Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Haliaeetus leucocephalus was prepared from a blood sample taken from an American bald eagle.  A year previously, as I strolled the streets of a market fair, I came across this eagle. Right wing and talon injured by a gun, it was confined to lifelong imprisonment and used for educational purposes. Caged, shackled and hooded, it had not lost the commanding air of a king, but had acquired the deep sadness born out of hopeless captivity.

Naturally, it is quite difficult (and illegal) to obtain live samples of a free and healthy eagle. Haliaeetus reflects the predicament of this specific eagle, which befits its use in analogous situations. Its proving contains aspects of animal, blood and tragic personal history. As with any remedy, when prescribing according to a particular proving, one should use remedies derived from the original potencies.

This proving created an unintentional experiment. The brave provers of Haliaeetus had actually volunteered to prove a radioactive remedy, and were under the impression that this was the case. Yet the proving contained no speculative reference to radioactive phenomena. The undeniable similarity of the remedy picture of this particular eagle and its unfortunate personal history serves as a powerful validation of the proving process.

Undoubtedly, the inner nature of eagle is conveyed through the proving. Sensations of flying though the air or above the clouds. Visions of birds soaring together, talons locked, plummeting in exhilaration through whooshing winds. Dreams of flying over barren terrain looking for a new home. Elevated and hollow sensation in the bones, wanting to walk with arms outstretched. Thoughts of Superman or Icarus. Even the leucocephalic nature of the American bald eagle manifests as an attraction to men with white hair.  The name bald is erroneously derived from ‘blanc’, the French word for white.

The American bald eagle is native to North America and a symbol of the United States of America, a theme that arises in the proving.  Images of flying over the parallel lines of the Mexican and Canadian borders, dreams of Native Americans, or of walking over old maps of the USA. Although the eagle was revered and considered sacred by many native cultures, it was despised as a scavenger by Benjamin Franklin and hunted by Europeans and white Americans.

The emotional configuration of Haliaeetus is unique.  Although it is composed of elements common to many other remedies, the totality forms a singular entity that has no parallel in the materia medica. I recall the proving of Haliaeetus as being an intense and occasionally disturbing experience. Psychologically, this remedy is characterised by extreme emotions, ranging from euphoria to deep depression and despair. The elation is expressed by “up” words, obviously related to the eagle’s capacity to fly higher than almost any other living being. “High,” “uplifted,” “elated”  “bouncy,” “jubilant,” and “jumping for joy” were used to describe feelings of confidence, contentment and ease. Provers were able to come to quick decisions and relate to others in a direct and straightforward manner. The upward motion was also expressed by a concern about social and financial position, a desire to ascend to a higher social class.

Another expression of the eagle’s nature are sensations of being grounded or ungrounded. The feeling of being in solid contact with the ground is associated with stability and calmness, while the ungrounded sensation is associated with airiness, aimlessness, and lack of direction. This loss of direction is in opposition to the eagles amazing navigational skills, and may be expressed as irresolution, confusion of identity or a feeling of having no goals.

At the other extreme of elation, Haliaeetus can experience profound and deep despair, lack of motivation, frustration and low self-esteem. This remedy reflects the sad predicament of our eagle as a lifelong prisoner. Like a caged bird with clipped wings, provers experienced total helplessness and dejection, together with despair of ever escaping their miserable plight. The wounded history of this eagle is also expressed through dreams of being shot and paralysed or sensations of being blasted by a thunderbolt. One prover had powerful memories of an old injury where she was told she would never walk again. Thus we should consider Haliaeetus in ‘no hope’ or ‘endless’ circumstances resulting in despondency and desperation.  Life imprisonment, being maimed, or profound grief are situations that come to mind. The plight of the Native American people, confined to reservations, is an interesting analogy to this eagle’s predicament.

“Feels like we’re the American Indians.  ‘Here’s 24 dollars worth of beads for your island, idiot.’ In the pit of despair.”

