Earlier this evening I heard a shout from the kitchen. My daughter had spotted a big brown spider. She refused to pick it up as she is scared of them. I am not overkeen on picking them up either but to get a bit of peace, I cornered and captured it with a dustpan and put it outside. My daughter insists that she has been plagued by spiders in her room for weeks. She insists that one was even living in a sleeve of one of her coats.
It is strange how the sight of a spider can make people fearful. Is it all of those legs or the way they run? Is it because we know that they build webs to trap flies in? It must be because they are such skilful predators. The exception are money spiders. Money spiders are different. People do not mind them. Probably because they are so small. When one attaches itself to you and does a bungee jump everyone will tell you it is a sign of good fortune. But bigger spiders are as welcome as a hurricane. I have tried to explain to my daughter that spiders perform a very important role. Without them, we would be plagued by flies. But this does not endear them to her. She just shudders.
This is the reaction from most people. Some evolutionary psychologists propose that this is an evolved reaction to spiders that has been recorded and remembered in our cell memories, that a close encounter with some of the nastier venomous species may have been fatal for humanity’s ancestors. So tghe fear and urge to run is a reactivated survival mechanism.
You can understand men getting the heebie jeebies when a spider turns up. The female is usually larger than the male and for some species, the act of procreation is a dance of death. Once fertilization has taken place, the male is redundant.
Spider is the weaver, the creatrix, the original web master/mistress. Sex with her can be synonymous with death. It is an interesting observation that spider has 8 legs and the eighth house is associated with death, sex, other peoples’ money and fear. The 8th house also carries your psychological inheritance—the potent invisible currents that are weaved and no one speaks openly about, the web that is your family history. (I see the 5th house association with sex as joyful, playful and full of pleasure) 8th house sex is is the kind adulterers/adulteresses hide from their spouses. Or it’s the kind couples argue about, or the way that sex is used as a power game.
Spiders weaving their webs are often presented as a simile of time and fate’s progression, and the cyclical rhythms of nature.
We are all weaving our webs of fate. The web is a representation of interconnectedness, the way that all things interlink. The way that people interlink. The way that we are linked to our blood ancestors and their histories. The family dynamics, stories and genes have already been woven before our appearance on the family scene and we are embedded in this web as soon as we are born. We then weave our own contribution to the construct for the next generation to become a part of.
Samhain/Halloween is about the ancestors, the night when the veil is thin, when the web can be traversed, when tales are told of ghostly sightings and people from the past are said to be able to find their way back along the web to connect with our present threads, the part of the web that we are weaving. We trace our histories, character traits, weaknesses and strengths back to our ancestors by retreading the web that they wove. We meet in the middle of it and can commune. Past, present and future become entangled for entertainment or wisdom.
This is going to sound totally wacky or imagined or fabricated but when I was a teenager, I used to sit on the floor in my bedroom and do my homework and this spider used to turn up as regular as clockwork at a quarter to nine every night and sit opposite me. I don’t expect it knew the time but it must have had OCD or followed a very strict routine. It just used to sit, well stand, I do not think that spiders sit down (imagine a spider doing yoga) and watch me for a while and then scuttle casually off. I was not at all disturbed to see that spider because it kept a distance and always followed the same pattern and path accross the carpet. But, living in the countryside, I often came toe to face with other spiders that I was not so relaxed about. These were not as static or predictable in their behaviour. I used to sing this song when I was in my bed, lying in the dark.
There’s a spider on the wall above my bed
And I hope it does not fall on to my head
For if he stays there all night
Then I won’t switch out the light
I’ll just lie awake and look at him instead
Now I don’t know if he’s young or if he’s old
But the thought of him up there makes me grow cold
With his legs so long and hairy
He looks so awful scary
Though he won’t hurt boys and girls though I’ve been told
So that you are not afraid to turn the light off after reading this, I will tell you a couple of jokes that I spun earlier.
What role could a spider perform well in politics? Spin Doctor
How do spiders keep in touch from a distance? They use a webcam.
And finally I was scurrying around on the web and discovered according to a website called “Fun Facts About Spiders” http://www.hamtwoslices.net/spiders.htm that the word SPIDER was born from an acronym. Apparently 17th century scientists investigating spiders (nice work if you can get it) would use an abbreviation when labelling containers. They wrote “Sample– Please Investigate Data; Exoskeleton Regular.