After a 10-week healing period and a steep learning curve, I feel compelled to recount my experience and hopefully help others to avoid a similar encounter. I never saw the spider or felt the bite. Had I known that this was possible, I would have been more careful……
The brown recluse spider grows to a maximum of 3/8” to ½” (1.3 cm). It is a light chocolate brown, kind of shiny; sometimes called Fiddleback due to a violin-shaped back (upside down). From young to mature the brown color darkens. What defines them is 3 pairs rather than 4 pairs of eyes. Their webs are small, disorganized and grey, usually found in cracks and corners. The web is for living and storing eggs, not trapping prey. These spiders can be found in rotting bark, attics, basements, closets, sheds, woodpiles, shoes, dressers, cardboard boxes, behind pictures, in unused beds. Once found only in southern states, the brown recluse has migrated north and been spotted more frequently in Canada over the past 10 years. Not aggressive, this spider only bites when threatened. They are nocturnal, hunting at night. Long-lived, they can go for months without eating and need only mate once to produce eggs their whole life.
The Poison Control Center assured me that I was mistaken and that what I was experiencing was a staph infection. The medical community does not recognize the existence of this spider in Canada and sightings are very rare. Nevertheless I have been in contact with 4 other people who have been bitten in British Columbia.
I have always considered spiders to be my friends. I love sacred geometry and I find that spiders create the most beautiful works of art. However, after a busy summer of 2015, I realized that my home was beginning to look like a spook-house. With great intention to roust out lurking critters, I unpacked and sprayed moth repellent in all my closets and linen storage. I then energetically vacuumed in places that had been undisturbed for as much as 2-3 years.
I had been seeing Dr. Willo Walker every 2 weeks receiving acupuncture treatments. So when I noticed a little red spot on my leg, I decided to wait for my next appointment and ask Willo if this might be from a needle. What had been a tiny red dot was growing more angry-looking each day. Willo assured me this was not from a needle and was likely a spider bite. After many questions and looking at internet pictures, we concluded that it must be a Brown Recluse Spider Bite. Oh no!!
Spiders do not have a stomach. For nourishment, they inject their prey with venom, which turns the flesh to jelly for easy consumption. To say a spider is poisonous is a misnomer.
Armed with Willo’s instructions to apply Chinese herbs that draw and absorb while also preventing infection, I faithfully began applying poultices twice a day, bandaging carefully. Because I had waited, the damage to my skin continued to deepen for some time – this is called necrosis. After a week, I became alarmed that this method was not working fast enough and changed course. I switched to a remedy made up from my own research on the internet. The combination was activated charcoal and ground flax seed. The charcoal is excellent for drawing out venom. The flax seed also draws, but is very helpful when (gross alert) pealing the application off of a deep open wound. I should have included goldenseal and perhaps should have stayed with Willo’s herbs. Infection was setting in and I knew that I needed help.
As my condition worsened, I began changing the activated charcoal poultice every 4 hours. Infection was setting in and I now had another, much bigger, open sore. I was lucky that this bite occurred near my ankle, so far from vital organs. I watched for the telltale sign that infection might be going septic. The sign is a red streak going up the inner thigh, which indicates blood poisoning.
I went to the Hornby Island clinic and was lucky to be seen by our wonderful nurse, Tammy Campbell. She gave me antibiotic ointment and a course of oral tablets, along with some good sterile bandages. Her advice was to go to Emergency. We both knew I needed debridement and that would require freezing. Once the infection was debrided, I was able to care for my wound, applying antibiotic ointment with each dressing. In all I was on antibiotics for about 3 weeks.
I now believe that the antibiotics merely suppressed the action of the venom. Once I finished the course, my wound advanced rapidly. My body was trying to flush out the toxins and water poured from my leg. Unfortunately this toxic substance leaked onto my other leg. In no time at all, I had what looked like a chemical burn from the knees down. This eventually spread to my hands and, although the original wound was healing, I now had a rash all over my body that was excruciatingly itchy. My hands and feet were swollen and I had baby diapers wrapped around my legs. What a mess.
