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Homeopathy and Christianity

Posted on 7th August 2023

That Homeopathy and Christianity are incompatible, as I have occasionally heard, rather puzzles me. I say this a Church attendee throughout most of my life. 

Homeopathy and the spiritual
© Can Stock Photo / rfcansole

This view is slightly strange as I recall that the family doctor of my childhood in Glasgow – a member of the Faculty of Homeopathy – had an open Bible in the waiting room.   

Something of a paradox, then.

This month’s blog introduces the spiritual side of homeopathic medicine in an attempt to address any misconceptions. 

That there is a spiritual side to homeopathy is indeed a distinguishing feature over conventional western medicine, for whom spiritual matters are the domain of the hospital chaplain or local priest/minister. 

I write here from a general perspective and not of the individual beliefs of doctors or nursing staff.   


The impressively named Swiss physician ‘Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim’ better know as Paracelsus (1493-1541) was a notable physician in Renaissance times. You can read about him in this article

His philosopy anticipated the homeopathic principle of the Law of Similars or ‘like cures like’, in that he perceived that the inner nature of a living thing is expressed in its outer form.  It is a sort of signature.

This ‘signature’ can be seen both a picture of our disease (or dis-ease) and in the healing potential of, say, a herb.

Whilst the principle of ‘signatures’ can be overly simplistically interpreted (e.g. a walnut looks like a brain, and therefore walnuts are good for the brain!) a more profound understanding shows the true meaning.  

To quote the late Misha Norland who founded the School of Homeopathy (in Stroud):

‘The doctrine of signatures says that by knowing the form of an object, we can know something of its medicinal use; the Language of Nature says that by knowing the name of an object we can also know its form and vice versa. 

This way of looking at the world is central to homeopathy, where we become used to thinking in terms of people being “Lycopodium types” or being in a “Sepia state” (Lycopodium and Sepia are two well known homeopathic remedies). 

We are simply saying that we perceive a correspondence between a person and a remedy picture.’  

Many common names attributed to plants suggest this correspondence, for example Eyebright (Euphrasia).

Ways of Perceiving – intuition

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) best known as a man of literature, was also a scientist, who also studied nature in a holistic and non-reductionist way.   This contrasted the work of his near contemporary Isaac Newton (1643-1727), for whom Goethe had great respect.  Here is a short two part introduction to Gothean Science.

Most recently Dr Edward Bach (1886-1936) used similar intuitive principles to develop a range of flower essences that find good use to this day. His interesting story can be found here.

In short, there are different ways of perceiving; the subjective and objective.  Mainstream science favours the objective and is dismissive of the subjective / intuitive, albeit that many notable scientists, past and present (e.g. Albert Einstein) recognise the importance of intuition.  

As Misha Norland states, traditional systems of healing such as the Indian Ayurvedic system or Traditional Chinese Medicine stess the need to develop both the powers of observation and intuition.   This is a vital process in homeopathy. 

Philosophia Perennis

Central to homeopathic philosophy is the life force or dynamisDr Samuel Hahnemann ( 1755-1843) who set down the principles of homeopathy, wrote of a life force that ‘rules with unbounded sway and retains all parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious vital operation’.  

The hermetic tradition, also known as philosophia perennis has the following cardinal principles:

  • The principle of unity (all things relate to the ultimate level of existence. To achieve that unity at a personal level is the higher purpose of our existence)
  • The principle of the correpondences or analogies (similarity of form between the microcosm and the macrocosm – ‘as above so below’)
  • The principle of polarity (everything has its opposite – as in the Chinese concept of Yin & Yang and Newton’s first law of motion – every action has an equal and opposite reaction)
  • The principle of planes of existence/consciousness – e.g. spiritual / vital force / physical

Each of these principles is reflected in homeopathic philosophy, most obviously the last.

Western Science

Western science has its focus on the physical plane. Consequently, most scientists (though not all) have little interest in the non-material world, or at least compartmentalise that topic away from their weekday endeavours.

