Proving of Adeps boae constrictoris
Vienna, March to Dec 1996
In the fall of 1996, when I was busy reading through the Boa proving diaries, I came across a book by Marie-Luise von Franz in which I found the following excerpt from Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince":
"When I was six years old, I read a book about the jungle called "Real stories". There was a magnificent picture of a giant snake in the book, in the mist of devouring another wild animal. The explanation beneath the picture was: "Boas devour their prey as a whole, without chewing. This means that they are unable to move after eating and need to sleep for six months in order to digest." Back then, I thought a lot about the adventures of the jungle, and with a coloring pencil I completed my first drawing about it. When I showed my masterpiece to the big people, I asked them whether they found it scary. They replied: "Why should a hat be scary?" But my drawing wasn't supposed to represent a hat! It was a giant snake, digesting an elephant. I changed my drawing to actually show the inside of the snake, in order to clarify this for the big people. They always need explanations for everything."
To comment this passage, Marie-Luise von Franz writes: "The Boa constrictor snake seems to be a representation of the subconscious, which suffocates life and prevents human development. It's the devouring and regressive aspect of our unconscious, the tendency to look backwards when we are overwhelmed by our unconscious. One could even say that boa is the embodiment of a desire to die. The elephant seems to be a representation of adult imagination, swallowed by the snake, the devouring mother.
How does our poor boa come to be the swallowing, suffocating mother? Because I do enjoy the psychology of this type of literary analysis, I promised myself to avoid forcing the results of my boa proving to fit the above imagery.
Aware of this temptation, I turned to analyze the boa natural science. At the natural history museum in Vienna I received information by Dr. Tiedemann (expert on reptiles) and Hubert Bosch (author of the book "Boa Constrictor"). The two of them were able to provide all the information that a homeopath could dream to know about the signature of the giant snake:
"Common names for the boa snake (Godboa, Kingboa, Emperor Boa, etc.) arose from the worship that they received from the native South Americans and the Africans who were deported to that part of the world. The snakes actually lead a very sensitive, secretive life, usually in the protected safety of twilight or at night. They are worshiped by the natives and much admired by reptile lovers as one of the most beautiful snake species."
"A long spine with countless vertebrae and pairs of ribs forms the core of the two to three meter long body of an adult snake. Not being poisonous, they work by quickly wrapping themselves around their prey, immediately inhibiting blood circulation and lung functions, leading to a quick death."
"After a nightly hunt, the snake usually rests for several days. It's remarkable that boas, unlike poisonous snakes, are able to maintain a relatively stable body temperature. This allows them to remain sufficiently warm and mobile to attack prey spontaneously. In general, they are considered as extremely tame and peaceful, much unlike the grim pictures that are frequently pained in stories and films."
"The dominant senses for boas are smell and a sense for temperature. Both are critical for locating food and partners for mating, especially at night. A special organ at the roof of their mouths functions as a receptor for smell, aided by the use of the tongue. It's capable of detecting smell at an extremely granular level, sometimes isolating even individual molecules. Snakes are thus able to follow the traces of their prey with much accuracy, far beyond what is observed in dogs, for example. More difficult for us to comprehend is their sense for temperature. The responsible organs are sometimes named "infrared detectors", which allow the snakes to perceive ‘pictures' of warmth distribution. The sensory perceptions of the animals thus occur in dimensions that are not imaginable for us: they capture smell with their tongues, they ‘see' temperature and ‘listen' to trembling of the ground through their bodies."
"For many people their reproductive practices are quite surprising: The snakes unite to copulate, and this act may take between at least one hour up to ten whole hours. Very exactly two months after the initial copulation, the boa female expands in circumference around the area of her stomach (center of the body), as the result of an ovulation. Six months after copulation, the young snakes are born. Their embryonic development takes place each within their own soft egg shell; this process lasts around four months. The snakes leave their egg shells sometimes before, and sometimes after birth. This means that the actual act of birth is simply a ‘depositing' of eggs that are ready to hatch and have been brooded by the mother within her own body. "
After this lengthy introduction, which I hope is worthy of the giant snake, let us move on to the actual homeopathic proving:
The remedy for the proving was prepared from number of Boa raw materials that had been collected by Mr. Robert Müntz, from the city of Eisenstadt, during his expeditions to Central and South-America. The remedy was administered daily to 10 provers as C12 potency, over the course of two weeks in a double-blind set up. Seven of the provers were female, and three were male. As a reference to compare with the proving's findings, each prover recorded a baseline diary during the two weeks prior to the trial, and completed a detailed medical history form.
