I’m surrounded by spiders. All summer it felt like everywhere I turned I saw spiders – they were in our house at camp – massive spiders scurrying in the corners and as I sat and wrote at the desk facing the fields, I saw spiders in the windows spinning enormous webs. I found spiders in the garden and in dreams. I even suffered from several spider bites throughout the summer. Just now as I walked down the street, I passed a guy with a spider design on his t-shirt. So in lots of ways this blog post has been spinning in me for a while.
Spiders in almost all cultures represent something to be both feared and revered. Spiders embody powerful, creative energy spinning webs and weaving things together. In fact, in Southwestern America, the spider was said to have given people the first alphabet and writing was equated with feminine wisdom. Spiders in several traditions represent the Mother – powerful female energy and mythically the Creator of the world. The Spider helps both inspire, and give perspective, letting us see how different aspects of life might come together and weaves things together to create something beautiful. Spiders build intricate webs and spider web silk though seemingly fragile is one of the strongest fibers that exists.
Something about spiders both intrigues me and makes me uneasy. Their seemingly constant presence over these past few months makes me think that there is something stirring. A call to creativity, to draw upon my creative energy, to be inspired, and bring together dreams and projects that I have put off or out right ignored. Throughout my life, I have continually struggled to see myself as an artist or creative person. I find myself caught between being drawn to creative pursuits and simultaneously scared of them. There is something incredibly vulnerable about engaging your creativity – putting together words, ideas, and images for others to see. Some part of myself is revealed and I have to overcome the fear of being exposed. I notice myself hesitating to blog, to write, to make art, even to speak aloud big dreams. I pause and wait.
And yet, I find I am most drawn to creative people – I have friends who are artists, musicians, designers, and writers. All of whom offer their gifts, insights, and beautiful works of art to others. My best, most ingenious ideas come from being around such inspiring people and I love helping to encourage their creative endeavors.
The Book of Proverbs describes four little creatures and says although they are small, they are exceedingly wise (Proverbs 30:24). One of those – the spider is able to find her way into palaces, the home of kings. It says the spider takes hold with her hand and she accomplishes what might seem impossible to others. I wonder if the spider showing up is reminding me not to be afraid, to use the gifts I have been given, to be willing to take steps toward creating that which I dream.
Spiders also practice patience. They wait for what they want. They create and then they sit back and notice what emerges. So, I am left pondering these questions…
- What am I called to create?
- What dream is stirring?
- Where am I hesitating?
- They say 99% of writing or any creative pursuit is the discipline to practice. So how might I start practicing that which I want to begin to weave together and create in my life?
One of the things I most value about having a community of practice is that there are others who will encourage me (maybe even push and prod me) to practice what I say I value. I need others to help me to live into my calling and my dreams. We all do. Praxis Communities exists as a web of relationships, and practitioners, and dreamers. We are hoping for and working to create places where we can live into our deepest callings to love and serve God and our neighbor. And maybe create something beautiful along the way.
 “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces” – Proverbs 30:28