Why study Butterflies in Homeopathy?
Butterflies are the creatures that inhabit more areas of our Planet than any other, migrating specimens being found from the Equator to the Arctic. Along with the Ladybug or Ladybird, they are the only insects that generally inspire awe and appreciation instead of fear and repulsion. Interestingly, they are both also etymologically related to Our Lady the Virgin Mary1. The English term Ladybird and German term Marienkaepfer for ladybug respectively stand for ‘Our Lady’s bird’ and ‘Mary’s beetle’; whereas the Spanish term ‘Mariposa’ for butterfly probably derives from a 15th-century children’s song which states ‘Maria alight, stay among us’, ‘Maria posate…’ whence Mariposa, obviously a symbol of lightness, heavenliness, and innocence.
Lepidoptera – Nymphalids – Moths – Butterfly themes – Butterfly delusions – Butterfly sensations – Butterfly proving symptoms – Butterfly rubrics – Emergency remedy – CFS – SLA – Alzheimer.
Over 20 Lepidoptera remedies have been proved, yet they are scarcely used. Part of the reason lies in the fact that they are not a regular part of our Homeopathic College curriculae, precedence naturally being given to more widely used policrests. Moreover, there are few books, the provings are hard to find and not always available in English. This makes for gross under-representation in our homeopathic repertories, where the most comprehensive contain little over 2000 rubrics2 for the whole family (as compared to the almost 10’000 for Aves, the Birds, other grand flying creatures of the Earth). Our oldest Lepidoptera entered our Repertories with T.F. Allen and Clarke (Bomb-chr and Bomb-pr – =incidently, both abbreviations are wrong, as neither species actually belong to the genus Bombyx) at the turn of the last century with a total of under 180 rubrics of which only 8 are mental symptoms. All other remedies have existed only since the 1990’s, some having as few as 4 entries in our rubrics (Vanessa Atalanta), and many having no physicals whatsoever.
So how can we prescribe a butterfly remedy?
Knowing the themes of the Families are fundamental in these cases in order to identify the source. Once we are certain a Butterfly remedy is needed, the repertory and some books or articles are absolutely necessary in order to select the correct species. Generically giving ‘Butterfly’ (as suggested by R. Sankaran3) will be useful in those cases where Vital Force is strong, so that giving a remedy within a certain range of the simillimum – in other words, within a certain range of the vibration of the Vital Force – is sufficient to bring about the cure. In all other cases, making a more precise prescription is required.
1. Etymology4: The origins of the word for butterfly are very interesting in various languages denoting symbolism which has seeped into Lepidoptera remedy pictures. In Ancient Greece butterfly was termed Psyche, the same word for soul or breath. Psyche was also a beautiful human woman who married the God Eros, and is often portrayed as having butterfly wings – symbol of her innocent love or innocence to be lost. A comparison can be made with a modern day Russian dialect, where butterfly is dushichka from dusha also meaning soul just as in Ancient Greek. Butterfly also means canopy, spreading out, long-lived, and is a symbol of marital happiness as well as representing the soul of the dead (moths in certain parts of Asia), the human hand (in Ancient Aztec culture) or witches (in North European folklore).
Taking all this into consideration, a thorough study of provings5-8 and cases has highlighted the following themes:
1. Metamorphosis: A general insect theme particularly present in Lepidoptera, certainly due to the almost miraculous transformation of this creature. Patients exhibit need for transformation or change, sometimes simply in the form of mimicry, disguise, camouflage or the desire to dress-up, as came up in Patricia Leroux’s pediatric cases.
2. Lightheartedness & Uplifting: Butterflies are a symbol of innocence & cheerfulness; they appear light and elegant, even superficial. However, in numerous provings uplifting of the spirit, heightened awareness and self-awareness arose. On the whole, these characteristics combined make for optimistic individuals.
3. Reduced mental agility: Mentally there are often memory &/or concentration difficulties, and generally a good deal of confusion. These symptoms make Lepidoptera possible choices in diagnosed cases of ADHA, ASD, Alzheimer or Parkinson.
4. Agitation: A variation of the ‘industriousness’ typical of insects: there can be a constant need for movement along with restlessness, even insomnia.
5. Exhaustion: Both on the physical and mental planes, exhaustion is possibly linked to the great effort butterflies make in nature during the various transition phases, e.g., during ecdyses (moulting of the old cuticle or exoskeleton), during the final nymphosis (twisting and turning to reach the final transformation, pushing and squirming to emerge from the chrysalis) and finally heaving in order to inflate the wings.
6. Hiding: An animal theme – in butterfly, often this need arises not so much in order to avoid danger, but also to recover, rest – or find shelter from a cruel world. Can be linked to the “Cocoon phase”.
7. Abandonment: Another animal theme strongly felt in most butterflies and often accompanied by a sense of lack of guidance. Adults can feel castaway, shipwrecked, defenseless, alone on an abandoned island; children feel unaided or unguided by parents or guardians – or the contrary, children feel they must help/guide their parents or authority figures. In any case, guidance and abandonment are issues.
Hence we see that the sense of abandonment/lack of guidance can lead to a need for a guide OR a need to guide:
Abandoned Need for a guide
Unguided Need to guide
Only for one butterfly proving does this theme not emerge: Graphium Sarpedon Choredon, the Blue Triangle Butterfly. The remedy was prepared with a live butterfly using a Radionics Box. The prover (Heidi Wedd, Australia) believes the explanation for this difference lies therein.
