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The Itsy Bitsy Spider Totem

Such determination and perseverance. Many of us in this group call on powerful spirit guides such as wolves and dragons and the like but I have always been partial to the Spider.

The obvious reason why I chose the Spider of course is I admire their handy work. I am a weaver and crocheter both physically and magickly. Simultaneously I weave spells into my work as I create. The Spider is a symbol of creativity, weaving Nature's mandalas, creating something from nothing. I strive to emulate that spirit. Maybe It was the Spider that chose me.

Numerous cultures attribute the spider's ability to spin webs with the origin of spinning, textile weaving, basket weaving, knotwork and net making.

Philosophers often use the spider's web as a metaphor for the interconnectedness of all life. See UU Principle #7

and today terms such as the Internet or World Wide Web evoke the inter-connectivity of a spider web.

Have you ever wanted something that was just out of your reach? How many times will you try for the prize before you give up? Remember you do not fail until you give up. Now watch a spider throwing it's web across an expanse to catch hold of that branch before it. If it misses the mark the line it retracted and again sent out to the branch until it finally catches and sets the foundation for home and hearth and pantry.

There are quite a few stories and legends built around spiders that show just how mighty these little ones can be. One such features King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, the spider is depicted as an inspirational symbol, according to an early 14th-century legend. The legend tells of Robert the Bruce's encounter with a spider during the time of a series of military failures against the English. One version tells that while taking refuge in a cave he witnesses a spider continuously failing to climb its silken thread to its web. Due to perseverance the spider eventually succeeds, demonstrating that, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again". Taking this as being symbolic of hope and perseverance, Bruce came out of hiding and eventually won Scotland's independence. Huzzah!!!

Although the spider is small it is depicted as quite helpful in some stories. There is a story that has been told by more than one source. One version credits the account to King David of the Bible, same story is told featuring the Prophet Mohammad. Both men took refuge from an enemy in a cave. God sent a Spider to weave a web over the opening. The enemy reasoned that if someone were in the cave the web would have been broken. Thank You helpful friend Spider!

The spider has symbolized patience and persistence due to its hunting technique of setting webs and waiting for its prey to become ensnared. This unfortunately has made her the villain of some stories. Note the Spider's cunning in the poem by Mary Howitt circa 1829…

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly, “‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy; The way into my parlour is up a winding stair, And I have many curious things to show when you are there.”

“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain, For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high; Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the Spider to the Fly. “There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin, And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”

“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “for I’ve often heard it said, They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!”

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, “Dear friend what can I do, To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you? I have within my pantry, good store of all that’s nice; I’m sure you’re very welcome–will you please to take a slice?”

“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “kind sir, that cannot be, I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”

“Sweet creature!” said the Spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise, How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes! I’ve a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf, If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”

“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say, And bidding you good morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den, For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again: So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly, And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.

Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing, “Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing; Your robes are green and purple–there’s a crest upon your head; Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly, Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by; With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew, Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue– Thinking only of her crested head–poor foolish thing!

At last, Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast. He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den, Within his little parlour–but she ne’er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read, To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed: Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye, And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

I hope we will always use our Spidey Sense for good not evil. Though it does come in handy during debate.

Spiders are associated with creation myths because they weave their own artistic worlds.

I do have a favorite Spider Entity…

Grandmother Spider, or the Spider Woman, is a Native American deity who appears in native lore across the continent, especially in the southwest. The Hopi believe that she thought the universe into existence; the Navajo taught that she was the savior of human kind. The Cherokee say she brought light to the people.

No matter the context, the foundation remains the same: Grandmother Spider is a mother to human kind, protecting and nurturing us, guiding us along our paths with her magick.

Now the Choctaw People say that when the People first came up out of the ground, they were encased in cocoons, their eyes closed, their limbs folded tightly to their bodies. And this was true of all People, the Bird People, the Animal People, the Insect People, and the Human People. The Great Spirit took pity on them and sent down someone to unfold their limbs, dry them off, and open their eyes. But the opened eyes saw nothing, because the world was dark, no sun, no moon, not even stars.

All the People moved around by touch, and if they found something that didn’t eat them first, they ate it raw, for they had no fire to cook it.

All the People met in a great powwow, with the Animal and Bird People taking the lead. The Animal and Bird People decided that life was not good, but cold and miserable. A solution must be found! Someone spoke from the dark,

‘I have heard that the people in the East have fire.’ This caused a stir of wonder, ‘What could fire be?’ There was a general discussion, and it was decided that if, as rumor had it, fire was warm and gave light, they should have it too. Another voice said, ‘But the people of the East are too greedy to share with us.’ So it was decided that the Bird and Animal People should steal what they needed, the fire!

But who should have the honor? Grandmother Spider volunteered, ‘I can do it! Let me try!’ But at the same time, Opossum began to speak. ‘I, Opossum, am a great chief of the animals. I will go to the East and since I am a great hunter, I will take the fire and hide it in the bushy hair on my tail.’ It was well know that Opossum had the furriest tail of all the animals, so he was selected.

When Opossum came to the East, he soon found the beautiful, red fire, jealously guarded by the people of the East. But Opossum got closer and closer until he picked up a small piece of burning wood, and stuck it in the hair of his tail, which promptly began to smoke, then flame. The people of the East said, ‘Look, that Opossum has stolen our fire!’ They took it and put it back where it came from and drove Opossum away. Poor Opossum! Every bit of hair had burned from his tail, and to this day, opossums have no hair at all on their tails.

