The other night I was in bed, all tucked up and reading my book while my husband snored away happily beside me. All was still and relatively quiet (except for the snoring). Suddenly from the corner of my eye something moved. It was a spider – a large one and he scuttled across the floor And under a chest of drawers. I dug my beloved in the ribs
“a big hairy spider has just crawled under the chest of drawers,” I said in my best damsel in distress voice.
“shut up and go back to sleep” was the response and the snoring resumed.
So I did what I normally do when my husband won’t engage with me, I grabbed my phone and sought sympathy and reassurance from Twitter.
The response was not entirely as I would have liked. I did get some kindness and understanding. Some helpfully advised me to just relax as spiders are not really into engaging with us humans. Others thought it appropriate it send me photos of huge hairy spiders and shared with me tales of spiders making nests and spawning thousands of new spiders in the night Time!
Spiders are my least favourite creepy crawly. I think it is because I usually can’t tell which way they are facing and because of the way they move – suddenly and erratically. But we do live with them, especially at this time of year when they move indoors and up plugholes to sit in our baths.
What did our ancestors think about spiders? What nuggets of spider wisdom can be found in folklore?
Most people know that spiders are linked with money. Apparently if a spider crosses your palm you will receive a windfall. The larger the spider and the later in the day your encounter, the more money that is on your way. On that basis I should be winning the Lottery this weekend.
Killing spiders is often seen as bad luck. You will be told you will lose money, your house will never be clean and in our family we believed it would cause it to rain.
There is a rhyme that goes….
If you wish to live and thrive
Let the spider run alive
Can I suggest that you learn that off – and erase from your brain the other cruel one…
Spider, Spider on the wall
Ain’t you got no sense at all
Ain’t you got no mom and dad
Squishy squashy, that’s too bad.
In Native American folklore Grandmother Spider was credited with bringing light to the world. The story goes that in the early times, all was dark because the sun was on the other side of the world. The animals decided that people needed to see so they set about bringing the sun back. The Possum and the Buzzard both tried and failed. Finally Grandmother Spider said that she would go and fetch the light back.
Using her legs she made a bowl of clay. She rolled this bowl across the world, weaving a web as she went. She found the sun and carefully placed it in the bowl and then following her web she returned, spreading light all the way.
There now – doesn’t that story change the way you think about spiders? Next time you meet one, remember she is Grandmother Spider who brought the light to the world.
However an old Wiccan piece of folklore suggested that if a witch eats a spider sandwiched between two pieces of bread, her powers will be increased dramatically. Ha – I’ve gone and spoiled it all now, haven’t I!
Hairy spider sandwich anyone?
This post comes without a photo for obvious reasons