Geococcyx californianus (Roadrunner)
The complete proving is published as a monograph. More details about the proving can also be found in the book The Deseert World: A Homeopathic Exploration. Contact the AMCH Bookstore for more information.
Choosing the Remedy
The remedy Roadrunner was chosen for a variety of reasons. A variety of birds have been proven to date but no flightless birds. We thought that a flightless bird would provide a new window into the nature of bird remedies. In addition, Roadrunner is one of the most well known birds in the world. It has come to be a symbol of the American Southwest and has many characteristics that make it unique and unusual. It has more personality than many other bird species. Lastly, our research center has been interested in studying desert remedies. Roadrunner has long been held as a symbol of the desert. We feel that desert remedies have been much neglected in the homeopathic literature and that there has been a bias towards East Coast remedies historically.
We noted during the proving that there were many bird themes found during the proving. These included a strong focus on taking care of the family, nesting impulses, freedom issues, restlessness, sudden pains, communication and voice issues, freedom issues and ravenous appetite (Shore). Conspicuously absent in the proving were any issues related to flight. Actually, the opposite was seen. Several provers described the importance and relative safety of the ground-either trying to get to the surface from below or to get down from a height. The following dream illustrates this:
“I am with a friend or my brother; we are at this huge stadium and are on the very top row; we are watching some kind of game down below; the building is made of concrete; all of a sudden I have the feeling that I need to get down because the building is going to collapse and we all are going to fall to the bottom; I almost get sick thinking about it; I tell my friend that we need to get down; we go down to the ground level; I feel much better on the ground; it turns out that there was no danger but the fear was inside of me(15)”.
The roadrunner is not comfortable and is quite awkward in trees. The ground is its natural element.
Dream-An old male friend was at a huge gathering inside a large building; he made an advance and I rebuffed him; during this scene the world was under attack by rockets bearing round metal objects which obliterated anyone with the exception of me, and the people I was with; prior to this time we were outside in a desert location looking for snakes in the limited underbrush (9)
At a movie theater the manager searched us for concealed weapons and a possible bomb; she was overly focused on the rules; really annoyed and bothered by people losing sight of what is important; enjoyed a desert movie that we went to; I was drawn to the journey of a man searching for his true self-coming home to who he was(6)
The central movement or motion of the proving involved walking and running. This was strongly connected with the idea of speed. Roadrunner is one of the fastest of terrestrial birds. One prover stated that she felt like “time seems to be passing faster-I am running out of days to pack it all in”(9). Another prover stated that she could “go, go, go without any breaks”. The movement and speed was not always forwards and often was backwards or even upside down.
Related to the theme of walking, images and sensations in the feet came up repeatedly during the proving. The following dream relates to this:
Horrible dream; someone set up a dance routine for a group that I was in; I just had to follow along and fake it; I was very mad at him; then I was trying to get changed into the costume and could not find everything; the shoes were weird and extremely painful and made me whine; for the shoes I had to unhook the bottom layer of skin from my feet; it was attached with two long cat’s claws like an ‘X’ crossed over (13)
The opposite was also seen throughout the proving and expressed as a feeling of peace or tranquility. This was described by one prover as follows:
Feel inward calm and peace; usually I am frantic, overly busy, running and wearing myself out; I am content to be doing nothing productive; I feel calm, cool and collected(9)
This suggests that this may be an important remedy for the stress of modern times.
The core sensation found in the proving was that of heaviness. This was often experienced as a pressure like a suit of armor. Lightness was also noted by a few provers. This theme of heaviness/lightness may be a bird theme. The following proving symptoms illustrate this:
The fatigue felt like I was wearing a suit of armor; body felt heavy; every part of my body felt heavy and weighted down (6)
Feeling of heaviness; felt like cement was solidifying in my veins(8)
Sensation of lightness in neck and shoulders(8)
Other important sensations in the proving included burning (nine provers), cramping (six provers) and prickly(four provers).
