This week we are exploring Miasmatic theory, what Hahnemann called our predisposition to disease, and covers inherited patterns of illness. This is the third miasm, so make sure to check out the introductory post and those about Psora and Sycosis.
Before you read further, this post may be triggering as it has discussion about death and the cycle of life. This may be difficult to read if you or a loved one are in a degenerative disease state or palliative care or you have recently lost someone. Feel free to skip this post and come back tomorrow to read about the Tubercular miasm.
The Syphilitic miasm is the third miasm, and is from syphilis. The nosode is Syphilinum. These days Syphilis is not a big health concern, but in its day it was a scourge, because not only was it a sexually transmitted disease, but it could become suppressed and come back in a secondary and tertiary form. Hahnemann believed that miasms came from suppression, that driving the disease inwards created more severe and chronic problems, and that is certainly seen in syphilis.
We hear of syphilis, and as Homeopaths the syphilitic miasm, and we think of destruction. Syphilis as a disease is destructive and comes in stages. The primary stage is the chancre on the genitals, and most often is just a painless (but infectious) ulcer, then secondary the systemic infection that includes a widespread rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, muscle aches and malaise, this can be followed by an asymptomatic latent phase that may last years before manifesting again in the destructive tertiary phase, with neurological and cardiovascular problems, as well as a nodular rash that can ulcerate or form painful lesions in the bones.
Syphilis was also called the great pretender, when symptoms would mimic those of other diseases, and we see this in the miasm also.
In Homeopathy there is polarity in remedies, where you can see both extremes. The syphilitic miasm, while long believed to be about destruction also has aspects of beauty and creation – it has been theorised that neurosyphilis in the past contributed to both artistic endeavours and also the composition of music from some of our most famous artists and composers, such as Van Gogh, Schubert and Schumann.
So let’s look at what we can see in the Syphilitic miasm. The keywords for this are destruction, degeneration, deformities, decay and necrosis.
The syphilitic miasm is required for balance – after all you cannot have the unchecked growth of Sycosis without the breaking down of the unnecessary cells. Programmed cell death (apoptosis) is why we do not have webbed fingers and toes, and death is a part of the cycle of life, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel.
This is the miasm of darkness, of winter, of night, and symptoms both physical and mental are worse during these times. The darkness of deep depression, including suicidal thoughts, are also part of the syphilitic miasm. Trying to avoid the darkness by drowning it out with alcohol, drugs or work is a self destructive way they will deal with it, and they may have a very negative self image. They can also suffer from paranoia, and jealousy, and refuse to take responsibility for their actions and the effects both physical and mental.
Ian Watson discusses the syphilitic miasm’s role in egocide, and in breaking down the identity narrative when it is no longer who they are. It is something that was forced onto people late last year when mandates stripped jobs, and is an intensely uncomfortable process. Not just with the mandates, but a loss of a relationship, a family member or a trauma that causes a crisis can all trigger this kind of break down. The syphilitic miasm is a lesson in letting go, and that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
There is also a syphilitic relation between chaos and control, which can be seen in remedies like Arsenicum when they need to keep a high level of order because they are feeling more and more anxious and out of control. Watson also discusses the element of fire and purification. The Syphilitic miasm is there to strip away what is dead and unneeded, clear away the clutter so that life can continue. The drive for minimalism, stripping possessions to what is needed, and which is the opposite of the unchecked consumerism of Sycosis is syphilitic in nature. This is a balance that our planet needs.
The syphilitic miasm has the boundaries of the physical structure – unlike the expansive consciousness of Sycosis- and there are many symptoms related to the bone and the skeleton, including agonising bone pains. Nerves and cartilage are affected, so symptoms relating to the teeth and joints are also seen.
The most common syphilitic presentation that is immediately recognisable though is that of the ulcer. Those that are necrotic, and destroy the tissue around them, that are intensely painful and difficult to heal, despite all that medical science will throw at them. This can lead to depression and hopelessness, feeling as if they are under attack.
Peter Fraser likens Syphilis with printing, mechanisation and nationalism, from the late 15th century onwards. The development of printing ended the existence of the Renaissance man who knew everything about every subject, and started the development of scientists who specialised in one field. Specialisation creates boundaries on what one person knows, and destroyed the feudal system with small individual states in favour of nationalism. This led to the industrial revolution- industrialisation breaks things down into individual parts in order to streamline production, and is destructive in its own way.
In western society death is an uncomfortable reality, and our medical system prolongs life, sometimes at the expense of a quality life. It is not a surprise that Arsenicum Album, a remedy that is very Syphilitic in nature, is also a very useful palliative care remedy.
Our lesson from the syphilitic miasm is one of balance. Letting go of attachments, both physical and our mental ego. This is a hard one to read and write, but an even harder one to live. If this post has brought up feelings or thoughts for you please acknowledge them, do not suppress them, and discuss them with someone you trust to hear you out.
Come back tomorrow for a look at the Tubercular miasm, which is much less dire to read about.