Let the Firefly be Seen!!! by Marty Begin, Toronto
The Mother of darkness is here Everywhere and in between, The silence and the sound, The void and the round, The sky and the ground
Many of us are familiar with the magical feeling that we got as a child or even as an adult when we saw or see the firefly glowing on and off in the very dark bush where they glow: What is that? – A light – ooohhh, it’s a firefly, they’re fireflies!
It was two summers ago when I had the childlike excitement of discovering fireflies, this time in an intentional adventure to find one to triturate so that I could have a remedy to give a patient I imagined would need it.
It wasn’t much more than my imagination ironically that drew me to that prescription – that and a little help from my patient who told me she was like one: “When I stay busy it makes me feel attractive, strong, competent, and connected with the world. I’m just walking along the street, just buzzing along – energetic, sassy…. I lay on the charm…People are attracted to me….. When I’m traveling the most interesting creative people are attracted to me. I give off a kind of energy. I’m a little firefly….I love traveling – you leave behind all the shit in you, you can’t get out…. leave all the responsibilities behind you. It cures my constipation. I feel free, foot loose and fancy, light, strong, thoughtful, clear, and every historical ruin fills me….with a sense of discovery and exploration…”
When my 35 year old publishing editor said she was a firefly, the rest of the case just fell into place for me, and then I had to take a leap of faith to integrate my fantasy with reality, which is what this remedy is all about. The opportunity presented itself shortly when my email invitation auspiciously decorated with fireflies told of the promise of a summer solstice celebration complete with a barbeque, a bomb-fire, and fireflies. However my childlike enthusiasm was quelled a couple times – once when I found out what was meant on the invite were imaginary fireflies – light sticks for the trail at my friend’s party instead of the real thing, and secondly, when after being re-ignited with optimism from discovering real fireflies high in the trees, I thought – but how will I get them?
Fortunately, Calin, 7 years old and a neighbor of my friend’s place, whose name is Gaelic for “child of light” and who pointed out the fireflies in the first place, was willing to hunt one down for me for the mere offering of $5. After all it was a child’s job. Calin fulfilled her role perfectly and this time both of us were giddily preparing for trituration, although Calin wondered why I had to kill the poor glowing beetle. POOF went the icing sugar I resorted to using since, leaving everything to the last minute, I couldn’t find any milk sugar. It flew up in the air like fairy dust and left my friend’s kitchen a mess.
The fairy dust brings us to Tinkerbell and Peter Pan in J.M. Barrie’s play, and it’s archetype, which fits the firefly in a most uncanny way. The firefly, like the play, is about shining light on the dark or the dark consuming the light. It is about not growing up because of the difficulty of facing the dark side and its intense feelings, and the resultant escape into “Neverland” the fantasy world of fairies, elves, and Indians. In the play Peter keeps losing his shadow and must get it sewn on by his real world friend Wendy, the one who challenges him to grow up. Or on the other hand, its about growing up quickly while lighting up the darkness of another, facing, and empathizing with, the dark feelings directly. In Jungian psychology men who never grow up have been said to have the “problem of puer aeternus” (eternal youth) or the Peter Pan syndrome. Funny that my patient’s best friend she relies on for dream interpretation, is a Jungian analyst, which is very fitting, given the rich and intense symbolism of my patient’s dreams that she loves and wakes up from with her heart racing. After all dreams are the light in the dark.
The Peter Pan archetype must be so entrenched in the firefly remedy that provers and supervisors had dreams of pirate scenarios and in one case flying hand and hand with the spouse (reminiscent of Wendy and Peter in the play) over the Moroccan desert, coincidently one of my patient’s “Neverland” escapes. There were a lot of dreams of flying in the proving, two being over the desert.
Archetypes are patterns of the collective unconscious and amazingly there was no shortage of the expression of those patterns in the surrounding popular culture, which I believe was part of the proving that I think actually began when I decided to use the remedy for my first little firefly patient. It continued with her healing process and then into the proving, and hasn’t quite stopped.
