“Receiving Spider Medicine: Overcoming Our Fears and Saying I’m Sorry” by Pheonyx Roldan Smith
One day I “met” an eight-legged friend in the middle of the floor of the bedroom that measured about 2.5 inches across. I didn’t exactly take out the measuring tape and ask it for its measurements, but it would have easily expanded the center of the palm of my hand. I asked it to not go anywhere while I went and retrieved a glass and a piece of cardboard for a capture and release approach. I tossed it out filled with emotions of irksomeness and gratefulness. At least I knew I would sleep better knowing she would not be hovering about in my bedroom. The next morning, I woke up to find that it had taken residence in a 3 foot wide web between the branches hanging over the entrance portico of the Hermitage. Although, I do have to say that it looked even bigger and more looming hanging on a practically invisible web 12 feet up in the air. But she gave me some nice things to meditate on that morning, the spider in the sky, as I sat on the mat gazing out into the adjacent garden.
Later that day, while sitting and working on the book, a tiny crew of tiny newborn eight-legged-ones apparently on a search and discovery mission floated in with the breeze on tiny threads of angelic like silk threads through the window facing my writing desk. I smiled at their adventurous, wind-swept nature. Like I said, it was a tiny crew of a half a dozen or more baby arachnids which apparently got separated from the rest of the brood. They were barely much bigger than flecks of dust really. Small enough to hardly irritate or do me any harm, so I simply observed them as they floated to the floor and continued on their search for greener pastures.
But then! Later that evening I was visited by Miss 2.5-Inch-Lady-Long-Legs not-so-little sister. She was black, about half the size and sonic speed-like fast. As I walked back into the bedroom from the kitchen, there she stood, I think also a bit startled by the giant that walked into the room. The floors in the Hermitage are a shiny white ceramic tile, so even a speck of dirt, or occasional gecko (think lizard) poo on the floor beckons like blackbird against a clouded sky. So, miss midnight crawler’s presence was quite eerily pronounced. In fact, this one kinda made me want to let out a little shriek (don’t judge me) when I saw her.
She sat for a moment contemplating me, as did her, while I considered my movements and my options on how to un-invite yet another eight-legged guest. I asked her, as I did her long-legged predecessor, to just sit still before turning to retrieve a spider capturing device, an empty glass and piece of cardboard paper. However, as soon as I began to turn, miss black-speedy-legs shot towards the direction of the bed. I startled and thought to myself in that split second… “Oh, no m’am, I’m sorry, that is not going to work!” I immediately played out the idea of lying in bed while she ministered below me just waiting to pounce upon a toe or the tip of my nose while I attempted to sleep in HER new-found cotton and polyfill abode.
And thus with my sleep, sanity and now psychological survival at stake, my body jumped into flight mode as I instinctively leapt into the air lacking any grace or decorum, and came to pounce upon her before she was able to complete her marathon sprint to the leg of the bed. Sadly, the sound of my flip-flop slapping ceramic also meant the end of her days of running. I lifted my foot sullenly and apologetically scooped her up with a tissue and gave her a watery burial to sea via la toilette (sounds more respectful and “funerally” when you say it in French, yes?). I felt really bad. I really did because in the end, I know that spiders are generally good. And from a Native American “animal medicine” perspective, spiders represent a great deal of good. However, I had to make a lightning-flash judgment call on that one, and the fact that she began to run made me think that she must have been guilty of something. I mean, right?!
All joking aside, however, I said my prayers and few ho’oponoopo’s (see http://www.thereisaway.org/Ho%27oponopono_cleaning_meditation.htm for more on that), and cleared both my conscience and, with hope, my karma with a bit of that. At least now I knew I would be able to sleep in peace should and when the time came.
Oh Joy would my journey with Mother Spider be complete following the day’s episodes. However, the next day the word must have gotten out to the insect kingdom that one of their own have been demonized, judged, condemned and executed by the hands (well, in this case foot really) by one of “the humans”. All day little eight-leg creatures kept popping up and either landing on (or near) me as if deployed from some B-12 spider bomber above. Or I simply, I would find them walking right across my path pausing to look up at me as if to say “We see you.” It’s almost as if I could feel the stare of those multiple sets eyes burning a hole through my obviously less evolved pair of oculars. I just looked back at the little buggers, nod and say, “I see you, too. It wasn’t my fault. She ran. I was scared. I’m sorry. Now no biting. And no going into the house.”
