When is a symptom not a symptom? A question frequently asked by self-prescribers.

Answer: Just because you love your dog, cat, chicken, cows the rubric ‘love of animals’ does not necessarily apply to you. Just because you are generally optimistic about your life doesn’t mean that the rubric ‘optimistic’ should be used in your repertorisation.

Why not? Because the homeopathic material medica catalogues pathology, not healthy states.

So, what is a symptom? When I was trying out a remedy (proving) with the Dynamis school in 2006, I bought several hundreds of pounds worth of cosmetics. Whilst that might sound a bit over the top for anyone, for me it was peculiar as I don’t wear make up and haven’t since I was a teenager. That was a symptom; something totally out of the ordinary for me.

It helps to think that there are two sorts of symptom when you are trying to decide what should be borne in mind: symptoms of degree and change.

A symptom of degree: If you love animals above (not even equal to, but more than) people, this is a symptom of degree. No matter what logic you apply to it, from the point of view of survival of our species it is not healthy.

A symptom of change:  If you start doing or feeling something entirely outside your normal experience this is a symptom. For instance if a curmudgeonly person suddenly acquires a sunny disposition, or the other way around. This is a symptom.