Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Heart Spiders. People...Not So Much.

In June, I was introduced to the concept of Spider as a power animal. For one who spent the first thirty years of her life deathly afraid of any creature possessing more than four legs, embracing this possibility has been an uphill battle. When I was a kid, my older sister—who thought nothing of handling beetles, snakes, bees, frogs—used to get a huge kick out of chasing me around with bugs. I nearly fainted when she threatened to slip a grasshopper under the bathroom door I had slammed and locked against one of her onslaughts. It’s interesting to note: Now, she’s the one who screeches and stomps on spiders, while I catch them in paper cups and release them out into the wild.

My old knee-jerk “ew!” reaction upon encountering a spider has tempered somewhat since discovering the possibility of Spider as a spirit guide. I’ve certainly overcome my desire to run, screech or squish. But I still find spiders singularly unattractive at close range, and can’t deal yet with the idea of one walking on me. So I won’t share my sleeping quarters with any arachnid larger than a dime, and cannot tolerate showering with one of any size.

I’ve begun to collect stylized representations of spiders—a pair of earrings, a brooch. Things that will help me call to mind the particulars of Spider’s guidance. And, though I have a long way to go before I feel anything approaching warm and fuzzy about arachnids I encounter in my daily life, I understand their appearance and their presence have significance. In just a few short months I have made tremendous strides toward actually embracing spiders—as creatures at the very least worthy of notice and care, if not messengers carrying special wisdom for me from the Spirit World.

But, here’s the rub (and maybe it’s a large part of the lesson the Universe is ramming at me through spiders): I can’t help but notice that, though I’m making all kinds of progress in the direction of spiders, I don’t seem to be able to duplicate that success when it comes to my relationships with people. Specific people, as well as people in general. What gives?

Looking back, I don’t think I’ve had a much better opinion of humans than I have had of spiders for most of my life. Oh, yes, I’m fond of my own family (most of the time), I have had a few human friends, and I am married to a human being (I think.) Apparently, I can carve out places in my hard heart for a very few specific people. And I can care deeply for the rights of human beings in general. But when it comes to relating to strangers or acquaintances I encounter every day…most often I have no use for them. My knee-jerk reaction any time I’m required to interact with other people is to immediately suspect the worst about them; or at the very least to view them as a waste of my time, or an effort I am not inclined to make.

So, while I can read things like the article to which I linked in my previous post, and the truth of the premise can smack me in the face and move me to tears, I can’t live it. My head understands that human beings are every bit as worthy of notice and care as spiders. But I’m having the devil’s own time seeing The Spirit in other people.

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I can fantasize anything I want about a spider and it will not do anything to disabuse me of that romantic notion. Whereas human beings can, and almost invariably do, open their mouths and say something, or act in such a way that lets me know immediately that they are what they are, and not some fairy-tale version of what I’d like them to be. I can’t make them pretty enough to be worthy of my affection and attention. I have to appreciate them for what they are. WAY harder to do that than to embrace a spider as a spiritual messenger. Apparently.

1 comment:

  1. It is a huge achievment to see an animal differently than you did before, esp. one considered "unlovable." For me, this happened on step at a time until I realized all living things I found beautiful just the way they are (ok, maybe not infectious disease....).

    Maybe what you see in animals is that they live as they are supposed to live. For humans, I cannot always say that. I think we broke away from the web of all of life and do sit apart because fo that, because we are out of balance. If we can rejoin the rest of all-that-is at the table maybe you could see humans differently.