I have mentioned before in my post “Revelation of the Bee” that one of my most important animal totems is Spider. I have also mentioned that I have an overwhelming fear of Spiders. One day I will not cringe at their sight and hide my eyes (only to see their ghastly forms glowing on the insides of my eyelids), but I will always fear them. I am writing this post because for the past few days I feel as though Spider has been trying to get my attention. I thought about writing a post on this topic just yesterday. I am doing it now because, while sitting up late surfing the web a tiny spider has been apparently crawling on my laptop and I did only just notice it in the upper right corner of the screen. Even as I write this it explores the strange, flat, light-emitting surface (from it’s perspective at least).
Spiders have been attracted to me lately. I have had 3 encounters with them at work, twice or all three times it could have been the same one. Yesterday, my partner and I began playing a video game called Dragon Age and one of the first tasks is to clear out a cave full of giant spiders. I can handle the graphics okay, but they are creepy. When one descended from the ceiling of the cave unexpectedly I almost threw up. While playing the same game tonight, a tiny tiny spider descended upon a silk thread onto my leg. That must have been a long drop for it. After a moment of chilling out it flew away on another silky strand on the current of our air conditioner. I have a feeling that the spider visiting my laptop is the same one, or else an egg sack has just hatched and my house will be filled with these guys soon. At least they will bring good luck… but mostly creepiness.
Part of me is honored to have attracted Her attention, the Grandmother Weaver of the Great Below. She is keeper of the mysteries of weaving, writing, poisons and traps. Her silk is among the strongest materials in the world, and Her sacred number 8 shows that Her dominion exists in all the directions of the world. She is a mother of many, many children. It’s been said that you are no more than 5 feet away from a Spider at any given time.
I had an encounter in the Underworld with what I would call Grandmother Weaver, or at least one of her daughters. It was my first experience of what people call “Shamanic Journey”. I wrapped myself in a blanket leaving no flesh exposed and I began hyperventilating, projecting my consciousness into the Otherworld. I found myself in the Underworld (I seem to be drawn towards chthonic realms). After passing through several gates and challenges, I entered into a large throne room carved out from the stone. As I approached the throne, a giant spider reminiscent of Shelob dropped from the ceiling, pushed me up against the wall and began to weave a cocoon about me. It was here that I knew my astral journey was not make-believe, and however mental it may have been it was indeed real. I pulled together my strength and tore free from the trap and tore the Spider’s body away from my vision. The Spider was gone, but in its place stood another Goddess, a stronger Goddess, one whose eventual embrace we shall never be able to avoid. We talked and she asked why I feared Spider more than her.
It’s something I wasn’t sure of and I am still trying to figure it out. There is a picture of me as an infant in Halloween costume. I am sitting next to a jack-o-lantern with a giant, fuzzy plastic spider on it. When I first saw this picture as an adult it astounded me to see myself so innocent and ambivalent to what would become my greatest phobia.
Spider embodies my Fear.
I need to work with the Weaver Below more often. I believe I must come before Her with humility. I think that from her venom I can brew a great medicine. Fear has held me back. I don’t think Weaver holds me back. I think She pushes me forward. I am scared so I place that fear on Her. And she is frightening, but not the source of my fear. Maybe if I give her an offering of my fear in the form of flies and moths she will devour them.
My good friend has a book from childhood about the life of a Spider. The book opens with a mother Spider spinning her egg sack and, with her final and most important act done, she dies. The next Spring, the Spiders hatch within the sack. They are tiny and begin to eat off the weaker ones to sustain their strength (the story was brutally honest about Nature for a children’s book). The book continues to follow the story of one spider when she and her brothers and sisters break out of the sack. She goes on and lives in a garden and eventually ends up spinning the same egg sack her mother spun and perishing after her greatest deed. The cycle of life continues.
I know Spider holds the key to my creativity too. She is a great artist, after all. One day soon I shall go meet her, Down-Below, maybe on a dark-moon night when the door to the Underworld is wide-open. I hope that She knows the way to help break me free from my own tangled web. If She wants to eat me instead, so be it.