Comparing my proving experiences to the habitat
and lifestyle of both the mullet and the Erythrinidae left me in no doubt that I had been proving
a member of the latter family, but which one? Of the current valid classifications
within the Erythrinidae, there are three genera found throughout
Central and South America, each with one main widespread species
plus a selection of other species recorded with markedly less frequency in
more localised habitats:
- Erythrinus erythrinus (also known as E.
brevicauda, E. longipinnis and E. salmoneus), plus E. kessleri
- Hoplerythrinus unitaeniatus (also known as E.
balteatus, E. salvus, E. unitaeniatus, E. vittatus and Pseudoerythrinus
rosapinnis), plus H. cinereus and H. gronovii
- Hoplias malabaricus (also known as E. macrodon and E.
trahira), plus H. aimara, H. brasiliensis, H. lacerdae, H.
macrophthalamus, H. microcephalus, H. microlepis, H.
patana and H. teres (10)
Available information about each species can be contradictory, and common
names can be interchangeable. Confusion and misidentification seemed prevalent
here as well. It seemed plausible that taxonomic
imprecision within the Erythrinidae might provide a logical foundation for this
confusion and inability to name the fish precisely, so research efforts changed
tack. Genetic studies have been undertaken on each major genus.
What emerges is that "The
karyotypic diversity that had been found in the Erythrinidae fish, especially
malabaricus and Hoplerythrinus unitaeniatus, is now also confirmed
erythrinus [...] suggesting the existence of several unnamed new species
in this fish group. Thus, this nominal species appears to correspond to a species
Essentially, the present species classification of the Erythrinidae is not an
accurate reflection of the variation in the fish included in the classification
and is largely nominal --
ie. in name only.
Several things that happened to me during
the proving echoed aspects of the lifestyle and nature of the Erythrinidae.
First and most prominent was the habitat-hopping. Similar things happened
to my 15 year-old daughter, who also produced a number of physical symptoms in
tandem with my own. It started when my car was written off after a minor accident
in a freak snowstorm that I was only caught in "accidently".
Given the way it happened, it was hard to avoid the feeling that it was "set
up" somehow (a frequent feeling with proving-related events).
I replaced the car with a newer, different make. Then I was asked
to do some work for a local business and started
this the very same day my daughter started an apprenticeship after quitting school.
I also replaced my computer. Each move entailed quite
a dramatic change in "habitat" and
life/work styles, and a lot of energy (whether physical, mental or financial)
to make the transition. Each move initially appeared to represent, as it were, "golden
to the previous situation, based on reputations and/or superficial appearances.
Each of these turned out to be largely illusory. Again it seemed as if the imprecision
and unreliability of superficial classifications and descriptions were being
underlined. All things and situations have their pros and their cons and individual
variation exists in relation to all, even machines.
Another noticeable mental/emotional symptom of
the proving was a strong aversion to male energy, specifically bullying, aggressive
and predatory male energy. The sort that believes its view of the world is the
only one possible. I felt unusually defensive and vulnerable in its presence,
and preferred to avoid it, or, if forced to confront it, to make
it plain that there are other ways of seeing the world. More than anything I
felt tired and done with it and fed up with having to keep dealing with it. I
wanted to move on (to a new pool?).
The fish's strong connection to unity consciousness is less obviously grounded
in its lifestyle and behaviour, though could easily be seen as a polarity of
its separation and potential isolation within its habitat and/or a function of
its primitive nature. While I find unity consciousness is generally heightened
in many provings, it was particularly strong in this one. Sudden eruptions of
fury arose in response to separation issues. I made passport applications for
myself and two of my children via the Passport Office's new online block application
facility, but they separated all the applications then kept writing to me asking
for the children's supporting documentation which they already had in their possession
attached to my application, so received several rants verging on the apoplectic
from me for their pains. I was inclined to bite my eldest daughter's head off
when she told me of her plans to go out with friends on days when all of us
had the opportunity to do something together. I also had moments when my happiness
with my single lifestyle seemed in danger of collapse and frequent dreams
in which there was an overwhelming desire to physically merge with another in
a very earthy way. It was physical contact over the greatest surface area possible
that was important, sex being only a natural extension of that. The dreams focused
on a specific individual; it seemed because of both proximity and an association
with earthiness. For an aquatic creature, this was a very "earthy" proving,
which later made some sense in terms of the fish being able to survive and move
on land, and earth being the "mediator" between members of the species separated
in individial pools. I had a dream in which I lost the use of my legs completely
and had to drag myself along on my arms, dreaming that I was awake at the
Another repeating dream theme was sudden acceleration and the power of momentum
to carry something forward in a trajectory beyond what would normally be expected
in the circumstances.
In general though, the proving's focus seemed predominantly
physical, again emphasising an earthy materiality. Even energies that I'm accustomed
to having around in a metaphysical way appeared in physical form.
