Dancing on the Web
by JoAnne Dodgson
mentor at the Wise Woman University
author of Unleashing Love, MoonDance Journal, Walking the Spiral Path, Gifts of the Grandmother, and Cocooning
As the sunset painted the clouds purple and red, a spider crawled out from the shadows and began to weave a web. I stepped toward her to get a closer look, curious yet cautiously keeping my distance. The spider's close proximity evoked old habitual fears, those lingering effects of the rampant propaganda about the dangerous, repulsive, predatory nature of all things creepy-crawly. The spider looked otherwordly with her sleek elliptical brown body encircled by eight highly arched legs vividly marked with gold and cream stripes. She was a skilled acrobat, moving about with great agility, free-falling from the porch rafters on invisible fibers, swiftly dancing around on her many legs. Intrigued, I spent much of the evening watching her.
The spider glided along on a glistening thread, suspended upside down and swaying in the air, coming to land on the very tip of a blade of green grass far below the wooden roof beams. There she attached a long grounding cord, anchoring her web to the earth. She crawled back up the thread, expanding the intricate framework as she stretched fibers out in all directions like the rays of the sun. Returning to the center, she circled around, steadily moving further outward, weaving a spiral. The fibers she used were of her own making, ingeniously spun in the very center of her being. She knit together threads with her long spindly legs, forming patterns, creating structures, joining diverse angles, shapes and lines into an integrated whole. Guided by the ancient blueprints she carried within, the spider's focus was unwavering as she weaved.
When her elaborate design was complete, hours had passed and darkness enveloped the sky. The spider settled in the center of her grand tapestry. There, so still, she sat waiting and watching, keenly aware and immediately responsive to all that entered the sacred space of her web. The glistening threads were sticky, the web's geometry magnetic, all designed to attract and to hold what was nourishing for her.
Later that night, I couldn't get to sleep. After tossing and turning awhile, I finally got out of bed and made my way through the dark house, irresistibly drawn back outside by some mysterious calling. Wrapped up in a blanket, I laid down in the hammock, gently swaying as I watched the spider ride the waves of whispering winds that fluttered through her web. Silhouetted against the dark background of the vast starry sky, the spider felt ancient and mystical, vibrantly attentive and alive even in her stillness, so purposeful with every action she took. I both feared and admired her instinctual wildness, all of which compelled me to stay with her all through the night. I wanted to know what she knew, feel what she felt, weave my own intricate connection with the vast web of life.
Early the next morning, as the sun began to rise, I was abruptly awakened out of my dreams. There at eye-level, right in front of my face, was the long-legged spider looking back at me as she floated on the air on an invisible thread. My startled surprise soon faded away as my delight and curiosity grew. How had this small silent creature so boisterously called me out from my sleep? What was it she wanted me to see?
The spider dangled in front of me just long enough to be sure I'd left behind the dreamtime and was truly attentive to what was about to unfold right before my eyes. The spider then crawled fluidly back up the thread and suddenly somersaulted, cartwheeling into her web. Glistening fibers broke apart. Delicate threads came undone. The elaborate spiral design imploded as the bottom half of the web collapsed in on itself.
I watched with wide-eyed amazement as the spider deliberately dismantled the rest of her web, unraveling her weaving with her colorful striped legs, ceremoniously taking apart the exquisite tapestry she'd meticulously created just hours before. Then she crawled away into the rafters, retreating into the shadowy crevices between the wooden beams and peeling bark.
Throughout the day, the spider crept into my mind as I marveled at the mystery and magic of her ways. The long-legged spider didn't only weave webs. She also took them apart. With playful grace, she orchestrated the purposeful dying-away of the web she'd created with the very fabric of her being, easefully unraveling all attachments, freely releasing that which had served the purpose for which it'd been made. She lived with unshakable clarity that she had what she needed to manifest what she wanted whenever the guidance from within and the rhythms of the earth indicated it was time.
That evening I returned to the place I'd last seen the spider, waiting and watching for my friend. As the land grew still and the western horizon glowed with the setting sun, the spider reappeared. She crawled around the wooden beams, sensing and seeking, creating sacred space for the ceremony she lived each night in the light of the moon. She sailed gracefully toward the earth on a shimmering thread, beginning once again to weave her extraordinary web.
Copyright © 2007 by JoAnne Dodgson