What now follows are the symptoms of each prover, in chronological order, respectively.
- Slight tugging toothache and headache on the right side
- Dryness in the mouth, craving for BEER
- Food cravings: BREAD, MUSTARD (had had mustard cravings before but never so intensive)
- Instead of having her meals at the table with everyone else, she wants to eat prior to that, because of a feeling that there might not be enough food for her otherwise
- Strong toothache on the right side
- Strong earache on the right side
- Ear infection on the right side
- Numbness across the right side of the face, as if it wasn't part of the overall head
- Cravings: BEER, black tee, bread with BUTTER and MUSTARD
- Feeling of being chased while driving in the car, combined with shivers across entire body
- Tense atmosphere at home, aversion to sex
- Stopped taking the remedy due to the strong reaction
- Continuing ear and toothache on the right side
- Ear ache also beginning on the left side
- Stomach cramps
- Itching in the vaginal area
- Dictatorial, desire for peace and quiet, very tired
- Cravings: BEER, BLACK TEE, BREAD
- Aversion to fulfilling chores
- Complains about everything (more than usual)
- Still without the remedy
- Slight tugging / wrenching pain in teeth and ears
- Very irritable, but also very desperate
- Feeling of failure, suicidal thoughts, wants to jump off something
- Craving for BEER, aversion to sex
- Dryness in the mouth
- No remedy
- No more tooth and ear aches
- Feeling of being chased in the dark, very scared
- Wants to control everything, sudden rages
6 Day: No remedy, stomach cramps
- Taking the remedy again
- Slight headache behind the forehead, tugging like on the first day
- Craving for black tee, beer, wine
- Dryness in the mouth (isn't drinking more or less liquids than usual)
- Slight headache, slight stomach ache
- Explosive, irritable
- Eating frequently, no regular meals
- Headache, tugging stomachache
- At 10:30 pm strong ear ache on the right side
- Dry mouth
- Nagging and whining
- Still always eating between meals: BEER, BREAD, MUSTARD, BLACK TEE
- Dry mouth
- Slight diarrhea
- In the morning strong, piercing and tugging ear ache on the right side
- Similar pain coming from the right eye and right upper jaw
- Cheek is numb, as if the right side of her face didn't exist. This feeling persists even if strong pressure is applied to the cheek. "Feels as though it doesn't belong to me".
- Numbness subsiding in the evening, eye ache also subsiding
- Ear ache is amplified in the evening
- Dizziness and emptiness in the head, cannot drive
- Feels sad (not aggressive), feeling of being chased (gets worse in the evening), by a "man with a knife"
- Feeling of failure
- No remedy due to strong reaction
- Ear ache on the right side, worsening at 10pm
- Irritable, explosive
- Fear of being followed, as if she is being constantly watched
- Desire for alcohol (beer, wine)
- No remedy
- Ear ache on the right side, worsening at night
- Desperate, she is seeing shadows
- Suicidal thoughts, jumping off something, throwing herself in front of a train
- Crying fit in the afternoon feels like a relief, after that quiet and calm
- No remedy
- Ear ache on the right, subtle stomach ache
- Feeling relieved and calm
- Throughout the entire proving strong feeling of being cold and tired
- Nausea which had lasted three weeks prior to the proving disappeared completely during the proving and returned afterwards
- The numbness in her face was described as if only being able to see if the left eye, as if the right half of her face had been cut off, but not a scary feeling
- Didn't sleep well at all (usually no sleeping issues)
- At 6:45 am a strong, long-lasting erection
- Uneasy sleep
- At 9:30 am suddenly diarrhea, like water, grey and yellow color with brown pieces, combined with a slight burning sensation around the anus
- At 11pm, five minutes after taking the remedy, strong flatulence, passing gas brings some relief
3 and 4 Day - No special occurrences
- Strong bowel movement, brown and watery
- Again a burning sensation around the anus, as if the excretions were burning hot like coals in a fire
- A warm footbath brings some relief
- 4pm, fives minutes of intense pain in the right M.Pect.Major, above the right axilla, cramping and twitching
- Around midnight tugging pain in the right side of the groin, carrying over across the right thigh to the center of the right shin, concentrating in one single point on the shin as piercing pain
7 - 11 Day without special occurrences
- Unusually tired between 6 and 8 pm
- Mood during the two weeks of the proving was more subdued than usual
- Less inclined to talk to others, didn't enjoy other people's company as much during the proving
