Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spider Woman says "hello"

 "Ts’its’tsi’nako, Thought-Woman, the Spider,
    is sitting in her room thinking of a story now:
    I'm telling you the story she is thinking."

        Keresan Pueblo Proverb

I have made an unfinished mask face that looks very much like an old, strong, Native American woman, and I've been unsure of what goddess the face should become.  I belong to an on-line group that is researching and exchanging information about goddess myths that reflect "spirit of place" and themes of ecology especially, as we explore ideas for a performance in the future.  This morning a Macha shared an article by her colleague, Rachael Watcher, Public Information Officer at Covenant of the Goddess (COG),  about her recent participation in a conference that took place in India.   Its theme this year was "Nourishing the Balance of the Universe - a gathering of the Elders".   

I thought of one of my favorite "Elder" stories, Grandmother Spider Woman,  who weaves and re-weaves many different threads into harmony and pattern with the stories she spins about how the world is, and might become.  I thought about "Spider Woman's Cross", a motif  woven often into  Navajo rugs, which represents balance, the union of the 4 Directions.  This cross motif has ancient origins, as does the "spider and cross" so often found in ornaments of the prehistoric Mississippian peoples.  Perhaps the earliest Spider Woman/Weaver is to be found among Mayan art, where she  probably represents the Earth Mother. 

Then it occurred to me that, of course, the new face would become a mask for Spider Woman.  It's the best myth I can think of  to talk about ecology, and the interconnectedness of life. And with that thought in mind, it being morning, with cup in hand  I walked outside and immediately saw a magnificent, ambitious spiderweb woven right behind  the back of the chair I sit on to drink my coffee! 

I can't tell you how many synchronicities involving webs and spiders have happened to me since  Spider Woman became my Mythic Mentor.  In fact, as I developed art inspired by stories of Grandmother Spider Woman, I began to see synchronicity as representing the essence of her message - synchronicities, like the almost invisible strands of the web I saw this morning, are those moments when we experience the underlying unity of consciousness. the "web of being".   Or so I think. 

And I've also  met a lot of "spider women" (and men)  along the way as well, weavers all.  In fact, when people ask these days about my marital status, I tell them I'm a "spinster".   I know I've published it  before, but I felt like sharing again an interview I did with an herbalist, Danica, I met back in 2008 at a festival in New York.  

Spider Woman  &  the Dream Time

"As a child I’ve always liked spiders.  I would find them in the corners of my room and say  “goodnight” to them.  The spider motif has always followed me, because the first role I played  was Charlotte in “Charlotte’s Web”!  Spider Woman has always been my friend.

The most significant experience I've had occurred on my 25th birthday.  At the time, I was  finding it difficult to end a destructive relationship.  That day I dreamed I was in my childhood  house.  I was chasing a spider, but she was always out of my reach.  I crawled under beds,  over tables, and finally the spider ran underneath the sink in the kitchen.  There I saw a glorious,  illuminated web hidden away underneath the sink, with a spider right in the middle!  Looking  closer, I could see that different strands held different experiences of my life, suspended on the  web.  As I watched, a strand broke off.  It floated into the room, and turned into the man I was  breaking up with!  At that moment a woman spoke, explaining to me why our relationship was  over, and the reasons it needed to end.  My ex was a singer, and he sang a song as he walked out the door, and out of my life. 

 After he left I realized I was supposed to touch the web where  it broke off.   I realized, at that moment, that I was now free to make a choice about where to  go next.  There was a "harmonic" now that would change how my life manifested.  As soon as  I touched the web, I woke up! 
To me, this dream experience was a kind of soul release, as well as a birthday blessing.  It felt  as if Spider Woman was teaching me about how continuity works.  I was reminded that the  Web is under everything, but I had to look underneath surface things, "under the sink", before I  could realize that truth fully.  Spider Woman seems to come at pivotal points in my life.  If she  shows up in a dream or synchronicity, I know it’s time to pay attention. 


 I have another story to tell about Her as well.    My husband and I had moved into our apartment this past Yule.  I found several beautiful spiders there and, as I always do, I welcomed them into our home.  I was at the stove making cinnamon apples, and I turned around to reach for some fresh cardamom.  As soon as I did, I heard what sounded like a shotgun going off.  I had mistakenly turned the heat on beneath a Pyrex pot that held the apples.  It shattered everywhere – except in a semi-circle close to me.  My face was inches from the pot when I turned around.  I was absolutely terrified with shock – and then I saw a spider, walking right across that little cleared area.  And just as loud as day, I heard a voice say:  “I keep you, you keep me.”  At that I burst into tears of gratitude."


 Danica Connors, 2008



3 comments:

Sharon Ostrow said...

Great post! A few years ago I had a dream and an experience which led me to some research on Grandmother Spider...very exciting stuff. I've got it posted somewhere..

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Absolutely riveting post, Lauren. No question that she is your totem animal, this spider woman, and that she births worlds.

Lauren said...

I'd like to read that post, Sharon.
And thanks for your comment, Trish and Rob.......it is funny sometimes, to think how I've developed a relationship with Spider Woman.