Two nights ago, before I went to sleep, I placed Doreen Virtue’s Divine Guidance book on the shelf beside my bed, closed my eyes and took her advice. I asked the Divine to show me my life’s path in the form of a dream, knowing it would be my job to interpret the symbolism in whatever form it manifested.
Here is the dream I was given: I was at my parents’ house, sitting on their expansive breezeway. It was dusk, the light coming in through the open wall was darkening and creating shadows where we sat on chairs scattered around the brick floor. My mother, stepfather and two other men were there with me. One of the men was Stephen King, the other one unknown. Stephen was there because he was working with my stepfather on a building project for his house. He was lounging on a chair, acting aloof. After we were introduced, I told him I knew his niece ( I really do know his niece). He seemed largely unimpressed.
I then noticed a large white orb – a tarantula spider’s sac under his leg (or my stepfather’s, I’m not sure which). When I realized what I was looking at, I started to panic, knowing this orb would eventually hatch and countless baby spiders would emerge and find their way into the house (I appeared to be still living there). I noticed more small white sacs throughout the breezeway, and my nervousness increased. I wanted to box them inside my daughter’s pink poodle lunch box and send them down the stream beside my parents’ home, but my mother beside me argued against this.
The next morning as I thought about the dream my initial reaction was disappointment. This was my vision? Another difficult dream with my parents and spiders to boot! Then I remembered my readings about spiders in Ted Andrew’s book, Animal Speak, in which he refers to them as the totem of the writer (see pages 344-347). In lore, the spider is sometimes called the “weaver of illusion,” or the “grandmother – the link to the past and the future.” It was starting to make sense. I am actively weaving the past and the future together in my life and in my memoir writing.
The body of the spider is in the shape of an 8, the symbol of infinity – “The wheel of life.” The body itself is a bridge, connecting the past with the future. What then of my fears? It could not be an accident that Stephen King, the writer of fears manifested, appeared with the spiders. My anxiety was clearly palpable in my dream. It could be said that many of my childhood fears, aside from my earliest memory, originated within my childhood homes and the words and interactions I had with my mother and stepfather. It could be said that my greatest resistance as a writer is birthing from these sources. Hence, the impulse to send the spiders down the stream.
Spiders, Ted Andrews also writes, balance the male and female energy. Perhaps it is not accidental that the mother in my dream was urging me not to send those unborn spiders down the stream, even though in actuality her life reaction to my writing has been quite different. We are, after all, the writers/weavers of our own destinies.
Spider is also symbolic of death and rebirth. Andrews writes, “Spider teaches us that through polarity and balance creativity is stimulated.” Life is about balance, as is writing. Sometimes this balance is hard-won, but when we get the hang of it, we realize falling off is nearly impossible. Through my writing, I have certainly been reborn.
Although tarantulas don’t spin webs, they do spin threads. They also make their homes within the earth. They combine gentleness and strength, as well as agility. They are night workers, linking them to the moon and dreams – a source of creative inspiration and wisdom for many, including me.
As I do each morning, I took my dogs for a walk in the woods, listening and looking for signs from nature. It seemed, this day, I would have to wait until the walk was nearly complete. As I turned into my driveway, I saw before me in the sky a large eagle formed out of the clouds. Its head was turned toward the south (the direction of overcoming obstacles and awakening the inner child; trust; and resurrection). The eagle itself was in the eastern section of the sky (the direction of healing, creativity, and rebirth).
Eagle, according to Andrews (see pages 136 -141), is the symbol of healing, creation, and resurrection. The “balance of being of the earth, but not in it.” The bald eagle feathers have links to grandmother medicine – wisdom, healing, and creation. They are connected to the number 3 -new birth and creativity. “The willingness to use your passions to purify and to use your abilities even if it means being scorched a little.”
Eagle vision is 8x greater than humans – linking it, like the spider, to the infinity symbol. Andrews writes, “To accept eagle as a totem is to accept a powerful new dimension to life, and heightened responsibility for your spiritual growth. But only through doing so do you learn how to move between the worlds, touch all life with healing, and become the mediator and the bearer of new creative force within the world.” Was this a sign telling me that my pull to be a healer and a writer, somehow combining the two, was a path that was unfolding to me?
A half an hour later, I was outside hanging up the laundry beside our apple tree. I heard the voice of Chickadee and looked up to see three of the little birds singing down at me. This was not the first time Chickadee has appeared to me, asking to be heard. The last time it was 7 birds leading me to feathers, this time it was 3 asking for my attention. Andrews states that the chickadee (see page 125 – 126) is the bird of truth. The number 3 is associated with birth and creativity. Because there are 7 types of chickadees, the bird is linked to the number 7 and the 7 primary chakras in balance. I have, I have come to realize, had chickadee in my life since I was a child, just as I have held fast to the symbolism inherent in my name.