All my life, I nurtured the idea that I was terrified of spiders. I dared not even utter the word. There were, indeed, a couple of traumatic events involving arachnids when I was quite young, but they were not really about the spiders. They were about me not having control–being in an adult cousin’s arms when we hit a large web, with her gripping me tight as I struggled to get down and standing there screaming. Heck–that would unnerve anyone.
Arachnids are frightfully magnificent creatures, aren’t they? What is it about them that freezes hearts and sets a dread pulsing through the body? Some species of arachnids are poisonous, but so are many humans I have encountered. Perhaps it is those eight thin legs, carefully moving in perfect rhythm. There is something about eight legs, isn’t there? Why? There is also a perception (though hopefully fading) that blondes are stupid and have lots of fun. It is all in the frame.
When was the last time you watched a spider at work on a web? The wonder of her producing such strong, fine filaments within her body and knowing how to weave them into an intricate pattern is beautiful in its mystery. That is it, isn’t it? Spiders are mysterious. They live in dark places that humans cannot easily know. What is unknown is frightening. And what humans fear, unfortunately, they hate.
They fear loss of power, loss of control. I have a lifelong issue with relinquishing control for real reasons that no longer serve me. That is the root of agoraphobia–unable to venture into the unknown with its countless factors, with humans both friendly and vicious. This seed was planted long ago, and it is my work now to dig it up, as I can, and open up to possibilities.
I am learning to embrace the questions, to fall in love with the questions. I do not have to have the answers. Just be present, deeply in right now, and accept.
Recently I saw a small, beautiful spider in the shrubbery out front. She was camouflaged so that her abdomen looked like a fearsome predator with its colouring and shape. I watched her work on her web and patiently wait. Patience. This is something else that challenges me. She has since moved on, but fragments of her web remain.
I have become a champion of spiders. Not too long ago I found a rather large spider inside, and I got a glass jar, gently urged her inside, and took her out and released her in a place more suitable than the bathtub.
It was never the spiders I had to fear. It was the darkness inside myself. And light can dissipate the shadows.