Miasms and Mythology: Part 2 of 3

The Ringworm Miasm

The Ringworm Miasm is characterized by an unequal struggle, whereby despite all your efforts to overcome the problem, eventually you realize it is bigger than you and you resign yourself to succumbing to its greater power. This miasm is evident in almost everybody. It’s ubiquitous, with a tussle between striving toward one’s goals and giving up in the face of hardships that feel too strong to surmount. We’re all able to identify with this pattern, and it seems to be very fitting for the generation dubbed ‘the millennials’- a group now in their 30’s who are often still living with their parents, unable to earn enough money to get onto the property ladder and establish themselves fully in the adult world. They were born into an era of growth and possibilities but were told they should all go to university to get a good education in order to be guaranteed a good career. However, the economic crash (a force much bigger than any individual) has changed the nature of these expectations, bringing things to a standstill. Within this pattern, one can see the initial period of hope, struggle, and effort to get good enough grades to enter university. The struggle continues during this period as one tries to establish themselves in the wider world, proving their acumen and diligence to their course of study. After university, there is often a period where the individual returns home whilst they search for work. There may be periods of striving to get job interviews- competing with many others- before accepting defeat and resigning themselves to a job that doesn’t really test their capacities or bring satisfaction. The resignation comes after the initial period of hopeful striving has run its course and when the limited resources of energy have been used up. Sankaran explains

“I have understood the main feeling of this nosode to be that the task at hand is just beyond where the person can be sure of success. The main action of the prover or the patient is, therefore, trying to do something, trying to accomplish a task. He starts with a kind of lack of confidence, becomes hopeful, tries to accomplish the task and struggles at it. At some point however he decides that it is not going to work… so he gives it up, and accepts that he has to live with it… the pathology and symptoms all come and go in phases. There is often a history of fungal infection with these…The symptoms never really become acute or destructive and the person feels that he will have to live with the problem although it would be better to try and get rid of it. He struggles periodically but when he fails, he just accepts it.”[1]

The Ringworm experience is of a striving towards a goal that is almost within reach but not quite. You never quite make it before your capacity runs out (dreams- unsuccessful efforts). There is an obstacle in the way which is bigger than you, so unlike the Typhoid type, who has the strength to make a really big effort to overcome the problem, the Ringworm type has to accept his limitations and periodically give up on his goals. It is impossible to sustain the effort. Here we see that the vital force is diminished further than in the Typhoid or Malarial Miasms, both of which have an Acute element, representing the highest level of health; they are the body’s front-line defense against attack so it doesn’t sacrifice any parts of the organism to the disease. Instead, the energy of this miasm lies between Psora and Sycosis, alternating between struggle and resignation, between hope and a fixed feeling of weakness that one has to cover up and hide.

There is a correlation between this miasm and the waxing and waning phases of the moon. Each month you have the hopeful beginning of the journey towards the completion of the full moon. Then you have the period of introspection, looking back, recuperating, and attending to the need for the nurturance of the lunar self. During the waxing phase, the person feels more hopeful as they move towards completing their task. This correlates with the taking up of new projects, having the energy to get things going, being motivated, or sowing the seeds.

Goddess Artemis is depicted here as the hunter, ready to meet her goal efficiently with bow and arrow. The ability to accomplish one’s goal represents a final phase within the Ringworm Miasm in which one moves toward completing the task that once overcame them.

This phase is associated with the goddess Artemis. She is a youthful goddess of the hunt who has a bow and arrow, a weapon that enables you to meet your target from a great distance. This is like seeing your goal, and then having the energy and purpose to get straight to it, as would an arrow flying through the air to pierce its target.

