Thursday, October 29, 2015

Threads of Fate

Warp or weft
Winds of Fate blow
at their own discretion
as Grandmother 
begins her
magical work

Dew hangs 
from leaf and bough.
A small voice 
raised in thoughtful expression
Who sings now?

“Strands of Time,
True Dreams,
The network of Life
thrums like a harp
beneath my nimble movements
shuttles flying
Can you hear 
my chiming dance?

my feasting board
my loom
Strung with Doorways like pearls
Shining like the Dawn of Creation
across the velvety Void…

Dreamweaver, Storyspinner
Patron of writers, artists, weavers
I can reveal Truth or
tangle you in lies and confusion.

I sing 
of spinning Worlds,
the Sacred Spiral of Life
Woven lives and loose ends 
trimmed in timely fashion.

Life is an art
We may each 
become Master crafters.
Each emotion, word and deed
 a color in our palette.
Behold your handiwork and
paint your canvas with passion!”

For those new to the game, each poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; star, stone, animal, plant etc that holds lessons of Wisdom for us. Can you guess who is singing today? Congrats to Mary Trout, Jan Neavill Hersch and Marianne West for naming this Teacher!

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties." Erich Fromm

"The world is but a canvas to the imagination."  Henry David Thoreau

"Scared? Oh, don't worry about Terry; he wouldn't hurt a fly. Well, actually, he would hurt a fly, bein' a Mexican red-kneed tarantula - Brachypelma smithii - and therefore particularly partial to flies. The point is that Terry has a bite relatively harmless to human beings, and you reacted as though he were fierce - which he isn't." Adrian "Bugsy" Malone played by Michael Palin in Fierce Creatures

Grandmother Spider is not always a welcome visitor. She is often greeted with fear, loathing, panic, and suspicion, which is actually quite extraordinary considering her small and delicate frame. In fact, most spider bites cannot hurt us in any significant way. I've been bitten on more than one occasion by a brown recluse for example, considered a very poisonous spider. What did I experience? Hot swelling in a large area around the bite, extreme itchiness, and shedding skin during the healing process. Brown recluse venom actually attacks the capillaries, causing them to collapse, so an extreme reaction to such a bite or multiple bites could cause severe damage or death. While it certainly wasn't an experience I would like to repeat, it was at most an uncomfortable couple of days with no lasting effects. Although, I was much the wiser for the experience. I now know how to avoid being bitten again and understand the brown recluse much better than I had before.

For all the fear that spiders engender in us, they are actually quite delicate creatures. If one were to drop a pet tarantula, for example, it would likely die from the impact. In my opinion, one of Spider's most important lessons is to always balance strength with gentleness. It is vital that we, humanity, learn that true strength is not force, violence, or better weapons... it is the courage and confidence to treat everyone and everything we encounter with gentleness. Yet, people the world over will react in a dramatically negative manner to the presence of even a tiny spider. Grandmother Spider certainly knows how to capture our attention and demand our respect, even when we don't understand her! What are we so afraid of?

Class Arachnida & Order Araneae, spiders are defined as predatory invertebrates. They have two body segments, eight legs, mandibles, spinnerets, and most species are capable of injecting some variety of venom into their prey. Scientists have described 37,000 different species worldwide. I will mention a few specific species, but most of our discussion will be about spiders in general. A solid study of the specific Teacher and it's general family, as well as balancing energies is always a wise choice. 

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly,

"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show you when you are there." Mary Howit

"Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the son of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

"The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of the pond, the smell of the wind itself cleansed by a midday rain, or scented with pinion pine. The air is precious to the red man, for all things are the same breath - the animals, the trees, the man."  Chief Seattle

Considered a Trickster by most cultures, nevertheless, Spider has many fine qualities and is most often connected to creativity in all forms; creation, unity, interconnectedness, balance and agility. In some cultures Spider is the Keeper of All Tales, the spinner of creation, the patron of artists and writers, the keeper of ancient languages and the secrets of communicating through writing, a master Storyteller, and the mother of lies and illusions. 

Being so intimately connected to all of Creation, it is no wonder that Spider knows the difference between Truth and Illusion without a single doubt! It is no surprise then that She can spin the most believable of lies even more easily than her silken threads, and perhaps this explains a large part of why She is greeted regularly with such negative and emotional reactions!

