Groningen.
  • Schroyens, Frederik, ed. 1995. Synthesis; Repertorium Homeopathicum Syntheticum. Homeopathic Book Publishers, London.
  • Schuster, Bernd. 1996. When the Soul is Liberated in Homœopathic Links 1/96. Homœopathic Links, Groningen.
  • Sherr, Jeremy Y. 1997. Dynamic Provings, Volume 1. Dynamis Books, Malvern.
  • Vermeulen, Frans. 1994. Concordant Materia Medica. Merlijn Publishers, Haarlem.
  • 1992. Synoptic Materia Medica. Volume 1. 4th edition. Merlijn Publishers, Haarlem.
  • 1996. Synoptic Materia Medica. Volume I1. Merlijn Publishers, Haarlem.
  • Websters New Twentieth Century Dictionary. 1979. 2nd edition. Dorset & Baber, New York.
  • van Zandvoort, Roger. 1997. The Complete Repertory ver 4.5. IRHIS, Leidschendam.

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© Wendy Howard, April 1998
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