- Started drinking coffee during the proving
1 Day - No special occurrences
2 Day - Left lower jaw is itchy and hurts
3 Day - Teeth are itchy, tired, headache towards the back of the head
- Tired during the day
- Lots of energy in the evening, got up easily in the morning, great mood, two cracks on the right corner of the mouth
5 Day - No special occurrences
6 Day - Doesn't want to clean up (unusual)
- Got up unusually early and it was easy to get out of bed
- Doesn't feel stressed even though there are a lot of things to do
- Says things that are mean and hurtful to others without realizing it
- "My darkest sides are coming out, I'm evil with everyone, impatient, but feel very self confident"
- Headache on the right side, towards the back, pressing pain
- Trouble concentrating
- Hard time falling asleep (takes a long time)
- Sweats less than usual, sweat from the armpits smells like "Maggie" sauce
9 Day - No special occurrences
- Stays up late and feels very happy, merry
- Piercing pain in the left ear, with a pressing pain early in the morning, then later pain disappears
- In the morning a tugging and pressure behind the left ear
- Pressing and itching pain in the last row of molar teeth (not sure which side)
- Pale, cold hands, fever
- Piercing pain in the ears on the left side
- Is unable to say words that she was just planning to use, or she uses them incorrectly
- Lack of concentration
- For three days now bowel movements are light brown and very solid
- Piercing pain in the left ear in the morning
- In the evening head ache
14 Day: Itching and piercing in the left ear, especially while chewing
- Stopped remedy for two days now
- Drinking lots of water, feeling balanced and humorous
The parents stated that during the proving her eyes were small and aggressive, so that anyone who came near her was "afraid of getting eaten". After the proving her eyes went back to normal, big and clear.
1 Day - No special occurrences
- Dry mouth during the night, strange warm feeling of nausea
- Prior to meals a strong desire and rush to eat
- Bowel movements unusually bad smelling
3 to 7 Day - No special occurrences
- The chronic eczema behind the right ear has become much smaller
- Mildly running nose, secretions are white
9 Day - No special occurrences
- Grumpy and irritable
- Again nausea, but also strong desire to eat
- Four urgent bowel movements, soft and light brown, difficult to excrete
11 and 12 Day:
- Nausea and bowel movements like on day 10
- Eczema behind right ear has healed completely
- Bowel movements feel incomplete
Three days after the end of the proving, a chronic nose bleeding which had disappeared during the proving, returned
- Slightly clogged nose, the mucus seems to be sitting very high up, at times some bad tasting/smelling secretions are flowing backwards down into the throat
- Very tired
- Very tired
- While speaking, suddenly forgets what he wants to say, or what he was just talking about
- Taste of blood at the back of the throat due to the secretions that are flowing down from the nose
- Very tired
- At 3:45 pm watery diarrhea, prior to that two hours of strong stomach cramps and bloated feeling
- Passing gas later in the afternoon brings some relief
- Total exhaustion in the evening, fell asleep at 8pm while reading
- Got up at 5:45 am due to the child, had a headache like from a hangover (no alcohol was consumed)
- Slept again until 8:30 am, woke up with a pressing headache that covered both ears
- During the day improvement of the headache, and more energy
6 Day - No special occurrences
- Feels as though the lips are bloody
- Impatient and rebellious with his wife, also more impatient than usual with the kids
- Yellow, thick mucus which flows down the back of the throat and tastes like blood
- Very tired, everything feels like a big chore
- Difficulty seeing well because so tired
- Headache behind the forehead, piercing
- Very sensitive to drafts (especially to cold wind hitting the forehead)
- Yellow/green mucus running down the throat
- Very tired, "have to force myself to think properly"
- Continued feeling of having to really concentrate in order to keep his thoughts together
- Relieved about not having to talk to anyone, especially in the mornings
H. M., Female
Had almost no need for sleep during the entire two weeks of the proving, and on one occasion didn't sleep an entire night. No other physical symptoms, however:
"On two consecutive days I went to the bank and forgot to bring my documents with me, I repeatedly forgot or mixed up things, for the first time in my life I went out of the house with two different shoes."
She seemed significantly confused throughout the proving and forgot to turn in her diary.
