Herring (Clupea Harengus)

Proving date: October 2008
Proving completed by:
Misha Norland, Peter Fraser & The School of Homeopathy
Common name : Herring

Read full proving here: Herring (Clupea Harengus)


The Fish
The earliest vertebrates were primitive fish that had evolved during the Cambrian period from yet more primitive creatures with notochords. The term fish is used to describe any non-tetrapod animal with a skull that has gills throughout life and whose limbs, if any, are in the shape of fins. Fish are generally cold-blooded, breathe underwater through gills, are covered with scales and have fins to help them move easily through water. Most species live either in fresh water or the sea, while some species are able to live in both, moving from one environment to another at various stages of their life cycle. This group contains the largest number of vertebrates on the planet.

Fish have specialized nerve cells in their skin that allow them to detect subtle electrical currents emanating from other creatures and objects. They also have a ‘lateral line’, which comprises of a series of organs in a canal running from the head along the sides of the body that allows them to detect vibrations and changes in water pressures and currents. Otherwise they have the usual senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell, although these are somewhat different to those evolved in land creatures. Being surrounded by water the influence of vibrations is of great importance and while fresh water fish often have good eyesight, those that live in the dark depths of the oceans or muddy water have little reliance on vision with some species being entirely without eyes.

Fish generally take no responsibility of their young other than releasing eggs or sperm. Predator fish are often singular hunters, though some team together, however most fish swim in shoals and some are mighty schoolers. A school or shoal of fish can be defined as a group travelling in the same direction, orientated by outside stimulus, for example the presence of predators or other fish in the water. They usually move at the same speed and are equally spaced from their fellow schoolers.

The Symbolism of Fish
In astrology, the sign of Pisces.


Symbol: A pair of Fish, swimming in opposite directions.
Element: Water
Quality: Mutable
Ruling planet: Neptune
Characteristics: Watery, changeable, intuitive, feminine.

Undesirable personality traits: pessimistic, lethargic, careless, indecisive, submissive, moody, self-pitying. Positive personality traits: selfless, spiritual, kind, compassionate and sympathetic. Pisces individuals often fail to distinguish fact from fantasy mainly because they are easily caught up in their idealistic, and imaginal worlds.
Anatomically Pisces corresponds to: Feet and toes; arteries and veins in the feet and the extremities; the lymphatic system, the duodenum, the cecum.

In World Mythology
In Roman mythology, the fish was considered to be sacred and a symbol of variation and development.  In Christianity, the fish symbolises great quantity, dating back to the Biblical story of feeding the five thousand with loaves and fishes. In Pagan traditions, it was believed that the fish symbolized fertility and femininity. Within this religion water is considered to be the ‘flow of the Divine Mother principal’ meaning that all creatures residing in the water are products of this Goddess. The Ancient Celts hailed the fish as a symbol of knowledge, inspiration and wisdom, particularly the salmon. When they ate salmon they believed they would take on this knowledge. The theme of transformation is reflected in the Eastern Indian mythology of ancient times, where the story is told of how Vishnu changed into a fish in order to escape a great flood and guide others to safety. 

The creation myths of Ancient Africa tell of a great creator who plants the first seeds of life that emerge from the ‘cosmic womb’ as fish ready to journey through the ‘waters of creation’. In Chinese culture, the fish is seen as a symbol of faithfulness due to the fact that many species (particularly the koi carp) swim together in pairs. For this reason the fish motif features as a wedding gift for couples in China in the form of jewellery or figurines. In the Buddhist religion, the fish is one of the Buddha’s eight sacred symbols. The pair of fishes originated as the pre-Buddhist symbol of the two sacred rivers of India, Ganga and Yamuna. Symbolically, these two rivers represent the lunar and solar channels, which originate in the nostrils and carry the alternating rhythms of breath or prana. In Buddhism, fishes symbolize happiness, as they have complete freedom in water. They represent fertility and abundance as they multiply very rapidly.
Both Jesus Christ and Buddha are known as 'fisher of men,' because they save mortals from the ocean of suffering.

