Reconnecting to the Soul with Peyote (Anhalonium Lewinii)
Updated: Jan 27
As Covid-19 continues to take its toll despite the release from lockdown, I have observed around me mental states starting to decline in the people I speak to in my local community and beyond. During times when strong boundaries are in force, individuals generally feel contained and surer of their choices. However, now there seems to be increasingly greater uncertainty affecting those without a strong sense of self, who can then fall beneath their very fragile veneer of coping. Until now, they may never have considered that they can sink so low due to dissociation from their deeper past.
According to Dr. Matthew Tull, who writes in verywellmind, there is a very strong link between trauma (especially childhood abuse and/or neglect) and dissociative disorder, and the relationship is important in both directions. (1) It is thought that long-term trauma is a root cause of dissociative disorder, which occurs as a coping strategy to avoid the unbearable nature of that experience.
Even when the real danger no longer exists, however, it can be prolonged or even prevent recovery from abuse and neglect. There is also a connection between dissociation and post-traumatic-stress-disorder. It is known that changes in brain function can occur which explains how this arises. The level of fear and stress engendered by the initial shock persists and this, in turn, affects the functioning of the brain structures. In this case most importantly the amygdala which is where emotional responses are first calibrated continues to be eroded as a result of the stress induced by the pandemic.
It is thought that at least ninety percent of people who experienced childhood physical, sexual, or emotional abuse and/or neglect fall into a dissociative pattern of behaviour. In fact, dissociative disorder is linked with the highest frequency to childhood abuse and neglect of all psychiatric disorders. It is a form of self-protection.
A remedy which has remained much under wraps to-date is Anhalonium Lewinii. Being derived from the peyote cactus, it holds a strong metaphysical resonance and is used by some Native American tribes in their religious initiation ceremonies. It is also referred to as Mescaline - the latter being the active component of the peyote cactus - and made famous by Aldous Huxley in his influential book which was originally issued in 1954 entitled ‘The Doors of Perception: and Heaven and Hell’ based on his own experience of using this substance. (2) (The title of the book is influenced by a poem written by William Blake in 1790.)
Homeopathic remedies derived from psychedelics such as Ayahuasca (also used in initiation ceremonies), Ecstasy (MDMA), and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) are the drugs of choice where there is more connection with other people indicated. Ecstasy in fact has feelings of closeness with others and a desire to touch them. (3) Anhalonium Lewinii in the homeopathic proving is disconnected from the outside world to a startling degree compared to users of stimulants such as cocaine and opium-based painkillers, e.g. heroin, as well as those using cannabis. In fact, it is the only remedy appearing in the rubric - ‘delusion, standing by oneself’. (4) They no longer know who they are, a type of dissociation, and are completely passive in the way they present. It is a type of coping mechanism with existential anguish. There is a distortion in their memory of events if memory exists at all. It can translate into audio-visual hallucinations with coloured brilliant visions. Time loses its meaning and stands still. This is a strong feature after post-traumatic-stress-disorder.
In one case, a woman needed Anhalonium Lewinii after childbirth when the shock of the birth thrust her back into her earlier dissociated state - so much so that she could not relate to her child whatsoever. As a result, the child ended up needing the remedy Mercurius Vivus, which finds communication so hard and presents as markedly inappropriate with their boundaries. The mother’s history was one of indifference and lack of nurturing shown to her throughout her childhood and early adulthood by her main carers or those closest to her. It would seem there is a strong association between Anhalonium Lewinii and Mercurius Vivus, judging by the case of mother and child quoted above where these remedies are strongly indicated in unison given the pictures which presented themselves in both presenting parties.
The language used to describe soldiers who have suffered PTSD has been adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic to refer to nurses and other health and social care staff. This is despite the latters’ experiences and motivations for taking on their roles being totally different. (5) In my view, patients who have recovered from Covid-19, their families and the greater community could also suffer with the type of dissociation seen in Anhalonium Lewinii.
Another use for Anhalonium Lewinii and Mercurius Vivus relates to a type of autism or Asperger’s syndrome which can then contribute to addiction and energise the trajectory which pushes the sufferer into the habit. Both of these remedies withhold verbal expression and may rely on drugs or alcohol respectively for any type of social functioning. In cases of autism and Asperger’s syndrome, it is conceivable that with similar triggers, addiction could manifest further along the trajectory. This later suffering can be averted, however, if the early state is recognised and addressed soon enough in the history. Mercurius Vivus, which hides behind alcohol (or drugs) as a way of opening up channels of communication, is relevant here. These channels can remain totally blocked without this type of remedy intervention. (6).
My conclusion is that the remedy - Anhalonium Lewinii - will be increasingly indicated in cases which present at this time of uncertainty and dread due to fear generated around Covid-19 globally. This is demonstrated not only in the number of fatalities which are reported, but also in the number of cases seen in practice whose psyche has only been able to cope by shutting down in the way described in this article. By providing the structure for containment of strong emotions and cutting across the resulting numbness from the witnessing of such suffering, this remedy can deeply support the wounded psyche. In this way, the early triggers which have remained so deeply embedded can be released despite their lasting intensity. This can be difficult to navigate under such circumstances and it will often create the need for the practitioner to be available on the sidelines to help their patients on the path to reintegration.
Patients with previous psychiatric diagnoses seem to have suffered more than those without a history of psychiatric disorder. Since compiling this blog, the Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology unit in Milan has shown that more than half of people in hospital for Covid-19 in Italy were found to be suffering from a psychiatric disorder a month later. The researchers said that psychiatric consequences could be caused “both by the immune response to the virus itself, or by psychological stressors such as social isolation, psychological impact of a novel severe and potentially fatal illness, concerns about infecting others, and stigma”. (7)
British experts have also observed complications including brain inflammation, stroke and psychosis linked to the virus. Considering the alarming impact of Covid-19 infection on mental health, the current insights on inflammation in psychiatry, and the present observation of worse inflammation leading to worse depression, it is recommended assessment of any psychopathology of Covid-19 survivors is made. Furthermore, it is suggested to deepen research on inflammatory biomarkers, in order to diagnose and treat emergent psychiatric conditions.
Tull, Matthew, Ph.D., (June 3rd, 2020), ‘Links between Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Dissociative Disorders’, Verywellmind.com.
Huxley, Aldous, (September 2nd, 2004), ‘The Doors of Perception: and Heaven and Hell’, Vintage Classics, new edition.
Murphy, Robin, ND, (2006), Nature’s Materia Medica, Third Edition, Lotus Health Institute.
Murphy, Robin, ND, (2005), Homeopathic Clinical Repertory, Third Edition, Lotus Health Institute.
Hamilton, Ian, (20th May, 2020), ‘Psychedelic Drugs Could Help Treat the Mental Health Epidemic We’ll Face after Corona Virus’, independent.co.uk.
Adalian, Elizabeth, (2017), ‘Touching Base with Trauma: Reaching Across the Generations - a Three-Dimensional Homeopathic Perspective’, Writersworld.
Dr Mazza, Gennaro M. et al, (3rd August, 2020), ‘Anxiety and Depression in Covid-19 Survivors - the Role of Inflammatory and Clinical Predictors’, Brain, Behaviour and Immunity.