Spider can teach us how to navigate our sticky webs freely, but more often than not we get caught up in our own illusions, the comforting lies that we tell ourselves to rationalize the bad choices we make. Sometimes, Spider needs to trick us and lie to us to teach us Truth, and because of her nature, these can be truly profound whoppers that alter our lives in extraordinary ways. Usually, the Truth that Spider is trying so diligently to reveal to us is that the only real lies are those we have been telling ourselves.
Many Native American tribes tell stories about how 

Grandmother Spider spun the web of the physical world, bringing our world and our many people into creation. She knows that while we are each (two-leggeds, four-footeds, winged, scaled, and creepy-crawly peoples, stones and trees) unique beings, we are nevertheless United within Creation; interconnected whether we believe this or not. We are separate strands but we are not alone, together we make the web of life. 

For whatever reason, most of humanity has yet to accept this simple truth, and struggles to this very day against accepting our fellow men as equals or even our very selves as worthy! We are beginning to feel the repercussions of our insistence on standing apart, living as if superior to all the World around us, and we will not profit by these blind and arrogant attitudes. So, I have to ask you...who is deceiving whom?
The spiral within Spider's web is a reminder that all life is connected, all life is a wheel constantly turning and evolving. Grandmother Spider sits in the center of her web to remind us that all things begin with us and radiate outward. We create the world around us through our thoughts, words, and deeds, and to change anything for the better we must truly be the center of that world, stop wandering in illusions, and begin spinning our dreams into realities.

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony."  Thomas Merton

"A balanced and skillful approach to life, taking care to avoid extremes, becomes a very important factor in conducting one's everyday existence. It is important in all aspects of life." HH the Dalai Lama

"Even nectar is poison if taken to excess." Hindu proverb

The original tightrope artist, Spider can teach us how to balance all things while moving across the web of creation. This mistress of threads knows better than anyone that a truly fine line exists between most concepts. She will help us not only to see and understand those many fine threads, but to navigate between all things with supreme balance if we only put aside our fear and allow her to teach us... genius and insanity, bravery and foolishness, masculine and feminine (not all things are opposites), supporting and enabling, pride and hubris, humility and low self-esteem, strength and violence.

Reality and illusion are her specialty. To take control of our lives in a good way, we must first truly see who we are and the world we have built around us. All things must be allowed only within their proper place and measure. Are we giving too much to others and not enough to our selves? Are we thinking too much of our selves and not enough of others? Extremes should always be avoided, as even a good thing becomes bad when in excess. Love is grand but denying who we are, constantly "sacrificing" for others, or allowing ourselves to be used and abused in the name of Love is not only misguided, it is dangerous! Once we have achieved a sense of Balance, we can limber up and begin to move with the grace and agility of Grandmother Spider.

"What kind of an acrobat do you think I am? It would take me all night to write a word like that into my web." Charlotte the spider

"Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."  E.B. White

"Consider the past and you shall know the future." Chinese Proverb

Just as all things in Life are connected, so too does Infinity stretch in all directions. Spider's eight legs and her body's resemblance to the symbol for infinity is a subtle reminder. The past irrevocably influences the present, which will determine our choices, and thus our future. Who said that those who do not learn from history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them? They were right! Whether speaking individually or collectively, our past is never truly left behind. It will only be a positive influence in our current and future lives if we pay attention and learn from our mistakes. Perhaps this is why the humble Spider has been a symbol of Fate practically since the beginning of history! The three Fates or Norns spin, weave and cut the lifelines of each individual upon the earth, and Spider is their mascot and messenger. We would be wise to heed her!

There are many tales of Anansi the trickster spider, one of which tells how he became the Keeper of All Stories. The Seneca also believe that Spider created and taught us the concept of an alphabet so that we might communicate better and keep a written record of our histories and lessons. Even E.B. White's infamous Charlotte is famous not so much for her gentle and generous self, but for all that she communicated to us by writing within her web. In fact, spiders have been connected to lost languages, symbolism, secret alphabets and codes, dreams, and the written word in general over and over again around the globe.

Spider people, like Spider herself, can be rather shy, or perhaps a better description would be more solitary than social, and quiet individuals... but they carry a wealth of expression within their souls that must find release through creativity. Artists, crafters, musicians, teachers, and especially wordsmiths are watched over by this Teacher. It is often beneficial for such people to study languages, numerology or other forms of communication, and the number eight is significant to such people.