“As soon as Artemis was born, she helped her mother give birth to her twin brother, thereby becoming the protector of childbirth and labor. She asked her father to grant her eternal chastity and virginity, and never gave in to any potential lovers. She was devoted to hunting and nature, she rejected marriage and love.” [2]

After this phase follows the period of the waning moon, when all the efforts need to subside to allow for rest and recuperation, one longingly looking to the past that was so full of promise. The goddess of witchcraft, Hecate, is associated with this phase of the moon. She was Persephone’s escort to and from the underworld marking the shifting of the seasons. When a person’s vital energy cannot make a sustained effort (shifting like the seasons) and is perceived as holding them back, they can become indifferent to their environment, resigned to their failings, and give up what they once began so hopefully. This correlates with the pace, depth, and intensity of the Ringworm Miasm. It is an everyday kind of miasm- it frustrates the sufferer but does not lead to such isolation and despair as the heavier miasms, because it is not life-threatening.

This role of Artemis also seems to fit in with the Lac humanum picture very neatly, given the very direct link to the source of the bond between mother and child following birth. Problems at this early stage of connecting with one’s mother may indicate the remedy so long as it fits the totality of the case. With the connections to the Moon, it seems appropriate that the Mappa Mundi placement for this miasm should be in the realm of water, with its tides controlled by lunar phases. It is also opposite the fixed and durable quality of Earth (relating to Psora) followed by exhaustion and giving up (Sycosis). There is no sustained effort within the changeability of elemental water.

There is a typical family environment where one can paint a Ringworm Miasm situation. There’s the Dulcamara mother, who is domineering and obsessive over little details especially with her Calcarea silicata son’s progress at school, whose grades keep getting worse. A lot is expected of him and yet his achievements probably don’t amount to all that much. He goes on living with his parents well into his 30s. It is like the situation of the “millennial” I already mentioned, they’re unable to get on the property ladder due to limited success in their careers and the discrepancy between wages and housing prices. It’s more like snakes and ladders (Sankaran). Calcarea sulphurica is listed under fear of snakes!

A lot may be expected of ‘millineals’, as they were born in the go-getting atmosphere of the 1980s. Within Calcarea Silicata, there is the desire to achieve and success according to his family’s principles, maintaining the image and reputation of his good family (Sil.), but combined with the hesitancy of Calcarea. They are feeling unsure of oneself and staying passive in the workplace. They are inert and observing others before feeling sure enough to give it a go oneself. The father in this scenario could be Kali Sulphuricum a combination of the upright dogmatism of the Kali sense of duty to the family, combined with the scorned and rejected Sulphur, who needs to make a lot of effort to keep up appearances and compensate for his bruised ego.

In another situation of this miasm Sankaran describes joining weight watchers- trying so hard for a period of time to change your diet and exercise to lose some weight, before eventually relapsing and bingeing on a load of cakes and chocolate. Sankaran also places several Sulphuricum salts into this miasm- Calc, Kali, and Mag-s are all equated with Ringworm. He mentions appearance, ego, and effort to prove oneself as being key themes of Sulphur– “The Magnesium sulphuricum woman has the feeling that in order to get the support that she needs, she has to make a big effort, do many things, appear proper, etc. She feels the need for appreciation by those on whom she depends for love, care, and nourishment.”

Correlations Between Personal Planets and The 6 Miasms, by Luke Norland.

Burnett mentions Sulphur and Tellurium as well as Sepia (alongside Bacilinum) in the efficacious treatment of Ringworm (the fungal infection itself). The ink from which Sepia is made contains a lot of Sulphur, whilst Tellurium is in the same column as Sulphur in the periodic table, corresponding to stage 16. According to Sankaran, keywords and phrases of this stage are, “no capacity, no energy, incapable, not possible to work, indifference, neglectful, and forgetful. These really resonate with the waning phase of the Ringworm Miasm, when all efforts have been exhausted and the fear of not being able to achieve the goal becomes overpowering, forcing the sufferer to give up hope. This lasts until the next phase begins and their confidence returns; this is the exuberance of the Sycotic Miasm. This Jupiterian influence can re-ignite the ambitions.

Up to this point, the miasmatic range has gone from the sudden, intense, panic, and violence of the Acute, through the hopeful struggle of Psora, to the resigned acceptance of a fixed limitation belonging to the Sycotic Miasm. In between have been stops to the Typhoid, Malarial, and Ringworm Miasms; which are all compounds of these 3.

