Whereas an unbalanced hyperadrenalism of moderate subclinical degree probably underlies the heterosexual traits and the aggressiveness of the Sepia character (adrenal as the “gland of aggression”), the under function of the adrenals accounts for the asthenia, general ptosis, neurasthenia, hypotension and over- pigmentation (melanosis). Those most characteristic features of the Sepia patient are milder manifestations of what, as gross pathology, appears in Addison’s disease.

The dynamic formative principle underlying the unitarian totality of Sepia thus reveals itself as basically not uniform but very complex and characterized by inner tensions and contradictions. Its mental and physical symptomatology results from the participation in what we called the sphere of creativeness (oyster, Calcarea, feminity) and light (luminescence, like Phosphor) from the peculiar antithetic dynamism of the shadow and darkness, linking it to the Sulfur sphere as well as to the heterosexual personality complexes and of what we called the “masculine protest”.

We now are able to explain the more detailed symptomatology as brought out in the provings.(Symptoms quoted directly from provings and listed in the homoeopathic Materia Medica (Kent, Hering, Clarke, etc.) are in italics- E.W.

The mental symptoms are the outgrowth of the resented or suppressed sexual role and of the eruption of the unconscious personality, the amalgamation of animus and shadow. This state of “being beside oneself” is complemented by the hypersensitivity of the disturbed light dynamism, similar to the state which we found in Phosphor.

Thus the Materia Medica describes the Sepia patients as extremely passionate, irritable, hysterical, full of tears and self pity; spiteful, antagonistic, faultfinding; never happy unless annoying someone, particularly those loved best; vexed at trifles; sad one minute, gentle and yielding the next; unable to give love and affection; averse to the opposite sex; greedy, miserly ad egotistical; intolerant to opposition; oversensitive and easily offended; full of anxieties and fears (of darkness, illness, misfortune, being alone).

Like Phosphor they have states of reverie, ecstasy and dreaminess. The drive for individuality and self expression which underlies the basic contradictory attitude is expressed in the aversions to sympathy and consolation, to company and in the extremes of separativeness, aversion even to one’s family (husband, children) and those who are usually loved best.

Of the physical symptoms we first turn to those which are accounted for by the disturbed light-darkness balance, manifesting itself through the adrenals. The influence of the adrenal dysfunction upon pigmentation and the ageing process gives a typical external aspect to the Sepia patient; rigid fibre, sallow complexion, yellow freckles, loss of hair, early graying and premature ageing.

The colour of the hair, in particular, tends to be of an unusual or unexpected hue in adrenal types, e.g., blond in Italians or black in Norwegians and often is reddish. Thus the fact is explained that in the homoeopathic literature the “typical” Sepia patient has been described by turns as dark haired, red haired, or blond by different authors. Probably, each author was struck by the particular, in his instance, unusual hair colour which he described as the typical one.

Symptoms of hypoadrenalism are the adynamia, indifference, indolence and melancholic depression which spring from vital exhaustion and tiredness in Sepia, Into the same category belong the inability of mental concentration and dizziness and faintness. In hypoadrenalism the general muscular tonus is reduced, thus bringing about a constitutional hypotension and generalized ptosis (worse standing, lifting; involuntary urination upon coughing; low backache, prolapse, etc.).

The hyperfunction of the adrenals with its heterosexual tendency combines with the disorder of the sex sphere which is the expression of the antifeminine attitude. Thus Sepia patients are often masculine women with narrow pelves, overgrowth of body hair, tendency to beard and mustache and deep voice. Men who need Sepia are quite often overly dry, rigid and hardened, less frequently the effeminate type of males, as with Pulsatilla. As the negation to the role of the woman extends itself to include the refusal of the role of the mother we find homosexuality, sexual frigidity, aversion to the opposite sex and to husband and children. The wide range of genital disorders, which includes almost every and any disturbance of menstruation, cohabitation, pregnancy and childbirth with their after effects, needs no further detailed elaboration. In the aggravation every days we readily recognize the rhythm of the estric cycle.

Sepia’s participation in the oyster-Calcarea family is expressed in a tendency to formlessness and a lack of resistance. The patient is puffed, flabby, slow and indolent, of a soft, placid, mild, easy, even, lazy, disposition, incapable of any exertion; “lymphatic”; “scrophulous” types or, as well call it now, suffering from an exudative, allergic diathesis with a tendency to asthma, hayfever, urticaria, food allergies (worse strawberries, milk); sensitivity to cold air, lacking resistance against colds, and venereal infections.

The antithesis, again, of the quiet Calcarea principle is found in the general, almost obsessive, restlessness and amelioration from vigorous motion and the general erethismus with flashes of heat. Also, the extreme tendency to spasticity with globus and “ball” sensations in various parts is explained by the suppression of the psychic and sexual impulses.