8. Family & Responsibility: Another animal theme, present and strong in butterflies despite their flippancy and desire for change.
9. Sexuality: Pronounced in most butterflies. A larva’s (caterpillar’s) goal is to eat, increasing in weight two to ten-thousand fold…whilst an imago’s goal (imago is the term given to the adult winged insect) is to reproduce: some imagos completely lack a proboscis (the spiralled, tube-like mouthpiece with which they suck in juices or nectars), so the only scope of their 3 to 7 day existence is to find a mate and copulate. In many species, copulation lasts several hours, or even the whole night.
Some exceptions: This theme did not come up strongly in the provings regarding neither of the two Blue Morphos (Morpho Peleides & Morpho Menelaus). From the life of the butterfly, the reason for this discrepancy remains unclear.
10. Transsexuality: Confusion/Indecision about sexual or personal identity: this is the general ‘duality’ theme present in most insects pushed to the limit. It is not uncommon for patients to go through a phase of their lives in which they feel unsure whether they are or want to be male or female. Though this trait can be considered common in childhood and early adolescence, it becomes strange, rare and peculiar when the phase is prolonged or accentuated.
11. Genetics: Arose in several of P. Le Roux’s provings – occurrence of genetic diseases, among others things vis-à-vis genetic predisposition toward concentration or mental/intellectual difficulties.
12. Dreams: Apart from typical animal dreams (animals, birds, war,danger, water, children), many patients dream of … butterflies!
13. Insect themes: other insect themes are also present, such as
– staying near walls: desire to, feeling as if
– feeling small
-(Extreme) sensitivity: to environment – sounds, colours, light, music – and pain.
– Attire: colourful and stylish (the opposite may also apply)
The extreme sensitivity of the substance directly reflects the sensitivity of the creature in nature:
- Since they have no tongue – their mouthpiece being a strawlike proboscis – lepidoptera have tastebuds on their feet which are thousands of times more sensitive than human tastebuds;
- With their huge compound eyes, they can perceive a larger range of colours than any other animal, perhaps comparable only to that of dragonflies. Hence, two butterfly markings that appear identical to the human eye can be drastically different for lepidotera since they perceive infrareds and ultraviolets humans are blind to;
- Moulting, emerging and wing-inflating all appear to be activites which entail a great deal of energy, effort and pain.
3. There also appear to be slight yet relevant differences between Nymphalids VS other butterflies:
- Nymphalids have slower flight, appear less in a rush
- Human friendly creatures: are known to alight on eager watchers
- Enjoy attention given to them, will stop to allow a great photograph to be taken
- Colour pattern is brown-based, though beautifully so
- More than 1 species only mate once: Euphydryas Aurinia male closes up the female’s genital opening with a secreted substance, chastity belt-like; Inachis-Io female, the magnificent European Peacock butterfly, is not only monandrous (one mate) but is only receptive to mating once soon after emerging – making it almost impossible for males as well to find a second receptive female.
- In conclusion, Nymphalids appear to have slower paced lives and more stable relationships than other butterfly remedies that often have a very liberal attitude toward sexuality and love.
There are some important structural dissimilarities between butterflies and moths which understandably bring out differences in homeopathic indication of the substances. About 95% of the approximately 180’000 species of lepidoptera are moths. Although most moths are nocturnal, this cannot be taken as the main difference because many are either diurnal or crepuscular. No clear-cut differentiation is possible since exceptions exist to all of the basic rules described below, which are nonetheless valid:
- Shape of the antennae: butterflies and skippers are Rhopalocera, meaning they have knobbed antennae – club-tipped in butterflies, hooked in skippers – whereas moths’ are anything but club-tipped (feathered, comb-like, thready…), called Heterocera;
- Resting posture of wings: butterflies close them vertically in a booklike fashion over their backs, making the insect very thin and difficult to see when gazed upon from above; whereas moths generally close them flat on their backs, often forming a triangular rooftop;
- Silk: most moths spin a silken cocoon to protect the chrysalis (final pupation phase) whereas hardly any butterflies do so, though some butterflies spin a silken shelter woven together with leaves for the larvae (caterpillars).
- Colour: Most moths have dull colouring (necessary for camouflage since they expose the top wings when resting) whereas most butterflies are brightly coloured; important exceptions to this rule exist for both classifications.
Also noteworthy is that the adult imago phase is often not the most well-known phase in moths – take the Silk Moth, known for the cocoon whence we make silk; the Processionary Moth, known for the poisonous, irritating hairs of the caterpillar; the Vine Sphinx Moth known for the damage its ravenous appetite incurs vineyards. Conversely, the adult imago is generally the best-known stage for butterflies.
We propose the following differentiation between Butterfly-Moth Themes20-21:
Moths represent more of the DARK SIDE, as seen in the following themes:
1) Dark Side, DEATH: stronger sense of presentiment, deeper sadness.
2) Dangerous Parenting: Guidance can be dangerous, not only lacking (Guenther)
3) Skin eruptions: can be more dangerous, infectious than in butterfly
4) Caterpillar: Remedies are often made from the larvae and not the imago: we can imagine less ‘flying sensations’ and/or ‘wings, having’ delusions.
