Introduction by Peter Fraser
Introduction by Misha Norland
Time and dates
Classification of symptoms
Introduction by Peter Fraser
The Proving of Aqua Nova, Water produced by the Combustion of Brown's Gas.
The decision to prove Aqua Nova came out of Misha Norland's fascination with primitive substances. Water is in many ways the most primitive of substances. It covers much of the Earth's surface and is the basic medium in which all life finds expression and existence. One of the most important properties of water is that it is somehow changed, not in its obvious physical properties but in a metaphysical way, by the processes and experiences it undergoes. Water seems to have a memory for its past. This has been the hope of many looking for a purely physical explanation of the seeming impossibility of potentized medicines as expressed in Benveniste's book: "The Memory of Water".
We use in homťopathy as remedies many of the spa waters that in former times were used to treat a variety of ailments. Part of the differences between them lies in the different chemical composition of the minerals dissolved in them but their seems to be also a component that comes from the place of their origin.
In our understanding of the deeper meaning of substances and elements such as the Mappa Mundi and the Realms we note that a property of remedies connected with water and of sea remedies is the pattern of remembering the past and being unable to move on from it.
These factors indicate that any sample of water contains, at some level, more than just pure water. In order to prove pure water, distilled water could be used and this has been done. However, we cannot be absolutely sure that the distillation process removes all memory from the water and to be sure it was decided to use water that had been newly created from hydrogen and oxygen. This new water as a remedy might be a valuable tool as water is so basic and vital to all animals. It should give a base line for the properties of water as a remedy which should in turn make our understanding of the waters as a group much clearer and more useful by having a baseline picture of the properties that are purely of the water and so of what comes from the other constituents.
The obvious way to do this is to electrolyze water and burn the product to create new water. This is what was done but it does raise other questions because the product of such electrolysis, a version of which is known as Brown's Gas after the inventor Yull Brown, has strange properties. The internet is full of the magical properties of Brown's Gas and of conspiracy theories concerning its suppression. Whatever the truth of some of these claims it does seem to have interesting properties particularly in welding where it is able to weld substances that have melting points that are too different for normal welding. Part of the reason for this is that some of the oxygen and hydrogen produced remains monatomic and does not form the usual diatomic molecules of H2 and O2. This means that no energy is needed to split the diatomic molecules before they can recombine, as water, producing energy.
The result of the proving was interesting. It has taken two years to publish any of the results and I still have some ambivalence in publishing it. During the proving it appeared to be a good proving that was producing an interesting picture. The process of the School's proving involves a monthly meeting of the proving group during which the prover's indicate something of their proving experience. The meetings were enthusiastic and seemed to be describing a coherent and useful picture. I was therefore very surprised in collating the provers' diaries not to be able to see a picture of the remedy appearing. Having collated the diaries I looked at the proving a number of times trying to see some sort of picture and could not find anything. The things that had appeared in the provers' meetings were simply not substantiated by the provers' diaries. None of the themes or groups of symptoms that seemed to be important could be substantiated by more than one diary. Even symptoms that are common in the general population and common in most provings were only found in one or two diaries.
Some time ago the School had conducted a proving using placebo and the result had been reassuringly as expected: none of the provers had experienced significant symptoms. This situation was different. Almost all the provers had experienced a powerful proving and the group as a whole had also done so. They had symptoms that were clear and strongly expressed. The problem was that there was no coherence between the provings of the individuals or indeed between the group's proving and that of any of the individuals.
Looking at things from a different angle it seemed clear to me that all the provers were proving themselves.
What does this mean for the remedy? To use it in a truly homťopathic manner it might be prescribed for a person who has no personal pathological picture. Some one who takes on their pathology from the people and circumstances around them and has nothing that comes from within themselves. They would be incredibly sensitive and responsive but have little internal character. I suspect this is not at all a common occurrence and it would be very difficult to see.
The remedy could be used to give to a patient in order for them to prove it. If my understanding is correct, they would prove themselves and so produce a stronger and clearer picture of their own state and so make finding a suitable remedy much easier.
My concern about publishing the proving is that it is a tabula rasa, an empty slate. Just as the provers were able to write their own personal story on the remedy; so a homťopath could easily read any of his patients' stories in the proving and there would always be the appearance of a well indicated remedy even though that was almost never the case.
This was a challenging proving for all who participated in it and it may well be challenging for those who use it, but such challenges have a tendency to produce wonderful things.
Introduction by Misha Norland
Why was it proved?
