Sunday, July 6, 2014

Spider Tale

On Tuesday, I was bitten by what I assume was a spider ~ several times ~ as it walked across my shoulder. I'm not sure where it happened because I didn't notice the bites for awhile. How do I know, you may ask? Because my system has a way of reacting to the bites. The bitten area swells and gets warm. If I start on diphenhydramine (generic name for Benadryl), the symptoms go away. I didn't take it right away so it took a couple of days for things to settle down completely. Today, another one bit me on the palm of my hand... probably upset because I was unknowingly washing it down the drain as I washed my hands.

I believe it's safe to assume that Grandmother Spider is wanting me to listen to Her. So I decided to check into what Spider means to different cultures. My calling Her Grandmother Spider comes from one Native American tradition where She is a wise teacher. In India, She is associated with Maya, or Illusion, reminding us that things are not always as they seem. In Egypt, She is the goddess Neith in Her aspect as the weaver of destiny, and the recreation of the dawn and dusk of each day. She is associated with the Babylonian goddess Ishtar and the Greek goddess Athena. Probably the most famous spider story is the story of Arachne, whose pride drove her to challenge Athena and eventually to becoming the first spider. In some African traditions, the spider is Anansi ~ anglicized as Aunt Nancy or Sister Nancy ~ often a trickster whose tales are morals lessons. Spiders are clan totems in Australia and are depicted in rock and bark paintings. In the cosmology of the native people of the Gilbert Islands, Nareau, Lord Spider, created the universe; as does Areop-Enap, Old Spider, in the tales of the Nauru islanders of Micronesia. In an Islamic oral tradition, Mohammed hides in a cave and is protected from those chasing him by a spider sent by Allah to weave a web over the opening; Jewish tradition has a similar tale protecting David. In the Druidic tradition, Spider is the guardian of the ancient language and the alphabet. [An especially significant connection for me!!] Those are examples of the diverse cultures who honor the Spider.

Since my reaction to spiders has shifted recently (due to my body's reactions!), I found myself looking into the 'shadow side' of the meaning of Spider in my life. Particularly, the need to bring hidden things into the Light. For me, that even can refer to my creativity ~ which I often let rest somewhere other than in the Light. It's not quite that I 'hide' it as much as I allow it to go dormant. During those times, it sits in a darkened corner, ignored and fading. Perhaps it's time to keep it in the Light. My next step is to travel into the Dreamtime with Her and talk with Her.

How do you react to a Spider? What does Spider mean to you? Is there a creative challenge She brings to your life? or is there another story in it for you?

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