As a result of this intense and hopeless despondency, the Haliaeetus condition may deteriorate into self-destruction. There is a desire to disintegrate, avoid exercise or eat unhealthy food. Provers attempted to overcome the ‘groundless’ feeling by constant eating, which, coupled with the self-destructive tendencies, may indicate this remedy in eating disorders. Sensations of being fat or ugly were associated with desire for fatty food.

Nourishment and food are a strong part of this remedy, especially issues of feeding the young. Like some other bird remedies, Haliaeetus may have intense desire or aversion to eggs. Other foods issues were desire for fish, especially salmon, and aversion to sweets, chocolate and cooked food.

Haliaeetus experiences intense anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Fears center around a sense of impending danger, imagining that something bad is about to happen. Fears that her house is burning, of floods, of cancer and of death. A sense of shock from any adversity. Strong desire to escape resulting from a feeling of being boxed in. Homesickness with a yearning to be free outdoors, especially in the mountains.

The least disturbance results in impatience and irritability. This impatience is especially aggravated by any impediment of flow.  Impatient with slow traffic or with a shopping trolley in the supermarket. Desire to drive fast and exhilaration at the sense of flowing speed. He feels as on a roller coaster or a rushing train, and is frustrated by any obstruction.  “I am in hyperdrive.” These urges are contrasted by an opposite sense of inertia and lethargy, an inability to start things or to get going. “Everything is in slow motion and I can’t contact reality.”

The anger of Haliaeetus is intense.  Easily insulted with no patience for others. Annoyed at people talking and aversion to company and conversation. Blaming others, critical, shouting at the children. A feeling of being right and desire to enforce her ideas with little regard to others opinions.  In its most extreme state, this anger can develop into violence and desire to kill. Threatening to kill the children for any disobedience. One prover delighted in imagining how it would feel to crush a small puppy, while another wanted to kill and eat a rabbit raw. There is no guilt or morality accompanying these impulses, and an uncaring and remorseless attitude. Haliaeetus may take pleasure in its violence, and can fit the profile of a serial killer.

Obviously the emotional profile of Haleeatus reflects many of the Eagle’s characteristics. Yet we can rise above the limited and essentially ‘sameopathic’ view of ‘Eagle picture equals Eagle remedy.’ Although this approach may yield results, similitude echoes many levels of analogy. By focusing our inner vision, we can perceive deeper parallels to bridge the chasm that splits nature from its reflected human suffering.

A close study of the symptoms reveals a powerful effect on the eyes and vision. Sight is the bald eagle’s most important sense, and its distance vision exceeds ours fourfold. While the human retina contains one depression called a fovea, the bald eagle’s retina contains two, creating vision that is both sharper and more powerful than ours. This remedy has a strange sensation that the eyes are balls rolling around in the sockets. There is an increased sensitivity to the whole spectrum of light waves, as if the eyes were satellite dishes, receptors for microwaves or stellar signals. Sensation as if the eyes were wide open and able to take in a lot of light. Seeing rainbows, sunspots, deep purple colours, white light or full spectrums, wavy motions of air, showers of molecules. In spite of this sensitivity there is an ability to gaze directly at the sun. Haliaeetus’ extreme clarity of vision is mental as well as physical, at times ‘seeing’ things clearly before they happen.

Bald eagles are sensitive to the magnetic fields of the earth.  It is believed that eagles can calibrate light from the sun with magnetic fields and use this information as a compass during migration.

Associated with this visual acuity are polarities of focused or unfocused vision, a key to the remedy’s nature. There may be extreme inability to focus the eyes and difficulty with accommodation at varying distances. In one instance a prover’s eyes were unable to function in unison, as if trained in two different directions.