It is difficult to comment on the miasm for a remedy based on a single proving. However, some general tendencies can be noted. The themes of suddenness and abruptness were strong throughout the proving. Pain sensations were often sudden and darting. This was coupled with panic attacks when driving. These characteristics may make it a remedy that lies in the acute miasm. Many of the provers experienced startling awake from their dreams with a feeling of sudden anxiety. The following dream illustrates this:
Swimming deep inside the Indian Ocean with a friend who I had not met before; All of a sudden a shark from nowhere comes to eat us; it was green-blue in color and had sharp white teeth and black-blue eyes; somehow I escaped (11)
Other characteristics such as the restlessness and hectic energy may indicate the tubercular miasm, like most other bird remedies.
Provers mostly had an increase in warmth. This is somewhat unusual for a desert remedy. The most characteristic time aggravation was on waking. In addition symptoms were predominantly right sided.
Strong desire to swim, be cool and wet; many cold showers; swimming in cold lakes where no one else would swim (9)
One prover noted that it felt like she was a fish. We see no reason why this would be a roadrunner symptom. Generally water issues were a strong theme in the proving, which is typical of desert remedies.
Another strong symptom was the craving for chocolate in seven of the eighteen provers. Two provers also developed a new aversion to chocolate.
Dryness was another central characteristic. This was seen in the lips, face, mouth, cough, nose, throat, stool and extremities. A peculiar sensation of tension in the skin was noted in several of the provers.
One of the strongest areas effected by the remedy was the jaw. This comes as not surprise as the beak of the bird takes considerable abuse and is often damaged. One prover had a cured symptom of jaw pain(11). Another described the jaw pain as follows:
Extreme jaw and teeth pain; worse in evening; like someone has hold of your jaw and is squeezing it as hard as they can; very sharp pain(13)
Nasal obstruction and sneezing were prominent symptoms seen in five provers respectively.
Ravenous appetite and thirst were noted in many provers. One prover described it as follows:
Strong appetite and thirst; no matter how much I eat, I want more; felt like I was starving and hadn’t eaten in weeks; stomach feels empty; felt dehydrated like I needed to drink a lot; I had to have something by me bed to drink(2)
This was coupled with an increased metabolism in a few provers. There was no overall pattern of weight gain or weight loss however. Nausea was seen in five of the provers. Very strong, crampy abdominal pain was seen in two provers. One described it as follows:
Severe pain in the abdomen at 3AM – 4AM; excruciating; pain so severe that I can hardly stand it; cramping and digging quality; around the umbilicus; woke me up; stopped after 45 minutes(12)
Menstrual symptoms were prominent. This may be slightly artifactual in that the majority of our provers were women. Cramping in the uterus during the menses was noted by several provers. Late or scanty menses was also seen.
The prominent feature in the eyes was that of irritation. This is interesting in that it is also an important emotional characteristic found in the proving as well. Lachrymation, tired sensation and blurred vision were also seen in several provers.
Throat symptoms were not prominent but relatively common. Mostly this consisted of throat pain or scratchiness which was worse in the morning.
Extremity pain were mostly pressing and focused in the hips and toes. This was described as follows:
Pulled right hip; lifted a case of water in my trunk; pain is worse driving; deep pain; constant ache like someone is pushing in there against the glute (uses twisting motions of the hands); I have to grin and bear it and cannot move out of the push(23)
Burning was also seen in a few provers. Stiffness was cured in one prover who described it as follows:
Stiffness in my legs and wrists when sitting for an extended period of time has disappeared; prior to the proving I would actually stand up after sitting and my left leg would be so stiff I could hardly move until I stood for a few seconds and then moving would begin with a limp until the stiffness went away; feel more flexible in joints(9)
Sleep was effected in many of the provers. Eight provers experienced restless sleep. The sleep was often prolonged and disturbed. Waking with fright from dreams was noted in three provers.
