Childhood fears and Spider’s wisdom

My son sits next to me in the car. I am driving him to another day of summer camp: welding camp. My daughter is in the backseat. I turn up the radio. The two on-air personalities are asking listeners, What was the scariest movie from your childhood?

Friday the 13th,” I say. My son laughs. “Grandma always says that Jaws made her not want to get into the water.”

The radio personalities list the top scariest mentions. I remember many of them. Top of the list? Arachnophobia. My turn to laugh. I remember it. And maybe feeling afterwards like every slight tickle or brush of my skin might be an 8-legged creepy crawler.

“There’s a spider making a big web between the seats,” says my daughter.

I smile at her teasing and turn to see that she is not kidding. There is a web stretched between my son’s seat and mine. The teeniest spider sits in it. The web is quite a feat for the tiny arachnid.

The spider moves, continuing the elaborate web construction. I turn the corner and she swings wide on a thread. My daughter screams.

“I’m driving,” I say, “you can’t scream while I’m driving. That spider is so tiny, she’s probably screaming, Ah, there’s a human!” I turn another corner. My daughter screams again while spidey swings from her thread like a pendulum.

At this point, my reassurances of my daughter being more of a threat to the spider than the spider is to my daughter, are falling on deaf ears – mainly because no-one can hear after all the screaming.

Then I remember Grandmother Spider and begin to tell my daughter about how some Native traditions revered Grandmother Spider and her teachings. That she was an important cornerstone of life: the grand weaver. Screaming turns to listening.

“Spider creates a new web everyday,” I tell her. “How amazing is that? Spider reminds us that we can create each day anew. No matter what happened the day before, you can start again. You get to create your day. Spin what you want. No matter your size.”

“Spider doesn’t know she’s small. She weaves intricate, large webs, to fill the space she chooses.” I suddenly feel as though this lesson is more for me than my daughter; it’s probably good for all three of us to hear.

Every conversation, every meal made and eaten, every thought, every step is a strand in the web. Some webs are strong and carefully crafted in optimal places. They require occasional maintenance and repair. Other webs need a complete tear down and rebuild. Either way, you are responsible for your web’s condition. With skill and intention, you become the master weaver.

Often, we are too busy in our conditioning – usually fearful, and gained in childhood – to contemplate the beauty, lessons or wisdom that the smallest of encounters may impart.

I leave you with spider medicine.

Go create your day.



My son’s welding project that day: metal spider.



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