And thus, it came to me to reflect upon the meaning of all this, for I know everything is here to teach and/or reveal something to us. And when the patterns and signs of something occurring becomes too obvious to ignore, it’s time to do some inner looking to see what both Nature and her amazing creative cohort, the Universe, has to reveal. I also know that, according to the Native Americans and more than a few other indigenous nature-based cultures, the sacred spider holds significant purpose and meaning as a symbol of vast creativity, ingenuity and transformative change.
The author by the name of “Spider Woman” writes…
“There are many different stories on whom this legend is and the medicine [the spider] offers; the symbolism is usually quite similar and always (in my research) feminine. As I go through life, I continue to learn about her, and am constantly reminded of how I relate to and teach through her medicine. In many of the Native American folklore, Grandmother Spider was the woman who, out of her dreams, created the earth and the people who reside here (energy and the power of creativity). She is known as a great teacher, storyteller, as well as a protector and keeper of knowledge.
In her web she brought the alphabet to us (a form of communication and learning), as well as the ancient language of geometric shapes. In her web, she weaves the connections of past, present, and future (time) together. The web is spun in spirals, and she generally sits in the middle of it, gathering patience for things to come. As she waits there, she reminds us that we are all the center of our own world, but keeping in mind that we have a strong interaction with the rest of the universe. The web also represents the medicine wheel and the wheel of life. The web is constantly changing by what the universe brings to it, as mother spider begins her web anew each day. However, not all spiders weave webs, but they all produce silk, which is one of the strongest materials known to man, and is in liquid form when inside the spider itself. Also, not all silk is sticky, only those on the outside of the web (to snare prey). Silk is used in other ways too: to make egg sacks, for draglines, and for ballooning (floating though the air to a new place). The spider knows to follow the most direct route.
Each spider has eight legs, which also form the number eight (8). When you see the number written, you will notice that it forms the infinity symbol, which encompasses all of time (past, present, and future). I believe that if you break down what infinity really is, it’s just unconditional love and the energy of it. The eight legs are also representative of the four winds of change and the four directions. The body of the spider has two oval or round parts, also forming the number eight, and can represent the flow from one circle of life to another; death and rebirth; change. As the spider grows, it sheds its outer layer just as we let go of the things in life that we no longer need and which no longer serve us.”
As I often like to say… it’s all very fascinating. Life IS fascinating. The beings in, on and within this amazingly intricately woven web of life on Earth is fascinating. We can either fear it, or we can come to try to understand and appreciate it even more. Now granted, we all still hold a certain level of fear and doubt sometimes when the time comes to practice. Sometimes we have to make split decisions and instinctual safety/boundary/self-preservation judgments. But even in those times we are given the opportunity to reflect on both the consequences and/or the rewards of our decisions.
All life is temporary, says the Buddha. Most of life’s suffering is illusionary, a concept of the mind as we navigate the field of infinite potentials in this lifetime. And when it’s done, it’s done, and all life moves on. No point in lamenting the inherent “loss” of it, for all of it has the potential to give us so much more to gain in wisdom, insight and life experience. And if you should make a decision that seems not to honor the life of another… through thoughts, through words, through action… then you have the opportunity to make amends within the life, or rest assured such amends will be made some time in the hereafter, or at some place in between. That is the basic rule and understanding of the Universal Law of Karma. It’s all about balance.
And thus, I dedicate this writing to all the little (and not so little) bits and pieces of Life which I have so offended and/or extinguished. May you be recognized if not re-ignited into the cosmic threads of the Universe as I ask for the grace of your forgiveness. And I thank you for the immense lessons your coming (and perhaps leaving) have offered me. I accept these gifts of both light and dark experiences and weave them into the web of my own temporal and eternal Be-ingness. I balance the flow of all Life by allowing it to flow into, out of and through my daily experience, and I offer up these words and concepts to others so that they too may increase in their awareness to do the same.
Thank you all for listening. Thank you even more so for caring and participating in the act of sharing as we each weave our own beautiful webs into the greater cosmic fabric of Life. Blessings, love and happy weaving, Pheonyx
To read more about Pheonyx’s reflections on his journey and observations on his trip around the globe visit http://theocgproject.com/ocg365/travel-journal, and we invite you to share this with others.
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