Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Near where I live there is a walkway which is part of Te Araroa trail and connects up with the Rainbow Falls track. When we go for a family walk we usually pick this track as it is fairly flat, and walk just a short way to a bridge that we call the troll bridge – not sure who came up with it, but the 3 Billy Goats Gruff is sometimes re-enacted by my 3 children when crossing this bridge.

I started thinking the other day about remedies for the Billy Goats, and even for the troll.

The first Billy Goat is the smallest and suggests the troll let him pass and eat his larger brother, and the second Billy Goat does the same thing. The theme that comes to mind her is cowardice – and there are over 100 remedies that have cowardice as a symptom. Here are a few with the strongest feeling of cowardice:

Lycopodium, Bryonia, Stramonium, Ammonium Carbonicum, Gelsemium, Opium and Magnetis polus Arcticus.

In my opinion Lycopodium fits the smallest and medium Billy Goats the best. They have a lack of confidence and do not believe they can do things, so will always defer to someone that is bigger, stronger, more intimidating or with more power.

The biggest Billy Goat Gruff is the opposite- he not just stood his ground, but charged at the troll and knocked him down, making the bridge safe to cross. If we look at rubrics like Audacity, Courageousness and Fearlessness the remedies that come up are Opium, Tuberculinum, Pulsatilla, Ignatia and Agaricus.

Tuberculinum particularly, does not like to be contradicted, and the troll telling him that he couldn’t cross the bridge, he was going to be eaten is one thing they would not stand for. Tuberculinum will hit out and fight back, and at times can take it too far, even being destructive.

And let’s not forget the troll.

He had a ravenous appetite, was clearly sensitive to the noise of the goats clipping over the bridge, and was both territorial and irritable.

When I look at those symptoms we get Lycopodium, Pulsatilla, Arsenicum, Nux Vomica, Calcarea Carbonicum, and Sulphur.

So just like the little goats, let’s look at Lycopodium. They are excessively hungry, although they have trouble with digestion (and with a trolls diet of whatever comes over the bridge, who would be surprised?!). They are very sensitive and little things annoy them. They are also known to be domineering, particularly towards those they see as weaker, and they can be irritable and obstinate.

It is interesting to note the cross over with these – many remedies have a polarity in Homeopathy, where they can have seemingly opposite symptoms. Sometimes you see this in the same person- for example Lycopodium can be bullying towards those weaker than them, but obsequious to those they see as superior. Sometimes though it is a change that happens over time – for example Phosphorus can be bright, outgoing and the life of the party, but if they push too hard they end up exhausted and burnt out.

What is your favourite fairy tale? For the Homeopaths and students, have you ever considered looking at these common stories and the archetypes for remedies that you see? Farokh Masters has a book “Glimpses of the Association between Fairy Tales and Homeopathy” which is a very interesting read.

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