With Phosphor, the light carrier, Sepia shares the aggravation in the afternoon, evening and before thunderstorms, the fear of being alone, the amelioration from eating and cold drinks and the affinity for the left (unconscious) side, as well as the lack of stamina and the tendency to anemia.

Like Phosphor and Sulfur, we have a hypersensitivity to odors and a desire for stimulating food.

The subtle shades of difference in these last mentioned hypersensitivities are noteworthy since they shed a light on the universality of the formative idea inherent in the metamorphosis of the drug personality.

Sulfur’s hypersensitivity is against body odors, the result of a faulty body and heat metabolism; Phosphor’s is against the odor of flowers and perfumes, namely the end products of the heatless light metabolism of plants. Actually, the smell of flowers which promotes pollination by attracting insects corresponds to the body odor of animals which performs an equally attractive function as sexual odor (thus the role of perfumes and flowers in courtship and romance).

In eating and digesting, the plant substance is transferred into the animal substance. Thus, eating and digesting (also cooking) are processes of predigestion, that carry over the plant (light) into the animal (heat) metabolism. Sepia, which integrates the Phosphor light with the fire-darkness of Sulphur, is oversensitive to the odor of food.

We find a similar situation in respect to food preferences. The highly seasoned, spicy foods which Sulfur craves are popularly called “hot” foods; they are prevalent in Southern hot climates where people also have “hot temperaments. The stimulative effect of their ethereal oils is primarily upon the digestive processes. The salty food of the Phosphor craving awakens mind and consciousness (salt herring for the morning after; proverbially, “to rake it with a grain of salt,” meaning with careful deliberation). Salty foods are prevalent in the more deliberate and intellectual, colder northern countries. The sour taste which is craved by Sepia, in comparison, appears of a more emotional nature (compare “sourpus,” sourface” and the German saying. to give him “sour,” meaning to upset his feelings).

The state of general ptosis, to a particular extent, makes itself felt in a slowing down of the abdominal venous circulation. We find abdominal plethora with portal and pelvic congestion resulting in a tendency to haemorrhoids and varicose veins; bilious and dyspeptic disorders with a hypersensitivity to fats and intolerance to the pressure of clothes, particularly around the waist. The systemic effects of hepatic stasis are rheumatic and gouty disorders with the thick offensive urine of high specific gravity with adherent red sediment (probably phosphates and uric acid).

Inasmuch as the pull of gravity increases the venous engorgement, standing aggravates while lying down give comparative relief. On the other hand, since exercise stimulates the circulation while rest encourages stasis, we also find the opposite modalities of better from vigorous exercise and worse from rest, worse during and after sleep.

The general venous stasis with incomplete oxidation and elimination Sepia shares with the complementary Sulfur. Thus we can account for the desire for fresh air and the lack of vital heat (insufficient metabolic compensatory heat production) as well as for the disturbed skin function manifesting itself an increased perspiration and the wide array of dermatological disorders with the Sulfur modality of worse from washing and bathing (fire and water do not mix).

Also the respiratory symptoms are of a predominantly congestive nature as the result of stasis (hypostatic pleuritis, cough apparently coming from the stomach, with a rather egg-like taste, worse evening and at night after sleep, better from rapid motion). The tubercular diathesis is a part of the Calcarea and Phosphor dynamism inherent in Sepia.

The technique which was used for the interpretation of the pathogenesis of a drug is in many respects similar to the way in which analytical psychology unravels the symbolic context of the unconscious material of patients as found in dreams, visions and associations. In succeeding in the “analysis” of a drug we bear out the hypothesis of a probable identical basic entity underlying the different levels of manifestation in symbol formation, morphology and psychologic, as well as biologic, evolution. The creative spirit in nature, as well as in man, expresses itself through the metamorphosis of basic archetypes.

“In the fact that which is of similar concept may appear in its manifestations as like or similar, yet even as totally unlike and dissimilar, in this fact consists the ever changing life of nature”.

Edward C. Whitmont
Edward Whitmont graduated from the Vienna University Medical School in 1936 and had early training in Adlerian psychology. He studied Rudulf Steiner's work with Karl Konig, later founder of the Camphill Movement. He researched naturopathy, nutrition, yoga and astrology. Whitmont studied Homeopathy with Elizabeth Wright Hubbard. His interest in Analytical Psychology led to his meeting with Carl G. Jung and training in Jungian therapy. He was in private practice of Analytical Psychology in New York and taught at the C. G. Jung Training Center, of which he is was a founding member and chairman. E. C. Whitmont died in September, 1998.