These strange phenomena may relate to the eagle’s anatomy.  Due to the position of the eyes on both sides of the head, separated by the great beak, there may be double or parallel vision, with an ability to focus only at long distances. Both eyes face forward, giving the eagle binocular vision, which allows for the precise depth of field necessary when diving from the sky to snatch prey. Unlike human eyes, the eagle’s eyes are autonomous, allowing independent monocular vision to the sides. A peculiar symptom in this regard was:

“When I tip the book at an angle the typed lines go into a ‘V’. The book has to be straight horizontally, if tipped the lines become a ‘V’ down the centre of my field of vision and I can’t read.”

One prover regained depth perception (dependent on the stereoscopic use of both eyes), which had been lost following a head injury 30 years previously. This lack of focus and the independent function of the eyes reflect an inability to converge to a point, like two lines that never meet. It is here that the theme of parallel lines in the remedy becomes apparent.

“Noticing more lines – parallels.”

“The thing about parallel lines is they never come together.   I was drawing parallel lines and they never met.”

“I am parallel to myself, dual, but not divided.”

The image of parallel lines also manifests in a significant theme of railway tracks and trains.  It is possible that the eagle uses these tracks as a landmark while flying over the vast, featureless terrain.

Side by side with the theme of parallel lines is the peculiar notion of two suns.  It seems that the eagle’s parallel vision and great receptivity to light produce, in the proving, an ability to see an extra sun or image of a sun that humans cannot perceive. The eagle’s ability to perceive two suns may serve as a navigational aid by enabling it to calculate the distance and position of the suns at a given time. A prover explained that the only time there should be one sun was at noon.

We should now focus on the characteristics that result from this parallel configuration. In this regard, Haliaeetus’ closest analogue is Syphilinum, which shares the parallelism and its opposite, convergence to a point. These two remedies share self-destructive tendencies and the never-ending torment. As expressed by a prover, parallel lines can never meet. “Something has started and I don’t know where the end is. It’s an endless feeling.” Thus Haliaeetus, a remedy made from blood, most probably belongs to the syphilitic miasm.

One factor that differentiates Haliaeetus from Syphilinum is that it focuses not on the lines, but on the eternal split between them.

“It’s like a deep, deep crack and it is getting deeper, like a crack in my soul.  The crack has an endless quality to it, like a crack in my soul or the universe. It feels as if the gates between conscious and unconscious are opening, as if the gates of hell are open.  Extreme power of darkness.  Life seems like hell, a negative spiritual experience, painful and frightening.  All the beauty and order are gone.  Horror of the extreme evil force of darkness emanates out of this crack, reminding me of extermination camps and killing machines. Is that where Hitler came from?  The crack in the universe?  I would like to fling that vial of remedy to the end of the universe.”

It is interesting that as well as the symbol of the United States, Rome and Russia, the eagle was a symbol of the Third Reich. The frightening and evil sensations led to desperate praying in an attempt to ward off the unending horror of a cracked parallel universe.

“I read prayers for safety before bed because I was afraid of what might happen when I went to sleep. When I came to the phrase  ‘God is One’, I realised that was the crux of it — the universe was cracked or split instead of one.  Saying that prayer feels healing.”

The intensity of this crack in perception may lead to the edge of a psychotic breakdown. Life becomes perpetual, meaningless and repetitive. Trying to keep busy to negate the horror of an eternal abyss.

I felt like I could just keep eating eggs; fry an egg and eat it, fry an egg and eat it, fry an egg and eat it. An endless frying and eating of eggs. Everything is so meaningless, like you could lie in bed forever, or eat eggs forever.

This endless parallel torment may result in maniacal behaviour, anger, speediness, and euphoria. In extreme states this could progress to fragmentation of the personality.

“I can’t stand it any longer.  Feel on the edge, the borders are breaking loose, I’m going mad.  Spiralled and spiralled.  There’s no escaping out of this. In a total frenzy, like steaming horses that have escaped, running down the road. Experienced many fragmented personalities, all changing in rapid succession. Feel like a rushing train, like diving from high, but there is no water in the pool.”

“Fragmentation is the denial of will.  Integration is the use of will.  All separate states under a unified country.”

