Community Building as a Medicinal Remedy

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By: Robert Zieve, M.D.
There is a growing recognition today that involvement in a community-building process is a necessary ingredient for healing. Often, however, such communities and groups are limited to social gatherings focused upon material comforts, or information accumulating sessions to get ahead. There is a need today for groups and communities that extend beyond these limitations and become conscious and active vehicles of healing.

In what follows, we will describe these communities and explore how the application of anthroposophical and homeopathic principles in daily life support the development of communities that can bring healing. Both anthroposophical medicine and homeopathy are not just the practice of prescribing remedies in consultations with patients. They also involve the application of underlying principles to everyday life. One area of this application is in supporting the development of community.

Anthroposophy and Community Homeopathy and Anthroposophical Medicine, are systems of healing founded upon 3 basic principles:

1. The Law of Similars
2. The Microdose
3. The Whole Picture of Illness

The Law of Similars

In homeopathic terms, the law of similars states that a substance that can cause an illness also holds within its nature the potential to heal an illness. This is why so many poisons become powerful therapeutic agents of healing when used homeopathically in potentized form. In homeopathy the remedies are chosen according to their “proovings,” or the symptoms they produce in a healthy person.

Anthroposophical Medicine also employs this Law of Similars, but in a somewhat different way. In anthroposophical medicine, the remedies are chosen according to how the dynamic process or image in nature of the plant or mineral -ie, the size of a plant’s roots in relation to its flowers, or where a mineral is found in the earth - is similar to the inner dynamic of an illness in a human.

In our daily lives, subconscious agreements and denials are what are called “shadow forces,” or anthroposophically speaking, “the double.” These are places in our lives where we hide and are not completely honest with ourselves or others. They are usually suppressed places in our subconscious that we do not like to see.

The type of groups and communities we need today are those where individual participants support each other through trust to become aware of these shadow forces which, when denied, often lead to illness. This is achieved through ceremonial rituals of daily life, such as practicing a creative art, or working with the rhythms of nature in a biodynamic garden, or compassionately helping others to be aware of limiting behavior patterns and their origins.

Such a community becomes an anthroposophical and homeopathic remedy. The remedy is the transformed poison that we often keep hidden in ourselves if left alone, but in a community we are now strengthened to bring into the light of consciousness and transform our individual temperaments and characters. The remedy is the suppressed shadow or double forces that are redeemed by the conscious efforts of each individual in his daily life. These inner efforts are potentized remedies released from the charm of matter and made available to the creative forces of others.

Participants in such a community create a safe space to practice the principles of self- observation, discernment, and honesty, in an artful process of daily life. The individual, and eventually the community, becomes a homeopathic or anthroposophical remedy antidotes to the major illnesses of America, which are materialism, mechanistic thinking, and selfish individualism.

The Microdose

The second principle common to both anthroposophical medicine and homeopathy is the microdose. The smaller and more diluted the original substance, the greater its capacity to invoke a healing response. Unlike modern pharmaceuticals and even herbs, the quantity of original substance has no bearing upon the capacity to heal. The same principle applies in the relationship between the principles of community and the central illnesses of America - selfish individualism, materialism, and over-intellectual mechanistic thinking.

Just as the capacity of an anthroposophical or homeopathic remedy to generate healing has nothing to do with the quantity of original substance in the remedy, so it is that the capacity of warming and mature energies in such a community to bring about a healing process in the greater social whole has little to do with the quantity of people in a the community. Instead, what matters is the focus, heartfelt honesty, and commitment of those involved. In the rhythmic timing in which these energies are enacted by those in such a community, a new matrix based upon spiritual principles is then generated in the world. This “invisible” matrix of the community becomes a healing force that is carried through any medium the community generates: bottles of remedies, books, artistic presentations, or food, to name a few.

The Whole Picture of Illness

As a form of holistic medicine, both anthroposophical medicine and homeopathy also take into account the whole person. They do not merely treat the parts or just make symptoms disappear, as if the absence of symptoms is the definition of good health. For example, in therapeutic eurythmy, in the “A” we become aware of forces behind us, while in the “O” we become aware of the forces in front of us. And in biodynamic agriculture, we become aware of the whole in seeing how by imparting certain substances to the soil at specific times of the year brings the earth more into a holistic relationship with forces of the heavens, and leads to foods and remedies which support healing. In baths we draw excess heat from one part of the body to another.

Similarly, in order for a community do its work effectively, each participant needs to be aware of the whole, and of his role in this whole. This starts with becoming more observant of our own behavior, motives, and gestures, and perceiving how they affect others.


Anthroposophical Medicine and Homeopathy are not just the dispensing of bottled remedies. They are the practice of certain living principles in daily life which support a regenerative process. When these principles are practiced actively in a community or group, there is an opportunity to bring healing both in ourselves and in the greater community in which we live and move and have our being.

Robert J. Zieve, M.D. practices Homeopathy, Anthroposophical Medicine, European Biological Medicine, and Nutrition in Louisville, KY  and Chadds Ford, PA. He is past president of the Arizona Homeopathic Medical Association. Dr. Zieve has published “Conscious Medicine: An Introduction.” This article is excerpted from his new book, “Rhythms in Time: The Homeopathic Future.” These are available at

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