Spider to the Rescue!
At Home With Spider: Protection
I was utterly charmed watching 'Charlotte's Web' this weekend, the film of the book by E.B. White (it can take me the longest time to catch up with the rest of the world & Wilbur the Pig). It reminded me of a workshop I ran years ago around making dreamcatchers, touching on myths & legends based on spiders and their web-making.
This rather large chappy hangs from the handle just inside my front door. I learned today that, 'if spider appears in your life' it's time to confront your fears rather than suppress or run from them. Good to know, as I was in hiding - whenever the relentless onslaught of Smart-phone trolls gets more than I can bear, I go into shock & into retreat, feeling defeated. Amazing to learn that a spider spinning a web across the cave mouth where Robert the Bruce was hiding after his defeat in battle, gave him the resolve to keep going; to persist; to try, try, try again, which resulted in his winning the Battle of Bannockburn. Hoorah! I also came across another escape story, a biblical one featuring David running for his life pursued by King Saul's men. He hid in a cave, too, into which a spider crawled, creating a web right across the entrance. Soldiers found the cave, but seeing the web was undisturbed, they reckoned no-one was inside. Phew! Just like Charlotte saving Wilbur's bacon!
Seems the Lakota & Dakota Indians believed that adding a spider web as decoration on their bodies protected them from bullets & arrows - going right through the mesh & their bodies; also, just as a web is invisible in certain lights, they believed the symbol conferred upon them the same aspect. I'm not about to go out and get a tattoo, but I did go out and make a point of looking for spider webs in my garden.
I remember, many years ago, sitting my friend's little boy on my hip and going out into her garden to look at the hundreds of webs between her box shrubs. I hadn't realized the little boy had a handful of grass in his hand which he confettied in the direction of one of the webs we were standing beside. Oh, No! I saw 2 pieces of grass land on the web & felt terrible. No worries! Spider came out to see what all the fuss was about; marched over to the quivering bit of green & simply flicked it out! Wow! I was so impressed, and relieved.
Years ago, a friend bought me this dreamcatcher that we'd come across hanging from a tree at an event where we were camping. The owner, who'd just made it & was reluctant to part with it, so we left it; but my friend went back & managed to persuade the lady to let it go. The way to make it special, to make it work specifically for you, filtering out the bad dreams, letting only the good come through, is to add something of yourself. I added a couple of glass dolphins, bright sun, and a little enamel cloud with tiny falling rain. I love it's rough naturalness & the fact it was given with love.
Upon My Word... Charlotte's Web was all about Friendship: the little girl saving the runt from slaughter; seeing good in that which was so readily rejected; the power of a promise & keeping one's word; the power of words themselves: 'radiant' & 'humble', indeed.
The Web of Communication
Many cultures & myths attribute the beginning of the written word / alphabets to a spider's web, in which can be seen every letter we know, most especially the ancient Ogham alphabet. In ancient India it was believed that a large Spider wove the web that is our universe - sitting at its centre, pulling all the strings, fully in control. It was believed that one day Spider will devour the Web /Universe and spin another in its place. The World Wide Web makes communication possible over vast distances - spinning away in homes and businesses everywhere, making so much possible that wasn't even dreamt of before.
It's fun dipping into the web of cultural beliefs from all around the world. African culture weaves in the trickster quality behind Spider, or Anansi, who causes mischief, spinning yarns, tricking many in the process, though wisdom can yet be gained from that. Hopi Indians believe Spider Woman, Goddess of the Earth, made the first man & woman out of clay. Chinese culture holds that finding a spider in the morning will bring happiness, and wealth, if found in the evening.
I have similar issues, and am grateful for the focus & purpose of this project, which has given me so much already. In spite of being afeared of the little critters, I am also able to admire them, and what they do. I marvelled at the cluster of tiny babies I found on my drainpipe just a short while before this project started - I wasn't able to get close up enough, or get a good picture, but I wanted some kind of record at the amazing-ness of their being there at all - so conspicuous! It was an amazing part of the film, at the end, when the babies finally emerge and take off in separate ways - out on a limb and a swing of some thread; natural born abseilers!