5. Sensations and Delusions22-24
Every kingdom, family and remedy will express itself in a particular way; this stands true for any method of case analysis one is using, not only in Sensation Method. A lepidopteran patient is likely to have the following sensations:
– Being small, frail; needing protection; feeling abandoned
– Being caught, stuck, enclosed, closed in, gripped, wrapped up, in a tunnel or narrow place.
Notice that these expressions are in differential diagnosis with Second Row elements, as the second row’s womb issues greatly resemble the cocoon phase.
The place where the patient is ‘stuck’ can have either positive or negative connotations, depending on whether he/she desires respite or wants to go through the final transformation and emerge. The process they go through is different though the final outcome is the same:
In a Good place: the description is like a cocoon… a home, castle, haven, safe place, place to rest, take respite, feeling warm; finally peace, love, harmony – with colours, sounds, light, no fear.
In an Unsafe place: the sensation is that they must get out! Must move, space is too small, oppressed, constricted. Once outside: space, Up, flying, birds, having wings; finally peace, love, harmony – with colours, sounds, light, no fear.
Some typical Delusions also came out in the provings, though many of these have not yet made their way into our repertories.
- Fluttering in various areas of the body (apart from general sensation of fluttering);
- floating, fluctuating
- Having wings: this delusion is, in fact, more common amongst butterfly remedies than amongst bird remedies
- flying (also sensation of): this is quite common in both Lepidoptera and Aves.
6. MIASM Markedly Tubercular: as deduced from the need for change, the frenzied activity, the sense of oppression.
7. Map of Symptoms & Rubrics
In the following section, we have mapped symptoms first directly from the provings, then from rubrics chosen amongst those where at least 2 Lepidoptera remedies are present.
1. Lightheartedness, carefreeness and sweetness
2. Feeling energetic, uplifted; wanting to dance, wander around, joyously, in brightly coloured attire.
3. Conversely: Feeling trapped, grabbed; intolerance to constriction, to feeling held tight; explosion.
4. Fear of dogs and earthquakes
– Amusement /Cheerfulness ; Euphoria/ Excitement /Laughing
– Anxiety / Fear / Helplessness
– Comfort/Harmony… & Indolence
– Confusion of mind (location..) /Recognize, does not, surroundings/ location
– Concentration, difficult / Mistakes, making
– Confusion of Mind, identity, as to his/ as to his, sexual
– Mind, dress, dresses, cross-dressing Dreams, women, with penises;
– Concentration, active
– Consciousness, expanded
– Cocooned, feels spun in a
– Forsaken feeling; isolation, SE of
– Escape, desires
– Grief/Sadness/Horrible things, sad stories affect profoundly
– Weeping, tearful mood
– Love, humanity for
– Occupation, diversion amel/ Restlessness /Change, desire for
– Quiet disposition/ Tranquillity, serenity
– Responsibility, ailments from
– Senses, acute/ Sensitive, oversensitive
– Divided, two parts, into
– Light, incorporal, immaterial / Floating /Lightness
– Wings, has
– Ugly, he is
– Pursued, attacked…etc
Note: in delusion Flying, Floating: NO butterfly remedies are listed, clearly incomplete rubrics.
Butterflies; also blood, bombs, buildings, insects, water…
Rubrics: – animals, butterflies, moths; adolescence; children; pregnant
– carefree; being attacked / pursued /raped
– body parts, blood, bombs, buildings; tunnels
– clothes; metamorphosis, about; water
Note: in Dreams,Cocoon: NO butterfly remedies are listed, clearly an uncomplete rubric…
GENERALS 1. Aspect: delicate, frail, slim build
2. Wrapping oneself : with arms, blankets, sheets (when speaking of problems, when resting/sleeping)
3. Love of dancing, playing, continuous movement, brightly coloured clothing
4. General cold/flu symptoms
5. Pulsating pains; burning pains; menses late
6. Sensations: Sensations of fluttering (in various areas of the body); having wings
FOOD & DRINK
Desire for rich foods; sweets and sugar; wine
Rubrics: Des/agg/amel alcohol/beer/wine
Can be ravenous (more frequent) or absent
Rubrics: Appetite, increased /ravenous
SLEEP on back; restless, disturbed sleep
Rubrics deep; refreshing; disturbed/restless/sleeplessness; sleepiness
HEAD 1. Frontal sinusitis
2. Headache < noise, light; floating sensation
Rubrics: Pain, headache
Pain, headache, forehead (left, right, sides, temples….)
Pain, headache bursting, pressing, stitching
EYES Cries easily; many symptoms
Rubrics: Pain (almost all butterflies present – can be burning, drawing, as if foreign body…)
Nose Rubrics: Discharge, Obstruction
Throat Rubrics: Swallowing
ABDOMEN Pain following fear/fright (only in provings)
UROGENITAL Bladder: frequent burning (cystitis)
Rubrics: Bladder general; inflammation; urging to urinate; urination difficult
SKIN Complaints: psoriasis; eczema; hives (urticaria)
Rubrics: eruptions (many subrubrics)….; itching; redness
Agg: with heat, in the sun, in autumn, hot summer days
Amel: dry (weather), fresh air, open spaces
8. Main themes of 20 lepidoptera
Proving symptoms and rubrics worth noting are also mentioned.