Emotional and Mental Characteristics
Irritability was one of the strongest emotional characteristics during the proving. Violence was seen in the dreams of six of the provers as well as dreams of wanting to escape. One prover described their anger as follows:
Annoyed and angry; angry at the smallest thing; thoughts of ramming into a person’s car who cut me off while driving(2)
This is also seen in the following dream:
I was an assassin; a bearded political figure was broadcasting from television; I carried a rifle intending to shoot him through the television, though I realized it would not work; I cocked the rifle and saw three gun shells in the chamber and added a fourth; someone alerted security and I ran up and down stairs to get away(11)
Several provers described being more abrupt, curt, sullen and defiant. One prover had a cure of chronic violent dreams from the proving.
Another interesting characteristic was that of jesting or joking. This was seen in four provers. One prover described it:
Making more jokes; increased sense of humor; off color humor; what can I do to make people learn but still be funny(16)
The bird has been described as comical and as having a sense of humor.
Clairvoyance was found in two provers. This was particularly strong in one who found that this clairvoyance persisted after the proving.
Clairvoyance – knew that there would be an accident; knew that a car would be pulled over for speeding; predicting cards while playing cribbage; knew when something was wrong with my family; knew that I had won a quilt at a show as a prize
The theme of feeling empowered and direct was found throughout the proving.
Cured-symptom: I am less codependent overall; I no longer feel like a martyr; I was always doing for others and not considering myself in the past; always watching what I did so as not to upset anyone else and wanting to be liked(6)
Much more direct in communicating with others; more engaged and more present; not very sensitive emotionally; less passive aggressive indirect communication; more objective and less subjective; feel more present; feel more empowered (11)
Many of the provers described this as feeling invulnerable. It is interesting that in the roadrunner cartoon, one of the primary characteristics is that they are invulnerable to the attacks of the coyote (see natural history section). Roadrunner is a predator at the top of the food chain. One prover also had the interesting cured symptom of her fear of aging, which also relates to this issue.
Fear of aging; no longer focused or concerned about the aging process; this is a big change for me; usually I am hypochondriacal about my body with noticing every ache and pain; this has stopped; I feel more agile and my body feels younger; my entire focus was feeling vulnerable from aging before; almost a complete turn around (9)
Theme of Pregnancy/Weddings
The issues of pregnancy and weddings were noted. One prover described nausea as if she were pregnant(11). Dreams of being pregnant were strong and recurrent. The animal does have a strong nurturing and protective tendency towards its young. Much of its energy is taking up with caring for its young.
Theme of Communication
Communication issues are a typical bird theme. This particularly manifested during the proving as having problems with leaving letters out of words and using the wrong words for things. This also is a theme found in other desert remedies. One prover described it as follows:
Left letters out of words when writing – especially the last letter; memory poor; had to recheck to see if certain tasks were done; used wrong word for things; forgetful and forget names of people(11)
The themes of empowerment and communication were combined in one prover as follows:
Much more direct in communicating with others; more engaged and more present; not very sensitive emotionally; less passive aggressive indirect communication; more objective and less subjective; feel more present; feel more empowered(11)
Hoarseness was seen in two provers. The roadrunner is a bird that has a very large repertoire of sounds-more than most birds.
Theme of Dirty/Clean
We did not feel that this was strong enough to merit a separate theme. However one prover exhibited very strong borderline delusional symptoms in this area. She describes it as follows:
I feel extremely dirty, even after I clean; my hair especially feels dirty even after I washed it; have to wash my hair every day and still not clean; feel dirty when I am cleaning; like I have been sweating and playing outside all day(9)
Theme of Amorous/Flirtatious
There was an interesting quality of flirtatiousness during the proving. Provers would flirt even in front of their husbands. There also were sexual dreams. The following dream illustrates this:
Helping a friend catch her husband with another woman; I found out that my husband was seeing another woman; joking mood and cheerful; my husband and I were joking together and were a great team(4)
Preparation of the Remedy
A video was made of the preparation of this remedy. The theory is that people who prepare the remedy also briefly participate in the energy of the remedy. Although we did not include this information in the selection of proving themes and rubrics, it was interesting to note that several of the themes were reflected in the making of the remedy. These included speed, communication, flirtatiousness, jesting and joking, caretaking of others, heat and difficulty with concentration.