The Fish in Homeopathy
There are as yet no studies of Fish as a group in homeopathy. However, there are characteristics that can be applied to shoaling fish. Here the group identity predominates, to the extent that an individual fish actually is the totality of the shoal, and cannot be viewed (or view itself) as anything other than the collective. Put simply, a patient requiring such a remedy would not think of themselves outside of, or separate from, their family, group or indeed society. For them, personal survival would totally depend upon the survival of the group.

The Herring
The Herring is a fish found through most of the North Atlantic. It has been a major food source in Europe and North America for countless centuries. It is the most numerous of all the fish in the ocean. It is an obligate schooler, which means it can only survive as part of a large school. These schools can be enormous, there are records of schools being 4 cubic kilometres in size and containing several billion individuals. They move at considerable speed, up to 4 km/hour. They feed by capturing plankton in their gill rakers as they swim through the water with their mouth open. They form a major part of the diet of many ocean fish and cetaceans. Herring are considered to be one of the most spectacular ‘schoolers’ within the fish species.

Their rapid and synchronised movements are the subject of countless research projects being carried out by Universities worldwide in an attempt to discover how the herring are so attuned to each other’s movements. In his book ‘Advances of Marine Biology’, Frederick S. Russell states that the behaviour of the herring differs from that of other schoolers for specific reasons. For example, whereas other fish species possess a moveable fin, which sways with the force of the water and allows them to move backwards, the clupea herring has a rigid, immobile pectoral fin that is responsible for their perfectly regimented movements within the school. He also suggests that the shiny scales of the herring allow them to find each other in dim light. This also creates a mirroring effect that reflects the appearance of the herring’s surroundings and so helps to camouflage them from predators. More recent research has discovered that once the light intensity drops the fish scatter, then when it rises once more they come to the surface and begin to school again. This information is used by fisherman to plan their large scale capture of herring at the most opportune times.

The Proving
The proving was conducted with the third year students at The School of Homeopathy. It was the last proving at Yondercott in Devon before the School moved.

One of the surprising things about the proving was a lack of group issues. Modern provings, animal remedies and provings conducted by an established group all tend to have important symptoms about being part of the group or being rejected by the group. The Herring however, as an obligate schooler has no choice in the matter. They are part of the school and there is no possibility of anything else. This is perhaps why the group is never mentioned as an issue in the proving.

The remedy has distortions of space, particularly feeling taller, and especially distortions of time, time tends to stretch into whatever is needed. This is part of the main issue for the remedy of being able to go with the flow of time and circumstance and everything will work out. This results in a feeling of calmness and contentment. There were also feelings of being lucky and happy with concomitant gratitude and benevolence. These feeling become more pathological in a feeling of lethargy and can't be bothered. Physically there is great heaviness, exhaustion and sleepiness. Provers just wanted to curl up and go to sleep. They felt they couldn't move. There was a polarity of being energised and able to do many things at the same time.

There was also considerable confusion. This could be of space and time and of identity and personal boundaries but was most often expressed as confusion in communication. They were unable to connect brain and mouth to speak effectively, but could also not follow conversations and were easily distracted.
Provers got colds that affected the nose, the ears and the eyes with, often severe headaches and an irritating cough. These were the symptoms of a cold rather than a flu.

There were many symptoms of the limbs including heaviness, numbness and pain, which was sometimes severe and prevented walking.

The dreams have not been themed as they did not produce any strong themes or powerful imagery. There were some echoes of the physical symptoms such as the vulnerability, the swelling or the importance of the breasts.

Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tail
The Little Mermaid dwells in an underwater kingdom with her father, the mer-king, her grandmother, and her five sisters. Her five sisters are each born one year apart. When a mermaid turns 15, she is permitted to swim to the surface to watch the world above, and when the sisters become old enough, each of them visits the upper world every year. As each of them returns, the Little Mermaid listens longingly to their various descriptions of the surface and of human beings.