The Cancer Miasm

The Cancer Miasm can be seen as being a tri-miasmatic state, combining elements of Psora, Sycosis, and Syphilis. There is the Psoric element of struggle that has been amplified to such a level that the individual feels as though they must make a superhuman effort to overcome the task. They set themselves a goal that is so far out of reach it is almost impossible to get to without a nearly impeccable performance. They are striving for nothing less than perfection, so they are pushed to great lengths and take on a lot of responsibility from a young age. We can see how this could come about in a home environment that demands a certain standard of behavior, where the spontaneity of the child is suppressed in favor of manners and achievement. The tumor itself is a result of a proliferation of cells (Sycotic excess), that continue to grow and replicate themselves, ignoring the code of healthy cells ending up destroying existing structures (Syphilitic destruction of form). This polarity between conformity and rebellion can also be seen in the cancer miasm; if somebody is heavily suppressed for a long period of time, either they will want to break free from this restrictive structure, or their body will develop pathology that expresses this breaking free from the structure such as when a tumor metastasizes.

The Myth of Kronos, who castrates and emasculates his own father before becoming ruler of the Titans, fits with the archetypal pattern of the Cancer Miasm. He is the youngest of Gaia’s (Earth) children. Ouranus, his father, is deeply dissatisfied with much of their offspring and thrusts them back into the womb of Gaia. Here we can see the oppression from the paternal figure and the ensuing rebellion where Kronos (the youngest) takes up the superhuman challenge of overcoming his father and taking his place. He goes on to a long reign over the Titans, maintaining authority by eating his own children so they cannot overpower him the way he did his own father. Thus, the cycle is repeated, and the theme of suppression is continued until Zeus eventually overthrows his father. The more you exert a suppressive force, the more anger will be built up against the oppressor, leading to rebellion and warfare. This is the battlefield of cancer, waging war on your own body to defeat the revolutionary cells of the tumor.

Saturn in the astrological chart is where one has set goals to achieve. They are usually out of reach, requiring ambition to reach them, and therefore leading to frustration when one comes across an obstacle that seems to limit their capacity. This is where your resources are tested, and your achievements measured against the rest of society. Have your efforts come up to the desired standard? What will others think of your standing in the world? Saturn is a hard taskmaster, there is often a lot of self-criticism with a strong Saturnian mark, much like the father who doesn’t offer praise, only criticism. This can propel the individual into working harder, perfecting their routine until they can perform the superhuman task. Classical music and Ballet are both good examples of the demands of the Cancer Miasm in that they require perfection in performance, extreme dedication to form, ambition, and steely nerves to take center stage. Ballet and Classical music requires one to see off competition from their peers, having to learn and perfect their craft from a young age meaning the innocence of childhood is often sacrificed.

Continue Reading: Miasms and Mythology – Part 3 →



[1] Sankaran R. The Soul of Remedies. Bombay, India: Homeopathic Medical Publishers; 1997.

[2]Artemis :: Greek Goddess of the Hunt and the Moon. Greek Mythology. https://www.greekmythology.com/Olympians/Artemis/artemis.html. Published 1997. Accessed May 15, 2019.

Luke Norland BMus, RSHom

Luke Norland grew up with homeopathy all around him, sharing his home with the School of Homeopathy, run by his father Misha and now brother Mani. The three have collaborated on a software module to highlight polarities in case-analysis; with rubrics that correspond to the elements and temperaments of the Mappa Mundi.

Luke has a homeopathy practice in Somerset and Bristol, combining this with his role as the UK coordinator for RadarOpus. He has already gained a lot of experience working with provings, compiling rubrics for Carbo fullerenum, Passer domesticus, Fulgurite, Galium aparine, Clupea harengus & Meles meles. He is currently editing a thematic repertory which extends the current edition of synthesis with additions made from new provings and various remedy families. He has also been busy writing a book which delves into the homeopathic themes of animal families.

Luke’s degree was in classical music and he is still a dedicated french horn player as well as a student of astrology. His fascination with homeopathy is to understand the connections between people and nature, how psyche and soma are linked through shared characteristics and how we are bound together through repeating archetypal patterns.