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Posted Sep 22 2008 4:37pm
Suddenly, and sadly, the world has become familiar with Polonium. A great deal has been written about this substance and here's a bit more, from a homeopathic point of view, nestled amongst other remedies that are there on the same lines (15 and 16) of the periodic table.

15 + 16 = 383

nitrogen is to oxygen as phosphorus is to sulphur
arsenic is to selenium as antimony is to tellurium


what is bismuth to polonium?

Nitrogen is a Group 15 element. Nitrogen makes up about 78% of the atmosphere by volume but the element is so inert that it seems to be without life and yet it is a constituent of all living tissue and vital to life. Its compounds are essential components of foods, fertilizers, and explosives. Nitrogen gas and liquid has no colour or odour.

When nitrogen is heated, it combines directly with magnesium, lithium, or calcium. When mixed with oxygen and subjected to electric sparks, it forms nitric oxide (laughing gas, a remedy that is available homeopathically but I think has no proper proving). Nitrates and nitrites are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units that combine with various organic and inorganic compounds. Once taken into the body, nitrates are converted into nitrites and can cause serious health problems.

When heated under pressure with hydrogen in the presence of a suitable catalyst, ammonia forms making it suitable as a fertiliser. Nitrogen is "fixed" from the atmosphere by bacteria in the roots of certain plants such as clover, broad beans and other legumes, hence the usefulness of these plants in crop rotation. The Brassica family of plants has high nitrogen content and this is one reason they smell so much when they are cooked. Nitric acid and Nitroglycerin will play a role in explosives and rocket fuel and the salts give potassium nitrate (used in gunpowder) and ammonium nitrate.

Liquid nitrogen is extremely cold which can cause instant frostbite on direct contact with living tissue and its ability to maintain an unearthly temperature as it evaporates to – 320 degrees F, makes it extremely useful in a wide range of refrigerant applications including preservation, cryogenics and removal of skin lesions.

Elementary stuff indeed and much of this has been known since the Middle Ages.

Nitrogen is inert and yet versatile because it readily mixes with almost anything to extend it usefulness but at the cost of becoming more dangerous. And as it extends the pressure builds up – initially producing small bubbles to pressurize kegs of beer and gaining responsibility in rocket fuel and supreme power in explosives. Molecular nitrogen has now been detected in interstellar space.

So, Nitrogen begins life as fixed, noxious and without life but it has the ability to become extremely powerful and combustible.

Oxygen, where would we be without it? Possibly on Mars. I quote, “While about one fifth of the atmosphere is oxygen gas, the atmosphere of Mars contains only about 0.15% oxygen. Oxygen is the third most abundant element found in the sun, and it plays a part in the carbon-nitrogen cycle, one process responsible for stellar energy production. Oxygen in excited states is responsible for the bright red and yellow-green colours of the aurora. About two thirds of the human body, and nine tenths of water, is oxygen. The gas is also without colour, odour and no taste. Liquid and solid oxygen are pale blue and strongly paramagnetic.

Ozone is another allotrope of oxygen. It is formed from electrical discharges or ultraviolet light acting on O2. It is an important component of the atmosphere that is vital in preventing harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun from reaching the earth's surface. Aerosols in the atmosphere have a detrimental effect on the ozone layer. Large holes in the ozone layer are forming over the polar regions and these are increasing in size annually. Paradoxically, ozone is toxic! Undiluted ozone is bluish in colour. Liquid ozone is bluish-black, and solid ozone is violet-black.

Oxygen is very reactive and oxides of most elements are known. It is essential for respiration of all plants and animals and for most types of combustion.”

Oxygen sits comfortably next to Nitrogen (some might think dangerously close), by being in Group 16. The homeopathic remedy includes Ozone that would render this remedy as having a poisonous characteristic in its symptom picture. Sure enough clinical uses have included morphine and strychnine poisonings; cancer, whooping cough, diabetes and anaemia also feature and further down the scale there are canker sores, headaches, influenza and colds – it has been used as an antiseptic in preventing the progress of sore throats and colds.

Sensations begin as a tickling and a tingling with an intensely tired feeling, as if overworked. This progresses to a feeling of tightness with choking, burning and raw feelings. Coughing can become so violent as to feel that the chest is about to burst (whooping cough).

You can see how this might build up into Oxygen being a discharging remedy – cough; flatulence; sweat; copious, lumpy sputa; profuse discharge from ulcerating cancerous tumours. It is a liberating remedy but it liberates too rapidly in an uncontrolled manner and in the case of cancers too quickly for the organism to eliminate efficiently.