Knowing that water is at the root of terrestrial existence, it seems reasonable to expect that a proving might teach us something fundamental about life. Whichever way you cut the cake whether you consider myth or science water has many unique and astonishing properties. We are still discovering some of these, and as we do so, we find that water is laden with paradox. By way of example, we are coming to appreciate that water as well as being the best solvent at a chemical level, is also a 'solvent' at a subtle level, being exquisitely impressionable to influences: it carries memories. So, how to find water that has not a trace of memory, so that the proving should be of H2O untainted by the reminiscences of where it has been or what it has touched? Is this possible?
Before we go to the proving, let us pull up some thoughts that have been had about water.
Thales of Miletus (660 BC)
Thales was the first Natural Philosopher we know of who hypothesized on the makeup of water. He is remembered for his cosmology based on water as the essence of all matter and for his prediction of an eclipse of the Sun, generally agreed to be that of May 28, 585. The claim that Thales was the founder of European philosophy rests primarily on Aristotle, who wrote that Thales was the first to suggest a single material substratum for the universe: water, or moisture. Even though Thales as a philosopher renounced mythology, his choice of water as the fundamental building block of matter had its precedent in tradition. A likely consideration in this choice was the seeming motion that water exhibits, as seen in its ability to become vapor; for what changes or moves itself was thought by the Greeks to be close to life itself. To Thales the entire universe is a living organism, nourished by exhalations from water.
Water combines two basic qualities: moisture and fluidity. The symbol which most vividly exemplifies this is the ocean in all her moods, and also lakes, rivers and ponds. Reflecting the ever changing patterns of clouds, light and sky, being subject to wind (and the oceans and bodies of water in general, to the moon's gravity) water is a changeable element. On the other hand when water is unaffected by gravity, as it is in an orbiting spacecraft, then it assumes a perfectly spherical shape. It contains and circumscribes itself. Water seeks itself, joins up with itself. All rivers flow into the larger body of the ocean. Likewise, an elemental Water experience is both containing (as the larger contains the lesser) and dissolving (as the lesser flows into the larger). In respect of the individual ego this brings about dissolution, merging the one with the collective and giving an intimation to the soul of universality. Water leaches out and pulls apart our closely held ideas and opinions (Earth) evoking new dimensions. This is likely to liberate feelings which may formerly have been guarded, of which weeping is the natural watery expression. Remember, water can also be changeable, reflecting fluctuating moods, ranging from sadness to joy and back again. Seeking unity by fraying personal boundaries and merging with the universal (as rivers merge into the sea) is Water's way. Sigmund Freud coined the expression oceanic feeling to convey this quality.
Terrestrial life is only possible in a moist environment. In some primordial swamp where crucial nutrients were available (Earth) life was born and nurtured in the womb of nature under the action of light and heat (Fire). Le mer and la mare are the words for sea in French and Italian, while the words for mother: la mère, and la madre remind us of the etymological connection between sea and mother. The fluidity of Water, oceans and lakes with their ever changing moods are symbolically representative of all our emotions, our tears of joy and sorrow, and especially of our tender feelings, those which harmonise with mothering and being mothered.
The importance of water to life can be gauged from the fact that cellular life, evolved in water billions of years ago. The cells are filled with water and are bathed in watery tissue fluids. Water is the medium in which the cell's biochemical reactions take place. Transportation of ions from cell to cell is possible only because of the presence of water. It would appear that nature has designed the properties of water to exactly suit the needs of the living!
Water is a source and sustainer of life. In our industrial times the importance of water is brought to the foreground as it is expected to be a major font of energy in the future. Hydrogen can be obtained from water using any primary energy source like solar energy, electricity or thermal energy or a hybrid system consisting of more than one of these primary energy sources. Hydrogen, a secondary energy carrier, can be converted to produce water and this water appears to be an endless source of energy.
How Aqua Nova was made
Oxygen and hydrogen were produced in an electrolytic cell from distilled water plus sodium hydroxide acting as an electrolyte. This is necessary because pure water is non-conductive. Since sodium is non-volatile it stays in the cell, while any OH ions are of the same composition as water, and therefore add nothing new. The electrodes were energized with 12 volts at 20 amps DC. At the surface of the electrodes the gasses, being newly formed, were mono-atomic. In this state they are highly chemically active, hydrogen having a spare electron that it would like to share in a covalent bond with oxygen, for example, reforming as water (from which it had been wrenched during the electrolysis), or joining with itself to form a molecule of H2.
