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2013 October

Fear of sticking my neck out: a case of snapping turtle egg

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by Margaret Nelson

Case code: S = Subject; O = Observation; A = Action; P = Plan; HP = Homeopathic Practitioner

Female, 53-years old; CC: Fear of sticking her neck out. There is long history of family abuse, and betrayal.

O: This woman is a divorcée, mother of two teenage children, living in rural Minnesota. She works as a Public Health Nurse for Indian Health Services. A medium in her own way, she is currently writing a book on spirituality.

Initial consultation 3/12

S: “I have this underlying lack of trust: don’t let your guard down, always be ready.”

“I’ve developed habits that help me take care of biz, carry on.”

“I need movement to be connected spiritually. I especially need to be outdoors, around water.”

MIND - EFFICIENT, organized

MIND - FEAR - advantage being taken of


“In my job, I have lots of opportunities to help others, but I often pull back.

As for my book, I’ll have to put myself out there. This makes me very uncomfortable. As a child, if I stuck my neck out something negative always happened. It’s not safe. So I pull back, it’s more protective. I make myself smaller, less visible. Less vulnerable.”

The patient describes a sensation of opening, expanding in space, and then tightening, clenching, and interlocking.

[O: Hand gesture with her fingers interlaced]

 “It’s not just withdrawing or hiding under the covers; my body tenses into some sort of gridlock. Armored. Shielded. AAAGH!!”

[O: She sticks her tongue out with this exasperation]

 “My mom was never there for me. I always feel out of place. Alone and sad. Like I don’t have a home. My husband recreated that neglect and abandonment. Sometimes he would not talk or look at me for four days in a row.”

chelydraMIND - DELUSIONS - appreciated, she is not


MIND - HOME - desires to go

MIND - HOMESICKNESS - even in her own house

 “So if I expand out, stick my neck out, I’ll be treated like a dog turd. I’m not going to go out there…”

[O: Hand gesture pointing outward, extending, expanded arms]

“I’m going to go back inward.”

[O: Hand gesture fingers interlaced, interlocked shield]

 “I am a very sensitive person. As a kid I felt bombarded all the time.”



MIND - SENSES - acute

 “I am always vigilant; never able to let somebody love me, to be with somebody naked and unashamed.”

Note: Naked, revealed, R. Sankaran: Testudines

The patient reports symptoms of difficulty swallowing, sensations as if a rock in her throat; tight, and constricted.

[O: Hand gestures just under her jaw; pulling her mouth into a macabre grin.]

FACE - PAIN - Jaws



 “I have good quality sleep, just not enough. Holy smokes – babies, divorce, hot flashes, it’s been decades."


 “I don’t feel secure financially, I’m always crawling to the next paycheck, and I can’t always buy groceries. This causes me a lot of anxiety, around getting my next meal and feeding my kids.”

MIND - ANXIETY - food - about

 “I want to feel less restricted, freer.”

“It feels like I’m afraid to come out.”

“In my chest I can feel like a book opening.

Ah hah! A book opening!”

[O: Laughter]

CHEST - OPPRESSION (tightness)

 Key points to consider:

Yearning for protection

Desire, yet fear of sticking her neck out

Naked, unprotected

Jaw pain

Tightness throughout

Repertorization using Synthesis 9.1 rubrics:

MIND - ANXIETY - food - about


MIND - DELUSIONS - appreciated, she is not

MIND - EFFICIENT, organized

MIND - FEAR - advantage being taken of



MIND - HOME - desires to go

MIND - HOMESICKNESS - even in her own house

MIND - SENSES - acute

FACE - PAIN - Jaws






Analysis: I learned about Chelydra serpentine ovum from the proving completed at the Northwestern Academy of Homeopathy. I first thought of Chelydra serpentine ovum in this case because of her imagery of wanting protection yet needing to “stick her neck out.” The case demonstrates the reptilian struggle between being seen, naked and unashamed, and remaining covered up, along with the specific experience of the turtle that moves with ease in water vs. the difficulties of moving slowly, laboriously about on land.

The proving brought out muddy-headed, dreamy, almost trance-like themes: the name of her channeled book refers to Grandmother Dreams and Seeing across the Veil. Clairvoyance, anyone??

She demonstrated striking hand gestures just under her jaw; pulling her mouth into a macabre grin reminded me of a snapping turtle’s beak. As if she was clenching her mouth tight to keep from “coming out” when it feels risky to do so.

Native American symbolic themes of Turtle as Mother Earth and as the bridge between worlds are significant; I consider this in light of her occupation and feel it adds another dimension to the case. Her simple, straightforward manner, irritability around never enough time to get everything done, smoldering resentment at having to do both the man’s and woman’s work, and yet, an open-hearted desire to help the defenseless, with a sense of indignation, add to the abovementioned rubrics seen in the proving.

P: Chelydra serpentina ovum 200C one dose.

Follow up 5/12

Note: The patient reports immediately upon taking the remedy she felt unusually irritable, and went into hiding, under the covers. A week later, she told her “free-loading” and “abusive” boyfriend to move out. She began working on the completion of her book.

S: “It’s like cleaning the cat box, it stinks, clean it out, move on to the next thing. I feel my world enlarging again. I know it’s the homeopathy!”

MIND - CLEANNESS - desire for cleaning


MIND - TRUTH - telling the plain truth


Note: 7/12 The book was sent to the printer for publication.

“Hoooooh-wah!! Life is good.”

Follow up 11/12

S: “I’ve experienced some depression and a shift coming. I dreamt of being included in a group of native women sitting in circle, while my parents were accusing, blaming, turning away. I thought: I can get defensive with my family, or join these women in forgiveness and belonging.”

“I don’t want someone else in my small house. I don’t need to be partnered anymore.”

“I feel more in the world; taking my place as it’s meant to be. I have to trust…. I have to stick my neck out! I just feel like there’s no risk that I will go back to how I was!”

Note: This reminded me of how Snapping turtles can store their eggs for years and do not need to rely on a mate.


Follow up 2/13

“I am definitely more comfortable talking about what’s in the book. I am sticking my neck out without fear. I also feel a little unsettled, at the mouth of the cave, knowing I’ll end up in the earth’s center. It’s a bridging thing…. I have a foot in both worlds. I also had a past life memory of having my tongue cut out. There’s still some fear about speaking out; I’ve had this since a very young age, this sense of what’s unjust; experiencing bullying and adults treating their children badly. It’s upsetting when people witness this behavior and don’t stand up. I have to be the one who stands up and be willing to stick my neck out. My sleep is refreshing. I am a new person thanks to the remedy.”

Final Analysis: Continual marked improvement on all levels: The patient is opening up to her more soft and vulnerable interior, daring to show and be herself gracefully, with increasing self-esteem. She still feels torn between two worlds at times but is determined to search for ways to bridge and connect from her growing edge. She is less resentful and less anxious about limited money, food, family situation, or work challenges. She says is much more able to speak her mind, to stick her neck out!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Chelydra serpentina; Andrea Westmoreland; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license


Categories: Cases
Keywords: anxiety, confusion, forsaken, hopelessness, homesick, desire protection, naked, unprotected, tightness throughout, Pain jaw, throat constriction
Remedies: Chelydra serpentina ovum

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