Anthocharis Cardamines – Orange-tip butterfly26
1. Love & Family: Loving, desiring, playing with, protecting family members, along with self-acceptance and serenity. Polarity is also true: anger, irritability, wanting to hurt family.
2. Confusion/Concentration: Complete lack of concentration or heightened abilities in (the latter may be cured symptoms of the provers).
3. Attention seeking/Drawing attention: This is a beautiful, small butterfly the male of which cannot pass unnoticed due to the bright orange tips. The underside of their wings is also startlingly beautiful, green and yellow-streaked to blend in perfectly with vegetation when their wings are at rest.
4. Detachment vs Synchronicity: Disinterested…or things happening at the right time. We will see these symptoms further down in other lepidoptera as well.
5. Claustrophobia & Freedom: if it’s not the right time for staying under the covers then claustrophobia & lack of spatial perception set in.
6.Abandonment: appears in dreams along with a sense of loneliness.
Among the physical symptoms, worthy of note are
- one prover was cured of CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In fact, tingling, weakness, cramps and pain especially of the lower limbs were common
- pain and other symptoms at vertex
- ‘pregnancy symptoms’: nausea/in morning, burning in stomach, vomiting; swollen breasts; SE distension in abdomen, constricting in heart area; diarrhea
- chest complaints: constriction, difficulty breathing
Graphium Agamemnon – Green spotted butterfly27
1. Lepidoptera themes, especially: – Abandonment (feeling unloved)
– Confusion sexual identity, desire to change it
– Concentration difficult
– Skin complaints
2. Enjoying Life: Amusment, Lightness, Liberty, eating for enjoyment, Joking and ESPECIALLY Speed and Spending Money.
This is a multivoltine (7-8 generations per year) short-lived tropical butterfly living in forests from India to Australia. It spends most of its time flying above treetops rather than visiting flowers, its wings are constantly fluttering. No wonder it endeavors to enjoy life as much as possible.
3. Energized: Confident and fresh, with heaps of physical and mental energy, a tendency to theorize enabling him to ‘[sic]understand complicated issues in a simple way’. There’s no time to waste, so make the effort now!
4. ALTERNATING MOODS: Energized VS Boredom/Indifference; Enjoyment VS Aggression in speech & movement when hurt or feeling attacked. The following scheme seems valid: restless Energy → indifference & boredom → restless Energy
5. SHORT ACTING RX … and it doesn’t appear to have a profound character either
Only a handful of rubrics are available among which:
- Confusion of mind, identity, as to his, sexual
- Dreams; penis, coming out of vagina
- Dreams, women
- Dress, dresses, cross dressing
- Dress, dresses, girlish, in boys
The confusion of sexual identity is dominant in this remedy. Other proving symptoms worth mentioning are:
- Delusion, body disconnected (from limbs); disconnection
- Desire for ice cream and cold water
- Sleep refreshing, even after only few hours; not falling asleep because sleep is ‘boring’
- Abdomen: anxiety in, defensive tensing, pain when nervous
Rx Picture: Confusion (sexual), desire for amusement & conversation along with alternating moods (pleasure / aggression)
Graphium Sarpedon Choredon – Blue Triangle butterfly28
This was the only remedy prepared from a live butterfly using a Radionics Box.
1.AJNA/THIRD EYE ISSUES: “Perception” Focusing the mind to the point of clarity and total peace. Seeing the truth, be it one’s own or others’ – like having a bird’s eye perspective on things. Heightened concentration and awareness.
2. Peace, calmness VS Obsession with self: Accepting self, others and situation; or being overly obsessed with self (own health or thoughts) and staying alone too much.
3. Duality: Discrepancy between physical energy (↓) & mental energy (↑); there are two I’s, one doing, the other observing.
4. MATERIALIZING: making ideas become reality
5. Butterfly themes: Important difference – NO abandonment (see general themes above).
Other proving symptoms worth mentioning are:
- Mind: quiet (wrapping oneself up); connected feeling; assertiveness
- Generals: hot flashes, lassitude and fatigue, aversion for mayonnaise and avocados
- one prover was cured of Tinnitus (like a distant train)
- pain in testes
Gonepteryx Rhamni – Brimstone29
This large, bright yellow butterfly may be at the origin of the English term butterfly: it’s one of the first butterflies seen flying as it overwinters in the adult phase and comes out on warm winter days – showing off it’s butter-coloured wings. This long-lived univoltine (one generation per year) species spends most of its 13-month lifespan hibernating. Note how these aspects come out in the themes:
1. Strong contrary of Calm / Restlessness: When resting (as in diapause), stays very still & enjoys beauty, silence; whilst when in movement there is much agitation & loquacity, she is fun-loving & can be impatient.
2. Exhaustion /Heaviness VS Lightness: Extreme fatigue (depression) &/or extreme lightness/ floating.
3.Dermatitis & Eczema: (especially on back of hands), exuding sticky, yellowish liquid.
4. Abandonment: due to lack of authority, framework – no sense of bearing/ orientation.
Some strange symptoms which emerged from the proving are:
- Intolerance to physical/sexual contact
- Delusion: Alien race; that her headache upon rising is punishment for standing up for herself
- yellow exudations
- SE skull squeezed in vice/all plates of skull pulled together
Rx Picture: Capacity for extreme immobility/calmness along with butterfly issues
Papilio Machaon – Old World Swallowtail30
Machaon was a son of Asclepius, Ancient Greek hero of medicine, who fought on the side of the Greeks during the Trojan War. ‘Fighting’ for others comes up in the themes:
1. NEW ORDER VS CHAOS. All is changed with a new order; there is chaos, I must bring order, fight for it, I am losing control.
