Shame is the fear of disconnection. We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually hardwired for connection, love, and belonging. ….It’s the fear that something that we’ve done or failed to do, an ideal that we’ve not lived up to, or a goal that we have not lived up to, makes us unworthy of connection. I’m not good enough for love, belonging or connection
Have you had the feeling that you are separate from your body? Or that you are struggling with making a choice between one thing that appears to be a good choice and another that is not so savory but might be a necessary option? Or perhaps you alternate between good behaviors like exercising and attending to friendships, then slip into bad behaviors like overeating, drinking too much, or arguing to a friend. What feelings come up when faced with this dilemma? This is the in the realm of Anacardium orientalis, the remedy representing the sixth layer in Inspiring homeopathy often thought of as the layer that allows one to integrate opposites or polarities. Let’s look more closely.
One of my first clients over 25 years ago was one of the sweetest guys I ever met. He was soft-spoken, mellow, played jazz guitar for a living and was generally kind. What was peculiar about him was that before he became successful as a musician, he made a living as a bouncer at nightclubs. When he wasn’t hanging out with his girlfriend and making a living, he worked out as a body builder, and in his youth, he loved to pick fights. He did very well on Anacardium for his chronic tendonitis, and it also took the edge off of his high energy. We talked much about his shame when he acted out. He had a strong sense of right and wrong. When he felt something that he knew wasn’t the right way of being, he ended up angry and would strike out. He felt out of control and disconnected from himself.
Tinus Smits, the founder of Inspiring Homeopathy, describes Anacardium as a lack of unification. This remedy type often has a struggle between good and evil manifesting inside and the oft taken solution is alternating between the two. With this remedy, my client was able to recognize both aspects in himself. He learned, over time, not to resort to fighting or drug abuse. He went from feeling less than a person – shame, to recognizing that he could have aggressive negative feelings, and that this did not make him a bad person. With Anacardium, he found a new integrity within himself, within which he could tolerate his difficult feelings without disconnecting from them and acting out.
Often, as a consequence of this dilemma, individuals needing this remedy have little confidence, are easily offended and unable to make clear decisions, and have a lack of clarity. While often soft spoken and gentle, they can potentially also be volcanically violent. This aggression can manifest suddenly and with violence, which is perhaps why it is so painful for the person in this state to stay present to their core feelings. The archetype has been portrayed in the literature with the classic image of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and more recently in Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, Fight Club, in the movie version of which Ed Norton plays the narrator as he befriends Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt. Tyler introduces himself by asking to be punched as hard as possible. As the story progresses, the two characters turn into one – a nihilistic resolution to the challenges of the masculine.
In the dreamwork journeys I lead in Inspiring Homeopathy, participants reported sensations on one side of the body, often the left side, or split sensation in the body between the right and the left. Some participants felt anger or shame. Another participant didn’t have any sensation of body parts at all and seemed to fall into nothingness. This felt extreme. Still another member of our journey felt a helmet over his head with a wall on the left side and the right side more open. His chest felt as if it had a vice on it and he could do nothing about it.
As we discussed our experiences of Anacardium, what emerged was the opportunity to see opposites as a both/and. Rather than one side or the other, Anacardium increased our ability to make room for both. In this way, rather than simply healing the victim, (layer five Rhus Toxicodendron) the Anacardium layer allows for both the victim and the perpetrator to exist, each revealing suffering, without judgement.
Harry van der Zee, in his book Miasms in Labour writes “The identification with the role of the offender is well known in our literature. The role of the concentration camp warden has often been mentioned as the kind of ‘job’ that would give an opportunity for an Anacardium patient to act out his dark side. In periods in the history of mankind like Nazi Germany there was a strong acting out of the collective shadow – collective meaning ‘from you and me.’ With that I want to say that we cannot simply divide the world during such episodes into good and bad people. The role of the victim or offender, of prisoner or warden, or occupier or liberator depends on many more factors that only character traits. Whether or not we have encountered and to some extent dealt with our own shadow will determine how likely we are to coast along with the collective.” Van der Zee is pointing the universal nature of Anacardium. How can we heal the split between the violence that so plagued the 20th Century while shedding light on the pain of both victim and aggressor? The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Nelson Mandela’s South Africa comes to mind. Smits’s system of healing offers an opportunity to connect to shame and pain. Aggressor and victim are both still human and worthy of love, belonging and connection. Healing this layer is a vital for unifying the past of humankind, and the present within each of us with the potential for a nourishing healthy future.
Interested in learning more about the Universal Layers? Starting again this January.
Each week we work directly these powerful healing allies through guided meditation and shamanic dreamwork to develop our healing capacities as well as our understanding of the lessons of the human condition. Students will complete the course ready to use these remedies with directly with clients and continue their own journey to better embody the lessons of these 14 remedies. Join Today