Vera Resnick-Weisz, DHom Med (Lic), IHM. Classical Homoeopathy. Local and online homoeopathic treatment available
NB – for those of you who don’t know much about the Jewish festival of Purim and the Purim story – here’s the Wikipedia link for starters.
When reviewing situations in homoeopathy, we need some information. We need to know who the patient is, what the problem is, if it’s new, what makes it better, what makes it worse – that kind of thing.
This story is thought to have taken place sometime around 450 BCE, in Persia. Ahasuerus has been identified by some as Xerxes I.
It opens with a six-month feasting binge, so I’m assuming the first patients here are – just about everyone.
– Worse for overeating
– Worse for too much booze.
King Ahasuerus gets drunk, and orders his wife Vashti to display herself in all her natural glory, with emphasis on the word “natural”.
So if Ahasuerus is our patient we definitely have:
– Worse for too much booze.
Vashti refuses – all kinds of reasons given for that, but this happened at a time when men, especially kings, had all the power. What was she thinking? Was she losing her mind? It seems she had already been a queen for a while, she must have known that to obey is to survive… Perhaps she is our patient, as she must have gone along with the King’s previous requests (orders) if she lasted longer than five minutes as his consort. Perhaps a pathological (and suicidal) spark of defiance entered her brain as she refused – and did not survive to say “no, Hasi darling, I didn’t mean it, really…”
– Worse for mortification?
– Aggravation from rude behavior of others
Or maybe she, too, had drunk too much….
At this point, the King puts his Persian-slipper-shod foot down (with the curly points, it’s in all the pictures) and said “off with her head” or words to that effect, thus putting a rather sudden end to his marriage, and discovering the sorrows of loneliness (and after six months of boozing, probably a fairly enduring hangover.)
– Aggravation from contradiction
– Aggravation from even more booze.
However, Ahasuerus bounces back, and orders his ministers to arrange a beauty competition – with, er, benefits…
So night after night, the King amuses himself with a new companion, a virginal beauty forced to be a lady of the night… with so much to win and some rather important elements to lose.
Did all this help Ahasuerus? Can we use “leg-over ameliorates?” (sorry it was the best euphemism I could find, but you can try “how’s your father” if that helps.)
But I don’t think so. Seems like he always did whatever he wanted with whoever – this was in a time of harems, don’t forget. And if it isn’t something that indicates a change, I’m not sure it has relevance in this somewhat strange case-taking.
At some point during these festivities, Mordecai shows up with his niece Esther, and the King likes her. And she becomes Queen Esther. Most of the time, she seems to do as she’s told, and that doesn’t seem to change. So she was either pathologically docile – which women were expected to be that that time, so I’m not sure we can use that as a symptom – or she just didn’t have much personality. Which was fine, as to all appearances, the King wasn’t much interested in personality… in fact Vashti’s temperamental show of personality was to prove her downfall.
But I digress. Back to the plot, a real plot this time. Esther’s uncle Mordecai discovers a plot to kill the king, and reports it in, like a good citizen. The plotters are killed, the story is archived never again to see the light of day.
But one night, the king couldn’t sleep. And reading boring archives is so much better than counting sheep, don’t you think? So he called to have archives read to him, and Mordecai’s good deed was revealed in the candlelight.
Oh, so symptoms maybe for Ahasuerus?
– Wakes from sleep, can’t fall back asleep again?
– Better for mental activity?
I’m not sure we can use any of this for prescribing, as it seems to have only happened once.
The villain of the piece, Haman, makes an entry roughly at this time, and lands up having to reward Mordecai, whom he loathes, for his good deed.
Right, some mental and emotional symptoms here for Haman. Maybe he’s our patient?
– Mind, jealousy
– Mind anger
Even suppressed anger, perhaps with silent grief – after all, Haman wasn’t going to yell at the King, was he, look what happened to Vashti, staying silent was definitely a healthier option…
Thing is, was this Haman’s personality, or was it pathological, causing changes in his behavior? At some point in the story, he’s reported as crowing to his loved ones, telling them he’d managed to work some intrigues which would finish Mordecai off, together with all the Jews in the empire.
So he’s a show off, and he’s jealous and he’s angry at those who don’t do what he wants. But is any of that pathological or is it personality? I couldn’t prescribe for him (and hasten to add that I wouldn’t want to…., even though I have treated the occasional villain in the past…)
But Esther manages to foil Haman’s plot, and he and his sons get hanged instead. She’s still doing more or less what Mordecai has directed her to do. Somehow, the King is also convinced that Haman made a pass at his wife, which is probably really what led to his end, as someone starting up with your wife is a much greater motivation than someone else’s genocidal plans against people who aren’t related to you.
In this strangely violent story, everyone’s fighting, the Jews are fighting back, a lot of people get killed, and to add insult to injury, Ahasuerus hikes taxes from whoever survives. Probably what led to that saying that nothing is certain except death or taxes… Mordecai is elevated in rank, Esther sinks back into anonymity which is where women should stay anyway if they knew their place, and things continue more or less as before.
So who is our patient?
My vote is for Vashti, deposed and beheaded (some say just banished, but we can recognize a euphemism when we see one…). If she had only avoided that brief moment of defiance, that pathologically crazed contradiction of her liege lord’s request, none of this would have happened.
Did the booze make her do it?
Was it just a result of eating too much, and indigestion?
Did she get a sudden attack of arrogance?
What was the exciting cause? (for those of you who aren’t homoeopaths, the word “exciting” in this expression refers to the trigger, and there’s usually nothing exciting about it whatsoever.)
Something must have changed. From the fearful tone of the men in the story, who are very frightened that women may think they have the right to contradict their men in anything and order missives to be sent out throughout the realm ordering husbands to make sure their wives know who’s the boss, this may have been part of an epidemic of danged female contrariness. And look what it led to.
Fortunately for those who enjoy celebrating this festival, there was no adviser to whisper words of wisdom into Queen Vashti’s bejeweled ear such as “my lady, is this wise? Maybe you can negotiate? Seven veils perhaps? Bodysuit?”
And it’s probably safe to say that Queen Vashti never recovered.