The California Sister
This attractive Californian butterfly was one of the very first to be have a proving in homeopathy. In this remedy there is a feeling of abandonment, absence of parental security, but a real sense of the family, and attachment to the home.

Case History

A young girl of 15 is brought for a consultation with me in June 2007, suffering from depression, which started 4 months earlier, but has been deepening.

This depression appears to be a reaction, largely, to the fact of her father running off with another woman – even though she was already aware of her parents’ marital difficulties, and that a separation was imminent.

She is a pretty girl, good skin, and well turned out, despite her depression. She is also anorexic, and has lost 6 kilos in a few months. Her refusal of food is related to the context in which it is presented - defiance in the face of opposition.

Since her father left she has lost all her original joie de vivre, and it is striking that her voice has also more or less disappeared, as she practically whispers her symptoms in my ear. She also says that since she has been abandoned, she has the feeling she is her poor Mum’s baby. (THEME: FEELING OF BEING A BABY).

She has refused any contact with her father since he walked out. She tells me how she suffers for her mother, and she carries her mother’s hurt inside her like a bleeding wound, feeling empty and abandoned.

She adores dancing. “I live spinning” she says “Salsa, rock and roll, and, more than anything, the waltz – it makes me feel wonderful and so happy”.

She is a sociable girl, with faithful, longterm friends about her. (THEME: LOVING FEELINGS). She believes strongly in her family, (THEME: FAMILY) and its loyalties, so she finds her father’s behaviour impossible to forgive. Her utter sense of having been abandoned is intensified by her feeling, through the pain, of being alone and unprotected (THEME: BEING A CHILD WITHOUT PROTECTION).

In terms of clinical signs: she has, for years, suffered from rhinitis and a blocked nose, which, whilst not inhibiting her sense of smell, makes sleeping difficult, particularly in the pollen season.

She dreams a lot - most often of a skyscraper, which she climbs up rapidly, only to throw her self off the top, falling dramatically.
She is better in the fresh air, and has a strong liking for charcuterie, particularly bacon also cold milk and juice.

At the end of this initial consultation I prescribe PHOSPHORIC ACID.

She returns a month later, having experienced no improvement. At this stage, because of her elegance, her volubility, and her sense of abandonment, all of which are all typified by the lepidopterous family, I give her GRAPHIUM, becuase of her freshness and vitality.

Reaction: The GRAPHIUM helps her with the anorexia, and she seems more relaxed on her next visit.

Still convinced that she should be prescribed a butterfly, because of the abandoned feeling, and her beauty, I prescribe her LIMENITIS BREDOWII, following the repertory from Nancy Herrick’s proving. (Especially the whispery voice…)

The results are spectacular.

Reaction a year later: Everything is back to normal: the remedy has transformed her. She no longer has nasal problems, and she has put on weight satisfactorily.

Generalities: EXERTION, physical; desires
Generalities: FOOD and drinks; bacon; desires
Mind: CHEERFULNESS, gaiety, happiness; tendency; lightness, with feeling of
Stomach: APPETITE; capricious, hunger, but knows not for what, or refuses things when offered
Speech and Voice: VOICE; whispering

What differentiates the diagnosis between Graphium and Limenitis is the dreaming of a house or a skyscraper.
Limenitis, as a butterfly, is a lot less shallow and flighty than Graphium – for Limenitis real values involve the home and the family.
In addition, this young girl did not have the problems of confused sexual identity that are displayed with Graphium.
Of all the butterflies, Limenitis, whilst being one of the most beautiful, is the most stable, grounded, loyal – indeed, the least butterfly-like.

The characteristics of Limenitis bredowii californica, or The Californian Sister

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalis
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Nymphalinae
Tribe: Nymphalini
Genus: Limenitis
Species: Limenitis bredowii
Subspecies : Limenitis bredowii californica

This butterfly’s natural habitat consists of the oak trees which grow in the canyons and hills of California, Oregan and the forests of Nevada. Once esconced on a branch, or on the bark of one of these oaks, it is virtually invisible.