2. Inertia/ great laziness → paralysis. May be linked to the foodplants, the Umbelliferae (as are Conium, Cicuta Virosa), which also present with paralysis. There can be deep, dark depression; general heaviness, indecision and confusion VS
3. Excitement. Once out of inertia there is much activity, with a playful, fun-loving side.
4. Internal pressure→ aggression/explosion: Anger exploding into aggression; bloating exploding into flatulence; bursting headaches.
Noteworthy are the following proving symptoms:
Delusions: persecuted; head is infinitely heavy & will fall off; legs/feet leaden, holding her down; lower jaw is too small, teeth are pushed out
- cannot rise from sofa to go to bed
- burning in mucous membranes as if sprayed with pepper
- FOOD & DRINK Desire for fish; appetite increased, stuffs her face
- GENERALS: – Lack of reactivity, strength; Lacks coordination: drops things
The symptoms indicated above make it possible to think of Papilio Machaon in cases of MS, SLA or CFS.
Pieris Brassicae – Large Cabbage White31
1. PREFERENCE FOR WHITE: Recurring theme in Patricia Leroux’s proving which brought out new issues from that of Mueller’s proving done a decade earlier. There is desire for white objects, clothing; wanting to become something white; wedding dresses, fairies & banquets.
2. DESIRE FOR CABBAGE: The larvae of Pieris brassicae often devastate cabbage patches.
3 BUTTERFLY THEMES, especially: –Lightness, metamorphosis: theme of good fairy
In our rubrics, there is no mention of either the colour white nor cabbage. There is mention of fairies and banquets, and skin complaints.
Polyommatus Icarus – Common Blue Butterfly32
It is a common European butterfly with iridescent blue-violet wings. The most remarkable feature of this lepidoptera is the fact that both the larva and the chrysalis secrete honeydew; they are hence tended to by ants that collect and eat the honeydew. Sometimes the chrysalis is carried into the anthills for protection in winter. Note how this comes up in the dreams.
1. LACK OF ENTHUSIASM: linked also to sense of failure because everyone else is having fun, but I can’t get excited. Lack of interest – Disconnection from everyone. Feeling excluded – but I’m excluding myself! Lack of self- criticism: do I really want to be doing this?
2. WANTING TO LEARN – BUT LACKING TIME: Icarus, son of Daedalus, flew too close to the sun, not heeding his father’s warning…I would like to learn, but I have no time. I need to create order.
There were few symptoms in the proving, but the dreams were interesting:
mines, underground chambers; violence, murder, terrorist attack
Euphydryas Aurinia – Marsh Fritillary33
A small-sized, brownish attention seeker, she will readily alight on an observer’s hand.
Typical butterfly themes emerge, especially:
1. Abandonment (loss of imposed authority) & Agitation In a prescription made by the author, the only form of agitation visible was in the patient’s “nighttime restlessness and insomnia” which were incoherent with her general calm demeanor.
CHANGE: desire for change and metamorphosis
SRP: >>>> IN SUNLIGHT: This butterfly only flies on sunlit days, remaining still on gray days.
The last symptom is so strong as to serve as Confirmation for the remedy.
Inachis Io – European Peacock34
As all nymphalids, Inachis-Io has eyespots to scare off predators – but hers are incredibly beautiful, black and white above a bright orange base and in great contrast to the dark brown underside of the wings. They also make a hissing sound by rapidly closing their wings when menaced. All these, along with the communal lives of the the larvae, are present:
1. POLARITY: Especially between right or left; also fun-loving but sense of imminent danger.
2. “MASK/Doubleface” :
a) Dressing up, playfulness, using bright, beautiful colours
b) Imminent Danger/Feeling observed, invisible (menacing) eyes are watching me
3. Group: Empathizing with…also imminent danger from.
4. Loss of Direction → Abandonment
5. Suffering because of reduced mental agility
Amongst the physicals, me may note allergies and bronchial asthma (present in other lepiodptera as well). They generally present much aggravation with humidity.
Rx picture: Feeling under attack, along with importance of group/polarity and < humidity.
Limenitis Bredowii Californica – California Sister35
1. BABY/ADOLESCENT: The abandonment issue is seen as follows: feeling small, fragile, unprotected (by those who should do so), their ‘guides’ don’t have sufficient answers.
This may be linked to the fact that in nature, the female deposits her eggs singly on any oak leaf out in the open, heedless of the protection afforded by its position. There are many dreams regarding adolescents /adolescence.
2. FAMILY The proving brings out a strong Responsibility toward or Aversion to family, also present in the butterfly’s foodplant remedy, the oak Quercus Robur,
a) Closeness: Feeling close, connected to their family
b) Home: Is a holy, sacred place, a safe haven.
c) Focus on relationships: Harmony and more stability in love relationships; few rules, just loving children (mother & father are key figures), emotional freedom, unhindered by responsibilities.
