The first weekend of the Four Year Professional Training Course at The Contemporary College of Homeopathy in Bristol was both eye-opening and entertaining. I will be attending one weekend a month over the next four years and I am a spanking new first year to the college although not new to homeopathy.
I was introduced to homeopathy at my most desperate moment – I had the sore throat from hell which felt badly infected and it had spread right back to my ears. It was a Saturday afternoon and the GP’s office would not be open until Monday. I didn’t know if I could survive that long – I had been spitting into a basin as it was too painful to swallow my own saliva. My flatmate at the time (currently a third year at the college), had just cooked the most wonderful roast dinner and my illness was preventing me from partaking. No!!!
Sitting at the dinner table sucking on a lemon (this hurt too but it was something to do), I watched on with tears in my eyes (food means a lot to me) as she held the knife and fork in her hands preparing to dig in. I hated her with all my being at that precise moment (although I love her dearly, usually). As if sensing my hate for her (maybe it was the loud, angry sucking on the lemon that gave me away), she started asking me questions about my symptoms concluding with the doling out of two hepar sulph pills from an Ainsworth’s 42 Essential Remedies kit.
Within ten minutes I was shoveling chicken and butter-slathered roast potatoes into my mouth. Miracle! Magic! But how? I didn’t care how because it had worked on me so rapidly. I wasn’t interested in knowing EXACTLY HOW, more concerned with curing personal future ailments or maybe tackling some of my many and varied psychological problems! Was there a remedy for stage fright, for being frightened of fat-bodied, thick-legged spiders (the skinny ones are okay), for the extreme anxiety preceding the beginning of romantic relationships etc, etc, etc?
But what I haven’t told you yet, is that before I popped the presented hepar sulph, I told her I wasn’t interested in being humored with useless sugar pills and was in no mood to hold back my true (but recycled from Dawkins et al) views on the subject of homeopathy. After ranting for a minute or so, I shut up and told her I was so desperate, I would try anything (which is how many others come to homeopathy). So I placed the pills under my tongue to dissolve and it was the beginning of something new and beautiful. She didn’t take offense to my rant because she already knew what I was about to find out, and when you know deep down from personal experience that homeopathy works, you become calmer, smugger, more tolerant of the slagging off and being called illegitimate – you’ve found your ultimate drug and dealer and you don’t care. And the more remedies you know about, the better equipped you are to deal with modern life and its tendency to suck and hog your vital energy! This kind of revelation has got to lead onto somewhere else and, so, it lead to the professional course which will enable me to practice afterwards.
As far as I’m aware, this year’s first-year class is the biggest ever. Thirteen of us altogether. Does this mean that interest in homeopathy is on the rise? And that we will have a twenty first century renaissance (despite the thousands of studies slamming and shaming it by demanding more measurable methods of testing and therefore, satisfactorily proving for the worldwide science community that homeopathy is a goer)? I don’t know… It’s a mainly-female student cohort, maybe a point for the males of the world to note, and all these people coming from different backgrounds. Some already working in health and looking for a course to complement their mainstream medicine backgrounds – in my class alone there is a psychiatrist, nurse and former occupational therapist. Then there are others working as teachers, ecologists, farmers, vets and various other professions, who have been using homeopathy on their dogs, cats, sheep, cattle, kids, themselves for years and wanting to formalise and expand on their knowledge.
The college is housed in a Grade II-listed building with parking spaces; low cost homeopathy clinics for the public; weekend introductory courses; professional practitioner training and a post graduate course. The best thing about homeopathy is that the remedies can do no harm which is why I experiment freely on myself – definitely not something encouraged by the tutors there! Speaking of the tutors; their are serious about their subject, passionate and make learning a painless-enough process. They are also approachable and encourage and foster curiosity. The college environment is very friendly and open which is mainly down to the man at the helm: Principal Mike, and his partner, Kate, both of whom are practicing homeopaths. And they’ve both been keeping the college going for twenty years. Nice biscuits, very nice biscuits! Endless tea, coffee, lunch provided too. Looking forward to next month!