I have loved animals as far back as I can remember. I played with my "imaginary" animal friend as a child, not knowing at the time what a power animal was. I had vivid dreams and visions throughout my life. I also felt drawn to different animals at different times in my life and when I found out about power or spirit animals, I finally understood why. Reading up on those animals and then going on shamanic journeys and meditations afforded me the entry point into the world of animals on a spiritual level. The reason I prefer the term power animal to spirit animal is simply because it feels more grounded and manifested to me. You are, of course, welcome to use whatever term you like; power animal, spirit animal, animal guide...You choose. The important thing is to have a strong, loving connection and to trust and ask your animal to teach you and share its wisdom with you.
The Dark Mysteries
Spiders possess eight legs, most have eight eyes (some have none, a few up to twelve) and have fangs with which they inject venom. And let’s face it, most people (with a few exceptions that state the rule) really don’t like spiders too much. Some find them icky and others even have a full-blown phobia, arachnophobia, as it is called. The problem is, unless you move to Antarctica, you can’t get away from them. There are spiders all over the world. I did, however, consider that most people don’t like to see a blowup of a real spider (I’m one of those, yeah, call me girlie, I don’t care), so there is, atypically for me, a cute cartoon one in this article.
But let’s forget our fear of spiders for as long as it takes you to read this blog because spiders are really fascinating creatures. They produce silk with which they spin their webs and because they don’t have extensor muscles, move their legs through hydraulic. I have to admit, when I read this first, I had visions of mechanical devices in my mind that would probably more fit into a machine than a spider leg. Quite amazing, isn’t it? And there are over 45,700 species of it worldwide on land, too. None of them fly or live in the water, though.
As a Power Animal, Spider has both a light and a dark side. A spider’s web really is a miracle of mechanical engineering and thus, Spider symbolises the Weaver of Life, the one who creates reality and spins the energetic matrix we live in. In many cultures, Spider is a great teacher of the creative forces and how to consciously create your own life. She is a powerful ally and a great teacher, representing the primal creative energy bring form into chaos and creating the manifest from unformed energy.
In many Native American traditions, Spider is revered as the Goddess Grandmother Spider. In Europe, spiders are traditionally thought to be lucky omens. In Ancient Egypt, the Goddess Neith was associated with Spider. In Babylon, it was the Goddess Ishtar, Inanna in Sumeria and the Greek Arachne, which was later equated with the Roman Goddess Minerva.
There so many Goddesses associated with Spider the world over, for example, Areop-Enap in Micronesia, Biliku in India), Anansi in Africa, Nareau in the Gilbert Islands, the current Kiribati, Tule in Sudan and Zaire and Uttu, the Sumerian spider Goddess of weaving and clothing, and there are many more. Incidentally, my son had a vision shortly before I wrote this article during meditation when he saw the Norse Goddess Hel, or Hela, with black and green spiders on her head. Hel presides over a realm of the same name and is given a portion of the dead. Her appearance is half blue, half-flesh-coloured and she is gloomy.
In my romance novel The Navy Seal’s Nanny, Bailey has built up so much security in her life through her work that it is stifling her self-expression and freedom to love. All she has is a cat and when it dies of old age, she is confronted with the question of how she wants to live her life and whether she will have any regrets when she dies herself one day. She confronts her fears that have led her to work overtime in a job as a bank manager, which gives her financial security, but nothing else in life, and decides that things need to change. So she gives up her entire life as she knows it and decides to create a new one, find love and even if work as a cashier in a supermarket if that is what it takes as a stepping stone to future happiness and finding a man to love.
Surprisingly, she very quickly ends up being a nanny for two teenagers and becomes their primary caregiver when their father is on deployment on an overseas mission. But Bailey, having learned to create order from chaos in her former job as a bank manager, uses those skills to bring order and consistency into the youngsters’ lives. Things unfold from there and bring her a step closer to the goal she has set out to achieve.
Hel’s gloominess, as the situation Bailey finds her life in at the beginning of the novel, is our shadow side we find ourselves confronted with and thus, Spider is also representative of our shadow sides, the parts we don’t acknowledge about ourselves, reject and hide them from the world - and often ourselves.
Spider shows us where our fears lie, our anger and bitter jealousy. She makes the poison visible that we pollute our own minds with, the things that make us unhappy and less than light in our energies. These toxins, be they physical, mental, or emotional, make us sick and can, if severe, even kill us. For example, feelings of unworthiness can lead to depression. This may cause someone to get physically ill or take drugs and eventually overdose. The path to destruction can take as many forms as the path to joy, love and fulfilment.
Spider teaches us to face our shadow side, bring it to light and bring order into the chaos. She teaches us to understand who we are and that we have the power to create our own lives in a manner that constitutes love, joy and our personal happiness, so we can shine our light and be a positive example to others.