There is also an addictive side to Oxygen. People who have to use ‘air’ (piped to them from cylinders) as part of their medical therapy have been known to become addicted to it, hanging on for dear life.

Nitrogen is to Oxygen = fixed, without life but when liberated can become powerful – liberating in an uncontrolled manner, addictive.

Phosphorus lies beneath Nitrogen in Group 15 and so well known as a homeopathic remedy that it is difficult to write anything new, but to recap:-

Phosphorus irritates, inflames and degenerates the mucous membranes, serous membranes, spinal cord and nerves. It causes paralysis, destroys bone, fatty degeneration of blood and every tissue and organ of the body. Needless to say it is very destructive and requires intensive, burning energy to be so!

Phosphorus exists in several forms including white, red, black or violet (the proving contains numerous colour hallucinations). Ordinary phosphorus is a waxy white solid. When pure, it is colourless and transparent and insoluble in water. It catches fire spontaneously in air and when exposed to sunlight it is converted to the red variety. This form does not ignite spontaneously and it is a little less dangerous than white phosphorus.

Ignition could = causation and with phosphorus causation can be anger; fear; grief; worry; excess (especially of sugar and salt); drenching rains (to put out the fires); electrocution and having the hair cut (feels as if pulled by the hair – the hair of fair haired phosphorus can often stand up on end with static electricity).

These are high octane (sic) and intense causative factors, the intensity of which is matched with the seriousness of the disease states found in Phosphorus such as hepatitis; cancer; paralysis; tuberculosis; syphilis; muscular atrophy; diabetes; haemophilia; anaemia – to name but a few.

The open door to these causative factors is extreme sensitivity, excitability and being impressionable – almost anything can have an effect that creates an anxious restlessness and so no wonder that Phosphorus is a remedy that commands sympathy. Sympathy soothes the intensity and settles the diffusion, the everywhereness of this remedy. Sympathy (which might take the form of massage or rubbing) soothes the deepening prostration of this remedy, worn out by clairvoyance, anxiousness, fear or even loss of blood they begin to lose their memory, become tired and apathetic and finally enter into an insanity, especially if the syphilitic miasm is dominant.

We know all this about Phosphorus but if you had to choose one word to sum up this remedy it would have to be ‘diffusion’ – a diffusion that needs to be grounded with sympathy else it becomes totally destructive.

Sulphur – likewise, what DON’T we know about this remedy?

Sulphur is allied to Phosphorus but is placed in Group 16, beneath Oxygen.

I wonder if many people who live in Sulphur City actually show symptoms of potentised Sulphur? There are so many places around the world that are called Sulphur – springs, mountains, cities, ports, rivers, towns, lakes – sulphur is essential to life, it is everywhere, you can even buy it on ebay and google came up with 8,550,000 references!

Sulphur is old and dates back thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians made paints with it and bleached their linens with it. Early Chinese first used it to make gunpowder. Ancient Greeks used it as a disinfectant and medicine. Homer mentioned ‘pest-averting sulphur’ nearly 2,800 years ago (might have included scabies). Sulphur is used in matches and fireworks because it burns easily. Its ancient name "brimstone" means ‘the stone that burns’. In 1839, Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped a mixture of rubber and Sulphur into a fire. Goodyear called his rubber materials "vulcanized" after Vulcan the Roman god of fire. In the 1800s, mothers in Britain often gave their children a spoonful of Sulphur and molasses as a spring tonic.

As a homeopathic reference you could image sulphur as that of a volcano that is inactive most of the time but the possibility of erupting is always present and when it does the discharge is volatile, molten, gaseous and deadly hot.

I don’t think I can write much that gives any new insight in Sulphur, so let’s have a bit of fun with some literature review of a Sexton Blake story.

“Mr. Flower, who lives at Ugthorpe Lodge, is Lord Borrowby's agent. One evening, after collecting nearly six hundred pounds in cash from the various tenants on the estate, Mr. Flower retires, leaving the bag of cash locked in his desk. During the night, a noise rouses him from sleep. He goes down to the study but as he opens the door a rug is thrown over him and he falls over. After a moment he regains his senses to find himself surrounded by his daughter and two female servants (the only other occupants of the house). In the study he finds that, by the light of a silver candlestick placed on the desk, the intruders - he had heard two voices - had raided the larder and eaten a meal. Evidentally, when Mr. Flower had entered the room, the burglars had made off through the French windows. When he examines his desk, he finds the lock smashed and the money gone. The next morning, hearing that Sexton Blake is in the region, Mr. Flower commissions him to investigate. The detective immediately notices that only one set of crockery and cutlery was used during the nefarious meal. The windows had evidentally been opened from inside and, outside, only one set of footprints leads to and from the room. Blake notices that the candlestick is discoloured, tarnished by sulphur. This points the finger of suspicion at Miss Flower, who takes sulphur-based medicine for a skin complaint. But things aren't as obvious as they seem and soon Sexton Blake has uncovered a tale of a broken family and a temptation given in to...”

well, probably greed of some kind. I am sure there would be other remedies that would stop to eat food whilst on a stealing spree, but sulphur would definitely be one of them.