- Tugging pain near the right ear, expanding onto the neck area
- From noon until late at night absolutely not hungry
- Great mood despite a disappointment (cancellation of an exciting date)
- Ear ache on the right side
- Pain feels as though the bones are hurting, tugging towards the back of the head
- Over the course of the day pain expands to cover left side as well
3-6 Day - no special occurrences
- Strong throat ache at night, piercing on the left side
- Extremely good mood
- Throat ache at night on the left side
- Copious yellow, odorless secretions (not clear from where, possibly nose)
- Not tired even though drank lots of wine
- Great mood the entire day
- Didn't experience the usual tiredness after lunch today
- Menstruation (Day 26) without any complications and without premenstrual symptoms (usually felt explosive, and had a tugging feeling in the breasts)
- Feels very balanced, can solve life problems easily and is very patient with the kids
This prover took the remedy for 19 days
No physical symptoms (Took remedy for 14 days)
Compared to previous provings I have conducted, the detail of the symptoms captured by the provers in this case is remarkable. In addition, there were a few noteworthy "circumstances" surrounding the logistics of the proving itself:
None of my previous provings dragged on for this long. For various reasons, the individuals provers wanted to or had to keep moving their start date for taking the remedy.
Mag. Muentz, the producer of the remedy, wrote in an accompanying note about the remedy:
"A few notes regarding the remedy: There are significant parallels between the fat of the constrictor snake ANACONDA and Pyrarara in its use by natives to treat physical wounds: In order to treat a wound that has difficulty healing, the natives apply a thick layer of fat directly to the skin and cover it with a cloth.
The production of this remedy, which has never before been used for homeopathic purposes, was achieved by C3 triturating. I received the fat from an indio native, who had one week ago caught an anaconda female with 30 fetuses inside. At the temperature level of the rainforest, which is 28-35 degrees Celsius, the anaconda fat is a mixture of yellow liquid and a buttery precipitation. When the fat is heated to 45 Celsius, it transforms into an intensively dark-yellow, clear liquid with a faint smell of train-oil."
Shortly after receiving this note regarding the remedy, Mag. Muentz sent me a second notice in which he corrected himself and indicated that the snake had actually been identified as a Boa Constrictor. There had been some confusion about this but a photograph of the snake was able to eliminate any doubt.
We had planned a conclusion meeting with all provers for December 20. Unfortunately, one of the female provers had moved to England in the meantime and we were unable to capture her symptoms and dreams.
On December 19, I received a call from one of my colleagues who had offered to organize 1-on-1 meetings with the individual provers prior to the group meeting. She informed me that she completely forgotten to set up the 1-on-1 meetings, and didn't even notify anyone of the date for the group meeting. She sounded very confused on the phone and obviously felt guilty. I have known this colleague of mine for 14 years and have always perceived her as very reliable and conscientious. Furthermore, when I received her phone call, I suddenly realized that I myself had forgotten to inform one of the provers of the date for the group meeting.
When we finally met on December 20 the three most common qualities perceived by the provers during the proving were: Confusion, mixing things up, and forgetting.
I'm at a coffee shop together with M., a strange place, smoky, a little filthy, there are a few slot machines, I can't remember any of the other people there, my mother arrives a little late together with my sister, we leave the place together, my mother thought it was despicable. (C.P., first dream after taking BOA).
M. and Mother stand for purity, the dreamer and her sister stand for what's despicable. The part of her that feels motherly, i.e. the ‘pure' part, manages to prevail, but C.P. isn't too pleased about that, she's angry in fact, doesn't want to be well-behaved.
I dreamt of a black woman in a night club, she was dancing and showing off her beautiful body. (C.P., second dream after BOA).
This second dream also takes place at a public place, a night club. The dance of the black woman is associated with "power, beauty and self-confidence".
I found myself in a large room, I must leave quickly, someone is chasing me, running through various corridors and rooms, J and M (her children) suddenly appear, I have to rescue them, anyone who is of color will be eliminated. But why J and M? I can rescue them. (C.P., third dream after BOA).
Whatever is young, strong, beautiful, proud, and self-confident is at risk (associated with being black or of color). The pursuers are "strange men" who want to eliminate the above qualities.
I'm at a family reunion, lots of people. They are talking about my father who is already dead, although the death hasn't officially been confirmed yet. He had cancer and other diseases. I haven't seen him in years and am imagining how skinny he must be. Then I suddenly find myself at a subway station, on the way to his funeral. I'm happy to meet a few relatives there, since I'm not even sure where or when this funeral will take place. I think it's important to always repeat the sentence "He was a good father". Not sure though whether that really makes sense. (H.M.)
