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)
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:
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).
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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’.