During the year following that beginning spark, the first Peter Pan movie in ten tears came out. If you want to understand this remedy completely, I highly recommend watching it as I did with firefly associations effortlessly falling into place for me because of what I’d seen in my case.
And right around the time period when my patient dreamt of looking at herself as a zombie – an empty dead shell that still exists but has had the life sucked out of her, as she had felt, many zombie movies seemed to emerge like the Shaun of The Dead and others. In the proving, one prover is extremely affected by The Grudge, a movie about lethal evil infecting places where people died in great anger or sorrow. Also during the proving a colleague who knew of the proving but couldn’t find the time to partake seemed to find time with her husband, in a monomaniacal style, to watch all the Buffy the Vampire episodes, a more or less adolescent T.V. series. As well as “Buffy” being about the redemption of the dark side, the producer went on to make another series called Firefly, which was taken off the air the same year the firefly was coming to be seen.
Just before the proving, Finding Neverland was released (also worth seeing for firefly purposes), a film about J.M. Barrie’s (played by Johnny Depp) inspiration for Peter Pan. And at the time of writing this (Dec. ’04), I see a Toronto Star front page headline over top a J.M. Barrie photo taken in 1906 of the “Peter” that inspired his play, which reads “Original Peter Pan set to fly Off Auction Block.” Apparently the $47,000 photo will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in England along with original manuscripts and costumes, to coincide with the centenary of the first performance.
The light of the firefly, although not so efficient energy-wise really wants to get out there and be seen, just like fairies that must be believed in, in order to exist or be healed from a sacrificial poisoning for Peter Pan. And that point, as well as my quest to verify what I learned from my seemingly fantastical prescription and result, lead me to do the proving. And as you’re starting to see, everything that came up in my case, the source knowledge, what I’m writing now, a lot of emerging pop culture, and the proving symptoms/experiences all perfectly became as one – one little Lamprohiza splendidula !
I thought I’d checked, but with the help of a colleague, the Lamprohiza species is the one I discovered about 5 months into my case to be available at Helios pharmacy, and this is the species I used for my proving – in the 200, and 30, and one prover got a 100C for fun. The proving ended up involving 12 women and 6 men, some provers way more responsible than others, and some visible more than others. The species I potentised myself was probably Photinus pyralis, but changing species didn’t make any noticeable difference in my case. Other beetles or Coleotoptera we use in homeopathy are Coccinella septempunctata, or the lady bug, Cantharis (Meloe) vesicatoria or Spanish fly, and the less known oil beetle Meloe majalis. The beetle family, as suggested in Cantharis vesicatoria, have some vesicular action, and there was some definite herpetic action in the proving.
We also see the connection to the “beetle” family when prover #21 tells of the primary response to the remedy, a general feeling that was common with other provers:
21 00: 20:00 – For the past hour, I’ve felt very alert/awake/excited, as if slightly tipsy. At the same time, I feel jumpy/shaky, as if I had drunk coffee! It’s very unusual for me to feel this way at the end of a long day, especially since I felt tired the whole day. Now I feel really “hyper” and I’ve also had the urge to sing odd songs like “she got a ticket to ride” from the Beatles. I hope I’ll be able to sleep tonight.
She certainly experienced a kind of “beetle-mania” One other interesting connection to the source that manifested in prover # 14 (one who made a late appearance) was the feeling that she had to move her head from side to side as if she were a dove or pigeon, and as if her eyes were on the tops and sides of her head so she had to move her head to see. (Literally like a firefly) I love those bizarre source sensations in provings that make us ponder the possession that happens. This prover was also able to identify a strong dichotomy in things – heart or mind, black or white, yin or yang,– that kind of thing, she said. This duality is fundamental in the expression of this remedy – how things get very dark before we start to see the light again, or the dynamic between light and dark.
