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at The School of Homopathy
Time and dates
Classification of symptoms
In choosing the substance to prove in 2009 we decided that we should do a mammal. Over the years we have proved many substance but had not yet proved a mammal. It is important that a particular proving group make sure that the substances they prove are diverse and not all related to each other. Although the provers (third year students at the School of Homeopathy) change each year the provings are run by Misha Norland and Peter Fraser and this means they form a proving group in which there is a large degree of connection from year to year. In proving groups which have specialised in similar substances it is very difficult to see whether themes that emerge are themes of the proving group or of the group of substances. In the school provings any themes that are to be found in all provings can be identified as properties of the group rather than the proving.
We settled on the Badger as an animal which in some way is seen to be particularly evocative of the English countryside ands in some way of the English character. Badger in The Wind in The Willows sums up these qualities as grumpy and averse to company, a curmudgeon, but also loyal and kindly and fiercely defensive of his friends and of tradition and historical values. Thus the badger has qualities that go beyond its actual nature. These metaphorical qualities are often indicative that the substance will make an important remedy.
Badgers have also been implicated in and blamed for the widespread presence of bovine tuberculosis in the UK. This has resulted in proposed culls to exterminate badgers in certain areas. There is undoubtedly a correlation between the infection rates in badgers and in cattle but there is no real evidence that the badgers infect the cattle. Given behaviour patterns and the nature of modern cattle husbandry it is more likely that badgers are being infected by cattle than vice a versa. The proving, surprisingly, revealed very little of a tubercular nature. The persecution that has come out of the tuberculosis crisis in farming has more of a resonance to a long and, unfortunately continuing, history of badger digging, badger baiting and general persecution. This feeling was to be found in the proving.
The badger cubs are extremely playful and invent complicated ways of playing and enjoying themselves. The adults are extremely stubborn and tenacious and do not give up. This is one of the reasons that they are so desirable as "sporting" animals, they will fight until the end and never give up.
The badger is a member of the Mustelidae, the family that includes weasels, stoats and otters. Various subspecies are found in a band that stretches from almost the whole west coast of Europe across Europe, Russia and Asia to the east coast of China. The subspecies used for the remedy, Meles meles meles is that which is found throughout Western Europe, except for the Iberian peninsular.
Badgers live in setts, networks of tunnels and chambers that they dig in the earth. These setts can be hundreds of years old and can be extensive and deep. They are extremely territorial and again these territories can have been established many hundred or even thousands of years ago and been walked and marked every night by generations of badgers stretching back to long before the Romans or the Saxons came to Britain.
Not only are they territorial but they are also extremely hierarchical. One senior boar rules the sett and in the same way that he marks the territory he marks the other badgers with his musk and only those thus smelling of him are tolerated. Generally only the ruling boar and the senior sow will breed, though sometimes several sows and in a large sett even a second boar will breed. Many young boars are forced from the sett and can wander quite far to find another group where they might defeat the ruling boar and take over the sett. Badgers that upset the social order can also be forced out of the sett and live in satellite diggings nearby for a time until they are accepted back into the main body.
The major food for badgers are earthworms and they tend to live near pasture and open woodland where these worms can be found. They also eat insects, slugs and small vertebrates. They eat fruits and berries, particularly in the Autumn when they are plentiful and when the badger needs to put on fat for the Winter when times are harsh. Badgers do not hibernate but they become much less active in the cold weather and venture from the sett less often and move less distance from it. They are nocturnal primarily because this is the time that their prey especially earthworms and insect larvae are to be found on or near the surface. They do not like bright sunlight.
They are quite susceptible to lice, fleas and similar parasites. They moult every year and sleep in bedding of hay and other plant material which they change regularly and drag the used bedding some distance from the sett.
Like other mustelids reproduction involves embryonic diapause. The eggs can be fertilised and then held in suspended animation until they are allowed to implant and develop in December. The sows can be sexually active from soon after the cubs are born until the cold winter set in in December. Cubs gestate for two months and are born in February. They remain deep in the sett for several months and in the early summer start to come out and explore around the sett generally exploring the whole territory by high Summer.
Badgers can live for fifteen years, an age of nineteen has been recorded in a captive animal. Many die in their first year but if they survive into a second Summer then being killed by cars is the most common form of fatality.
The proving was conducted under protocols as outlined in Using Provings in Homopathy by Peter Fraser (Winter Press. 2010)
The remedy was made from a piece of the skin and flesh of a adult sow that had been recently killed by a car. This was tinctured in ethanol and then run up by dilution and succussion to 30c by the provers who each took one dose of the 30c.
The remedy is available from Helios Homoeopathic 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.
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.