I experienced a series of acute inflammatory
episodes (tonsilitis, cystitis, gastroenteritis) all of which started immediately
post-menses, peaked with marked intensity over the course of a single night,
then resolved, though the duration of each varied. All symptoms were better for
warm applications and for lying on the affected side, and tended to develop or
become worse in the evening and into the night. The tonsilits started with soreness
in the muscles of the back of the neck, such that it became difficult to lower
the chin onto the chest. Tonsils swelled considerably, becoming very dark red,
protruding from their folds and were covered in large white vesicles, They were
too sore for eating, but ameliorated by warm watery drinks. Worse for a period
without swallowing. Submaxillary glands were also swollen, and as the infection
progressed all glands in my upper body became sore and tender. This was accompanied
by fever, soreness in the kidneys, passing blood with faeces and possibly also
urine. This particular infection (with all the signs of "strep
initially threatened post-menses with just the sore neck which then disappeared
again. The following month the sore neck returned, and this time developed into
the symptoms described above.
The month after
that I had 3 days of cystitis, commencing and peaking over a single night of
almost unbearable intensity during which I was slipping in and out of dreams involving conversations and situations where I was repeatedly discussing the
various things going on in the world and how everything that was going on was
ultimately designed to heal the fragmentation in human consciousnesss so we could
regain a consciousness of the unity of existence. In the dream the experience
of this consciousness was vivid and intense, but very much focused on the unity
of life on Earth, rather than beyond. In the next 24 hours, urine became cloudy,
greenish and frothy, with a sensation of inflammation in the bladder. It resolved
after a further 24 hours.
The following month I experienced sudden onset of nausea in the late evening,
followed by another largely sleepness night during which I felt constantly nauseous
with churning intestines as if diarrhoea were imminent, slightly feverish, and
thirsty. The entire night seemed comprised of one long dream to do with a piece of typesetting
and performing some unusual treatment on the boundaries of graphics such that
they expanded and merged into other elements of the page. This was followed by
24 hours of diarrhoea, then no further symptoms.
Menses themselves were really unpleasant: the smell was strong and awful.
Cadaverous. Initially like rotten fish, then burnt, and the flow was excoriating
at the same time. Menses were more profuse and lasted longer than normal, starting
pale and watery and becoming abnormally dark by the third day. There were occasional
bouts of constipation which seemed due to rectal muscular inefficiency.
Symptoms could either be predominantly one-sided (left or right) or symmetrical.
There were many instances of lightbulbs blowing, none of which were particularly
old or due to go, many static electric shocks from stroking the cats, and a dream
in which my landlord asked my neighbour to go up into my attic to
fix my electrics as something was wrong with them. (Grimmer states "Eryth.
is electro-magnetically negative." (12) which
relates to his use of radionics in homeopathic prescription, all remedies being
either positive or negative, but I could find no other reference to any
electrical properties of the fish. It's worth noting that electro-magnetically
negative remedies in Grimmer's method are applicable to the cancerous diathesis,
The most dramatic and long-lasting symptoms of
the proving, which again began post-menses and coincided with the episode of
cystitis, were a series of eruptions which appeared in successive batches. Initially
these were mostly on my inner arms, backs of the hands, and upper legs, then
over the course of 3 months they spread and gradually resolved from the top downards
and from front to back with the last eruptions on the backs of my legs above
the Achillles' tendons. There were virtually no eruptions on my face or trunk
apart from a small circular area over my sternum and one or two on my
lower back. To begin with, the eruptions appeared as papules with pseudovesicular
centres on raised erythmatous bases with the small "blisters" rapidly
turning into flaking skin or scabs surrounded by dry skin. The papules were hyperkeratotic.
As time went on, the initial varioliform appearance became less marked until
eruptions eventually appeared with a kind of "frosted
with the skin immediately flaking off. They were only rarely irritating and were
only so noticeably over the course of a single night 4 days after they first
appeared during which I got little sleep for the itching. The itching felt very
deep and was concentrated in the bends of joints – knees, elbows and groin.
In my half-waking, half-dreaming state, the itching was associated with website
links where the HTML syntax was incorrect and it seemed to me that if I corrected
the syntax, the itch would go away. As the eruptions resolved, which they did
very slowly, their bases turned from bright red to a more coppery colour, then
faded to leave an area of skin like fresh scar tissue which reddened if subject
to extremes of temperature. Their resolution was speeded up by exposure to sunlight.
The polymorphic nature of the eruptions continued sporadically throughout but
new batches invariably appeared during the 48 hours following cessation of menses.
After trawling through numerous dermatological atlases and databases, I finally
managed to identify the rash as pityriasis lichenoides which, by its course of
development, appeared to have progressed from the acute manifestation (PLEVA)
to the more chronic variant (PLC), an observed
progression in some instances. The condition, also known as Mucha-Habermann disease,
is rare, generally occurs under the age of 30 in all races with no racial predisposition,
and shows a male predominance in the paediatric population. It tends to remit
spontaneously, though may continue for years in adults, waxing and waning. In
children, the mean duration is 7½ months. (13)