One of my favourite artists has always been Joseph Beuys and I had the privilege to meet him just the once. You might want to check out his work and also you might find the following of interest with regard to Sulphur – Amy Levine writes:-

“One of the many roles Joseph Beuys assigned himself was that of healer, and he often spoke of a vast social wound that needed repair. No doubt he was making a general statement about the state of Western culture, but he must also have been thinking about his own country's moral devastation in the wake of World War II. His art offered both poetic representations of the injury and practical prescriptions for a cure and alludes to healing techniques of all kinds, both physical and spiritual: Western medicine (salves of sulphur, gauze and adhesive bandages, X rays), homeopathy and natural cures (copper, herbs), the Christian notion of suffering, redemption, and rebirth (motifs of the cross, baptism), and the ecstatic, mystical activities of the shaman, who serves as a channel for the flow of energy between the earthly and spiritual realms.

The dualities of art as tool and wound are evoked in the doubled photographs of the multiple Show Your Wound (1977), a simultaneous allusion to Christ's display of his stigmata and the image of a hospital radiograph used in World War II, which is incorporated into the work. Sulphur-Covered Zinc Box (Plugged Corner) (1970), presents sulphur as both a destructive and healing agent, the gauze stopper in the corner might be seen as the stanch to a wound. Health Helper (1979), incorporates the sign of the Red Cross and the Holy Cross with the artist's name, signaling his dual status as artist and shamanistic transformer. Ultimately, Sled (1969), with its organic references to spiritual and physical survival in times of crisis, is Beuys' "emergency kit." It contains bodily sustenance (fat), spiritual guidance (flashlight), and insulation against the elements (felt).

Beuys argued that the key to survival was in the collective transformation of the "social organism." For him, communication between the domains of the spiritual and the earthly were primary to cultural regeneration. The print Tramstop (1977) presents a metal cruciform sculpture that serves to commemorate his hometown, Kleve, where he meditated on the political actions of Anacharsis Cloots, a local folk hero. Vitex agnus castus (1973), with its verbal play on Latin for the "Lamb of God," both alludes to the suffering of Christ and explores the healing properties of the plant named in the title. Backrest for a Fine-Limbed Person (Hare-Type) of the 20th Century A.D. (1972) is based on a plaster cast used to treat a child's spinal disorders, and also refers to rebirth through the hare, an ancient symbol of fertility.

During the war, Beuys combined his interest in botany with cooking and he hunted in the fields around his bunker for wild plants, as is illustrated in the multiple Botanical Madness (1976). Beuys was interested in medieval chemistry, or alchemy, which was concerned both with the transmutation of base materials into gold and with finding a universal cure for disease. His art often incorporates sulphur, gold, zinc, silver, and other substances that have both medicinal and alchemical applications. The influence of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), founder of anthroposophy, who combined the activities of spirituality and medicine, homeopathy and political activity, is evident in Mirror Piece (1975), a painted bottle containing crystal iodine, which is a topical healing agent and a poison if taken internally.

The dual aspects of poison and cure are central to the science of homeopathy. This wedding of chemical and transcendent properties is seen in the multiple Cuprum 0,3% unguentum metallicum praeparatum (1978-1986), a beeswax block shot through with copper whose title is the formula for a homeopathic remedy with which Beuys was treating himself. One of his last works, the multiple represents somewhat poignantly the dual aspects of unguent as a medicinal salve and spiritual anointment.”

Very nice piece of writing, in my opinion.

I think it would be almost impossible to sum up Sulphur, suffice it to take the core delusion ‘even rags seem beautiful’ as being suggestive of the enormous healing powers that Sulphur possesses.

Phosphorus is to Sulphur = diffusion, sympathy or destroy, needy – mountainous, volcanic and greedy healing powers.

