Alchemy / Mythology / psychic phenomena / self-realisation / Shamanism

Spider Medicine (Arachnid Arcanum)

 Spider_web_Luc_ViatourImage source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Awkward Beginnings

Meeting a new animal spirit guide is always a deeply cathartic experience, and my recent introduction to a spider spirit guide was no exception. Relationships with animal spirits are in some regards like the ones we have with people. Trust takes time to develop in both parties. There may be reluctance at first, and this was the case with my spider spirit guide and I.

I met her peripherally at first, within my psychic safe space, which consists of a lush Australian bush grove with a stream fed by a waterfall. I journey here and ground myself upon a rock in the middle of the stream to meditate and clear my mind as I await interactions with various inter-dimensional beings.

However, on this particular occasion, I felt compelled to retreat back into the dark rocky recess behind the waterfall, which serves as my entrance to the Shamanic lower-world. As I sat there in the semi-darkened space, something moved. There was a brief impression of what seemed to be a snake winding its way among some tree roots which were hanging from the ceiling. Immediately after, the ambling form of spider appeared above and in front of me, a little out of arm’s reach.

Our initial meetings with animal spirits might be characterized by aversion. The fear of danger from the animal’s natural defences like claws, teeth or venom, can represent a symbolic parallel to relationships that we have on the physical plane with people e.g. “once bitten, twice shy.” Such linguistic associations can colour our interactions in the spirit world, because they provide psychic reference points for the lessons we need to take away from the experience. In some cases, they may highlight unexamined prejudices we humans have developed within our collective consciousness, by making an enemy of nature, and consequently the nature within ourselves. A couple of well-known examples may include expressions such as a, “loan shark,” (someone engaged in predatory money lending at extremely high interest rates) or “a snake in the grass,” (a scheming, untrustworthy person.) There are countless more.

Maternal Love: Raw in Tooth and Claw

There in the dark of the waterfall recess, I couldn’t quite make out the spider spirit’s intent. I was reluctant to invite it over, perhaps fearful of being caught in another, “web of deceit.” Feeling a little jilted, it tired of the awkward silence and crawled away.

The next meeting, a couple of days later, was a lot more intimate to say the least. I overcame my fear and invited it over. I was after all, protected by the psychic sovereignty of my safe space. As soon as I did that, it very matter-of-factly crawled to a spot on the roof above me, dropped down on a thread to the center of my head, crawled down onto my forehead, and without warning sunk it’s fangs right into the area where my third eye was. There was a brief moment of intense panic, as I thought, “no, you little shit, I trusted you,” then relief, as I realized that what she had put there was not venom, but anti-venom. In this case, an anti-venom aimed at dissolving illusions that had been blocking development of my third eye. So there was no pain, just this delicious clear energy which seeped through me.

I could sense my eyes twitching the way they do in REM sleep, indicative of transition into a deeper layer of consciousness. A portal then opened up around my head, and instantly two huge hook-like fangs reached in and speared me through the shoulders. I soon reaIized the extent of the psychic anesthetization that had taken place, as I bemusedly commented upon this shocking development, “Oh will you look at that, she got me in the upper chest area on the right and left sides.” These points are where two energy centers are located: the left being a reference to masculine energy and the right being the feminine; with the uniting of the two through the wisdom of spider spirit medicine, representing a much more powerfully balanced integration.

“I should be utterly terrified here,” I thought, but again there was no pain and only a slight mental apprehension, tempered by a calm reassurance, that despite its gruesome appearance, this psychic ordeal was leading to something infinitely more positive. So I steeled my courage, and willingly allowed it to continue. Accordingly I was pulled into the energetic portal on those giant fangs.

Drawn and Quartered

In hindsight, I thanked my fortitude in having already worked so hard to dissolve my ego attachments. Preparing to enter the lower-world first requires coming down to Earth in the most profound way imaginable. It is the death of the masculine qualities of the material ego, and passively allowing ourselves to be engulfed in submission to the all-nurturing womb of the Earth-mother, in order to be utterly dissolved and reborn.

I have heard of another Shaman whose journey with a spider spirit guide had her being dragged into the lower world and witnessing her body getting pulled to pieces. After the pieces were flung into the far corners of a web, they were then collected by her spider spirit guide and diligently sown back together with spider’s silk.

My experience of this process of, “material ego dismemberment” and reconstitution was somewhat different, but no less intense. I experienced it during a lunch break after an emotionally harrowing morning working for a large Japanese corporation in Tokyo. After doing some yogic practice in a park and then lying down in a semi-trance state upon the roots of a group of cherry blossom trees, I unexpectedly experienced the feeling of sinking down into the Earth and having it close around me. Next thing I knew, I had the vision of being cross-sectioned from several different angles by huge buzz saw blades which rose up out of the ground. After a moment of deep psychic shock, I had the feeling of rising back up into my body and being reborn out of the Earth itself, and into my physical body; dizzy, nauseous and throbbing with energy, but whole nonetheless.

