This section of the site features provings I have been or will be conducting, both of homeopathic remedies and unpotentised essences. The first proving is now published.
If you're looking for online information on all new homeopathic provings, there is a database maintained at Jeremy Sherr's Dynamis site.
What is a proving?
Provings are the testing of substances to find out what symptoms the substance is capable of producing and hence curing. They're conducted on volunteers in a reasonable state of health (provers) who generally have no knowledge of what substance it is they're taking. Doses are repeated until provers start to experience symptoms of a change in state. The provers record everything they experience, whether physical, emotional, mental, or even spiritual, as long as the change in state persists. At the end of the proving all the records are collated and compared to find the symptoms, states of mind, feelings and experiences the provers have in common and which can reasonably be attributed to the emerging signature resonance of the substance.
A note about homeopathic remedies vs essences
This site is somewhat unusual in publishing provings of homeopathic remedies and essences with little distinction between the two.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared in a different way to essences. Remedies start with a small amount of the source material which is either macerated or dissolved in alcohol, or ground up with lactose and then dissolved. From that point a successive series of agitations (succussion) and dilutions raises the remedy in potency to the required level.
Essences are prepared by placing the source material in a bowl of water and leaving it for a period of time, often in sunshine. The water is then mixed 50/50 with alcohol and a few drops of this solution added to a water/alcohol mix to make up the stock solution which is then diluted again into a treatment solution used for dosing.
The approach to the understanding, use and prescription of essences and remedies is frequently quite different. Although there are a few homeopaths who prescribe essences, generally they each belong to two different therapies. However, having had extensive experience of proving both, I find the experience of each almost indistinguishable from the other, which is the reason for their similar treatment on this site. If there is no difference in the experience of them, then regardless of the different customs, practices and reasonings attaching to each, I see no grounds to treat them differently.
There are some differences – proving an essence and a remedy from the same source material is not an identical experience – but the differences don't appear to be consistent enough to generalise about the properties of remedies vs essences. They are like different modulations of the same signature resonance, much as different homeopathic potencies are, but since each resonance is unique, exactly how it will modulate when interacting with any one individual doesn't appear to be readily predictable.
The question of potency is similarly problematic in homeopathy. There are some general "rules", but they seem to work most consistently for those that subscribe to them. For those that don't, the results frequently don't seem to follow the same rationale. (If this seems nonsensical to you, the article Holed in One may help.)
It's widely assumed that essences don't produce physical symptoms, perhaps because essences contain little or no material substance. However, neither do homeopathic remedies, and having taken part in over a dozen essence provings now, I can say quite categorically that they most certainly do produce physical symptoms just as homeopathic remedies do. If they are not experienced as doing so in practice, it's not because they can't. (For a detailed example, see the essence proving of a well known homeopathic remedy in the article Through the Looking Glass.)
It's often assumed, particularly by homeopaths, that remedies are "deeper" and more powerful. I have had every bit as deep and powerful an experience from essences as I have from remedies.
It's also assumed that remedies are more long-lasting. A single dose of a remedy can initiate a proving that can continue for 3 months or more. Protocol dictates that essences are taken in repeated doses over a period of 2 weeks or so, but their effects can be no less long-lasting and can continue for 3 months or more beyond the last dose as well.
Ultimately I suspect that (as with so many things in life) the respective sphere of influence, power and longevity of each is as much a factor of our expectations or conditioned response as it is anything intrinsic to the remedy or essence itself. Either can be as deeply curative as the other if its particular resonance happens to match the patterns of the person taking it.
What happens with the proving material
In homeopathic provings, proving data is usually presented as selected descriptions of symptoms in provers' own words, extracted from their accounts and assembled together under general thematic headings. Any interpretation of the patterns of those symptoms is left to readers. This is designed to prevent too much subjective bias intruding, so no particular view of the substance is emphasised to the potential exclusion of others. It also takes account of Hahnemann's principle of the 'unprejudiced observer' and his warnings against 'theorising' which he felt was a corrupting abstraction from the clarity of the raw data.
Once complete, the collated and categorised symptoms from homeopathic remedy provings are published and added to the indexes of symptoms (repertories) so the remedies can begin to build up a record of use. Cured cases published by homeopaths who have prescribed the remedies provide confirmation for the proving symptoms and add further symptoms to the list of those cured by the remedy, so increasing the scope, depth and subtlety of our understanding of what the substance can address.
The presentation of essences, on the other hand, tends to take a different tack. The remedial effect is described much more briefly and less specifically in terms of the general issues and states of mind that an essence will help cure. Often the effect of an essence is ascertained by an intuitive or meditative grasp of the substance, in the manner pioneered by Edward Bach (Bach Flower Essences), with the essence being designated a 'research' essence until confirmation of its action is provided by clinical cases. The concept of a proving is quite alien to many essence therapists. Often there is very little (if any) reference to physical effects. Some meditative homeopathic provings (which are somewhat controversial in the homeopathic profession) follow similar lines.