3. Sensuality/Attractiveness: Body awareness, dressing in fine colourful clothes (e.g. happy housewives)
4. Butterfly themes : Sexuality, difficulty with concentration, skin & genetic complaints.
In symptoms, there are more swelling than burning pains (pressure in head, eyes, nose); this remedy ‘smells’ his family.
Interesting rubrics are: Delusion, insane becoming; capricious appetite, though knows not for what.
Rx picture: “Aversion & inability to think” – only loving feelings. More stable, loyal than other lepidoptera & less sexual confusion.A butterfly that feels like an abandoned adolescent.
Nymphalis/Vanessa Urticae – Small Tortoiseshell36
1. ABSENCE/DEATH OF FATHER/ HUSBAND: theme present in Urtica Urens, on which this butterfly feeds (Grandgeorge)
2. SKIN COMPLAINTS/Allergic reactions: Similar to urticaria (hives, as Urtica Urens ), often associated with hayfever (allergies), especially if linked to nettles.
3.Butterfly themes, in particular: Change – metamorphosis – Confusion of sexual identity
Rx Confirmation and Picture: Aggravation of symptoms in winter along with typical butterfly confusion/lack of concentration.
Morpho Menelaus – Blue Morpho37
According to Renoux “perpetual child without adulthood” looking for immediate satisfaction of his desires and for a way to deal with fear/abandonment is Remedy picture. I drew other conclusions after reading the entire proving as those proposed are classical lepidoptera themes:
1. Split in two: I’m two things at the same time: Present but with wandering mind, in another world; torn between past/present; one side is reasonable, the other is empty.
2. Confusion/Higher Perspective: Loss of spatial awarenss, disorganized, obsessive negative thoughts. Or Mind is clearer, calmer, detached, no qualms about taking your time and saying things to people.
3. Image: wanting to look beautiful, feeling ugly. ‘Seeing things through rose-tinted glasses’.
4. Energy Extremes: Collapsing and sleeping 13 hours/day for several days. OR Energetic, efficient, working quickly, going straight to the point.
5. Other butterfly: Extreme anger, irritability or lightness; time is passing but no hurry. Enjoying, cheerfulness, fresh air, taking time for oneself. Abandonment
6. One difference: Little interest in sexuality, other forms of satisfaction are more important (enjoying family, smoking pot, taking your time, eating).
Morpho Peleides – Blue Morpho38
1. Duality & Polarity: This is probably linked to the ‘disappearing act’ of the imago in nature: as it flaps its large, bright blue iridescent wings to reveal the bland, brownish underside, the butterfly appears to disappear completely, thus warding off confused predators. The duality can be physical, mental, spiritual, for example feeling safe in continuous change or resting through continuous movement…
2. Metamorphosis: Marked in this Rx: wanting to change him/herself, hair, clothing, home. Consequently, also parting/leaving & letting go.
3. Colour Blue: Love/preference for this color is prominent for Leroux.
4. Beauty: Seeing higher beauty, especially seeing that Healing may look different from what we expect. Destruction can lead to perfection at another level. In both provings, children with severe physical damage are helped to see their suffering ‘in alignment with the bigger beauty of life’ (Guenther)
5. Other Butterfly themes esp:
Confusion VS Connectedness: confused, chaotic thoughts or feeling particularly connected to group, detached though not lonely. Destruction, scattered pieces coming together.
Vulnerability VS marked aggression.
In the rubrics of Morpho Menelaus, the following are interesting:
Mind: – Detached (only this lepidoptera is here)
– Delusion, divided, two parts, into
– Delusion, imagination, waves
Dreams: animals, birds, children, death….apocalypse, disease
Physicals: – FACE Jaws [only two lepidoptera: definitely an incomplete rubric]
– Generals: Pain, sore, bruised [other lepidoptera present]
Other proving symptoms worth noting:
Delusions: Feeling of being in a cloud/ a soap bubble/ outside of the world/being outside of what happens; Ball in throat; Head lifted up in something; Wings, having
Generals: ENT allergies (cured symptom)
Chest: Thoracic oppression, breathing difficult, violent spasmodic cough: mucous difficult to expel, scanty, fluid.
Terrible asthma > kneeling, genupectoral position: < lying on back, lungs feel crushed, squashed
Rx picture: Seeing higher beauty, acknowledging duality in a butterfly patient.
Vanessa Atalanta – Red Admiral39
1. War/Death (of father): Sadness of child/wife for father/husband at war; of female soldier having to leave her family; of soldier remembering/having to keep his war actions secret. War must have a reason.
2. Nostalgia: For better times; reminiscent of 40’s/60’s with LSD, Flower Power…Rx helps remove suffering from grief
3. Personal Power: Solar plexus issue, personal/will power (this is connected to the color yellow, present in larvael stage). Releases fear of not realizing own expectations, releases from others’ expectations; raises our expectations of ourselves.
4. Transition/Transformation: Letting go of the past, moving on, facing what’s coming; also connecting to higher awareness, letting go of material fears.
a) Responsibility: feeling the weight and pressure of family responsibility, of becoming an adult…not feeling ready.
b) Male/Female energy: Balancing these energies in oneself and in relationships.
c) Puberty: Youth & Adolescence, not wanting to grow up – feeling the eternal child puer aeternus. Arrested growth at any level.
d) Daughter: special relationship with father (Maher’s proving)
Rx picture: A more profound, grief-stricken butterfly.
