A group of nine year old boys were playing on scrubland after school, poking about with a stick, when they jumped back suddenly in alarm. “It’s jumped onto Max!” they shrieked, in a mixture of horror and delight. “We were teasing the spider and it jumped out. It made me jump! My heart’s beating really fast.” They ran to the climbing frame, climbing up ropes and jumping off ramps. They were in a perfect state of high energy spider play.
For me, it was a perfect moment when we learn so much about the energy of homeopathy from nature and from children, who seem to be able to channel the high potency spirit of remedies to less detrimental effect than when adults get stuck in a pathology state.
It also highlighted the difference from teasing Spider playfulness, and Insect action, when a game of running around turned into a harrassing plight for one child, who was convinced the others were picking on him in a game of tag. The boys’ persistence increased the victim’s irritation levels to a whining pitch, but they didn’t care; they kept on running around in zigzags. Insect remedies are not known for indulging in sympathy.
Insect remedies and Spider remedies have a lot of features in common; internal restlessness and outward activity, ambition, competitiveness, sexual attraction, feeling small, and a hot/cold polarity. This issue of Interhomeopathy looks at differentiating between the subkingdoms, the nuances of Sensation words like squish, squashed, and crunch, their response to bullying and the subtle difference in their response to ‘someone’s being mean to me’ in Spider and Insect remedies.
There is a comparison chart for quick reference, and I have compiled an article to help distinguish between insects and spiders in themes they have in common, such as respect and disrespected, demeaned or bullied. The most obvious difference is that spiders have an irreverent sense of humour. To extend our range beyond the default spider remedy, Tarantula, we have two Aranea cases – web building spiders. Notably, these cases don’t display Tarantula’s dancing, rhythm, or sly, destructive tubercular traits.
Aranea ixobola, a spider you’d meet in an outside shed, is best known for teasing, pranks, boasting, climbing and sports injuries. This case showed the spider’s anxiety about water (not to be confused with wasp’s fear of water). A long past memory or preoccupation with fire is also glimpsed in the case, a characteristic observed clinically by Deborah Collins and Jayesh Shah.
Philippa Fibert’s case of Aranea ixobola is a comic strip spider case – the boy wears a spiderman outfit and has a pet spider! But would you have been clear it was Ixobola and not Tarantula? Could you have been distracted by the yellow-and-black colours and wasps’ fear of water? Wasps are the main predator of spiders, so it’s interesting to see this flash of wasp signature in the case.
Philippa Fibert specialises in treating children with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and deftly teaches to look beyond Tuberculinum and Tarantula to other remedies that may fit the case. She uses CEASE protocol, but this child was helped by the single remedy and intercurrent tubercular miasm.
While Aranea ixobola can be a braggart, the smaller web weaving garden spider Aranea diadema has lower self esteem. Jonathan Hardy’s case of Aranea diadema embodies the delusion of enlargement in the context of the patient’s sense of being less powerful than someone else and feeling a need to be bigger.
Respect and disrespect is an issue in spiders and insect remedies. David Mundy’s case of Blatta shows the indignation of an insect with a need for higher status and respect, the cockroach, universally swept aside by pest control. The patient’s respiratory symptoms and sensitivity to environmental chemicals, makes sense in this context.
Another differential is between the insect and an extract or nosode – for instance, between Formica rufa or Formic acid, between Psorinum and the scabies beetle. The scabies case by Jean-Thierry Cambonie uses Sensation method case-taking, which leads to the energy and movements of a beetle crawling under the skin. This sensation occurs in other insect remedies (indeed it’s also in Pearl), so we have to stay alert.
Internal restlessness, vibration and humming, is an area of potential confusion between insects and spiders – Theridion feels sound as vibrations through its body. Jonathan Hardy’s Locust case in this issue is a perfect example of the way an insect case can appear to have the structure and organisation of a mineral case, yet as the case unfolds, insect themes become apparent. In this case an unbearable buzzing sensation was the presenting symptom and Sensation level language of the barren desert leads to the source. This case broadens our horizon to prescribe some of the lesser known remedies in the insect kingdom. Once we recognise the insect themes we can turn to provings to investigate further to help us differentiate.
Finally, the issue of relationship. Deborah Collins’ case of Cantharis shows the lack of connection and desolation of an insect remedy, where the person feels they were never loved or cared for, despite an active (frenzied) sex life… While Alize Timmerman presents a case of over-connection in the black widow spider, which is so possessive that its partner or child is bound up by their manipulative behaviour and cannot break free of the co-dependent relationship.
I learned so much while compiling this issue and my hope is that other homeopaths get a feel for the energy of these specific qualities and are inspired to explore deeply to find the remedy.