I’ve been feeling very ‘disconnected’ recently due to my own mental health problems mainly (yes, I do have them). So I’ve been spending more time in my back yard, which is totally wild (I’ve allowed it to grow the way it wants). Recently too a huge number of spiders have appeared. I go and count them most days and usually count at least 10 or 12 – the ones I can actually see, not counting the probable many more I can’t see. Definitely a sign from the universe for me. spider seems to be my new totem and is much needed at this time. Anyway, I discovered a new spider living here. The Wasp spider (I’ve got 4 that I’ve found with babies nests too – how cool is that!!!). They are most amazing creatures, looking just like wasps (the females that is, the males are a nondescript brown colour). I actually thought they were wasps when I first saw them. Here’s a photo:
The nest is amazing too…like a little round ping pong ball:
I thank the God, Goddess and the universe for these beautiful and amazing creatures brought to me at the right time.
Latin name: Argiope bruennichi
Size: Female 18mm, the male is less than 5mm
Distribution: Found in most counties of southern England, as far north as Hertfordshire
Months seen: April to October
Habitat: Low growing grassland
Food: Flies, grasshoppers and crickets
Special features: This is one of our more exotic looking spiders. It’s a native spider of Mediterranean areas, and has only recently colonised England. Despite the warning colouration this is not a dangerous species. The wasp-like appearance is probably defensive, to deter predators.
The Wasp Spider builds its web close to the ground in order to catch grasshoppers and crickets. The female can often be seen hanging upside-down in the middle of her web throughout summer and autumn. The web features a distinctive zig-zag patterned section running vertically through it.
The large abdomen features yellow, black and white stripes, and the cephalothorax is covered with silver coloured hair. When viewed from underneath you can see two yellow stripes running lengthways along the abdomen.
The female Wasp Spider creates one of the largest egg sacs of any of the spiders found in Britain. It is flask shaped, brown in colour and about 25mm across. She fills it with eggs and then seals the top with more silk.
The male is much smaller, and is only active for a couple of weeks in July. Like many other male spiders, he has to be careful when mating, to ensure he doesn’t end up as dinner for the female.
Excerpts from Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.
The spider has shown up in myth and lore throughout the world. Usually its symbolism has been very similar wherever it is used. In India it was associated with Maya, the weaver of illusion. It has had connections to the Fates in Greek mythology and the Norns in Scandinavian lore – women who would weave, measure, and cut the threads of life. To the Native Americans, spider is grandmother, the link to the past and the future.
Spider teaches you to maintain a balance – between past and future, physical and spiritual, male and female. Spider teaches you that everything you now do is weaving what you will encounter in the future. In the tarot deck is a card – The Wheel of Fortune. This is a card that has to do with rhythms – the rise and fall, the flow and flux. It is linked to the energies of honor and fame, and the sensitivities necessary to place ourselves within the rhythm of Nature. Meditation upon this card would be beneficial for anyone with the spider as a totem.
The spider awakens creative sensibilities. It weaves a web of intricate and subtle fabric, as if to remind us that the past always subtly influences the present and future. Often the webs will take a spiral shape, the traditional form of creativity and development. The spider found within the web reminds us that we are the center of our own world. The ancient mystery schools had one precept inscribed above their portals: “Know Thyself and Thou Shalt Know The Universe!” Spider reminds us that the world is woven around us. We are the keepers and the writers of our own destiny, weaving it like a web by our thoughts, feelings and actions.
The spider, because of its characteristics, has come to be associated by mystics and in mythology in three predominant expressions of magic. The first is magic and energy of creation. It is a symbol of creative power, reflected in its ability to spin a silken web. It is also associated with assertiveness of that creative force, of keeping the feminine energies of creation alive and strong. This has ties to the characteristics of some spiders, i.e. the female black widow, which will kill and eat the male after mating has exhausted it.
