2012 July August

Into the abyss: a proving of Acanthocephala terminalis - the leaf-footed bug

by Patricia Maher

Sometimes, there is serendipity in choosing substances to prove. This stately creature chose me – it appeared twice in three days in my home, and so I proved it. 


Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)

Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)

Superfamily Coreoidea

Family Coreidae (Leaf-footed Bugs)

Also known as: leaf-footed bug, squash bug, clown bug, tip-wilter

Acanthocephala or leaf footed bugs are distinctive, nearly inch-long insects in the Coreidae family. They are named for the leaf-like expansions of the hind tibia and femora.

All species of Coreidae are plant-feeders. Some Coreids live in leaf litter, but most nymphs and adults live above ground on their host plants where they may feed on seeds, fruits, stems or leaves. Many occur on an astonishing variety of plants, while some are restricted to a single plant host, such as cucurbitaceae.  They are known to wander into people’s homes in the fall. 

These insects have a distinctive proboscis, a “hypodermic-like” beak.  “Like all true bugs, the adults are equipped with a beak, or rostrum, a hypodermic needle-like device carried under the head, which it uses to pierce the plant tissue and suck out liquids. They do not simply "suck out sap" they inject a tissue-dissolving saliva and vacuum out the resulting slurry. Bugs cannot ingest solid food, and widespread damage to the plant is a result of these liquefying enzymes.” [emphasis added.]


This remedy has an intrinsic split. There is the side reflected in its common name “Clown Bug” – the happy-go-lucky child – and there is the side reflected in the emphasis on death and shit that surfaced during the proving. The proving even occurred in two parts – the initial trituration and then the second. The first one was clown- like, and the second one surfaced themes of AIDS, horror, vaccinations, and death. The AIDS themes had to do with Africa and Haiti. People being forced to vaccinate was a topic of discussion – keep in mind that the insect has a “hypodermic-like” proboscis!  The 12c proving confirmed gastric symptoms but with an emphasis on shit. Proving dreams manifested images of the Grim Reaper and zombies.

Clowns are associated with child-like behavior, and yet they can also have a more sinister edge. They can have a trickster aspect. 

In Yoruba religious traditions of West Africa and religions of the African diaspora, one of the central deities (orishas) is Eshu/Elegba, the guardian of the crossroads, or the arbiter of good fortune or misfortune, life or death. A deity with a dual face like Hermes/Mercury, their realms are similar. One the one hand Elegba is often represented as a playful child, and yet its other side is Eshu, a messenger to the Underworld, or a representation of Death itself.  

As the Clown Bug, Acanthocephala encompasses both ends of the spectrum, from childlike gaiety to the Grim Reaper. 

As one of the provers articulated after the proving:  “The idea of a leaf-footed bug reminded me of the wing-footed god Hermes. He was known for his involvement in the realm of communication.  We were speaking of how the remedy might have something to do with relationships, connectivity, etc…” 

Proving Dynamis

This proving occurred twice—it was initially triturated by myself and fellow Great Lakes Proving team-member Carol Jones in Boston in November 2010.  We triturated it to 3c to stabilize it. Then a year later I organized a Great Lakes Proving of the substance in Akron, Ohio. The provers were three women, aged 55, 47, and 35; one African American, one Iranian-British, and one Euro American. The provers did not know the identity of the substance.  After the trituration from the 3c to 6c, provers took a dose of the potentized 12c and recorded symptoms for 14 days.

The initial trituration was light, playful, and childlike with singing and a happy-go-lucky feeling.  The provers related to the bug as if it were their child (“aww—how’s our little guy?”) There were difficulties with communication and numbers, a “Mercury retrograde” feeling of miscommunication. Eventually, anxiety surfaced around ambient noises and one of the provers becoming lost in the streets after the proving and experiencing total panic. Both triturators experienced gastric symptoms – one was nauseous throughout, the other was gassy and belched constantly. She was also ravenous.

The second trituration – from the 3c to 6c - was very different. 

During this trituration, there was a discussion about germs, contagion, and vaccinations (“the stuff in vaccinations is worse than the disease”). Then the discussion went to AIDS/HIV in Africa, concerning people in Malawi or Nigeria being forced at gunpoint to vaccinate. This led to the topic of former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki challenging the dominant western view about the origins of AIDS, and seeing poverty as a cofactor in the AIDS epidemic. Provers talked about Jacques Pepin’s new book The Origins of AIDS which had just come out that same week. In this book epidemiologist Pepin traces the roots of AIDS in Africa back to the colonial health program of vaccinations in the early part of the 20th century. After careful analysis of colonial European health records, Pepin concludes that vaccinating with repeated use of glass syringes actually spread HIV from the blood of a colonial European infected with the simian virus to the indigenous West African population. The trituration discussion also touched on the prevalence of AIDS in Haiti. 

In the trituration the provers also talked about the evil eye and protection from the evil eye. One prover drew a picture of an eye. 

Mental/Emotional themes


Death/zombies/horror/the dead

Scary dreams

Evil eye/magic/psychics


Getting lost

Melancholy/ Happy go lucky


Shit, stool, gas, hemorrhoids

Pressing pain, pressure

The full proving is available on the Great Lakes Provings website:  http://www.greatlakesprovings.com/







Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. 2007. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons;Bruce Martin
Drawing: astrolabio.net; Public domain; www.astrolabio.comastrolabio.net

Patricia Maher is a homeopath practicing in Akron, Ohio. 


Categories: Provings
Keywords: death, AIDS, vaccinations, zombies, clown, hemorrhoids, stool, evil eye, Eshu/Elegba, trickster
Remedies: Acantophala terminalis


Write a comment

  • Required fields are marked with *.