When the Little Mermaid's turn comes, she rises up to the surface, sees a ship with a handsome prince, and falls in love with him from a distance. A great storm hits, and the Little Mermaid saves the prince from nearly drowning. She delivers him unconscious to the shore near a temple. Here she waits until a young girl from the temple finds him. The prince never sees the Little Mermaid.

The Little Mermaid asks her grandmother if humans can live forever if they could breathe under water. The grandmother explains that humans have a much shorter lifespan than merfolks' 300 years, but that when mermaids die they turn to sea foam and cease to exist, while humans have an eternal soul that lives on in Heaven. The Little Mermaid, longing for the prince and an eternal soul, eventually visits the Sea Witch, who sells her a potion that gives her legs in exchange for her tongue (as the Little Mermaid has the most enchanting and beautiful voice in the world).

The Sea Witch warns, however, that once she becomes a human, she will never be able to return to the sea. Drinking the potion will make her feel as if a sword is being passed through her, yet when she recovers she will have two beautiful legs, and will be able to dance like no human has ever danced before. However, it will constantly feel like she is walking on glass hard enough to make her feet bleed most terribly. In addition, she will only obtain a soul if she finds true love's kiss and if the prince loves her and marries her, for then a part of his soul will flow into her. Otherwise, at dawn on the first day after he marries another woman, the Little Mermaid will die brokenhearted and disintegrate into sea foam.

The Little Mermaid drinks the potion and meets the prince, who is mesmerised by her beauty and grace even though she is mute. Most of all he likes to see her dance, and she dances for him despite her suffering excruciating pain. When the prince's father orders his son to marry the neighboring king's daughter, the prince tells the Little Mermaid he will not because he does not love the princess. He goes on to say he can only love the young woman from the temple, who he believes, rescued him. It turns out that the princess is the temple girl, who had been sent to the temple to be educated. The prince loves her, and the wedding is announced.

The prince and princess marry, and the Little Mermaid's heart breaks. She thinks of all that she has given up and of all the pain she has suffered. She despairs, thinking of the death that awaits her, but before dawn, her sisters bring her a knife that the Sea Witch has given them in exchange for their long hair. If the Little Mermaid slays the prince with the knife and lets his blood drip on her feet, she will become a mermaid again, all her suffering will end, and she will live out her full life.

However the Little Mermaid cannot bring herself to kill the sleeping prince lying with his bride, and she throws herself into the sea as dawn breaks. Her body dissolves into foam, but instead of ceasing to exist, she feels the sun; she has turned into a spirit, a daughter of the air. The other daughters tell her she has become like them because she strove with all her heart to obtain an immortal soul. She will earn her own soul by doing good deeds and she will eventually rise up into the kingdom of God.

Continue reading the full proving here: Herring (Clupea Harengus)

Distortion of Space and Size<br> Distortion of Time<br> Confusion of Communication<br> Confusion of Boundaries<br> Confusion of Reality<br> Confusion of Identity<br> Calm and Flowing<br> Calm and Confident<br> Calm and Content<br> Calm and Can't Be Bothered<br> Energized<br> Sex<br> Hysteria<br> New
Distortion of Space and Size
Distortion of Time
Confusion of Communication
Confusion of Boundaries
Confusion of Reality
Confusion of Identity
Calm and Flowing
Calm and Confident
Calm and Content
Calm and Can't Be Bothered

Proving Themes
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Clupeiformes
Family: Clupeidae
Subfamily: Clupeinae
Genus: Clupea
Species: C.Harengus

Kingdom Taxonomy
I felt a sense of calm relaxation come into me and felt in a space of 'non doing' which felt nice. When I went home I felt a sweetness in me which made me feel especially affectionate towards my partner. This feeling of relaxation continues. I don't feel worried about things.