Musings on a musical model for health and disease suited to homeopathic practice written by Misha Norland

Primary definition

Health is characterised amongst other things, by the capacity of the organism to respond appropriately to change, to adapt in a dynamic manner to alterations in both inner and outer environments. When such adjustments fail we are the weaker for it, and at risk of continuing to make maladjustments to our inner state and the outer environment. Naturally, our responses are also constrained by our innate structure. This is primarily determined by inherited, genetic factors. The structure and constitution may be described, for instance by astrological mapping or by miasmatic or elemental analysis, and while providing a topography, which is of undoubted value for a homeopathic analysis, this is still not amenable to change. A chronic disease also establishes a long-term constraint within our structure and it is this that is amenable to cure. But how are we to understand what is going on?


As stated, a healthy being is responsive. It may be imaged as if we were a musical instrument upon which the performer (life, the vital-force) plays whichever melody is appropriate for survival, or is appropriate for entertainment and creativity. The healthy instrument responds unhesitatingly to the musician’s intentions. In the analogy, the instrument, its structure and tuning are representative of our innate constitution, while the musician represents the will of our life-force.  Naturally, the will that drives the life-force, being too general and all encompassing a concept, may itself be mapped out into categories that qualify its expression. The ancient Greek philosophers wrote of four categories or channels through which it may act out: chance, necessity, fate and destiny, their play-writes being particularly fascinated by the playing out of fate within the field of destiny. They are given in a hierarchy, with chance representing the most fluid and unpredictable while destiny is set into concrete. According to this analogy these four channels modify the music we hear, which is then further constrained by the structure and state of repair of the instrument itself. Healers are driven by the desire to mend our instruments so that they may be perfected channels of life’s music. They are obviously not concerned with attempting to directly influence chance, necessity, fate and destiny, or with changing the will of life. Although, some would claim that necessity, as a perception of duty, may shift, and that fate can be re-written. A man's character is his fate, wrote Heraclitus about 2500 years ago. Can character be rewritten? Only that aspect which is characterised by disease, it seems to me. Of interest in this quote, that fate and character are correlated, is that both these qualities are the epicenter of an individual’s world. This implies that those aspects of character that are modified by disease may indeed be altered over time by curative therapeutic action, and that, by implication, some aspects of fate may also be shifted.


I enjoy the analogy best when applied to a harp, that most angelic of instruments. The structure and tuning of the harp represent the innate constitution of the individual, while each string represents a specific complex of responses. When a string is out of tune or broken, then the musician might be unable to realise the melody. The more strings that are out of order, the less the music.  Now we come to the nub of the analogy, for each string is like a remedy. For instance, it may be appropriate to respond in the manner of Lachesis when a situation is characterised by intrigue, when poison curdles the blood, or like lofty Sulphur in times of wealth when a holy man may receive an offering of food. In health, the state that is represented by an individual remedy is imagined as being an ally, a pathway of being and becoming. But how should the instrument respond when the appropriate string is missing? In this analogy, the application of the homeopathic remedy mends the string. Lachesis outside ‘stands in’ for a deficiency of Lachesis inside. Sometimes a single lesson in how to pluck the Lachesis string is insufficient and repetition of the dose is required. Often the exact similimum cannot be found and nearby notes will make do so that a good enough melody is once again forthcoming. What is of importance here is to respond in the best way possible, for something is always better than nothing!

To recap: the homeopathically chosen remedy reconnects the person to their inner source of being, like the musician to the music, by mending the broken string. The remedy, a substance representing a way of being, momentarily stands in and makes up a shortfall of that presence in the patient, allowing them to respond instinctively and homeostatically to a particular set of circumstances.

The power of analogy

What I enjoy about the analogy is that it acknowledges that in potential we encompass all experiences, indeed that true health may be described as the ability to respond in any way under the sky to any situation, new or old. The implication is that our survival is predicated upon the compounded experiences of our ancestors reaching all the way back to the origins of existence, just like our remedies that derive from all things in existence. Each occupies a place within the greater whole, for instance as a species does within its environmental niche, experiencing a set of uniquely characteristic sensations and functions, to use Hahnemann’s terms. In health we are capable of mimicking any and all of these states in response to stress, when called upon to do so by our vital force.

This analogy is substantially different from the one of being ‘possessed’ by the disease, and by homeopathic mirroring, by the substance that is the remedy. I am not suggesting that one analogy is better than the other, for I am quite happy with the shamanic one of substance possession, however I am positing a musical analogy because it has a smiling face. Thus, when a patient appears, I am listening to the music of life as revealed through their symptoms and perceptions, and obviously, I hear this as something to be encouraged. The disease and its attendant remedy are a gift, as both are offered as an opportunity to make up a deficiency and perfect the instrument. Naturally, it is understood that healing occurs outside the field of time. Or to put it another way, it treats the past in the now, yesterday’s trauma becoming today’s reality. Or to put it yet another way, in chronic prescribing we welcome the acute, indeed we turn the chronic into the acute, so that old trauma may be resolved here and now. Then we hear the pure music of life, being played upon the healed instrument of the individual. Then we step out of the way, which is easy because we never were in the way in the first place!


The analogy of the musical instrument is rich, indeed saturated, for it implies that all experiences, as potential patterns of existence and remedy states, are present within everyone. We come close to realising this when we participate in a homeopathic proving, finding that most provers pick up on some elements of the proving substance’s capacity for altering states. This is because most have sufficient susceptibility to respond, or strings with which to resonate with the proving’s melody. Each individual has a different constitution and inheritance, yet each of us has the innate capacity for being all things, and therefore for appreciating all the music, all the songs that nature may chose to sing within us.

Tags: Misha Norland | Music | Homeopathy

This entry was posted on 01 April 2010 at 14:28 and is filed under Homeopathy.