Once again, the powwow had to find a volunteer chief. Grandmother Spider again said, ‘Let me go! I can do it!’ But this time a bird was elected, Buzzard. Buzzard was very proud. ‘I can succeed where Opossum has failed. I will fly to the East on my great wings, then hide the stolen fire in the beautiful long feathers on my head.’ The birds and animals still did not understand the nature of fire. So Buzzard flew to the East on his powerful wings, swooped past those defending the fire, picked up a small piece of burning ember, and hid it in his head feathers. Buzzard’s head began to smoke and flame even faster! The people of the East said, ‘Look! Buzzard has stolen the fire!’ And they took it and put it back where it came from. Poor Buzzard! His head was now bare of feathers, red and blistered looking. And to this day, buzzards have naked heads that are bright red and blistered looking.

The powwow now sent Crow to look the situation over, for Crow was very clever. Crow at that time was pure white and had the sweetest singing voice of all the birds. But he took so long standing over the fire, trying to find the perfect piece to steal that his white feathers were smoked black. And he breathed so much smoke that when he tried to sing, out came a harsh, ‘Caw! Caw!’

The Council said, ‘Opossum has failed. Buzzard and Crow have failed. Who shall we send?’

Tiny Grandmother Spider shouted with all her might, ‘LET ME TRY IT PLEASE!’ Though the council members thought Grandmother Spider had little chance of success, it was agreed that she should have her turn. Grandmother Spider looked then like she looks now; she had a small torso suspended by eight legs. She walked on all of her wonderful legs toward a stream where she found clay. With those legs, she made a tiny clay container and a lid that fit perfectly with a tiny notch for air in the corner of the lid. Then she put the container on her back, spun a web all the way to the East, and walked tiptoe until she came to the fire. She was so small, the people from the East took no notice. She took a tiny piece of fire, put it in the container, and covered it with the lid. Then she walked back on tiptoe along the web until she came to the People. Since they couldn’t see any fire, they said, ‘Grandmother Spider has failed.’ ‘Oh no,’ she said, ‘I have the fire!’ She lifted the pot from her back, and the lid from the pot, and the fire flamed up into its friend, the air.

Straight away all the Birds and Animal People began to discuss who would get this wonderful warmth. Bear said, ‘I’ll take it!’ but then he burned his paws on it and decided fire was not for animals, for look what happened to Opossum!

The Birds wanted no part of it, as Buzzard and Crow were still nursing their wounds. The insects thought it was very pretty, but they, too, stayed far away from the fire.

Then a small voice said, ‘We will take it, if Grandmother Spider will help.’

The timid humans, whom none of the animals or birds thought much of, were volunteering!

So Grandmother Spider taught the Human People how to feed the fire with sticks and wood to keep it from dying, how to keep the fire safe in a circle of stone so it couldn’t escape and hurt them or their homes. While she was at it, she taught the humans about pottery made of clay and fire, and about weaving and spinning, at which Grandmother Spider was an expert.

The Choctaw remember. They made a beautiful design to decorate their homes, a picture of Grandmother Spider, two sets of legs up, two down, with a fire symbol on her back. This is so their children never forget to honor Grandmother Spider, the Fire bringer! – Author unknown.

When a Spider comes to you in a vision or dream don't be frightened. This arachnid is giving you the message that you weave your own web in life and that your reality is yours to create. Spider meaning makes it clear that what you see before you is the result of your thoughts. In other words, this spirit animal teaches that if your current reality does not suit you, then it is time to make changes.

If you have the courage, look closely and take note of the type of Spider that comes to call.

If it is an Orb Weaver Spider that appears to you, it signifies that you are the engineer of your destiny. Now is the time to catch your dreams and take advantage of all of the things that present itself. There are no obstacles in your path. Go for it!

When Black Widow spider symbolism crosses your path, it’s time to re-evaluate what you are doing. There is something that you are creating that is not in line with the dreams you are trying to create. Therefore, you must take an inventory of your thought processes and see where you are sabotaging yourself.

When the Jumping Spider leaps into your life, it signifies that now is the time to showcase your uniqueness and talents. There is now an opportunity to be yourself in a safe environment. Take the time to examine your hidden talents and go ahead and share them with the world.

Wolf Spider symbolism insists that you pursue your objectives now. Now is the right moment, so it is best to take action using all of your creative abilities. The goal may look unattainable; however, this arachnid assures you that with your quick response, you will be successful.

If a Brown Spider has made its presence known, it symbolizes the need to remove the toxic energies that are trying to manipulate your thinking and your actions. Find solitude and clear your head and return to yourself. Leave other people’s perceptions of who you are behind.

When Water Spider symbolism appears it is a reminder that your emotional well-being is just as important as your physical health. You will have to allow yourself to feel the emotional turmoil within yourself. Only by “feeling” these emotions can they be released, and healing takes place. Holding onto these old wounds will not serve you.

When the Daddy Long Legs shows up, it represents the fact that you need to look at the “Bigger Picture” so that you can understand on a deeper level what is happening in your life. Take a good look at what is going on under the surface of things and then adjust your plans accordingly.

There is much to learn from the Spider. Spider weaves her web; we weave our realities. Spider reminds us that we create many of the situations in our lives good and bad so take the responsibility and be ready for the consequences or rewards.

Spiders have the extraordinary capability of creating, weaving and spinning their own webs. This ability shows and teaches us the gift of creation. We have the power to create what happens in our lives – to us and to others. But we must realize this. The choices we make coupled with our attitude is very powerful stuff.

And that is the Spirit of the Spider. Stay Crafty!

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