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Melissa Anana Assilem (2 September 1942—26 December 2020)
Melissa Anana Assilem, homeopath, author and innovative energy healer who was more popular in the UK than in America, the place of her birth, crossed the threshold on the 26th of December last, from an acute illness unrelated to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). She was 78. At the time of her death, Sherry her partner, lived in California.
Via email communication (Jan. 13, 2021), Gwyneth Evans Winston offered these comments:
‘Yes, I knew Melissa and have quite a few fond memories of her. She was in the first year in 1984 at London College of Classical Homeopathy -same class as I was. There were three or four of us who did some triturating of substances for Helios Homeopathic Pharmacy when they were just begin- ning. She stayed with me for a few days in the early 90s in New Zealand when she did a seminar in Christchurch and John Melnychuk took me to meet her when I was in Palo Alto for a Remedy Autism gathering. Also she was on a taped video presentation in 2017 at the New Zealand Classical Homoeopathic Conference in Dunedin’.
Ms. Assilem left behind a varied legacy of clinical work, remedy development and writings which proffered seminal ideas, that is, proofings.
Melissa stressed that all the characteristics, traits, provings, dreams, myth, history etc. associated with a substance when assembled would add important, vital healing knowledge to the materia medica. She came to refer to her way as ‘proofings’ and began to distance herself from the use of the term ‘provings’.
‘I use the word “proof” throughout the book, because for me is (sic) says so much better than “prove”. To “prove” something sounds too much as if one is testing something, which smacks of a trial. I think of a “proofing”, as being about stepping into the energy of a substance and recording it. A “proofreader” is someone looking over information before it is put into use. A “proof” has been de- scribed as a record of a journey in which someone has discovered an important truth, and made a record of that journey adequate enough so that a second person can walk a similar path and see a similar ruth. Doesn’t that sound so much more similar to what we are doing? In Chapter Six you will find my own story of the evolution of provings into what I call “Enhanced Proofings”'.–Melissa Assilem (Matridonal Remedies of the Humanum Family: Gifts of the Mother, p. viii).
Assilem's work spoke particularly to women. Ms. Assilem and I had a brief correspondence which, at times, centred on early life trauma, something which we both shared. Those experiences and her healings allowed (caused?) her to develop into a “wounded healer” in the most appropriate sense and truth of that concept.
She wrote three books. Her first, The Mad Hatter's Tea Party (1994, 2nd-1996, 3rd-1998, 4th- 2002), came from a live seminar series concerning the impact which four substances (not just as remedies) had on the evolution of the world's cultures. ‘A loose narrative materia medica about the history and use of four remedies: Thea, Coffea, Saccharum off., and Lac humanum’. –Julian Winston, (The Heritage of the Homoeopathic Literature, p. 44).
Francis Treuherz of the UK, in a brief e-mail conversation, related:
‘Her book, The Mad Hatter's Tea Party has the story on the cover. We were discussing the subjects of sugar, milk, tea, et cetera and I said it sounds like the Mad Hatter's tea party so she used that as the title. We often taught at the Northwest College of Homoeopathy, in Manchester and would go for an Indian meal together in the evening afterwards...’ (email communication, January 13, 2021).
Her second work, Women Ripening Through the Menopause (1996, 2nd-1999, 3rd-2003), concerned that phase of a woman's life and more. What caused her to write this book was her shock of how the medical community and the pharmaceutical industry partnered and profited greatly from menopause-as-a-disease rather than allowing and honouring that special rite in a woman's life. In this short book, she discussed Folliculinum, Luna and Lac humanum.
Finally, in 2009, saw the appearance of her third, Matridonal Remedies of the Humanum Family: Gifts of the Mother. This 136-page monograph:
‘...tells the story of the homeopathic remedies of the human family, Lac humanum, Folliculinum, Placenta humana, Vernix caseosa humana, Aqua amniota humana and Umbilicus humanus. The aim, writes Melissa, is to give us insights into how these remedies have shaped our lives, connecting us to our evolution, genesis, incarnation and how they are able to reconnect us to our life purpose. As she puts it: “The story told-through these remedies-of connecting with the earthly journey of our soul”'.–Jo Crocker, The Homeopath, Winter 2009, 28:3, p. 107.