The adult has an orange stain on the end of each wing, and a white band which runs across the brown base. The wings’ underside is a steely blue – almost the colour of a dead leaf.

The Limenitis bredowii larva feeds on the leaves of the oak tree, absorbing into their bodies an alkaloid (the active ingredient of the sap, as is nicotine in tobacco, or cocaine in coca.) As these alkaloids are indigestible to birds, this works as the Californian Sister’s protection system.

One of the differences between this species and its fellow butterflies is that they are rarely found amongst flowers, although they are quite capable of sucking in nectar. They prefer to fly between oak trees, laying and hatching their eggs, and only going for flowers when they need a rapid dose of glucose. They absorb minerals from streams and puddles. The males guard their territory (often just a little cluster of sunny leaves) from the higher branches in the sun, keeping an eye out for potential predators.

They are vigorous in their defence when needed, keeping their wings outwingspan whilst on guard, ready to chase off other males who fly too close - or follow straying females (SEXUALITY). They are not seriously aggressive, compared to the Cabbage White or Graphium, who just attack anything in sight, regardless.

We all know that butterflies have 4 distinct stages of their lives: a) the egg, b) the caterpillar, c) the larva and the cocoon or chrysalis and eventually d) the adult butterfly. The three first stages of its life can be compared to childhood/adolescent (TO BE A BABY, CHILD, ADOLESCENT) – of which its caterpillar stage is the longest. As most butterflies just last 3-10 days, their principle activity is to reproduce. Once emerged from the cocoon the male marks his territory and the female flies around looking for a mate, secreting substances which attract the males (LOVING FEELINGS). In order to reduce the danger of hybrids, each species has a unique dance, which attracts only its own type. The female flies through the trees, checking which leaves are best placed on which to lay her eggs. Once the perfect spot is found, she deposits them quickly and flies off. (MOTHER, FATHER, FAMILY).

Unlike those of other butterflies, the Limenitis butterfly eggs are laid in the open (not in a nook, or shaded place, or in a crack in the bark. (FEELING OF BEING A CHILD WITHOUT ADULT PROTECTION). These eggs are left totally vulnerable to attack. Once they are larvae or in cocoons, they are colour-camouflaged, and they have their alkaloid protection. The caterpillars as larvae construct their ‘hibernaculum’ home, a round type of tent, to protect them from the cold. The larva’s main job is to eat, and it works studiously and seriously to succeed in this arduous task. The cocoon of the Limenitis is a hanging house, tranquilly spinning until the butterfly emerges (BUILDING). At that moment, the adult breaks out, shakes its wings then stetches them in the sun, to start the cycle all over again.

The key paediatric symptoms of LIMENTIS BREDOWII
1/ Feeling like a baby, child, adolescent
They feel very small, fragile, exposed. It is typical of all butterflies to feel abandoned, but linked with the fact of feeling unprotected by adults, left to be preyed upon by predators, without any protection, it is particularly Limenitis.
2/ Feeling like a child not protected by adults
Adults have betrayed them, deserted them. As a result they can retreat into a depressive state, like larvae hiding away.
3/ Sexuality
These patients are very caught up in their sexuality.
4/ Body awareness and sensuality
They are physically attractive, enjoy wearing pretty colours and clothes. The females make very good housekeepers.
5/ Loving feelings
The love lives of butterflies are profound and diverse. But those of Limenitis are characterised by stability and a need for family harmony, with the father and mother at the family core.
6/ Mother, father, family. House
They are extremely close to their immediate family. The house in which they live is a sacred place, which must not to touched.

In conclusion: LIMENITIS BREDOWII can be prescribed in cases where there is a strong sense of having been abandoned; to young people who are suffering from lack of parental involvement, or to parents who do not, or cannot assert a sense of protection for their children.

They are characterised by strong ties of loyalty, and especial attachment to values relating to the house/family home.

Author: Dr Patricia Le Roux
This case is extracted from the Book ‘Butterflies’ published at Narayana Edition.

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