Spiders can tell you a lot about how to weather change.
My love affair with the spider began several decades ago with an exterminator (which I used before I came into awareness about the medicine of the animal world). I asked him about the effect of his treatment on the spiders in my house. He said there wasn’t any effective chemical treatment for the spider, and if I wanted to know the truth, a healthy spider population was the best way to put him out of a job. They are the natural arbiters in balancing the insect population in any environment. That is the moment I decided to befriend these creatures as collaborators.
As my life rolled on and spiders found a welcoming home with me, I began to become their astute observer. Their amazing artistry, the nimble way the navigate their webs, their resilience in rebuilding that which is so easily destroyed, and how they settle in the center of their creation, all made me a super fan. They are masters of the change of heart. They handle it with the consistency of acceptance and the opportunity of creativity.
The Spider has become a companion for me in times if significant transition and indeed as a reminder that life is one eternal process of transition. When I am confronting the requirement for deep change in my life, I often find them building in my doorways. Doorways are perhaps the most risky of places for a spider to build a home. It is also a place a human would have a hard time ignoring them. When they build there, they call my attention to the significance of the threshold between one domain and the next. I had a gigantic and gorgeous garden spider rebuild a magical web outside my front door every night for 10 days as I was coming to the painful realization of the ending of a long-term relationship. This is the hardest part of transition, awakening to the need and inevitability of change. Often times this is when fear is at its highest saturation point in one’s soul. This spider reminded me that no matter what was falling apart, I would rebuild my life anew with grace and ability. The wonder of watching her brought me comfort and confidence in a time when I had neither.
It is no wonder that many place their fear at the legs of the spider and thus chose to stifle change energy through their destruction. Change is often scary and challenging and thus resisted. However, just like the spider, change cannot be exterminated, and when properly used, brings balance and beauty to your life. I’m not going to tell you to go hug a spider today, but do give a second thought to its presence in your life, and where you may need to embrace change, before you try to snuff it out.