The third predominant magic of the spider is associated with its spiral energy, the links with the past and the future. The spiral of the web, converging at a central point, is something to be meditated upon by those with this totem. Are you moving toward a central goal or are you scattered and going in multiple directions? Is everything staying focused? Are you becoming too involved and/or self-absorbed? Are you focusing on others’ accomplishments and not on your own? Are you developing resentment because of it – for yourself or them?
Spider is the guardian of the ancient languages and alphabets. Every society has had myths about how the different languages and alphabets were formed. The Chinese alphabet is attributed to Ts’ang Chien, the god with the dragon face and four eyes. He formed it from the patterns of the stars, the marks on the back of the turtle and the footprints of birds in the sand. The Norse god Odin created the Runic alphabet after hanging upon the great tree of life for nine days and nights. After this time, the twigs fell off and spelled our certain formulas and words.
To many, there was an alphabet even more primordial. It was formed by the geometric patterns found within spider’s web. To many this was the first true alphabet. This is why spider is considered the teacher of language and the magic of writing. Those who weave magic with the written word probably have a spider totem.
If spider has come into your life, ask yourself some important questions. Are you not weaving your dreams and imaginings into reality? Are you not using your creative opportunities? Are you feeling closed in or stuck as if in a web? Do you need to pay attention to your balance and where you are walking in life? Are others out of balance around you? Do you need to write? Are you inspired to write or draw and not following through? Remember that spider is the keeper of knowledge of the primordial alphabet. Spider can teach how to use the written language with power and creativity so that your words weave a web around those who would read them.
Although spiders have a long association with such deities as Athena, the Norns, Holda, and Spider Woman, most people are uncomforable working with these creatures, even on the astral level. One must not have ambiguous goals in mind when working with spider energy. This insect can teach how to untangle youself from a negative situation, as well as making new beginnings, finding wisdom, and starting a new life.
Many stories exist about the weaver, Grandmother spider. She carried on her back the gift of fire in a basket that she wove and presented it to the people. In another story it is said that her web bound all things together and formed the foundation of earth..
These legends give the spider a link to the past and the future, birth and creation. When the spider crawls into our awareness it is asking us to rebuild the web of our life in accordance with the design the creator gave us.
Spiders differ from insects in having eight legs rather than six and in having the body divided into two parts rather than three. The number eight laid on its side is the symbol for infinity. The number two implies the union of two forces joined together. Together they equal ten. Drop the zero and you are back to the starting point of one. The hidden message of spider is unity. The study of numerology is beneficial for those who hold this medicine.
The construction of a web is linked to the geometry of creation. In the construction of an orb web the spider releases a sticky silken thread into the wind. If the breeze carries the thread to a spot where it sticks the first bridge is formed. Spider cautiously crosses the line reinforcing it with a second. This process continues until a frame is constructed in which the web can secure itself. Bridges serve as a link tying all things together and remind us of our interconnectedness to all life.
The spider shows us that the past, the present and the future are all interwoven. It awakens our intuitive creative senses and encourages us to design the fabric of our lives from our souls original intention. If you see a spider in its web, or creating a new one, pay attention. It symbolizes where you are in the weaving of your own destiny. A study of the medicine wheel and the four directions is helpful.
Because spiders are actually very delicate they embody the energy of gentleness. Spiders are not usually aggressive unless they are defending their lives. Moving forward in all situations with a gentle strength is a skill that often needs to be learned for those with this totem. In man, the bite of a poisonous spider symbolizes a death, rebirth process. Poison enters the nervous system and the body either transmutes it or falls victim to its venom and dies.
The spider signifies the tapestry of life. The web we weave is the reality we experience. Choosing the appropriate path is one of the lessons associated with this medicine.
Chant for Spider
Webs of beauty and purpose,
Dew-gemmed and rainbow-wrapped,
The spider never questions its creative ability.
O deities of Earth and Sky, the four directions,
Help me to be creative with such confidence.