Articles/Essays From Pagans
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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 14519
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: May 15th. 2011
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The journey I share tonight is about my own personal discovery of my shadow totem. When I was a little girl, I was curious about bugs and other creepy crawlies. My mother lit my creative interests by helping my sister and I catch bugs and study them. When I was about 8 years old, I was out playing and managed to fall right into a mimic nest. Now this spider looks identical to a black widow with a few minor exceptions: first, the hourglass on its back isn't red, it is orange and secondly they live in groups and not alone as the infamous widow. The spiders crawled all over me but never took one bite.
Often I'd dream of hairy black and gold striped spiders that descended from the ceiling and from under the bed; they would crawl all over me and into my mouth. It wasn't unusual to wake screaming or gasping for air. I hated them but also found myself very fascinated.
Early one morning, I woke up to find the largest most beautiful web I'd ever seen right outside of my bedroom window. It was springtime and the memory of my feet on dewy ground scampering around our mobile home to see this web is very vivid. Water droplets made the web very visible as it glistened in the morning light. At its delicate spiral center was a very large, spiny legged, yellow and black spider.
Foolishly, out of curiosity I destroyed the web and placed the very large spider in a jar. I wanted to know what it was but thought that it would crawl away before I got a chance to ask my mother; excuses, excuses. My mom explained that it was a garden spider and told me that if I didn't let her go she would die. I recall thinking how horrible it would be to be tending a garden and have one crawl up on your arm. That afternoon I walked into the back yard and I let the spider go but she would return again to remind me of what I had done.
Early one morning, twelve years later, with a cup of coffee in one hand and on the brink of an oncoming yawn, I noticed an odd looking insect hanging from my daughter’s red and blue playschool slide. Upon closer inspection I realized it was a spider-like creature but only had six legs roughly thirty times the size of its small almond sized body. Naturally, I ran into the house and grabbed a large mason jar. I caught the quick creature but not without a severe dose of the chills. The way they crawled just plain freaked me out. I sat down in my swivel chair and turned on the monitor to my Apple computer; nothing like a ‘safari’ in the morning (Okay. Bad joke.)
After scanning many images, I discovered the spider was the largest species of "daddy long-legs" in Missouri, and was usually nocturnal and fed on moths and other small insects. I picked up the jar again and walked outside with it. Standing on my porch, I put my face very close to the jar inspecting how neatly its fangs were tucked. Right about that time a very intense, high pitched shriek came from the jar. It was so disturbing I actually tossed it across the front yard and put my hands over my ears. Logically, it made no sense that I could hear this thing screaming at me but just the thought of it brings the sound back.
I walked over to the jar and let the spider crawl safely into a hole at the base of the elm tree that stood high in my yard. I apologized for sticking him in a jar and for a moment I felt thankful that I had escaped. Yes, I was that disturbed. The memory of the garden spider floated back into my memory.
That same week I was mauled in the left side of my face by a bunch of striped white house spiders. Unfortunately, I thought it was a sty and treated it with a heated pad. It was very unwise. I awakened from a horrible nightmare in which a man was strangling me to death; it was an intense respiratory reaction that sent me to the E.R. looking all swelled like the Elephant Man. I did catch one of the critters but the hospital wasn't able to identify it.
One year later in 2008, I met my shadow as a dream person. I woke up to go to the restroom but it was occupied by a beautiful blond headed green-eyed woman wearing pastel colors and smiling very wryly at me. I recall asking her questions and knowing that she knew the answers but she tortured me by dangling pieces to my own personal dramas over my head. I was sure she was the one who would fill in the missing pieces to my past and help me to understand my very fragmented memories. Instead, she shimmered like the water and changed into me. In dreams that followed, I slowly became her by changing my clothes and dying my hair blond. I decided to do a little meditation and came up with a bizarre name: Hebe.
Hebe is a Greek deity that relates to the beauty and youth of the gods and some speculate that Ganymede might have taken her place as the cup bearer of the Gods… but despite speculation, the most fascinating fact I found on her was the fact she was conceived when her mother Hera ate lettuce. It was something I didn't usually eat but for months I had been consuming entire heads of it daily. Soon after my discovery, I began dreaming and meeting more spiders.
In 2009, while asleep, another spider dropped in. I was looking for a book to amuse me and crouched down in the arts section of a Hastings store. I had dry scalp but it was really driving me crazy sitting there reading about watercolor painting techniques. My fingers fumbled through my hair and I felt something hard. Oh no! It’s a tick!
Wrong. It was brown spotted, big butt spider. I was not happy and I threw it across the room and did a "heebee jeebee dance" as I call it. Two months later in August, I was off to another E.R. trip. I was bit three times by a brown recluse in my sleep; my leg swelled enough to keep me from walking. At this point, I was extremely paranoid of our eight legged friends and was very sure they were lurking around the corner waiting to crawl up my shins.
The day the obvious finally hit me, I was shopping for breakfast food in my local Wal-Mart. I picked up a box of cereal and bam! Hebe's image hit me along with the garden spider. The images flashed so quickly I froze in the cereal aisle with my box of Captain Crunch and forgot to breathe for a moment. Slowly, things were beginning to make sense… dreams of gardens (which I obviously didn't go into here) , horrific spiders, Hebe… my shadow totem had clearly presented itself and has continued to do so.
Integration takes time and patience. Often I wonder if I'm ready to really learn what she might have to teach me. I still find myself running or screaming when I see them in my dreamscape but shadows don't vanish. We can jump on them or smack them as many times as we want but they are apart of us. If we don't learn to dance with them, they will crawl up our legs and laugh while we do the "heebee jeebee".
Location: Doniphan, Missouri
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