Other words in the proving commonly used to describe the general feeling which was a primary response in many provers were: clear, light, a buzz, logical, jittery, giggly, high, pure adrenaline, elevated, good, happy, busy,energetic, handle a lot of things competently, upbeat and giddy, chipper, light, swing into activity – doing and being, a mild “speed-like” anticipation, impulsive but impressionable, heightened awareness and openness, a morning person now, and I need to be walked.(like a dog presumably)
An opposite primary reaction to this kind of adrenal rush, or in some cases the secondary reaction came with words like blah, scattered, need to escape from responsibilities, foreboding, very tired, sad, irritable, chaos and stress, a fog and tuned out. And this included a dread of the approaching winter.
Prover # 8 described these light and dark polarities very well:
8 02: XX:XX I’m in a very good mood which I might attribute to the sun
8 05: 17:00 Anyway, on my way home, and after a rainfall, the sun came out quite brilliantly. The light was beautiful. I was going to get home for a nap but after this, I stayed awake because the extra light was so invigorating. Made me think I’d better plan a sunny retirement.
8 07: XX:XX (3 entries) I’m dreading winter; There’s a broadcaster in his early 30’s with MS. He’s been in remission for over 8yrs because he mega-doses on vitamin c. The highest incidence of MS is right here in Canada. This guy thinks it's because we see so little sunlight from October to May. Maybe he's right. I'm sad about the approaching winter. It's never bothered me as much before.
The dread of the dark cold winter, metaphorically speaking, is very thematic for this remedy. Again, we see the total denial of the dark or shadow side or on the other hand, embracing it, or shining light on the dark. My first firefly patient’s challenge was to integrate these two sides of her, as they couldn’t be more in a dichotomy with each other. Incidentally, her attraction to and amelioration from the sun, and the opposite, was very marked. The dark and light side for her was especially reflected (and I specifically use that word) in her relationships. A very common dream theme in the proving was dreams of old boyfriends or the return of past relationships in general. And for some in the real world, very past relationships, romantic and otherwise, would resurface after many years. At the start of my case, my patient had what she called a “Peter Pan boyfriend” and even though she didn’t see it, she too was very non-committal. After a few subsequent relationships that reflected the dark and light side in her, she came to be more integrated, and facing the Peter Pan problem, she is now living happily ever after in a house with the first more settled Peter Pan man!! Her mind and body have also come together as her somatitized problems have totally improved. Her irritable bowel and hormonal problems that we also saw in the proving are gone. One prover’s period became regulated curatively in the proving as did my patient’s on the remedy.
One supervisor who ended up needing an antidote (I used luna, as the glowing full moon affront the dark clouds was a proving notable, and the heightened emotion associated with luna) was more ready than ever to end her marriage, and another prover made a proposal to his girlfriend after not wanting to face it.
Another prover clearly was seeing her dark side of addiction and bodily abuse reflected back to her by her husband. That prover’s whole trip during the proving was to start really respecting her body and integrate body and mind. And this was exactly what was happening in my case where my patient would kind of be at war with her body – a real mind/body split. The same prover gave her husband her reserve dose (that maybe I shouldn’t have given people): 7 02: 01:00 I got D to take the remedy and now we’re communicating even better than yesterday.
Prover # 8’s Halloween costume she called “Suicide Romantic” reminded me of the relationship element of the firefly “…old military jacket, little plastic red hearts, wires and black candles (unlit) with wicks and alarm clocks all stuck to my person with black electrical tape.”
Many provers felt a great empathy for the suffering or tragedies of others (and it seemed a lot of those were being encountered/heard of). They also felt an openness to hear the deep authentic feelings expressed by others. It’s common in provings but almost seemed more marked how supervisors experienced many of the symptoms of their provers. On the other hand generally there was an intentional disconnection from others. In one case this quality of isolation emerged from the overwhelming sense of being “trapped in her feelings”
The dark side is about strong emotions like grief and jealousy, and the guilt and depression that will result from avoiding them. It’s about tragedy, death, abuse, drugs like heroin, prostitution, pedophilia (probably), sex, shit, blackness, denial itself, war, poisoning, freezing, stealing your soul, and sucking your blood. What I’ve been taught in my case(s) and proving is that to pursue the light to the extreme is to encounter the darkness – as we see in addictions, and to face the darkness one either escapes into the light, or adapts to and accepts the dark side. It’s as sure as night turns into day and day turns into night. If we try to resist the emergence of either dark or light, the insidious oppression will grow stronger until it must be exorcised. Interestingly one supervisor, a counselor who does dance workshops, created a new workshop she called, “THE DARK EMBRACE – A movement journey into the dark embrace of mystery and magic” The poem she made for her flyer is the introductory one above.