Wondering why I hadn’t thought of it before, I decided to call Dave Cowan. Dave has been a teacher and friend since 2003. There is no string of letters after his name, but he is an accomplished, capable, very down-to-earth healer. Dave instructed me to make my own homeopathic remedy using venom that I was able to extract from my spider bite. I added 2 parts vodka to 8 parts distilled water and put a dropper-full under my tongue. 4 hours later I gently removed the wrappings from my legs. I was astonished to find that the liquid had stopped pouring and scabs were beginning to form. This was where I turned a corner from despair to quite a rapid recovery. Dave worked with my on skype. It was important to answer the question “why did this happen to me?” He is a master dowser. You can read about all that he accomplishes in a healing on his website: www.bluesunenergetics.net. His guidance was immeasurable.
My tips for dealing with a Brown Recluse spider bite:
- Ice immediately
- Extract as much venom as you can as quickly as possible
- I highly recommend balm and essential oil combo from AscendedHealth.com. These people are very supportive and their products very effective.
- Homeopathic remedy. Make your own or order from Hahnemann Pharmacy.
- Internally I was taking a strong probiotic to counteract the antibiotics, activated charcoal tablets to de-activate venom, iron (because the venom attacks red blood cells), vitamin C and D3.
- At night I kept my legs out in the cool air to minimize itching. Apple cider vinegar relieves itching to a point. The best I found was bathing in Epsom Salt. This relieved swelling and itch for several hours.
- Cutting does not help
- Antibiotics do not help
- Heat does not help
I feel very grateful for all the good help I had when dealing with something so random and scary. Just remember that this spider is not agressive. When approaching cracks, crevices, wood piles, closets or long-unused shoes – give plenty of warning, shine a light, shake, shake, shake. If you see a brown recluse, it would be helpful to get a picture so that more people will accept the fact that they do exist all over Canada and the US.
The astrological picture for this event is clear and instructive. Approximately 28 years ago, saturn was in Sagittarius, as it is now. Saturn in my sun sign is not fun. We saggies like our freedom to move, to travel and say far too much. Also, like that time back in 1987/88, the nodes are conjoining my nodes in reverse. Not only that – since my nodes are only 4 degrees off my ascendant, this configuration sets off the whole chart and in addition, my Ascendant being 0 Libra, it connects with the Aries Point and my event becomes public knowledge. In 1988 I was in India, riding on my moped. It is a tricky business navigating the little ridges between rice paddies. I lost my balance and went careening off the edge of a rice paddy, landing on my side, with the exhaust pipe leaning on my right leg. This resulted in a 3rd degree burn covering a good portion of my calf. This was difficult to care for in that climate and I developed gangrene. Interesting that this burn (I still have a faint scar) is a mirror image of the left leg now healing from the spider bite.
There were other events at that time which were similar to current events, but the point is that the nodes in reverse meant a healing crisis and saturn in my sun sign definitely curbed my enthusiasm.
Back to present time now looking at the spider event, there were several planets in attendance with transiting north node. Venus, Jupiter and mars were in Virgo (my 12th house). None of these planets have dignity there. I realize now that there were forces at work beyond my awareness. There is always a deeper reason for a crisis like this. These planets are usually the friends that save me from peril but all were temporarily disempowered. Even the transiting moon (my spidey sense) was conjunct neptune and somehow shrouded.
Pluto has been transiting my 4th house and more recently, my mars in the 4th over the past 2 years. The spider did bite me while I was working in my home. Brown recluse is a rather plutonian name, I would say…..
Most interesting was the position of Arachne, conjunct my pluto in the 11th house and squaring my natal moon.
If all of that were not enough, I think it’s important to mention the bigger picture. I do consider the progressed moon to be a general timing device. For the past 2 years progressed moon has been transiting my 12th house in Virgo and in the last couple of months has contacted my south node. Having nodes in the 12th/6th and Virgo/Pisces has meant for me that service is meditation is duty is spirituality. The moon has been illuminating this most important aspect of my life. Now contacting my south node, she reminds me of the tools I came in with, where I came from and why. I could say that 28 years ago I zigged when I should have zagged. I could also say that in present time, I was caught up in the nuts and bolts of the 6th house, forgetting to balance with reflection and perspective that comes from the 12th. On both occasions, I found myself immobilized, affording many hours to just be with myself. Back then, I did not heed saturn’s call for another 7 years. This time I do recognize the challenge to renew my faith. There is certainly a lot to be cynical about, but it is not my job to convert anyone. I’ll have plenty to do with a mandate of kind awareness.