1. Acherontia Atropos – Deathhead’s Hawkmoth40
Acheron, mythological river of the the Underworld, and Atropos one of the three Moirai cutting the thread of life: an impressive name due to skull-like markings on its thorax. This large moth adores honey and has the habit of sneaking into beehives to gorge itself. May be immune to bee stings, some believe it imitates the bees’ scent to disguise itself. Sometimes Acherontia eats to such an extent that it can no longer make its way out of the hive – at which point the bees will smother him to death.
1) Moth themes: Abandonment, genetics, …especially: skin ailments, abandonment seen as lack of guidance or framework
2) PIRATES & HIJACKING…and SECRECY: Seen in dreams, desire to disguise
3) BEES & HONEY: Issues with e.g.: desire honey, allergy to bee stings, fear of bees…
4)SUFFOCATION: Perhaps linked to abandonment, certainly linked to the beehive experience.
The over 1200 Repertory rubrics are quite complete for this moth. It has several Belladonna-like symptoms, possibly due to the fact that the larvae eat Solonaceae, and to the bright red colouring of the the pupa. Hence terror, redness, swelling, and violence.
Rx picture: Need for change in a blocked person, with violent/red expressions and butterfly themes.
2. Apeira Syringaria – Lilac Beauty41
1) Beauty, Esthetics, Sensuality & Pleasure: Due to the surprising beauty of this moth: art, music, ideals, esthetics. Or the contrary.
2) Guide/Guiding/Responsibility: Losing Energy in order to guide, needs a guide.
3) Abandonment: Patient feels he has been left alone to deal with a difficult situation: suffers from subsequent loss of energy.
4) Attracted to Animals: Love or aversion for animals; hates all animals except flying ones, or night ones, or butterflies.
5) Genetics: Patient or family member/entourage in general can be affected.
6) Dark Side: Every theme may be represented by its dark side, as every good, noble action appears ‘dirty’ when seem through a shit-smeared glass, as in a dream of Apeira Syringaria.
There are only a few hundred rubrics to this remedy, though the picture is quite complete. It shares several symptoms with Natrum carbonicum, such as
Mind: -Music, agg
– Weeping mood, music, agg
Extremities: Lower limbs, where both Natrum Carbonicum and Apeira Syringaria are 4th grade
Rx picture: A dignified person who suffers a loss of Energy for guidance issues
3. Lonomia Obliqua42
A giant South American silkworm moth known as ‘the deadly caterpillar’ because contact with a group of them can cause death due to anticoagulant venom contained in its urticating hairs. Since they blend in well with the forests in which they live, accidental exposure is not uncommon. The proving highlighted34
1) ANAESTHESIA: At both the mental and physical level, especially in the lips
2) MOTH THEMES: skin ailments, confusion, …
Some symptoms are:
GENERALS – Vital Heat, increased (especially at. night, must sleep naked)
– sexual excitement
– Food: desires cold milk (in dreams)
SLEEP – Heat: must sleep naked
– Pronounced priapism, without lascivious dreams
OTHER Severe itching right abdomen
Our knowledge is insufficient to give a good remedy picture, though this remedy might come in handy in our first aid kits for severe haemorrhaging or anesthesia.
4. Macrothylacia Rubi – Devil’s Ring43
This furry, soft-looking caterpillar has the curious habit of closing itself up into a tight ring when menaced, whence its common name. In the themes we have:
1) RING: This theme can come up in any form: obsession/fixation about rings, seeing rings, dreams/delusions about rings.
2) BLACK: The larva’s livery is markedly brown and black, and the colour black seems to be an issue for these patients.
3) ENERGY & SOCIABILITY / RESTLESSNESS & AGITATION As all butterflies, energy is involved. There are two sides, light side & dark side. Hence on the positive side there is lightness, joy and motivation whereas on the negative, there is difficulty focussing energy with ensuing restlessness & agitation (especially nocturnal).
In the generals we have bruising, hematomas and black as symptoms; whereas there were dreams of blindness and daltonism.
Rx picture: A moth patient with issues regarding black/blackness or rings.
5. Euproctis (Bombyx) Chryssorrhea – Brown-tailed moth44
The first lepidoptera to enter our repertory. In 1876 T.F. Allen45 wrote:
“Effects of handling a cocoon: Within a few hours, painful prickling in the conjunctiva; unendurable heat and burning in the lids, on the neck & on the sides, especially on the chest. Soon after, redness of these parts, & an eruption of small blisters, with itching & heat.”
91 rubrics in 1876 of which more than half regarding Taxonomy, etc. All others in Eyes, Skin, Neck, Generalities, and refer to the irritation described. No mental sysmptoms.
Leroux’s proving added the following features
1) CAMOUFLAGE: Life is better when you are hidden. Patient acts as if he wants to be camouflaged, hidden; dreams of this, speaks of this.
2) ENERGY & DESIRE FOR FREEDOM: As in many butterflies, patient can feel ‘in great shape’…or the exact opposite.
3) LOCALIZED URTICARIA: Leroux’s proving confirmed itching, burning especially in the areas mentioned by Allen, also other localized areas (not extensive urticaria) e.g., around joints.
4) Other Butterfly themes: Especially abandonment.
Rx picture: A moth patient with urticaria.