Circulation is often an important issue to Spider people, most especially those called by a spider whose venom affects circulation. Blueberries, raspberries, black berries, linseed, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, red clover, broccoli, plums, currants, foods rich in vitamins A, C and E, Garlic, Ginger, Cayenne, fennel, beetroot and watercress are all good for stimulating or cleansing our circulation. As is regular exercise.

Spider blood differs from human blood in some interesting ways. Firstly, because it has a copper center to the atoms of it's blood rather than iron, a spider's blood oxidizes blue, or blue/green, rather than red. Blue is the color of the Spirit Road. It is also the color associated with spirituality in general, hope, honor (true blue), loyalty

A fossilized spider found in amber is the first fossil found to contain blood from that long ago era. ( With the technology available now, one can't help wondering what yet to be discovered truths will be revealed to us through this Teacher. Whether or not you consider yourself a Spider person, everyone can benefit by becoming friendly with Grandmother Spider and there are many ways you can connect to her. Read about the hundreds of fascinating spiders in the world and their many unique habits.

Contemplate the artistic beauty found within a spider web. Did you know that there are different types of web designs and that not all spiders spin webs? Keep a journal, especially for your dreams. Explore the written word, the worlds it can create and how it can form a bridge from one being to the next. Express yourself, be creative, and most importantly be aware that you hang in the center of your own life's web! Without the creative aspect in our lives, we begin to feel drained and lifeless, and will soon be dangerously off balance. And without Balance, we cannot walk the web with ease, remember? Balance, communication (especially written, creativity, illusion, divine inspiration, mystery, wisdom and magic are all key concepts for this amazing Teacher. How does Spider appear in your life?

"Do you realize that if I didn't eat them, bugs would get so numerous, they'd destroy the Earth? Spiders are really VERY useful creatures."  Charlotte the spider

"Spider Woman used the clay of the earth, red, yellow,
white, and black, to create people. To each she attached
a thread of her web which came from the doorway at
the top of her head. This thread was the gift of
creative wisdom."  Navajo creation story

Wilbur: "Are you writers?"
Charlotte's daughters: "No, but we will be when we grow up."
Wilbur: "Then write this in your webs, when you learn: This hallowed doorway was once the home of Charlotte. She was brilliant, beautiful, and loyal to the end. Her memory will be treasured forever."
Charlotte's daughters: "Ooh, that would take us a lifetime."
Wilbur: "A lifetime. That's what we have."

Keywords: Deception, Illusion, Creation, Life/Death/Rebirth cycle, Fate, Cunning, Protection, Dreams/Nightmares, Web of Life, the Void, Transmuting Poison or Fear, Feminine Energy, Shadow Work/Energy, Balance, Communication, Storytelling, Mystery/Secrets, Magic, Creativity, Crafting, Luck, Astral Projection 

Associated with: Dreamcatchers and the Medicine Wheel. Weaving and other craftings (especially with thread), basketry, writing. Anansi, Teotihuacan, Arachne, Araidne, Athena, the Fates, the Norns, Maya, Neith, Atargatis, Biliku, Holda/Hulda, Inktomi, Kokyangwuti, Spider Woman, Coatlique, Ishtar, Grandmother Spider, Arianrhod. (Contemporary fictional figures) Charlotte, St Felix, Shelob, Lolth, Aragog, Spiderman, Spiderwoman, Venom, Scarlet Spider, 

Potential Balancing Energies: Insects like Flies, Gnats, Bees, Wasps, Beetles, Ants, Dragonflies, Preying Mantis and Assasin Bugs. Lepidoptera. Earthworms. Other spiders. Birds like Crow, Hummingbirds, Bahama Mockingbirds, Smith's Longspur, Redwinged Blackbirds, White Breasted Nuthatch, and Curve Billed Thrashers. Lizards, reptiles, and amphibians like Frog and Toad. Plants like Spider plants, Pine, Lemon, Osage, Willow, Banana, Horse Chesnut, Garlic, Goldenrod, Grevillea, and Fungi. Animals like Cats, Dogs, Shrews, Monkeys, Deer, Bandicoots, and Bats. Fish. Stones, gems and minerals like Spider Jasper, Amber, Spider-web Obsidian, and Alexandrite. Red Spider Nebula in the Sagitarius constellation.  


  1. Replies
    1. Grandmother Spider has been good to me and I enjoy writing about her :) Glad you enjoyed and so grateful you took the time to not only play but also share your thoughts. Thank you Jan!