By now many articles have been written and provings conducted concerning the humanum family of remedies. Two early articles may be of interest, both appearing in The Homeopath, 24:1, 2004-'A Placenta Baby: a case of Placenta humanum-Welsh' by Claudia Demire and 'Placenta Humanum, Welsh: a proving of human placenta' by Linda Gwillim.
Ms. Assilem was interviewed several times, that is, Geraldine Alferoff's interview in the October 2003 issue of the British journal, Homeopathy in Practice is one such example. I was surprised to learn that the first, or at least, very early proving of Amnii liquor (amniotic fluid) was conducted by the noted Swiss classical homeopath, Dr. med. Pierre Schmidt. It was published in the Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy (#20, 1927, pp. 236–248; this article must certainly have been published at some point in Europe). As a further aside, I’d like to mention the recent work of Dr. med. Heinz Wittwer, Matridonal Remedies In Daily Practice (2020). While this new work has its merits, it in no way supersedes Assilem's. If this subject truly interests, I suggest you purchase both.
‘I devoured this new knowledge with a great hunger. I had teachers, who told me there was only one way it should be done, and I would try it and if it seemed to work I would incorporate it. I had teachers who told me to do what was appropriate and not always stick to the dogma. They were the ones who gave me the freedom to explore beyond the existing parameters’.
‘I was using and practicing homeopathy long before I was officially qualified. I was teaching it before I graduated. It seemed everything I had ever done led to this astonishing encounter. I simply loved it. It involved science as well as spirit. It involved soul as well as body. It brought me the link I had been unknowingly seeking all of my life. I had found my passion. I had come home’.–http://www.wholehealthnow.com/bios/melissa-assilem.html (accessed January 20, 2021).
She conducted many 'proofings,' for example, Usnea, Apple, Silkworm, Lac lupaninum, Octopus, Venus, Amniotic Fluid and Umbilical Cord. Much of this work was conducted on the Isle of Lesbos when she was living there on a part-time basis. That phase of her life started in 1991 as Melissa gave herself a year off to live on that island in Greece. It was the start of a 20-year part-time residency on that northern Aegean island which proved fruitful for herself and for the many who gathered ‘round, either on visits or in week-long residential seminars which she gave every May starting in 2000’.
Ms. Assilem created a series of essences, Essences of Greece, all from within a kilometre of her Greek abode. She developed 20 Greek tree and flower essences using mountain water and the sun method. Her Harmonising essences were combinations of the tree and flower essences. For example, ‘Trauma Tamer’ used oleander, valonia oak, olive, tamarisk and petrified Sequoia; ‘Menopausal Magic’ consisted of Yellow Broom, Fig, Agnus Castus, Golden Sunburst and Pomegranate.
Her astrological essences which she called Starshine Astrology essences and the explanation as to how she developed them makes for some good reading:
‘My favorite constellation came to be Dracona, or the dragon that wraps itself around Polaris, the North Star, that is the one that helps us find our way, giving us a sense of direction. For most the entire Northern Hemisphere the dragon never sets below the horizon, ever guarding, unseen during the day and showing itself in the dark nights. This constellation drew my attention to such an extent it became a sort of confident (sic) of mine. We had many cross communications over the twenty years. While gazing at it one night the thought came to me that I had made a lot of flower essences (as opposed to Tree Essences) and that they were like the stars in the heavens but they had more color to them. They disappeared from view at night but were like daytime stars. Like the chakra below the Earth they were like EarthStars’.
‘I wondered how to integrate them when the thought came to me to make astrology harmonies using the essences from small plants along with the trees’.
‘What made most sense to me was to use the twelve sun signs of the zodiac that most people know something about, but I had to add the Dragon Guardian as well. The last one I made was the Dragon. I felt it needed to be added as the lucky thirteenth constellation, guarding all the others. At the time, I thought the idea of a thirteenth zodiac sign was a piece of magical nonsense, but much later I discovered that, there actually was one. My only expression for this revelation is “gob-smacked”. The constellations name is Ophiuchus, which features a serpent. It may not be the same as Dracona but the idea of a serpent and a dragon symbolizing similar images of guardianship was deeply intriguing me’.– https://melissaassilem.com/starshine-astrology-essences/ (accessed January 23, 2021).
Melissa, it seems, lived a life on her own terms, in her own independent and creative way. Whether you are a classical practitioner or eclectic, at the very least, let her life and work serve as an example and inspiration. Her website <https://melissaassilem.com/> is still active and I encourage you to visit it.
31 March 2021 (online)
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