The most extreme examples of these themes are two provers who disappeared and didn’t show up to the final meeting, but appeared later to reveal their stories.
One was a woman, whose native spiritual name was Star Magic, believe it or not. (There is also some native element to the remedy I believe) She was reasonably happy with her marriage, but noticed that her husband had a jealous tendency and would kind of hold her ambitions down at times when she’d be excited about something. And she felt that way with others as well. During the proving her husband became literally insanely jealous, and she had to get away from him and I think she’ll end the marriage. Ironically though, (and thankfully) she felt liberated and self-empowered like she had found her true self again. That feeling – to find or keep one’s true self against the backdrop of dark oppressive forces, was thematic in my case and elsewhere in the proving.
The other was a male who went on this prostitute adventure and ended up with an incredible feeling of empathy for an abused and beaten prostitute who told him of other dark horrific stories out there in that dark place. He concluded that other people problems could hardly be problematic relative to what he felt about this prostitute. Generally in his regular self, this prover often ponders what it is to be enlightened, and about attachment and detachment.
A few provers seemed to resonate closely with this remedy. There was one prover, quite sensitive to the remedy, with a kind of not grown up Peter Pan baseline. He said he only takes responsibility for things when there’s a crisis. In the proving he had intense foreboding feelings as if that crisis would happen and he really should do something about something. He also had some magical native sweat lodge experiences. A couple provers had the desire to cleanse – in a big way. Another prover’s own nature – a reserved, lie low disposition – was the opposite of what came out with her – a desire to strut her stuff and show off a little wearing more makeup, stylish clothes, and feeling good about it – unheard of for her.
Just a few more physical points that stood out were: Slivers/splinters (glass or wood); hunger/no appetite; desire for pizza/junk food, cheese; Hot, broiling/cold, freezing; nausea, pungent smelling urine, metallic taste, and alopecia aerates.
Although there are many expressions of a remedy, my feeling for the firefly, based on clinical experience (3 very good cases) and now this proving, is that that the expression I’m presenting to you now is what needs to be seen fundamentally. Of course there is a lot more in the proving and clinically than what I’ve presented here, and different takes and more discoveries are absolutely possible. If some of you are having trouble believing, the entire proving will shine sometime in 2005 on Lou Klein’s website: www.homeopathycourses.com. The remedy may also show up on the next version of Referenceworks. The summary below is what I originally made from my first case. Amazingly, all of these symptoms/ideas came up in the proving except perhaps the interpreted archetypes (A) and a couple points from source material (S) and the odd exception that was only clinical (C):
Phosphorescence (S), bioluminescence (S)
Glowing, flashing, fire, light, spark, brilliant, to be seen, be noticed, small
Hold a flame/ burned, singed; frozen, paralyzed
Energy efficiency, inefficiency, hummingbird(C,S)
Childish enthusiasm; like a child
Little girls, little boys, about age 7 or 14
Poison (C,S,A), defense, aggressive mimicry(S)
Purity and clarity
Appearing/attracting and disappearing/repulsing
On and Off
Visible and invisible
Memory disappearing – amnesia, worse on waking
Fantastic dreams verses real life
Sexual attraction, unrequited/abusive sexuality
Dark and light, black and white, darkness aggravates
Light and heavy
Overpowering the size of a fly (C)
Overwhelming power disguised as vulnerability
Vulnerability and power
Protection of vulnerability
Taken advantage of
Fear of needles
Fulfilled/filled and unfulfilled/homoeopathiepleted
Unreciprocated energy output/love
Free/escaping from responsibility, travel
Working hard to shine
Desire for and ameliorated from travel
Not growing up
Duty/caring for the family and the job/task; Anxiety for family
Free in the light and trapped in the dark, or vice versa