The Myth & Zoology Of Lac Caninum

Words: Dr Barbara ETCOVITCH 

We often see traces of mythology, botany and/or zoology reflected in the symptomatology of several homeopathic remedies. When the homeopath recognises such associations, it leads to a greater understanding of the essence of the remedy. It also makes it easy to identify its need in a given case. An excellent illustration of such a context is seen in Lac caninum [Dog’s milk], where the strong association to the mythological and zoological elements shows up distinctly in its symptomology.

One of the main themes in Lac caninum, the homeopathic remedy, is the alternation of sides. The symptom leaves one site, goes to another and returns to the original. This keynote symptom is a strong indicator for the need for the remedy.

Lac caninum has a strong affinity for the throat and mammae; it is one of the main remedies for sore throats that navigate from left to right to left. The Lac caninum throat may be shiny and glazed with white patches on the tonsils that resemble milk.

There are breast-feeding problems in Lac caninum with the breast milk being absent, or disappearing. The remedy is used to dry up breast milk as well.

We see such main themes reflected again and again in the mythology and zoology associated with Lac caninum. We can also identify numerous other parallels between the remedy and the dog. The links to the remedy’s symptomology are indicated in the parentheses. Let’s first look at the family to which the dog belongs.

The Movement Effect 

Canines, also called Candids are members of the Canidae family [Order Carnivora] of terrestrial mammals which includes approximately 14 living and 70 extinct genera of dogs and dog-like animals.

Canines are adapted for running [movement, alternation of symptoms, sides and location] — they tend to be slender, long-legged animals with bushy tails and erect, pointed ears. They have four- or five-toed forefeet; four-toe hind feet, blunt, non-retractile claws, and well-developed canine and cheek teeth. One toe is separated from the rest [They cannot bear one finger to touch one another].

Canines depend primarily on their smell and hearing. They run on their toes and can endure a long chase. In play, they are seen to bounce back and forth from one side to another [alternation of location and side of symptoms].

Even though they are helpful in controlling the rodent and rabbit populations, they have been hunted and slaughtered for their pelts in order to prevent their reputed [and, sometimes real] destruction of livestock and game [Delusions: sees mice; dreams of vermin; fears: death].

Fighting dogs go for the throat, the most vulnerable part of the anatomy [external and internal sensitivity of the throat].

The genus of Canis includes nine living species of canines. It contains coyote, dingo dog and various wolves and jackal species. Most experts believe the dog is descended from the wolf, although zoologists are not so certain. Both breed with each other and the osteology does not differ. The eye of the dog, however, has a circular pupil, while the wolf’s is oblique.

With respect to temperament, the dog is easily managed, while the wolf can be tamed, but generally remains wild [Rage, fury, malicious]. Wolves hunt in packs and dogs make excellent personal companions [Company, desire for].

The Reference Context 

In the Old Testament, the dog is ranked among the unclean beasts [Devourers of refuse] [Delusion: filled with pus; disease; delusion that ‘he is dirty;’ dreams of disease; fear: of impending disease].

The Israelites shunned dogs, but the Egyptians revered them. Dog figures appeared on Egyptian friezes of most of the temples and they were regarded as emblems of the Divine Being. The city of Cynopolis took its name from Cynos, a dog.

Further veneration of the dog by the Egyptians is explained by its connection with the Sirius, the Dog Star.

The prosperity of Lower Egypt and the survival of its inhabitants depended on the annual overflowing of the banks of the River Nile. The approach of this time and the beginning of the New Year was indicated by the appearance of Sirius. The star was hailed as their guard and protector and it was associated with the fidelity and watchfulness of the dog — hence, ‘dog-star’[Dog’s milk provides sustenance; and, the drying up of breast milk].

In later periods, the appearance of the dog star, in other countries, was regarded as the signal of extreme heat, or prevalent disease [Worse, heat; delusion; is filled with disease].

Another reason for the worship of the dog by the Egyptians may have been due to the dog-headed God Anubis, or Apu, who was said to guide the souls of the dead to the underworld abode of Osiris [Fears: death; does not fear the dark; sensitive to light].

This belief is also evident in Greek mythology where Cerberus is the monstrous, three-headed watchdog of the underworld. Cerberus watches the boatman’s transportation of the dead across the River Styx as he stands guard at the entrance of the underworld. The dog devours any who unlawfully enters [Oscillation of symptoms crosswise and from side-to-side; fears: death: rage, fury; theme of consumption].

The Hindus similarly regarded the dog as unclean, believing that every dog was animated by a wicked and malignant spirit condemned to do penance in that form for crimes in a previous state of existence [Delusions: errors of personal identity; feels that she is not herself].

In early Vedic mythology, there are two, four-eyed dogs of Yama, the God of Death. These dogs guard the gates of Hell [Dreams: of devils; fears: of death].

According to the Zend-Avesta of the Persians, when a person dies, and as soon as the soul has left the body, the corpse-demon from Hell falls upon the body and this demon can be expelled only by the glance of a dog with four eyes.

The yellow-eared, four-eyed dog was believed by Persians to keep watch at the head of the Kinvad Bridge, the gateway to the next world. With its fierce bark it is said to drive out the devil from the souls of the holy ones who walk over the bridge to eternity [Dreams: of devils; alternation of location and sides from one place to another].

It was also considered a serious crime to kill a sacred water dog, the holiest of dogs. This act was believed to bring drought that would dry up all the pastures [Drying up of breast milk].

In the early history of certain countries, the dog was esteemed and valued as a companion, friend and defender of man and his home. A large number of ferocious dogs were employed to guard cattle, or watch the entrance of homes [Desires company; cannot bear to be left alone; curses, swears (barks) at slightest provocation; starts easily; fixed ideas].

There are many legends and superstitions revolving around the dog, e.g., a dog howling at night is a death omen, due to the old belief in the dog’s supernatural perceptions, enabling it to see the approach of Death himself [Fear: death].

Additionally, the dog and snake are associated in healing; and, milk in ancient times was used mostly in connection with uterine troubles [Dreams: snakes; delusions: snakes in and around her; the cited homeopathic remedy’s classical uterine symptoms].

This is the genius of homeopathy — and, its ‘like cures like’ principle.

Dr BARBARA ETCOVITCH is a Classical Homeopath, Interfaith Minister, freelance writer, and lecturer. She has a BA from Sir George Williams University, a MA in Literature from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and a Diploma in Classical Homeopathy from the School of Homeopathy, Devon, England. She was ordained by the All Faiths Seminary International in New York City in 2004. She has been in homeopathic practice for 30+ years treating human and animals alike, from her office in Montreal, Canada, and worldwide via Skype and WhatsApp.

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