Spider Medicine

By: Angela Burgess

Theme Song: “Buzzing in the Light” by Dr. Dog

Balance isn’t something we find. It is something we constantly create. Balance dynamically connects us in with the cycles, seasons, rhythm, simplicity, and mystery of life.
— Angela
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I find it fitting that I sit to write these musings on the Autumn Equinox. This is a happy and unplanned occurrence. Last week I was wanting to theme a class around the equinox and what balance meant to me. On the Autumn Equinox, we experience a balance between day and night, and I wanted to explore this concept more fully. As I pondered balance, I began to expand my perspective in a three dimensional manner, looking within, reading books, and also observing the outside world.

I thought about the balance between light and dark, community and isolation, abundance and scarcity, holding on and letting go.

Despite these interesting musings, something was holding me back and I felt scattered and stuck. I decided to let go of my mind and seek to embody personal balance by wandering in nature.

If you are familiar with walking in the Georgia woods at this time of year, you will surely know that it is spider season. I like to use a long stick, twig, or branch, wielding it like a magic wand, to wave webs out of my path. Walking headfirst into a spider web can be surprising and creepy, so I picked up my spider wand and began the journey. I was having trouble letting go of my thoughts. It felt like every step I took, I had to redirect my awareness to the present moment. I just couldn’t let go of my thoughts. I continued to practice mindfulness, gently redirecting my awareness to my breath and the sights, sounds, and experience of nature. Slowly, I began to feel the shimmery sensation of peace infusing my body. I had the sensation of something sliding into place, like a puzzle piece that needed to find just the right alignment to connect in with the bigger picture.

Then I saw her. A golden silk orb weaver spider.

I had seen this kind of spider before on similar walks, but this time I really saw her. Her web was truly a work of art and ingenuity. She had not only spun a traditional web, but she had also spun numerous other webs in different dimensions and planes, giving her web a glimmering, golden three dimensional quality. Nothing was getting by this spider. It seemed as if she looked at things from every angle and created numerous ways to assure she would catch what she desired. She sat in the middle of her glorious web, taking up space, owning her right to set up home in the middle of the trail, patiently daring anyone to mess with her. She had confidence, courage, ingenuity, and creativity. I immediately admired this spider and all she stood for.

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In that moment, she was the most inspirational creature to cross my path and I wanted to be her friend. How could I have even considered destroying her creation? Her shimmering web made me think of possibility.

How can I expand or discover new ways of attracting what I want or new ways of releasing what I no longer need?

How can I expand the possibilities of my practice or my teaching?

How can I expand into three dimensional living and claim more space for myself and my creations?

Can I find the balance between doing the work and then letting go?

What if someone comes along and destroys my web or what if nothing comes from all this work?

Am I comfortable in the mystery of patiently waiting?

Am I creating enough space in my life to be able to actually receive the grace of inspiration or am I working too hard to fill the spaces with what I deem worthy?

Words aren’t adequate to express the waterfall of inspiration and understanding that began to flow into my being, but everything centered around the balance of riding the wave of our very own three dimensional breath. It was in this moment, that I realized the lesson I had sought about balance had actually been in front of my face for a long time, but I had been too busy not paying attention or tearing it down so that I could find “my way.” My teacher, the Golden Silk Orb Weaver, sat in the center of her delicate, finely constructed web, taking up space and living in her fullest creative expression. She had done the work. Now she was giving herself the space to sit in the center of the web and patiently receive whatever came her way, whether that was the next meal or a destructive wand tearing her creation apart.

In that moment, humbled by this discovery and awareness, I chose to let her stay. I would not wave her web away with my wand and destroy her progress. Instead, I chose to seek and honor possibility, in an ever expanding and contracting array of dimensions.

I realized that to find my balance, I needed to get out my own way and see with new eyes. I needed to see things from different perspectives and dimensions. This time, through the eyes of a spider and her web. I needed to get out of my head and learn from nature and create space to actually recognize the lessons before me. Too much thinking had constricted my breath and thoughts. Through mindful presence, I was able to re-expand my perspective and deepen the connection with my breath. Spider helped me remember that our breath is a golden thread which animates and weaves through all living organisms, connecting us upon the web of life. Weaving the golden thread of breath in and out is a simple example of finding balance. The act of breathing is a dance of polarity. It teaches us how to dynamically play with the illusory still point.

Needless to say, I realized my attachment to balance as a class theme was holding me back because I wasn’t giving it space to move and be free.

I was holding so tightly to balance that I couldn’t find it.

Even so, I saw that I needed to move out of balance to truly recognize, understand, and embody it’s presence. Spider inspired a new direction for class, which included a more dynamic approach with cultivating multidimensional breath and physical practice, allowing time for more creative expression and flow. Spider’s lesson also continues to weave into the world in unexpected ways. Shortly after class, I had the opportunity to write this blog post. It felt fitting that I would share my experience on a larger scale, challenge myself to expand my own creative expression, take up more space, and weave my web into the technological realm. I am grateful to receive the opportunity to expand my perspective and weave my work more fully into the world.

What has become of Spider? She is still on the trail, claiming her own space. I have to squat and do a little fancy footwork to maneuver around her web, but this is what creative living and coexisting is all about. I’m happy to find new ways of doing things, especially when it creates space for others. We are all in this together. I am grateful that Spider came into my life to teach me about balance, breath, and creativity, and multidimensional living.

I encourage you to go outside today and simply notice what is right in front of you. Create space within your mind to be present for someone or something else. Listen to the wind. Feel the sunshine or moonlight on your skin. Look your friend in the eyes. See things from a new perspective. Maybe try an inversion to access a new way of seeing. Open up to the beauty of the present moment. Allow yourself to do your work and then welcome deep rest, without attachment to what may come. The world is your oracle. Show up. Listen. Shine.

Ruby Chandler