18 March 2022 at 10:09
Celebrating Equinox – The Balance Between Dark and Light
The holistic approach of natural medicine is often inspired and informed by the cycles, feedback loops, and balances in nature.
The equinox has been celebrated as a special moment of balance and transition over the centuries by many cultures. As we near the equinox, on March 20th or 21st, depending on which part of the world you reside in (March 20th 2022, 3:33 p.m. GMT to be specific), we can marvel that the experience of day and night is equal in the Northern and Southern hemispheres for one brief day. What a wonderfully uniting thing to think about. As the sun’s rays hit the equator at an almost perpendicular, 90-degree angle, the length of daytime and nighttime are approximately equal all over the planet, which gives us a nudge to think about balance.
The interplay between light and dark, day and night, is nothing new. All great art understands the dance of this duality, and we would suggest that good healers understand this too. Considering both the light side and the dark side gives us the whole picture. It would be easy to think there was only one view if one were located entirely within the daylight side of the sun’s path, or the nighttime side. But by zooming out, getting the bird’s eye view (or the asteroid’s eye view as it may be), we can see the whole picture, the holistic view.
In homeopathy, we are taught to take this bird’s eye view. Considering the whole of a case, exploring all sides and facets and angles, gives us a fuller symptom picture to work from. From this holistic picture, we create a holistic response – selecting a remedy that best addresses the whole of the case as it presents at that moment.
To do this, we must consider both the light and the dark, the opposing sides, or polarities, of a case. Homeopaths learn that when there are marked polar symptoms in a case, it is a signpost to pay close attention to. This pull between two poles, two opposite expressions, indicates that there’s energy there, and the organism’s vital force is holding tension, rather than easy tensionless balance.
The Mappa Mundi is a tool that comes in useful here, providing a way of understanding and analysing opposite, or polar, symptoms co-existing within a case. Mapping out where the majority of these polar symptoms lie on the eight-segment circle of the Mappa Mundi can show us where the crux of the tension lies in a case. Organized into 4 pairs of ‘opposites’, each segment represents a collection of qualities that are part of a balanced human experience, but that if over-represented in a person at a given point in time, might indicate stuck-ness, imbalance, or illness.
Modalities are another way in which homeopaths appraise the whole picture in front of them. Examining what makes an ailment better or worse, what affords relief and what provokes exacerbation, rounds out the understanding of a case. Observing and considering these ‘better and worse’ states together as unified parts of a whole, understanding modalities is key to the holistic analysis of a case.
Like the dark and light sides of the globe, all of these disparate pieces of a case, of a person, could be considered to be different, separate, but the story is more complete and more interesting when considered in tandem, as a whole, and holistically.
“In Mappa Mundi terms, health is a dynamic relationship of reciprocating elemental qualities within body and mind: a dance wherein the healthy partners (that is, the reciprocating elemental qualities) have complete freedom of movement around the centre of the dance-floor – the locus of the Mappa Mundi.”
Misha Norland, The Four Elements in Homeopathy