Arsenicum is below phosphorus in Group 15, so now we are getting deeper but just as poisonous. Everyone must know how poisonous arsenic is. It is being used surreptitiously in water supply, wood preservation, food, agriculture, medicines (still approved for treatment for leukemia) etc. It is a ‘discreet’ poison hence it murderous use. Arsenic kills by massively disrupting the digestive system, leading to death from shock. No wonder there is so much anguish and fear in the homeopathic symptom picture.

Arsenic is another polycrest remedy with little point in rewriting the remedy picture but if we go exit stage left we see that Germanium is placed next to Arsenicum in group 14. Like Arsenicum, Germanium has real issues with the burdens of responsibilities and will avoid them at all cost. If we go left at the lights again, next to Germanium in group 13 is Gallium and it too shuns responsibility in a sneaky way by turning from solid to liquid very easily. Further left again on the map is Zinc in group 12, here responsibility (along with much else) is in the process of being suppressed. If we go all the way back to group 5 to Vanadium it could be here that the catalyst for the fear and anguish regarding responsibility begins. Fear of failure lies behind these fears and this is one reason why Arsencium needs so much support – completely doubtful of their soul’s welfare. Vanadium is totally degenerative and also a catalyst, the spark of change and change has to occur somewhere. Because of that catalyst Vanadium is different to Arsenicum - they are caring and hardworking and Vanadium is also an oxygen carrier (one that brings goodness) so we are almost full circle back to Oxygen.

Now we have to go back to exit stage right and find Selenium, next to Arsenicum in Group 16.

Crystalline monoclinic selenium is deep red; crystalline hexagonal selenium, the most stable variety, is a metallic grey – mix the two and you get brown – sexy red and dull grey = lascivious thoughts with impotency, one of the main keynotes of Selenium – they want to but can’t and what holds them back is similar to what happens with Arsenicum. There is a lot of doubt about their abilities. If you think that Arsenicum is fanatical about detail (to compensate for their lack) then Selenium is even more so. More excitable, loquacious, doubtful, fanatical and yet more dull, fearful, indifferent, suspicious. Caught between a rock and hard place Selenium is a remedy of extremes – physical, mental and emotional extremes, the young and the old.

Alcoholism features as one of those extremes and Selenium is a liver remedy. Those needing Selenium will often choose alcohol as a middle place between the extremes as it softens the blow but the desire also becomes extreme and many stimulants are required. In time these stimulants contribute to even more breaking down of the mind and body.

The skin, mucous membranes, nerves and internal organs all become exhausted. Sometimes this exhaustion comes on suddenly and there is much that drains the energy – noise, people, talking, even a draft of air will cause extreme suffering.

Paralysis is another physical state that is caught between the extremes. There is also anorexia, forgetfulness, scabies – also indicative of a paralysed and ‘stuck’ state that allows parasites to takeover. Even sleep brings no balance in Selenium. At a time when they might find respite from the extremes, they are either wakened by nervous starting or pulsations (as if the engine is just about to get going) and then they remember everything that they had forgotten during the day. Dreams tend to be highly energized and frightening or threatening to their existence.

Selenium has an intrinsic link to the thyroid, possibly because as a trace element found in many types of fish and anything from the sea will have iodine and selenium in it. This endocrine connection could be why such depression and weakness occurs so easily.

Selenium is one of the remedies for stuttering and this becomes a useful metaphor for the entire Selenium state. It is almost like a selenium battery that needs constantly recharging – overcharged and stuttering energy or flat.

Arsenicum is to Selenium = breaking down and needing more and more support – extreme but stuck, needs recharging or stimulating.

Antimony comes next, in Group 15, and as you would imagine things are getting more dangerous now and the neediness is getting more extreme.

Antimony wants to be carried through their despair and the despair can border on a kind of madness not just due to delirium but also through emotional and physical extreme sensitivity. With Antimonium crudum it will be extremely sensitive and painful skin and an intolerance to noise; and with Antimonium tartaricum (the 2 most well known antimony remedies), the sensitivity comes in the form of fear – fear of the heavy load they are expected to carry – ‘sensation as if a heavy load was hanging from the coccyx’. The load is so heavy they become weak and oppressed and the oppression usually goes straight to the respiratory system.

There is a lot of vomiting in both these remedies – crudum eat so much that the digestion becomes completely disordered, even the baby will vomit through over nursing; tartaricum is by nature an emetic and tries to rid the respiratory system of all the mucous by vomiting it up – always trying to shed the load – sensation of a weight or heaviness in many parts.

