Every student has their own way to study. Some do best with flashcards. Others do best with memorization. But for the serious self-directed student of homeopathy, there are some tips for helping to learn. These are a few ideas that will help a person learn about remedies and really "get them". These tips will help immeasurably and can be used to investigate remedies that are considered for prescribing.
First off, learning should be fun. Any time I set my mind to learning anything, if it is not fun, it will not be as useful. Make your study time fun. Embrace your study time with enthusiasm and imagination. Be light-hearted and free. You will have the best success this way.
Many times I will pick up Materia Medica and just open to a page. Often there will be a very small remedy I know nothing about. I will read everything about this remedy from all Materia Medica sources. First, I will study the substance and everything I can find out about it. Is it a plant, animal, mineral, or something else? With an open mind, I will try to imagine what it would be like to be that substance. There is a metaphor in all substances that relates to man and his sentient experience. Feel what this might be.
When reading about a remedy pay particular attention to the mind symptoms. Imagine what it means to see, or feel as if I were the person experiencing the symptom. The words paint a picture. It is our job to understand that picture. Feel that picture. It is imperative to understand the words that describe the symptom, especially in the mind section. These words have a very definite meaning and there can be subtle but big differences in their definitions. If you don't know the meaning of a word, look it up in the dictionary.
Always read about the main areas of influence in a remedy. Some remedies affect the liver primarily, others the bones, etc. Most Materia Medicas have a clinical section where the primary illnesses are mentioned. This will give a clue as to when the remedy is most called for and used. It is its primary sphere of influence. You can learn much about a remedy in its general terms in this section. Then go to the headings of the body parts and see the symptoms listed. Imagine having an illness that these symptoms are describing. You will now be getting a feel for the physical part of the remedy.
When reading Materia Medica always look for descriptive words; those adjectives that describe the pain or sensation. These are the sensations of the remedy. When they appear in the text anywhere it is a part of all aspects of the remedy. When it is supported by the nature of the original substance you can really get a feel for the remedy. Take Apis Mellifica for example. The Honey Bee. It stings, has stinging pains and there is something in the energy of the remedy that is busy like a bee. Just knowing this much about the nature of the substance gives many clues about the remedy. There are many remedies in our Materia Medica that have an equally transparent quality and learning about the substance gives insight to the energy of the remedy.
Another great way to learn about the remedy is to look at all of the remedies that are related to it. Doing a word search of "snake", for example, will lead to all snake remedies. Study them all. See their similarities and their differences. You will learn about all of the snake remedies this way and have a clearer picture of when to prescribe them. You can also do this with plant families and minerals from the periodic table. Read about all of the remedies from a particular line on the periodic table and you will learn about the series as well as the individual remedies. There are no accidents in nature and it is revealed in the plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms. There is great order in all of these associated substances.
By studying using association as a tool you will develop this quality in how you see things. It is actually activating the right and left half of the hemispheres of your brain. You will make connections easier this way. When a person gives their case you will then be increasing your ability to "hear between the lines" and make connections from different parts of their story. This strengthens our intuitions and enables us to understand the client much better and deeper.
Another trick is to just flip the pages of the Repertory or Materia Medica with the book held upside down. Flip them quickly from the back to the front of the book. Just let your eyes scan each page as it is exposed. You will be amazed at how much the mind will record of this. There will be a time when you have a case and say "Oh, I know there is a rubric for that.", or "I'm sure I've read about this before." Your mind will know that the information is there and you will then seek it out. I know this may sound weird but I have done this many times and still am amazed that I knew something that I wasn't conscious of before. The mind records everything!
Another fun exercise is doing cases while watching movies. It's fun to select a character and pay particular attention to what you perceive as being "off" in the person. Literally, do their case based on the movie character. Make notes during the film and then repertize the case afterward. Look up different remedies for the case and make a decision as to which is the very best remedy you would give. You can not do this wrong and the whole time you have learned much about rubrics and remedies. Every time you read it gets recorded in your brain. To this day, even when I know the remedy for the case without any doubt, I will still open the book and read about the remedy. Amazingly I learned something I didn't know before.
Try one of these suggestions sometime. Be happy when you do it. Make it fun. Set the intention to be receptive during your study time. Open your mind. Don't make it difficult or feel that you have to pass a test about this. This is an open-minded and open-hearted study time. You will retain more information this way and your studies will have compound returns. Good luck.
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