6. Bombyx Processionae – Thaumetopaea Pityocampa
For this analysis, we have referred to two provings: one carried out precisely on T. Pityocampa, the Pine Processionary, by P. Leroux46,; and another carried out by Roland Guenther47 in Vancouver on the Oak processionary, that suggested remarkably similar themes and symptoms.
These species are known as procession moths because they travel through the woods in a nose-to-tail formation, sometimes several columns abreast and all following one leader. They build nests for overwintering on the ends of branches, and their hairs are venomous for mammals, causing great irritation and often asthma. It is an old remedy once used only for its severe cutaneous symptoms, but thanks to more recent provings we can add the following themes:
1. SELF-CASTRATION: All provings present the theme of followers blindly obeying a dictatorial Master, a guru-like character. For some time, belonging to this ‘chain’, brotherhood, closed group gives security, even honour. Then honour becomes a burden which leads to emptiness. This theme is associated with
>Dictatorial father/authority figure
>If you leave, your gap is filled.
>The higher purpose justifies the means, the sacrifices… but only for some time
2. TWISTED TESTICLE: acute emergency, this symptom is directly related to the idea of
3. UNDER ATTACK: Pointed at, victim mentality, a scapegoat
4. RECURRING URTICARIA
5. Other butterfly themes: abandonment, confusion
Some interesting proving symptoms in Delusions are: pointed at; as if testicles were cut off; imminent danger and in the Dreams: son slapping father; soldiers on long march; processions; Body/ parts of/ arms/ muscles cauterized, arrow runs through. The dreams ‘arms, cauterized; arrows of’ have been in our repertories since Clarke’s days and were confirmed in the modern provings.
Rx picture: A moth patient with issues regarding an authority figure, along with severe urticaria and/or asthma.
Butterfly and moth remedies are under-represented and underemployed in our homeopathic practices. More than one should be integrated into our emergency kits – Lonomia obliqua and Bombyx processionae, for example – and scores of patients would benefit if more homeopaths had solid knowledge of these fascinating flying creatures.
1. Matthew Rabuzzi Cupertino, CA. U.S.A., https://www.insects.orkin.com/ced/issue-4/butterfly-etymology/
2. All rubrics and Materia Medica taken from Complete Dynamics Repertory and Materia Medica
3. Rajan Sankaran, La Sensazione in Omeopatia II Parte Ulteriori precisazioni, 2008, Salus Infirmorum, pag. 50 Footnote 6
4.Filed by Victor Mair under Etymology, Language and biology, https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=23775
5. Patricia Leroux, Butterflies An innovative guide to the use of buttefly remedies in Homeopathy, Narayana Publishers, 2013
6. Nancy Herrick, Animal Mind, Human Voices, Hahnemann Clinic Publishing, 1998, pages 303-349
7. Peter Fraser, Insects escaping the Earth, Winter Press, 2010, pages 59-76
8. Heidi Wedd, Graphium Sarpedon Choredon, http://bluetrianglebutterfly.yolasite.com/
9. Dr Hélène RENOUX – VILLEJUIF, The proving of a large blue butterfly: MORPHO MENELAUS OCCIDENTALIS,
10.Roland Guenther, The Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho peleides), www.vancouverislandhomeopathy.com/blue-morpho-butterfly/
11. Su George, A Proving of Anthocharis Cardamines, www.welshschoolofhomeopathy.org.uk/provings/ Orange_Tip_Butterfly.pdf
12. Evelyn Feltes, Otmar Neuhöfer, Polyommatus icarusPolyommatus icarus (Hauhechel-Bläuling), www.provings.info
13. Enna Stellinga, www.interhomeopathy.org/three-butterfly-cases
14. Madeline Evans, Meditative Provings Vol 2, Rosepress, 2005
15. Patricia Maher, Red Admiral Butterfly, http://www.greatlakesprovings.com/vanessa-atalanta-red-admiral-butterfly.html
16.David A. Johnson, 2009, https://hpathy.com/clinical-cases/escaping-the-cocoon-–-a-case-of-monarch-butterfly/
17. David Britton, 27/03/19 from Australian Museum, https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/insects/what-are-the-differences-between-butterflies-and-moths/
18.Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org Updated: 3/21/2019
19. Adrian Hoskins, www.learnaboutbutterflies.com/Butterfly%20Facts.htm
20. Peter Fraser, pag.60
21. contact Roland Guenther at www.vancouverislandhomeopathy.com/blue-morpho-butterfly/ for unpublished proving
22. Sankaran, pag.50, 367-380
23. Enna Stellinga
24. Patricia Maher
David A. Johnson
26. Su George
27. Peter Fraser
28. Heidi Wedd
29. Patricia Leroux
31. Patricia Leroux
32. Evelyn Feltes, Otmar Neuhöfer
33. Patricia Leroux
34. Patricia Leroux
35. Nancy Herrick
36. Patricia Leroux
37. Hélène Renoux
38. Roland Guenther
39. Madeline Evans; Patricia Maher
40. Patricia Leroux
41. Patricia Leroux; Enna Stellinga
42. www.animali-velenosi.it/insetti/bruco-assassino-lonomia-obliqua/ updated March 2017
43. Peter Fraser
44. Patricia Leroux
45. Timothy F. Allen, Clinical Hints in Complete Dynamics Materia Medica
46. Patricia Leroux
47. Roland Guenther, unpublished proving