If the needs are not met in these remedies they lose their apparent cheerfulness and turn towards excitement, rage, loathing, mania, suspicion, even suicide. They cannot be left alone and yet they can scream to fend off any approach, and here lies the root of the despair. Clinging and yet emetic (repellent).

Tellurium is so restless it cannot be touched and yet the pathology is full of ‘clinging’ states such as ringworm, chronic foetid catarrh, thickness and inflammation of skin, offensive sweat (so bad that it can repel forcing them to be alone), contraction of tendons, worms and slow development of all symptoms. Basically, tellurium has been taken over and there is no escape. Perhaps this is why you see ‘levitation’ as a symptom of this remedy. This is their way of floating away without being noticed, so their parasitic ‘captors’ will not realize they have gone. Eventually they lose all memory of what is happening to them and develop depressive psychosis as further escape back into the mind. If this late stage is avoided they remain in isolation due to the acridity of the discharges.

Antimony is to Tellurium = even stronger need for support but repels – taken over and held captive with no escape.

Bismuth feels so alone they don’t even want to wake up and face the world and so their fear is felt mostly on waking. They are discontented with everything.

Bismuth is a cancer remedy, mainly of the stomach quite like one if its forebears, Phosphorus, but Bismuth doesn’t have the connections that Phosphorus does because it is too apathetic but the desire for company is much more powerful than in Phosphorus. There can be anguish and restlessness similar to arsenicum that drives them out of bed but it is too heavy, too languid to respond or make this a fruitful activity. Prostration is overriding. The digestion is very slow with chronic catarrhal inflammation of the whole digestive tract and again, there is more vomiting and purging as if an attempt to throw off the anguish, to get the digestion moving.

Bismuth has high electrical resistance, is very slightly radioactive and can be used as a carrier for uranium fuel in nuclear reactors. Resistance = volts over amps if I remember correctly but to Bismuth this means they can resist by lamenting and bemoaning to a certain extent but the real heavy stuff of life (carrying uranium) is just too much to bear and the desire for company ultimately leads them in the worst possible direction – there are no moral feelings; no resolution; gangrene sets in; cancer sets in; cholera sets in; they become heavy.

Polonium is rare and radioactive and requires the company of Bismuth to exist.

Madame Curie first discovered it in 1898 and named it after her native homeland, Poland. Poland had no independence then and her idea was to give some publicity to the ongoing political and social plight within that country. Neat idea, and possibly an indication for its homeopathic use?

The electroscope showed it separating with bismuth. In 1934, it was found that when natural bismuth (209Bi) was bombarded by neutrons, 210Bi, the parent of polonium, was obtained. Polonium is a low-melting, fairly volatile metal, 50% of which is vaporized in air in 45 hours at 55C. A milligram emits as many alpha particles as 5g of radium. The energy released by its decay is so large that a capsule containing about half a gram reaches a temperature above 500C. Polonium exhibits a blue glow, caused by excitation of the surrounding gas.

It has been used in devices for eliminating static charges in textile mills and is also used on brushes for removing dust from photographic films. Polonium has been found in tobacco as a contaminant and in uranium ores. Understandably Polonium is extremely toxic and radioactive. Dangerous indeed!

Have you ever been in the company of someone who has a tendency to glow blue, giving off sensations of being highly charged and unsafe, who has suffered political and social degradation, who feels poisoned, and has a volatile temper with a low burning point and who has the potential to attack and destroy abruptly and literally ‘out of the blue’ – then think of Polonium. (this piece was written some months ago and has now become amazingly ironic in view of recent headlines)

So, now we know what Bismuth is to Polonium. If Bismuth 210 is the parent of Polonium what must the offspring be? Probably Ytterbium and Nobelium.

Nitrogen is to Oxygen = fixed, without life but when liberated can become powerful – liberating in an uncontrolled manner, addictive.

Phosphorus is to Sulphur = diffusion, sympathy or destroy, needy – mountainous, volcanic and greedy healing powers.

Arsenicum is to Selenium = breaking down and needing more and more support – extreme but stuck, needs recharging or stimulating.

Antimony is to Tellurium = even stronger need for support but repels – taken over and held captive by another energy with no escape.

Bismuth is to Polonium = alone, resistant, irreparable breaking down – highly charged with the utmost danger, fighting for independence.

The fusion of these two groups illustrates energy – either a lack of, an excess of or a misdirection of. Energy that requires support of some kind because without that support what ensues is either degeneration, explosion or captivity. No wonder there is so much physical vomiting and purging to be seen in all the remedies in both groups.

Group 15 is about responsibility that requires support. Group 16 is about addiction, greed, power and control (and now death).
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