My experience with Jan Scholten's wonderful Plant theory
I had my first contact with Jan Scholten’s Plant theory at the annual Spring Seminar in May 2012. I can remember how I sat there, transfixed in front of the big screen, and could not believe what I was seeing and the changes taking place in the patients. In the past, I had seen many beautiful prescriptions by Jan based on the periodic system, the Lanthanides, and the themes of the plant families. This, however, was a completely different dimension of healing; I was deeply touched by what I saw. I began to understand how he did it, and saw the dimension and the immense possibilities of the Plant Theory: a Noah's Ark of plants with all its healing possibilities lay before me. I started applying it in practice because I was convinced that this would be my future in homeopathy.
What fascinated me was the possibility of capturing complex behavior or characteristics, with the problems or diseases, and translating this in Plant remedies with this new map, making it possible to navigate the whole plant kingdom. Without this system, it would have been impossible for me to prescribe, for example, a remedy like Ulmus rubra straight away. I gave it to a woman who had taken over a farm with her husband, but her husband and his parents gave her the feeling of being used, being their house drudge. She feels very responsible for the farm and the whole family, and does a lot for the farm business, whereas her husband has a good time. She feels like the leader, the boss who knows what has to be done and what is the best for the farm. She does a lot, but it is not appreciated. These last years, she has withdrawn more and more from her husband and her in-laws. When one analyzes this with Jan’s system, one comes to the Iron series, Fabidae: she is hard working on a farm, she is an ordinary, down to earth woman (644).
Here, we are dealing with the series, which indicates the area of the problem, the themes: work, adult, village. The fact that she feels used and is not appreciated, indicates phase 6: this is how it is, she is their house drudge. She feels very responsible for the farm and family business, which indicates subphase 4: this is how she feels about it. She withdraws from the family, indicating stage 13: this is how she is deals with situation, she withdraws. That is the number of Ulmus rubra – 644.64.13. She does very well on the remedy, and it is a complex, simple, clear, and beautiful analysis.
The best thing of the Plant theory is that the quality of healing of the patient has deepened. With this system, I experience the miracle of watching really deep-acting remedies do their work. This is my strongest motivation to go ahead with this way of prescribing plant remedies. Another aspect is the improvement of the quality of life of patients I could not reach with the known remedies.
A refinement of my anamnesis technique has also taken place; it has become deeper, clearer, and more precise. The anamnesis technique, which also happens automatically to some extent, is a must; otherwise you will not be able to grasp the complexity of a "plant patient" and will not be able to make a precise transition into this multi-dimensional Plant system. An important point is simply the "further questioning", the deepening of one´s understanding of the problem, that takes place in a very gentle, “nonviolent” way. It is like following the situation; it happens by itself when you give the appropriate impulse in the form of a question. Then, you follow that line, and the next question comes in a natural flow. It is a nice and gentle process.
Another experience is that the Plant theory supports my desire for autonomous learning; it helps me to improve my skills as a homeopath. Thinking in systems supports autonomous learning by leading to self-devised solutions. If one understands this system, it can be applied independently. It is similar to learning the grammar of a language: if you understand it, you can make an infinite number of correct sentences.
At first sight, the Plant theory appears to be very complicated, due to its complexity and multidimensionality – which is necessary in order to meet the complexity of the plants. In the application, though, in the form of analysis, it is an incredible simplification, a condensation of the essentials.
I will illustrate this with a short example: Cyclamen europaeum – 664.34.17
Beginning by the last digits:
17 – stage: forsaken, alone
4 – subphase: neglects duty, (so one takes on responsibility: duty corresponds to subphase 4)
3 – phase: guilty (guilty feelings correspond to phase 3)
4 – Iron Series of Asteranae, Ericidae: ordinary people
6 Asteranae, Lanthanide quality: reflective on one’s problem, independence
6 Phylum Angiospermae
If one is able to read the numbers, one is able to translate the meaning into the Plant system; this opens up a wide range of possibilities to prescribe a well acting plant remedy. In this simplified case of Cyclamen, I have found an essence in three numbers, in principle allowing one to prescribe Cyclamen in a straight-forward way (maybe in combination with physical symptoms like headache or migraines). The requirement is that one can read the code and know what is meant by, for example, phase 3, again simplifying it with a few keywords:
- Adapting, pleasing
- Desire to be seen, accepted, complimented
- Foggy, confused, chaotic
- At the edge of the group
- Guilty for something they have not done
It is good to confirm phase 3 or subphase 3 with the keynotes: seasickness, carsickness, < roller coaster, roundabout.
Differential diagnosis: stages 3-9, Boron, Aluminum
If you know what is behind the concepts, such as phase, subphase, stages, and series, then the whole Plant system can run free with its associated meaning, as a kind of matrix in the background when taking a case. If one is able to do this, one gets beautiful deep-acting prescriptions. At best, figuratively spoken, it is as if there are floating parts. Phase 3, stage 17, and Lanthanide qualities, but somehow also very ordinary and down to earth, Iron series, then the responsibility of subphase 4, and a physical symptom, like migraine. Like a puzzle, one can turn it in various directions, first this way, then that way, trying out pieces here and there, and suddenly, it falls into place, giving a beautiful and meaningful picture, with an appropriate remedy, such as Cyclamen.
This description itself is very plant-like, a bit foggy, not that clear, here a piece and there another one, a plant case. The grammar, the instrument, figuratively spoken, must be mastered to get good results.
In my opinion, this system is a groundbreaking work for homeopathy, especially when we will be able to fill in the blank spots on this map of our Plant kingdom. That means, we need more Plant remedies from little known families. Then, we will be a big step closer to the law of similarities and this will make us much more effective. This multi-dimensional system, with its series, phases, sub-phases, and stages is comprehensive enough for the complexity of human personality, with all its problems and diseases, when a remedy from the Plant kingdom is needed.
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