Relationships crack and disintegrate, often due to self-sabotage, an urge to destroy. Fighting with partners, husbands, wives.  Feeling of a glass wall separating mother and child. Yet Haliaeetus is also capable of feeling intense sympathy.

“Feeling for people, puppies and just feel my heart.  I was more empathic, feeling other people’s pain, almost to the point of weeping.”

It is apparent that Haliaeetus may be suited to extreme and intense situations. Some of the provers experienced profound suffering. Soaring and plummeting, the extremes of an eagle’s experience is not an easy journey, yet the exalted flight and vision offers a great compensation. As the eagle ascends the height of awareness, divergence meets at a single point of consciousness. Past and future unite into the present and time melts into oneness.

“It seems as if the past and the future have collapsed into the present.  The past was unimportant, and I don’t concern myself over the future.”

“I’m in the moment.  Every moment is an eternity. Who is writing this anyway?  Everything is so still. Everything has stopped.”

The result of this presence within the center of time is a state of deep contentment and harmony. Tranquillity is a symptom common to a number of remedies, and can be difficult to use in a clinical setting. However, the tranquillity of Eagle leads to a unique characteristic.  This is a state of witnessing, a pure objectivity that will not take sides in the worldly struggle of parallel and opposing teams that can never share a common point of view.  Aloof in its elevated awareness, Haliaeetus detaches from the human folly that revolves around eternal strife.

“It is the structure that people who are bad within the structure fight the bad. The only way to do anything is to sit back and witness the set up, not be a part of the structure for either good or bad.  People as individuals are pulling out of the game of good and bad. It’s a bad people’s game and you can’t win.  Playing it just supports the game, even if you are one of the good people. Good people get co-opted into being just as bad as the bad people.  What is right action? The drama was clear; the good guys and bad guys.  During the proving, I realised it all leads to the same thing. Withdraw. Acting/watching.  A chosen separation.  Zen state of watching and witnessing.”

From this highly objective position eagle approaches the state of a truly unprejudiced observer. We may postulate that at its core, the noble eagle contains a ‘pre-psoric’ stance and is therefore an antipsoric as well as an antisyphilitic.

The Kabala teaches that the Tree of Life is constructed of three parallel columns.  On the left side is the pole of Judgement and discrimination and on the right side is the pole of Sympathy and benevolence.  Haliaeetus separates these polarities to an extreme degree. But, in opposition to the deep and evil crack mentioned earlier, it also has the power to unite both columns in the central column of Mercy, which represents divine presence.

To have caring, there must be an attunement with the oneness of the universe.  Oneness is about caring; the split is about not caring.

Though the internal configuration of Haliaeetus is the unfocused separation of parallel lines, which leads to a dark, empty abyss, in our vast curved universe parallel lines may eventually meet, high above the ground or deep within our interior. Once the eagle focuses on this central point of view, it can align with the only force in the universe that is beyond good and bad, present and future, judgement and sympathy – the all powerful force of God’s light.

“Inner vision.  I was sunning my wings in the dawn sun – I’m not flapping – soaring-not dusk, at dawn – not for dark, of Light.”

“Woke with a funny dream – it was a bit like Superman – I was a writer for the ‘Sun” newspaper and my title was ‘Forces of Light’.  I was really working for the Sun, a large dark bird with the “Forces of Light’.”

Haliaeetus leucocephalus is a complex remedy, containing many diverse aspects. Its range of action spans deep despair and timeless elation, cruel aggression and harsh justice, parallel schisms and focused unity. But beyond the complexity lies a singular concept, of which the following quote is characteristic:

Trying to get things organised at home, which is like trying to get my eyes focused.  Other times I just stared out the window, unfocused. When I’m unfocused, it’s like a place where you can get lost, as if you’re going to lose it.  Unfocused is like going into the abyss, from which I won’t come back, go crazy. I either feel totally in flow with the universe, or floating aimlessly down a river.  When I’m focused, I bring it all in, in the present, there, like meditating, or seeing God. God is One.

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