Materia Medica
Ananda Zaren

Core Elements of the Materia Medica of the Mind

Ananda Zaren is known for her excellent seminars she has presented in Europe and America. With the first volume of her Materia Medica she is making her debut as an author. This book is the first of a series of volumes that will be published annually. The publication of each new volume will be accompanied by a seminar comprised of video cases to illustrate and augment the materia medica of the remedies presented in the book. In this way students can greatly enhance their understanding of each remedy by having access to both a textbook and a seminar in which the material is demonstrated in a vivid and practical way.

Ananda Zaren presents her concept of clinical methodology which traces the personality development and pathogenesis of a remedy picture. She refers to this model as the wound, wall and mask. The remedy picture is not just the composition of psychological symptoms, but a complete constellation that represents the organism’s adaptation to the physical and emotional environment.

In regards to the wound, Ananda states:

A psychic wound is a state of severe fright that ensues when an individual is confronted with a traumatic experience that is sudden, unexpected, and potentially life-threatening. It is an experience over which the individual has no control and to which he is unable to respond effectively to deflect the event. Examples of this type of trauma include having one’s house destroyed by a fire or natural disaster, being permanently injured as the result of an automobile accident, or being physically or sexually abused by a parent. Individuals can also be wounded by witnessing violence.

Not all experiences that have the capacity to initiate wounds must be that drastic and dramatic as the examples above. Wounds can be initiated by emotional abandonment, or disappointed love. Whether a specific event can cause a wound and and its depth and its painfulness depends not only on the nature and intensity of the trauma but also on the susceptibility and vital force of the individual.

Information about the wound, however, does not lead to the prescription of a specific remedy, as individuals of any remedy can have a history of trauma, abuse of other wounding experiences, each individual will respond by developing a set of coping mechanisms in the attempt to protect themselves from future trauma. The survival mechanism exhibits itself on all three planes, mental, emotional, and physical. Thus, the infant with severe colic, the business man with anxiety, the woman with violent impulses, and the child with eczema are all exhibiting symptoms produced by their organism in the attempt to respond to the stresses of their lives. The complex of symptoms that forms the protective adaptation to the wound is referred to as the wall and the distinct pattern of the wall differentiates the remedy picture and the prescription that will lead to a deep response.

Each remedy forms a unique configuration of adaptation in the form of a protective wall. The “thickness” of the wall is dependent on and increases in response to many factors: The intensity of the wound, the degree of vulnerability of the organism , and the length of time the wall has been in place. We can make an analogy between the wall and a dressing that is placed over an open or raw injury. Initially, the dressing protects the injury from contamination of further insult from the outside. Inevitably, though, the dressing eventually becomes constricting. It does not allow light or air to penetrate to the wound. It can begin to erode the healthy skin that surrounds the wound or become, in itself, a source of irritation or infection. Thus the symptoms of the wall become the pathology rather than the curative solution.

The symptoms of the wall are not always easy to identify because they can be covered by a secondary layer of defense which is called the mask. The mask represents a more superficial social facade that projects an image to the outside world. Thus, the severely depressed patient might appear to be jovial, making jokes and smiling, and the fearful patient can appear arrogant and detached. But the mask is transient and less permanent than the wall. Prescriptions based on the mask rather than the wall usually will not have the desired deeply curative effect.

During the course of the consultation, the patient begins to explain his problems and reveal his fears, slowly warming and opening to the process. A transformation begins to take place and certain changes can be observed as the rapport between the patient and homeopath is developed. The body might relax, with the shoulders slumping forward and the head dropping perceptibly as the person discusses despair or sadness. Tension, anxiety, or anger can be perceived in the gestures of the hands or the rigidity of the facial musculature. Because the mask is less durable and more superficial, the traits associated with it will begin to fade as the interview progresses.

With the presentation of her model of the wound, wall and mask Ananda Zaren is suggesting a new approach which can enable the homeopath to focus the case and gain a fuller understanding of the emotional materia medica of the remedies presented.

Through this model, an extraordinary and interesting analysis of the discrepancy between the masking façade and the inner self of the individual is illustrated in her picture of Medorrhinum.

The wound of Medorrhinum is caused by an early experience of abandonment. There are two characteristic modes of reaction to this trauma which form the wall of the remedy: obsessive enmeshment with another individual or isolation from others. According to these noted types of behavior, Ananda Zaren further distinguishes between the two poles of the personality: the active, extroverted type and the passive, inward, or soft type.

Active Medorrhinum individuals are highly social, preferring to be in the center of attention, utilizing charm and seduction to achieve their goals. They can easily display their emotions and express anger in an uninhibited manner.

The passive Medorrhinum, on the other hand, is withdrawn and prefers to live alone, surrounded by only a few intimate people. These individuals find it difficult to express their emotions and tend to repress their anger. In this respect they can appear very much like Natrum muriaticum individuals.

By using her model of differentiation between the outer façade and the sustained adaptive patterns of behavior and symptomatology, the homeopath can penetrate to the essential core of the pathology and identify the deep acting remedy. Ananda Zaren gives a clear, vivid and lifelike picture of the remedy which is followed by a thorough differential diagnosis from other related remedies. The portrait presented is further supported by numerous repertory references. The author succeeds in forging a psychological analysis with other symptoms in the remedy constellation which combine to illuminate new facets in the materia medica of the remedies presented. Her vivid presentation and fluent style make this work both a useful reference book and an exciting new approach to the understanding of case analysis and materia medica.

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