By Milli Thornton
In a post earlier this month, Writing for the End of the World, I decided to use talk of 2012 being the end of the world as a way to explore what I would do if this really was the last year of my life. I said: All I know is that I’m not going to spend 2012 listening to scary predictions. I’m going to spend it on my creative dreams.
A few days later I found a spider in my refrigerator. I didn’t know it was a spider until I wiped up what I thought was a dead bug in the fetal position . . . and its legs flexed open in protest. I was astonished, and actually moved, that a spider could survive being refrigerated.
I don’t have a fear of spiders, I respect them, so I tenderly moved this one out into my yard.
My interest in animal totems and the symbolic messages they bring nudged me to google “spider animal totem.” I had googled these keywords on several occasions and I was really only looking for the same info so I could refresh my memory. I already knew that the spider as a totem is known for themes important to writers:
Keeper of the primordial alphabet,
Creativity and weaver of fate.
And, as I’d read on linsdomain.com, “those who weave magic with the written word usually have this totem.”
This time, at the very top of the search results, was a site I didn’t recognize. I clicked out of curiosity, not expecting to find anything new. I was inspired to read a Native American legend about Spider Woman, creator of man with his skin colors of earth, red, yellow, white, and black.
The part that had the most impact on me said
To each she attached a thread of her web which came from the doorway at the top of her head. This thread was the gift of creative wisdom. Three times she sent a great flood to destroy those who had forgotten the gift of her thread. Those who remembered floated to the new world and climbed to safety through the Sipapu Pole the womb of Mother Earth.
I haven’t stopped thinking about that ever since. A flood sent to destroy those who forget their gift of creative wisdom. Whether it’s a warning or a myth I’ll leave for others to debate. All I know is that the symbolism of it gave me a new urgency about expressing my creative gifts.
And to remember that they are gifts, not for me to squander but to love them and use them well.
Special thanks to Milliver’s Travels staff writer Betsy Villanella for permission to use her photo of the spider webs with this post. Don’t miss the wonderful story it came from:
Milli Thornton is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and Milliver’s Travels and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse.