Behind the Masks of the Feminine IIX: Thuja (Cedarwood)
By Hwaa Irfan
We began with 3 Minerals of the natrum group…
I. Natrum muriaticum is a woman who is very much a product of the Industrial Revolution. She has grown up in an emotionally distant environment depriving her of what she needs to flourish in her life.
II. Then we explored the feminine face of Natrum carbonicum, more down to earth and open than Natrum muriaticum, but thrown off balance by a past traumatic experience making her vulnerable to any perceived form of rejection.
III. Natrum phosphoricum’s sensibility is grief. In a state of dis-ease she is volatile and sensitive to external influences. She feels worthless and reacts to her pain out of fear which suppresses her internal communications, emotions, and the normal functioning of their bodies.
IV. Pulsatilla is vibrant and moves with the flow of events. She has an innate sense of human relations, and God’s plan for human society. Unlike the Natrum sisters, Pulsatilla’s problem is not one of grief, or inner suppression, but of external censorship. She expects fairness, and when that fairness is missing, she is distressed as she becomes tossed by the wind of events.
V. Staphysagria is a born intuitive, who likes to stand above the crowd. Their level of intuition makes them sensitive to external influences, and combined with their desire to be noticed they feel deeply hurt if ignored.
VI. Belladonna has abundant life force and gives out a lot of energy. Complete within herself, she is in no need of external stimulation, and desires little company. As creator and destroyer they work towards the nurturance of humanity by destroying the false ego, but Belladonna’s sensibility is one of shock. As she loses sense of a true self, it is replaced by a false-self filled with fear and anger.
Three Marine Remedies
VI. Sepia is independent by nature like Pulsatilla and Natrum Muriaticum. She likes to be away from people, and withdraw into nature. She celebrates her freedom, her connection with her own body, and her connection with the earth. Independent, ambitious and career minded, it is her love of independence that becomes the means by which she falls into a state of dis-ease.
VII. Calcarea carbonica has a lustrous nature and is full of the creative power of the female principle, and as a nurturer. When things go wrong, she withdraws and is unable to cope without someone providing a sense of safety and protection, and when missing, they develop serious anxieties…
Three Remedies of the Mineral Group
IX. Sulphur is about appreciation, and so it should be. They are pioneers, and adventurers not fearing the unknown, and always questioning and seeking answers, but fall from grace when they are not appreciated enough.
X. Phosphorus emits light from within, is seductive, gratifying, and yet ensnares – the price of intellectual arrogance. She is a warm friendly extrovert, but also enjoys solitude to pursue artistic and intellectual endeavours. There are no secrets for such person; whatever is on her mind she shares freely. However, the phosphorus person needs structure, as they struggle between stability and freedom.
IX. Arsenicum Album dresses pragmatically or can be the one who dresses chic, but both types are fastidious about their appearance. They are conscientious and persevering, good organizers, ambitious hard workers who are never satisfied. Their vulnerability is physical insecurity, and become emotionally stuck , and very stubborn with it.
Now we take a quick look at three 3 types from the tree kingdom…
IIX: Thuja (Cedarwood): To understand the nature of a person in need of cedarwood as a homeopathic treatment one needs to take a look at the element.
Cedarwood is more commonly known as Tree of Life, Arbor Vitae, False White Cedar, Hackmatack, or Lebensbaum in the homeopathic world is known by its first botanical Latin name Thuja (Thuja occidentalis). It was used by the Egyptians for purposes of embalming, and over the centuries has been used in the treatment of diseases, and was introduced to homeopathy in 1819 by the father of modern homeopathy, Hahnemann.
The word “Thuja” derives from the Greek “thyra” meaning “to sacrifice” or “thusia” a burnt offering. A member of the Coniferae-Cupressaceae family of the plant kingdom, Coniferae-Cupressaceae’s carries a specific signature. The nature of the Tree of Life penetrates thus unifies the visible and invisible world like a central axis as do all trees with the roots reaching into the earth, into the environment via its trunk, and stretching towards the cosmos through its leaves as they communicate with the sun, the soul of our world. As an evergreen conifer they symbolize the continuity of life. Consultant homeopath, David Lilley Thuja occidentalis, represents the ascension of man from his lower nature to his spiritualized nature. Prevent that ascension, we fall into “materialism, bondage, to the purely intellectual, and to the flesh.”
Native to North America, Thuja occidentalis prefers moist climates with calcerous-limestone soil. They tend to go for cliffs/slopes, and will thrive in areas with a high snowfall, so they have an issue with water if their ecosystem leans towards the dry. Thuja occidentalis will form dense populations in swamps and wet forests where deers, porcupines and hares enjoy their young shoots.
The tree is slow to grown, and will only reach 12ft in height after 50 years, but lives as long as 800 years. Regular, graceful, and conical, the thick trunk divides into 2/3 at the base, the bark of which sheds every year. The horizontal pendulous flattened branchlets are of two types, one that fans-out symmetrically in ideal growing conditions, and the other awl shaped, either way, the branchlets exude a fragrant scent of turpentine that is bitter to taste overlapping in rows of four, especially when bruised.
The dull yellowish leaves turn bronze in the winter, profuse in nature, they prevent visibility of the trunk, hiding the shedding bark. This protective characteristic is exampled again in the oil from the leaves. The oil has the potential to cause convulsions in warmblooded people, and paralysis in cold blooded animals. Sixteen drops alone can cause unconsciousness in an adolescent, followed by spasms, convulsions, and intestinal irritation.
Sexual reproduction begins at age 6 via the cones that become plentiful by the age of 30. The seeds have lateral wings and spread with the help of the wind, but will die without constant moisture. The flowers are very small and terminal, while the cones are leathery scales of 8 -12, ovoidal/pyramidal in shape, spreading as they mature in one season, but remaining on the tree throughout the winter with three rows of blunt scales. Unfortunately Thuja occidentalis is susceptible to fire.
The traditional homeopathic approach of focusing on illness and disease, misses out on the balanced nature, which if the state of dis-ease began in childhood, blurs the line between one’s true natural disposition, and what one has become, which in modernity can be very difficult to ascertain as many pathologies have become blurred into a state of normalcy. “I know that something is wrong, but what is it”, or that deep feeling of detachment, separation, or loneliness because certain aspects of one’s true nature does not fit into the current norms of “social acceptability”. This is the case with Thuja often leading to stereotypes.
In touch with their physical, and psycho-spiritual selves, in a state of balance, Thuja is indeed a sensitive person, because she is in touch with her physical and non-physical relationship with her environment. Homeopath Frans Kusse through years of experience has found that this sensitivity arises from their artistic nature, wherein signs of giftedness exists music, writing and poetry. In synchronicity with the sacred geometry of the 8 -12, ovoidal/pyramidal shape of the cones it produces, and the form that the tree takes on, the Thuja child is open to the invisible world and can come across as quite dreamy, but if suffocated by those around them there will be adverse affects on the child’s development and the formation of their own identity. Thuja wants to be accepted as they are, without dogmas, and not as others want them to be.
As acknowledged in the traditional indigenous American tradition, Thuja is very conscious of her relationship to God, and that consciousness remains along with their freedom in tune with the cosmic dance, to be in the world but not of it! As such, they have a strong inner survival instinct. They are fastidious by nature, and are sensitive, polite, truthful and scrupulous in all their undertakings. They aim for perfection as indicated by the abundant leaves that hide a shedding bark, hiding that which they do not want misjudged — their true nature. Unlike Sulphur who thrives on giving out in order to break through the illusions of the lives of others, Thuja must honour their own true self.
As such, it would be pretty difficult for a Thuja child to survive the schooling factory system unscathed, or to enter mundane employment whereby the manager has an insecurity complex that expresses itself in various control methods. Thuja must remain in the arts in order to maintain balance, or a form of employment that allows for the expression of their creativity.
As Thuja struggles to maintain balance, any form of imbalance, any sudden change throws them off balance like their sister Sepia, but unlike Sepia is not open to all incoming tides. Like Pulsatilla, they must respond to their natural state of being, connected to the Divine, and do not accept censorship, but whereas Pulsatilla moves with the flow of events, having lost her state of ease, Thuja will harden outwardly to protect their inner world like the thick foliage that hides the shedding bark. This splits the personality, like the trunk of the tree which is divided into three, leaving a sense of being rootless, or not belonging.
This need to hide can begin in childhood with Thuja. As a result of various forms of abuse, consultant homeopath, David Lilley describes the root of the splitting of their conscious world from their subconscious world as their souls resent the process of incarnating (sycotic), as birth is like a descent into hell. This resentment manifests as premature birth, birth trauma, prolonged labour, cord strangulation, and even a head injury. As such, Thuja is the only homeopathic type to have “an aversion to mother.”
Misha Norland refers to the hour of the wolf, or 3 – 4.00am, when Thuja experiences many aggravations. This is the time when a majority of births and deaths occur, or the coming and going out of the soul. It when we have the lowest metabolic rate, the time of nightmares. In traditional Chinese medicine the most acute asthma attacks take place 3am – 5am.
They feel unworthy, even ugly, and do not want others to see through them, which can manifest as a fear of strangers. They are sensitive and therefore easily hurt like the leaves when bruised releases a potentially oily poison. They feel fragile, thus vulnerable, and when disturbed in any way find it quite unbearable to be touched or even looked at.
Thuja’s self defence mechanism is to harden like the bark of the tree. This gives off the impression that they are strong when nothing could be farther from the truth. They have submitted to the social demands, and adapt to what is expected of them, protecting their true nature, leading to an ongoing conflict between the sacred and the profane. She has fallen from Divine Grace, and this pursues her into her dreams that become nightmares around falling. To others this comes across as falsehood which just adds to the problem.
For this transaction between self and society to take place, Thuja cut herself off losing contact with herself. It if from this step that many guilts, many delusions of “false pregnancy” arises having stemmed the process of giving birth to the self, or the individuation process. Thuja no longer sees herself, or others as they are, and feels quite blatantly that they see themselves as others want they to be, which is the source of her loss of life force – flattened out like the branchlets of the cedarwood tree, and pretty unstable with it as on waking Thuja cannot tell which part of her she has possession of.
Separation due to external reactions is the sycotic state in homeopathy, and Thuja even feels that their body and soul are separated. On awaking she will feel duplicitous, suspicion, and deceit – a product of the war between her higher and lower self. In turn this leads to religious despair. The hardened self changes the original understanding into a need to feel in control, may resort to faces of hardness: fixed ideas, religious fanaticism, out of a need to be correct.
Their physiological problems tend to occur mainly on the left side of their body which represent the unconscious, or formlessness – the feminine side, a side that is aggravated if they lay on it. Thuja is disturbed by damp, cold, and wet conditions, contrary to the true nature of the Cedarwood tree. They become fastidious about their appearance, dress, their environment, their diction, handwriting, manners, and the work they produce while they may very well feel the opposite: decay, lifeless, confused, falling hair, and dry scaling skin “… the personal gulf between human and divine widens, and trust and joy in the life experience weakens or are lost/replaced,” says David Lilley.
Instead Thuja becomes materialistic, tries to saturate the senses with “pleasures and distractions” by repressing and abusing the affected side, the feminine. So Thuja becomes easily irritated, jealous and quite argumentative with her fixed ideas, especially with members of the family.
Having suppressed their true nature, Thuja suffers from many suppressed conditions for example:
- Nightmares about falling, dying
- Completes sentences with mumbled words
- Fears: social phobia, touch, misfortune, change, death
- Severe acne
- Teeth decay at gum line
- Facial tumors/warts/styes
- Chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps
- Aversions/cravings for onions, fresh meat, potatoes, tobacco
- Feels worse from coffee, fat, the smell of tea, rich/warm food, sweets,
- Craves chocolate, cold drinks, cold food, raw onions, salt, acid fruit
- Rectal and stomach problems, diarrhoea in the mornings
- Growths on the genitals
- Uterine tumors, ovarian cysts
- Profuse, greenish leucorrhoea
- High sex drive
- Painful warts on hands and fingers
- Brittle nails
- Eruptions between toes, cracked feet
- Excessive feet perspiration
- Rheumatism from a history of gonorrhoea
Remedies such a Lycopodium and Thuja are well documented for their deep actions against inherited and acquired psora, sycotic, syphilis, tubercular miasms, which indicates why their problems begin even as they are born.
No one can live our lives for us. This the factor behind the rage of the Occupy Movement, and the many truths that have come to light that has led to the understanding of the role of the 99%. By handing over our lives, we lose the chance to learn from our own mistakes, to become stronger and respecting our true nature, and not giving to the world, the part of us that it needs while we pass the days never truly satisfied. Those who cannot accept us for who we truly are not worth contemplating, because they do that because they do not accept themselves, so the only real choice is to learn to accept our true selves, and to give reason for the higher self to transform for the lower self; and that needs our courage, our love, and our self compassion!
Kusse, F. “Homeopathic Types.” Narayana Publishers. Germany.
Lilley, D. “Masterclass: Thuja.” The British Homeopathic Association.
Norland, M. “Thuja: The Tree of Life, the Tree of Death.” British School of Homeopathy. 2008
Vermeulen, F. “Prisma: The Arcana of Materia Medica Illuminated.” Emryss, Netherlands. 2002.
Behind the Masks of the Feminine IX: Arsenicum Album
Where Did Compassion Go?
The Importance of Self-Compassion
Is Your Heart as Strong as it is Big?
An Appreciative Heart is Good Medicine
Occupying Love in Oakland
Behind the Masks of the Feminine X: Phosphorus
Behind the Masks of the Feminine IX: Sulphur
Behind the Masks of the Feminine VIII: Calcarea carbonica
Behind the Masks of the Feminine VII: Sepia
Behind the Masks of the Feminine VI
Behind the Masks of the Feminine V
Behind the Masks of the Feminine IV
Behind the Masks of the Feminine III
Behind the Masks of the Feminine II
The Feminine Connection to the Homeopathic Sea of Life