I'm in the attic of my grandparent's barn. I think I'm not supposed to practice here as a doctor, since these rooms belong to my father and the walls are frail, they might collapse. I'm supposed to move my workplace to the living room, in the corner where my grandfather used to take his nap in the afternoon, and where he died. (H.M.)
I'm lying in bed together with my father and my sister. It bothers me that my father is lying here, it bothers me that he doesn't want to sleep together with his wife. I search around the house to look at the floor plans and see if there isn't a bedroom that I can have all to myself. Can't find one. In the bedroom my mom is lying in bed and looks away from me. Suddenly U. enters the room and climbs into my mother's nightgown, so that both of them are inside the nightgown at the same time, laughing hard. I feel a great repulsion towards my mother and don't want to get any closer. I think U. is very different from her, and she has a completely different history. Otherwise she wouldn't be able to deal with my mother so ingenuously. (H.M)
I'm at the new university building, somewhere in one of the upper floors, can't seem to orient myself properly, aimlessly wandering through various rooms, although my parents and my sister and other relatives also seem to live here. Downstairs on the street there's a car that's parked, I've inherited it from my father. I know that there's a dead creature in the trunk, it's unclear whether it's a human. I'm terrified of going downstairs and checking. I know I should be doing it. My mother should come with me, but she has soon disappeared. I'm looking for a staircase to take me downstairs. Somewhere I see the sentence "Does the murderer come from within the family?" (H.M.)
Something remarkable for H.M. was that she dreamt of her father. She couldn't recall ever having dreamt of him before. He had been very important for her, the only one who really cared about her. She had tried very hard to please him. H.M. felt responsible for him and took on the role of her mother. She describes her father as torn, passionate, socially active, sadistic, depressive. When he died she was 10 years old and didn't feel anything except "distance". Die BOA-induced dreams of her father seem to be warning her not to settle down within the area surrounding her father. The room belonging to her father is frail, the walls might collapse. This fatherly aspect is very nearby, instead of where it belongs (at the side of his wife) - so near in fact that she "can't find a room for herself", no room to do her own thing. In the trunk of the car that she has inherited from her father, there's a corpse. Here, driving around in the father's car seems to be negatively charged. As it turned out a few months later, the prover had breast cancer (like her father). I believe that during the proving, these dreams represent the subconscious trying to send a warning that there is something terrifying that requires attention.
A young woman has come to me for treatment - she has many itchy and red dots on her face. She is suspicious, she just completed a cellulite treatment (expensive) which didn't work, she demonstrates by showing me her upper thighs. I notice that her entire body seems to be covered by the rash. She is one of two daughters, the parents are spoiling her, she is very demanding. There is a box with small chocolates for patients, particularly children. My colleague gives a small bar of chocolate to an elderly woman, while my younger patient starts demanding multiple bars of chocolate. (U.S.)
The "cellulite" in this dream expresses the remedy's signature: the lard of the snake. Suspicion and greed, the demanding nature of a spoilt daughter (the dream emphasizes being dependent, being a daughter).
There's a large shopping center, lots of people are strolling through long aisles. I want to find an esoteric show booth, I'm following various posted signs and reach a large auditorium with endless rows of seats. Countless friends and colleagues have already gathered. On stage, various actors introduce themselves (never-ending arrivals and departures), I even notice a few elderly and homeless men. The floor of the stage is bright white, totally uneven, in fact it is inclined like a small hill. In the same direction as the seating rows there is a deep abyss. I get scared every time some of the younger actors (children) pass by that area, I worry that they will fall into the abyss. (D, 2nd day after BOA)
Danger of falling from a steep, uneven and bright white stage. This dream is not about life, it's about a play. The white brightness highlights the difference between the play and the colorful, black and white reality of life.
Children are walking through the streets towards a church. They are here for their confirmation ceremony, making their way through the village wearing white, long dresses with many buttons. (D., 2nd day)
Confirmation represents the reaffirmation of belonging to the Christian community. The white long robes are a symbol of purity (of the spirit perhaps?).
A scene in a hospital, it's the night shift, I'm brushing my teeth. A nurse lends me her "toothpaste-replacement". (D., 2nd day)
The brushing of teeth (which are already white) stands in contrast to the darkness represented by the night shift.