November 18th, 2015


Look Out! Here Comes a Spider, Man.

From the Weird Synchronicity Department:

Over the weekend, I was changing the bulb of a light fixture and found an immobile spider inside the fixture. Thinking the spider was dead (as bugs found in a light fixture tend to be), I took it into the bathroom and attempted the throw the body into trash can, only to be startled by the fact that said spider was in fact still alive when she [1] scrambled away. (Eep!)

In the days since then, the spider has stayed in the bathroom, generally near the ceiling, just sorta lurking in her spidery way. It's a little jarring to look up from the shower and see her hanging there, but there are worse roommates than spiders so I haven't been real aggressive about evicting her.

Added to this mix, this morning, Ramona Donohue/@balsamicvinegar (a tweep I met via the #TwitterPonies) posted:

"Last night I was minding my own damn business and then a spider lowered itself in front of me. Rude."

I responded that the spider just wanted a hug, and as we were going on about that, this video showed up in my RSS feeds:

In response to our bantering back and forth, a Twitter persona "Eight Legged Gang" appeared and started taunting Ramona, schoolyard bully style. They sniped back and forth once or twice, which started out entertaining but rapidly got old as the spider player just didn't have much more beyond "You a hoe!" and Ramona didn't feel like engaging in a battle of wits against an unarmed opponent.

Nevertheless, even as dense as I am, I can hear when the Universe is shouting at me. So! Spiders, pretty much!

So I looked up some of the prevailing wisdom about spiders. Here's what I found:

  • Spiders represent creativity. After all, they weave intricate and often beautiful webs, which are made of the thinnest filaments but are still remarkably strong. Druidic tradition associates spiders with bards. Interestingly enough, spiders take their webs down by eating them, and then spin them anew. What better metaphor could there be for the storyteller, who synthesizes the tales they hear and spins them again into new stories of their own?

  • Hindu tradition associates spiders with Maya, and the insects caught in the spider's web as souls trapped in the illusion of a physical reality.

  • Spiders are often associated with the feminine aspect, which certainly makes sense considering the realities of spider biology (and since femininity and creativity are often associated with each other).

  • Spiders often represent patience, and again, patience with the creative process.

Also, there's the story of Arachne, as summarized here:

And of course, no conversation about the meaning of spiders is complete without discussing the Greek myth of Arachne, a mortal (although of noble stature) who was a spectacular weaver. Acclaim for her luscious lively looms spread over hill and dale and ultimately reached the immortal ears of Athena. Arachne claimed she was the best weaver, and thus prompted a challenge from Athena.

And so, they played a round of "dueling looms," but no one could confirm the victor. However, Arachne was quite smug about the whole process. So much so, that Athena smote her with a mighty blow of conscience and a dose of guilt. Arachne took the dosage hard, and could not live with the intense feelings of guilt and sorrow so she killed herself. Athena felt awful over the whole mess and decided to resurrect Arachne in the form of a spider so that she and all her offspring would forever be the best weavers of the universe.

So, yeah, there's a lot to unpack about spiders, above and beyond the whole "Eek! A spider!" routine. If that silly spider account had been all about spidery mysticism instead of just being a jackass, that would have been way cooler.

My own personal interpretation of my recent bout of spider synchronicity? I suspect it may be related to my ongoing grapple with Suburban Jungle, where it's going and what I want it to be. I think that if the spider is trying to tell me anything, it's probably (a) to be patient with the process, and (b) to synthesize, reclaiming the best of what I've done before, and to weave a new tale out of those elements.

I'll do my best, spider. Thanks for the advice! ^.^

-The Gneech

[1] I assume it's a "she" because of size. Most male spiders are tiny, but this one is approximately the size of a thumbnail from toe-tip to toe-tip.

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