The gasses were passed through a water trap to ensure their purity: that the gasses did not carry over any of the reagents in the reaction vessel, such as sodium ions or traces of the electrodes themselves. After washing, they entered a thick walled glass vial two thirds filled with distilled water were they bubbled vigorously. The bubbles were ignited by a high voltage electrical discharge causing a series of sharp explosions. After a minute of this, the apparatus was switched off, absolute
alcohol was added and the vial was stoppered. For the purposes of the proving a 30 Korsakovian potency was run up in class from this tincture. Because the product of this process is 'new' water, we are calling it Aqua Nova.
Aqua Nova has had the experience of its genesis, the experience of the explosion that was fired by an electrical spark.
From an empirical point of view, where the results of experimentation are the only permitted data, it is ill-advised to speculate on signatures. None-the-less the value of thinking by analogy should not be underestimated. As homeopaths we are accustomed to working with signatures, often finding similimum prescriptions on the basis of them. Also, it is not uncommonly on the basis of such speculation we chose a particular substance to put to the empirical test of a proving.
Given the genesis of Aqua Nova, and understanding that water is a common denominator of all life forms, it is likely that the proving would also convey the energy of combustion: that explosive reaction triggered by the spark, where nascent oxygen combines with nascent hydrogen. Even in its molecular, non-nascent, form, these gasses unite with great exothermic vigor this can power fuel cells, internal combustion and rocket engines such as those used to boost the Challenger space-shuttle into orbit.
Since the water from which the potencies were run up, as well as collecting the products of the combustion also 'experienced' the flow of the gasses as they bubbled through, Aqua Nova has picked up elements of hydrogen and oxygen. Aqua Nova is a complex of hydrogen and oxygen in mono- and di-atomic form, explosive combustion, and new water.
Before I had fully assembled the electrolysis cell, hermetically sealing it, I exploded bubbles freshly forming on the surface above the electrodes. I did this without fear of rupturing the vessel because the bubbles were quite small. Using a burning match I set them off and what a loud and sharp retort! It had the dog bolting out the room as if lightning had struck! When subsequently I sparked the gasses bubbling out of the tube in the collecting vessel, that explosion was of lesser magnitude. The nascent, non-atomic form, as expected, has a very short life.
A stream of nascent hydrogen and oxygen burning in a torch has many remarkable properties some of which have found commercial application. There are patents on the generators by a man called Yuls Brown. He named the gasses 'Browns Gas'.
Browns Gas quotes from website
All fuel types, including gasoline, LPG, butane, propane, diesel fuel and natural gas have constant combustion temperatures. Brown's Gas flame, upon application to an element or compound of elements, changes its temperature due to an interactive combustion property. This is the unique characteristic of Brown's Gas.
The flame produced from this gas is capable of drilling holes in high-temperature refractory products in seconds. It turns brick to glass.
To illustrate the temperature range, it is possible, using the same gas flame pressure (with no change in flow rate) to both (1) successfully weld aluminum sheet without a gas envelope at 660 degrees C. and (2) sublimate (vaporize) tungsten at approximately 6,000 degrees C. Again, this is accomplished in seconds with the same flame with no increase in volume.
The intriguing explanation for the large range of calorific response when the flame is applied to different materials is governed by the rate of mono-atomic absorption of hydrogen on the surface of these materials. For example, when the flame is applied to aluminum, white heat isn't the immediate reaction as it is when applied to brick. Instead, the flame may be shown to produce water on the aluminum by condensing the steam in the mantles on this hard conductive surface.
As the gas flame hits cold metal, you instantly see water vapor condensing on the surface, followed by the pooling and dripping of water. When collected, the water exhibits amazing characteristics. In some (many) instances, it takes on the properties of what it is exposed to - not in a physical reproduction, but in essence.
This latter statement, myth or science? Memory of water, fact or fiction?
Water was electrolysed producing Oxygen and Hydrogen gases which were ignited to produce water that was collected. This water was succussed and diluted to 30c by the proving group each of whom took one dose. The remedy is available from Helios Pharmacy.
Times given are the actual time of day, not time from taking the remedy. XX.XX indicates no specific time was noted.
Days are numbered from 1, the day the remedy was taken. Day 0 indicates a symptom that was general and not tied to a particular date.
Information from provers who did not take the remedy are included and clearly indicated. The reasons for this are outlined in Group and Proving Phenomena, Observations by Misha Norland, An Article published in Issue 72 of The Homoeopath, Winter 1999. The reader should make up his or her own mind as to how to treat these symptoms.
NS A new symptom never before experienced.
OS An old symptom previously experienced, but not in the preceding year.
RS A recent symptom experienced within the last year.
AS An altered symptom, one previously experienced but with at least one quality changed.
CS A cured symptom, a symptom that was removed during the proving.
IOS An old symptom that is felt with significantly greater intensity than before.