Paleontologist, the late Stephen Jay Gould, expressed the division between religion and science as ‘Non overlapping magesteria‘.  Sometimes termed NOMA. Drawing from a summary in Wikipedia I find this succinct quotation from Gould in 1997:

‘Religion is too important to too many people for any dismissal or denigration of the comfort still sought by many folks from theology. I may, for example, privately suspect that papal insistence on divine infusion of the soul represents a sop to our fears, a device for maintaining a belief in human superiority within an evolutionary world offering no privileged position to any creature. But I also know that souls represent a subject outside the magisterium of science.

My world cannot prove or disprove such a notion, and the concept of souls cannot threaten or impact my domain. Moreover, while I cannot personally accept the Catholic view of souls, I surely honor the metaphorical value of such a concept both for grounding moral discussion and for expressing what we most value about human potentiality: our decency, care, and all the ethical and intellectual struggles that the evolution of consciousness imposed upon us.’

Respectful as I am of Gould’s analysis of this dilemma, it seem strange to me that religion and science do not overlap or more accurately form some sort of continuum.  That such a continuum exists and warrants scientific exploration is central to the work of the Scientific and Medical Network.

Homeopathic philopsophy assuredly recognises this continuum between the spiritual and physical, the non-material life force, animating the physical.   Homeopathy is thus perfectly compatible with Christianity (and other religions).

Homeopathy, Science and Christianity

As Norland wrote, homeopathic remedies are based on the concept of provings. 

‘Provings were Hahnemann’s brainchild.  In a proving a group of stable voluteers of both sexes are given potentised doses or doses of the substance under enquiry. Usually the provers do not know what the substance is.  Over a period of time (usually about two months) and under supervision, they keep an on-going log of their altered state.  They examine not only new and/or changed physical symptoms, but also mental and psychological symptoms. 

Provers are in effect the living instruments upon whom the melody of the musical substance is being played.  The collated information constitutes the ‘picture’ of the healing agent.

The proving method of testing the characteristics of plants, animals and minerals in the laboratory of the human body puts homeopathy on a scientific basis in that ‘science’ refers to knowledge that is systematic repeatable and verifiable.’

He continues:

Treating a person homeopathically is the opposite process to a proving.  We give a sick person the remedy that would cause his symptoms in a healthy person, and the vital force is stimulated in reaction with the result that his symptoms.’ 

Amusingly then, homeopathy comes under fire from both magesteria.  For the ‘fundamentalist’ scientist the non-material world is at best ignored if not denied. Just ‘woo-woo’.

As potentised homeopathic preparations are serially diluted / agitated (succussed) above the 12th centissimal potency they are non-material (according to Avogadro’s number). The conclusion is that there ‘there is nothing in it’ (so just placebo).

On the other hand for the religious ‘fundamentalist’ the non-material / spiritual is sacrosanct and solely to be within the remit of (usually) their particular creed.  Potentially, homeopathy is even the Devil’s work!

Needless to say, I contest both views.  The role of the homeopathic medicine is to correct a detuned vital force and thereby reestablish the harmonious working of both body and mind. It spans the spiritual and physical. You might care to read this earlier blog.

Science and the Arts

(or Homeopathy and Christianity)

As a generalisation, our education system is divided between science and the arts.  This is another way of expressing Gould’s NOMA.  We may have a preference to one path or the other, but our existence is ultimately an amalgam of both. That is to say both a left and right brain undertaking.

As I argued in my recent blog ‘Throwing baby out with the bathwater‘ Medicine must return to equal appreciation of art and science, and reestablishing that balance is the challenge of the current times. 

Hahnemann was certainly a scientist before the term was common place. His full name was Frederick Christian Samuel Hahnemann. Was he religious? I cannot say, but nowhere in his writings does he suggest any conflict between Homeopathy and Christianity. His fight was with the orthodox and eclectic medical model of his time, which was all too often doing more harm than good.

society of Homeopaths

Disclaimer: I am a qualified professional homeopath and not a medical doctor. The NHS has many resources, and seeking the opinion of your GP is always of value.

© 2024 Allan Pollock