Yet one presentation is not necessarily any more "right" than the other – both represent different kinds of encounters with different facets of the same substance, and both are used as the basis of successful prescriptions. Those who argue against the perceived subjectivity of meditative or intuitive acquaintance with the remedial sphere of a substance seem not to appreciate that by its very nature a proving is a largely subjective experience. The quality of the raw data is highly dependent on the abilities of provers to articulate their experiences and, as quantum mechanics has taught us, even the act of observation has a discernible impact on what is observed. Subjectivity is unavoidable, not least because there's plenty of evidence to suggest that non-provers within the proving 'field' are affected by its energy as well.
It's also been my experience that the symptoms of remedies and essences are not limited to the physical, mental and emotional arenas, but ripple through philosophical and spiritual dimensions too, offering profound insights on the underlying fabric of our "reality" from the unique perspective of the substance. These symptoms need to be differentiated from Hahnemann's "theorising" because they offer a deep insight into the nature of the substance, not to mention the stratum of existence where all lifeforms are fundamentally interconnected. A person experiencing these symptoms directly as a prover is in a unique position to be able to articulate them – which is exactly what Hahnemann appears to have done himself (see the essay Bulldosing the China Shop) – and provided that it's not taken as the exclusive or definitive word on the subject (which no one person's view ever can be) is not something that should be discouraged. Remedy provings every bit as much as essence provings can convey a sense of an underlying "message" or "teaching" from the substance – something that by its nature it can impart to us to help us understand our condition.
Despite the differences in methodology, both homeopaths and essence prescribers are seeking to do the same thing – to match the pattern of resonance of the patient to that of a curative remedy. Consequently, the essence provings you'll find here will be published in a way that allows essences to be used in a similar manner to homeopathic remedies, as well as in the traditional manner of essence prescribers. And the homeopathic remedy provings will be additionally summarised in a commentary on the experience which identifies general psychodynamic, philosophical and spiritual issues which the remedy has been found to address, much in the manner in which essences are generally presented.
So what's really going on?
Within the narrow confines of a materialist perspective on existence, who can say? Homeopathy's detractors would have you believe (in the most derogatory terms they can summon) that because there are no theoretical frameworks supporting its mode of action, it cannot therefore have any action. This line of reasoning flies in the face of all that science stands for, not to mention the consistent and replicable experience of thousands of individuals over the space of more than 200 years. Phenomena do not owe their 'reality' to mankind's ability to explain them.
Personally, I feel we have to step outside materialism and look to perspectives, both ancient and modern, that acknowledge the unity of matter and consciousness. Perhaps something along the lines of the 'Green Hermeticism' outlined by Christopher Bamford ...
"Phenomenologically, the Hermeticist starts with the unity of existence: the unity of matter and consciousness and the unity of all phenomena of consciousness—consciousness always being identifying consciousness. “If you would know the rose, become the rose. Become the rock. Become the plant. Become the metal,” as Schwaller de Lubicz tells us in Nature Word. Everything in nature – bird, tree, or flower, just as forest, meadow, or geological formation – is a question containing its own answer, meaning, and explanation. All phenomena – light, color, sound – and all natural processes – germination, growth, digestion, and fermentation – contain the power to evoke in the prepared observer the true response that is their meaning. Here is the foundation of a true science of phenomena, dispensing with all instrumentation and relying on consciousness alone. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe puts it: “The best of all would be to realize that every fact is already theory. The blue of the sky shows us the principles of color. We need not look for anything behind phenomena: they themselves are the teaching.” By this means, Hermetic science is thus able to understand such phenomena as life, light, space, time, matter – which modern science cannot fathom – because it is able to experience phenomena as such, as God (*) knows them.
"Thus, in this view, the universe, nature, every phenomenon is a concrete presence of the powers that govern it, and the Hermetic art is the raising of phenomena into their living angelic archetypes – and not an inner act, but it in reality. The alchemist sees with the eyes of the spirit and confirms his theory through higher perception or Imagination. Such is true Imagination: it “sees,” that is, confirms, verifies, and collaborates in the subtle processes of nature, which are the continuous creation of the world: the Divine Imagination.
"Hermetic science is thus a discipline of mind and body. It strives for a qualitative, unifying exaltation of the relation of the knower to the known in the phenomenon through the act of knowing. Rather than the objectification and control of the known by the knower, it seeks unification and identity – transformation of the knower through the known as perceived and experienced. Each phenomenon is thus unique, single, and personal: an act of grace manifesting in the confluence of the right gesture at the right moment."
* For which, you can read 'Universal Consciousness' or any other preferred terminology which fits with the conception of a level of consciousness beyond the relative and contingent individuality of the human being.