Different Shamanic traditions interpret this process of material ego-dismemberment in different ways. I instinctively interpreted mine in light of the Egyptian story of Osiris and Isis. I also likened the experience of receiving this, “ spider medicine anti-venom,” to that of Alice in Wonderland, who ingested magic food to make her smaller (more humble and passive) in order to properly enter the lower world for her series of initiatory ordeals.

Down The Spider Hole

Next thing I know, my Spider spirit guide and I were now hanging upside down, face to face with one another. She was even bigger now, and very kindly allayed whatever terror she knew I would be feeling at this point, by radiating soothing maternal energy toward me. She proceeded to remind me that I was, “still very much connected to my safe space and could return to it at any time.” But I said, “No, let’s continue.” After a brief moment of calm face to face contemplation, I was dropped into the abyss. I fell freely in the darkness for a brief time, before being caught by the first of a series of spider webs. Each was very different from the next. In one, I felt myself struggling fearfully as I awaited an unseen predator’s arrival. In another I was the desperately hungry predator awaiting my prey. In another still, I was a child bouncing around happily as if on a trampoline. After rebounding back and forth on several more webs, (not all of which I wish to recount publicly, because of their deeply personal nature) I was bounced so hard, that I came back into full waking consciousness within my physical body.

Arachnology: Myths, Meanings and Maya

Spider spirit wisdom includes realization of powerful new levels of creativity, masculine / feminine balance, receptivity, patience, wholeness, combined strength and gentleness, awareness of one’s ability to weave their own fate, and to confront and integrate shadow. Within the human collective consciousness, the spider archetype is known variously as anything from a trickster through to a powerful Earth goddess, and many other things besides. She features in the creation mythologies of a number of Southwestern, Native American Indian cultures, as the deliverer of the alphabet to humanity. In Druidic lore, she fulfilled the same role, revealing the sacred Ogham alphabet by writing its symbols in her web. For this reason, she is a very powerful allay for a writer and storyteller to have. In ancient Vedic Indian culture, the spider is associated with Maya (illusion) and the idea that not all things are as they appear. In ancient Greece, the myth of Arachne brings to us the tale of an ego-smitten weaver, fatally struck down by Athena and then subsequently resurrected.

A Cautious Step on Upon The Path

One of the most compelling aspects of meeting a new animal spirit guide is that they may even decide to send a message through the presence of a creature on the physical plane. As I left my house the next morning, I found a beautiful little black spider sitting in my front entrance way, I scooped it up in a small dustpan and regarded it in the clear morning light, moving it this way and that, noticing that from certain angles it’s deceptively black colour actually revealed a lustrous gold sheen. I blew gently upon her and repeated the mantra, “Ohm Mane Padme Hum,” which in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition serves as an animal rescue prayer. Had I not removed her from the front entrance, she would almost certainly have been trampled by one of the other members of my household. “One good turn deserves another,” I thought, as she abseiled expertly from the end of the dustpan and into my strawberry patch.

 

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14 thoughts on “Spider Medicine (Arachnid Arcanum)

  1. Pingback: Vision Quest: Forest Spirit Messages | Shamagaia

  2. Pingback: Anatomy of a Shamanic Family Clearing | Shamagaia

  3. deeply shamanic experience Lee. As i see and feel it, your soul is able to shift completely without angst. Wonderful writing. If the spider is carrier of alphabet then surely we will enjoy some more of this beautiful writing. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post…

    You say above:

    “In ancient Greece, the myth of Arachne brings to us the tale of an ego-smitten weaver, fatally struck down by Athena and then subsequently resurrected”..

    I found the following information [Source: http://www.theoi.com/Heroine/Arakhne.html%5D
    “Arachne was an arrogant girl from the Greek town of Kolophon in Lydia who once dared challenge the goddess Athena to a contest in weaving. In the match Athena portrayed the gods seated in glory upon high thrones, while Arachne represented them in the guise of animals chasing after mortal girls. Athena was furious at her impiety and beat the girl with her shuttle, driving Arachne to hang herself in despair. The goddess then transformed her into a spider”…

    The myth you made reference to is certainly one related to hubris (i.e prode)… I’ll be soon posting about Niobe’s myth in relationship with Leto… Another myth in which Hubris also plays a big part…

    Thanks for sharing!:)
    All the best to you!, Aquileana 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Powerful experience, Spider medicine is one of the strongest ive come accross. Like you I have a fear of them but have gone through many tests with spider and can now safely remove them (if not too big) without causing harm.
    Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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