Spider entered my path this weekend; not in the usual “see on the wall” kind of way. Instead, it was the result of a bad fall on the sidewalk of life – only this time it was of the concrete type. I fell directly on both knees and face which I quickly realized was one of those “bad falls”. A woman pulled into the driveway near where I was sitting/laying and got out of her car. She was older, dressed in one of those brightly colored tunic tops; her reddish short hair possibly with a scarf in it as I recall. Actually, I remember wondering if she lived in the house and was just returning home. Stopping for me was not in my radar. She walked over and said, “This happened to me two years ago and no one stopped for a long time. I remember just laying there and no one came.” I thanked her angel presence and assured her that I could make the short walk home. The last few days have been spent figuring out how to walk up steps and get on and off chairs as my knees were quite painful. Just on the verge of Memorial Day weekend, I’d planned many activities/tasks that “really needed to get done” and looked forward to time with my family. Things were now different and I sat there in frustration and tension created from the negative emotions. One of the healing tools that I frequently use with clients is what I call “my animal cards”. These cards were created within a mystical and historical context and have been “right on” for many in challenging situations. Now, I was the one who needed guidance. Spider was chosen – the keynote: Creativity and the Weaving of Fate. I did some research about Spider medicine and found deep secrets embedded. That’s the magic in these cards – it’s all about what is awakened or related to by the individual. According to Ted Andrews in Animal Speaks, in India, it was associated with Maya, the weaver of illusion. It has connections to the Fates in Greek mythology and the Norns in Scandinavian lore – women who would weave, measure and cut the threads of life. To the Native Americans, spider is grandmother, the link to the past and the future.
The body of the spider has 2 sections which gives the appearance of an eight when on it’s side. This is the symbol of infinity. It is the wheel of life, flowing from one circle to the next. It isn’t always easy navigating those circles or balance between past and future, male and female, physical and spiritual. Spider is the symbol of infinite possibilities of creation. Do I want to caught up into the web and become dinner, succoming to the illusion of just one perspective or be open to other dimensions to the situation? Why did this happen to me now? Now what am I going to do? Of course, I did that for awhile and noticed the impact of that negative thinking pattern. This is an all too familiar road for most of us humans – probably since the first stories of spider appeared. This web of fate also represents a wheel of life, the tendency to polarize (good or bad, all or nothing approach) With this line of thinking we forget that we can change things at any time rather than being consumed by our fears and limitations.
Spider symbolizes creativity. Creativity is the antidote to stress is the phrase I often repeat to others. Suddenly the idea to CREATE takes on a new perspective for me. Funny how that happens when we are busy making other plans. Andrews states that spider, because of its characteristics is associated with three expressions of magic: the energy of creation, creative power, reflected in its ability to spin a silken web,and assertiveness of that creative force: keeping the creative energies of creation alive and strong. The third expression involves the spiders spiral energies. “Are you moving towards a central goal or are you scattered and going in different directions?” This may involve looking at ourselves with reflection and asking ourselves some questions. Are you over focused on others or too self absorbed in your own matters? Do you notice the emotion of resentment in your life? Balance and creativity are key concepts to learn about spider totems. Totems are another term for spirit animal to help us in our life journeys. We have close connections to nature in all aspects of our lives, what we eat, wear, love and nurture. Respecting what animals symbolize is powerful, positive and fun! When things aren’t going as we want, seek out ways to connect with your animal totem. In my case, I am stepping up my creativity by spending time thinking about my creative abilities and asking the question “Are there new ways to be creative at this moment?” Thinking positively can be very creative when it is not your norm.
Earlier this week, I was drawn to review a book by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, The Wheel of Life. She is known for her groundbreaking work on death and dying and teaching others about the stages of grief and loss. Her work with terminally ill adults and children helped “humanize” medical settings in how they approached the dying process. In this book she writes about her own dying process, the suffering she experienced over a long period of time and how she applied her own principles to herself. She felt a purpose for what she was experiencing despite the angst. She summarizes her life truths very succinctly: “The sole purpose of life is to grow – the ultimate lesson is learning how to love and be loved unconditionally. ” All the hardships that come to your life, all the tribulations, and nightmares, all the things you see as punishments from God are in reality like gifts – they are an opportunity to grow – which is the sole purpose of life.” Taking steps to love self and others…basically the base of therapy and recovery from stress and trauma. I remember being on the same elevator as Elisabeth during a conference she was speaking at in Winnipeg in the early 1980’s. She was a very small woman with a German accent whom I knew little about; but this moment was one of those unforgettable memories of life to appreciate now. Sometimes the rug is pulled out from under you; whether the size is big or small, these rug moments make you pay attention.