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Abundance of Spiders a Message to Uninspired Writer

On the concept of "alone-ness," and the value of messages from the animal world.

I was excited to move here last December. Excited about the fresh start, but nervous about being in a brand new place where I knew no one.

I’m meeting new people and getting out and about most days, but because of illness and loss I haven’t had a “day job” in three years. 

After a few months spent unpacking and putting things in their places, I began to obsess about what I call my “alone-ness.” Not loneliness, but just the condition of being by myself most of the time. The very word, which I invented, began to dominate my thoughts; I became preoccupied with transforming it in some way, processing it, or just getting rid of it.

When I was in the hospital for depression last year, I had only one visitor in three weeks, an old friend who kindly came up from Maryland to spend a few hours with me on a weekend, trying to cheer me up. My children were in college and unable to make the trip; they were too busy with classes and part-time jobs.

Most of the time I dreaded visiting hours, because there I sat, alone. Was I headed back in that direction again?

Today I looked up the origin of the word and was simply flabbergasted. The Oxford English Dictionary states that alone is derived from the Middle English ALL + ONE.  Go figure! 

As I said, I knew I didn’t feel lonely, just solitary, more or less unaccompanied. I’m an extrovert by nature; I like being around people and having things happening all the time. So now, due to events and circumstances that dictated my alone-ness, had I simply entered the ultimate Zen state — was I ALL with the ONE? Or vice versa? And not liking it one single bit? It was too much for me to wrap my head around.

My search for possible answers led me to Mother Nature, as I turned to the tool of animal messaging that served me well in the past. When an animal appears to me in a dramatic or frequent fashion, I've come to learn that there is usually a personal message there.

For the last few days I've been seeing tiny spiders pop up; I even had one crawling across my laptop while working on my front porch the other day. Spiders can signify creativity, and in some cultures it's said they are the origin of the alphabet by virtue of the whimsical webs that arise from their own expressive source. They speak of infinite possibilities because they are eight-legged (eight turned sideways is the symbol for infinity). 

They also raise the issue of being imprisoned or stuck — trapping of prey is, after all, the very purpose of the web they weave.

So I’ve interpreted these spider sightings to mean that my alone-ness is simply a gift — a gift of free time in which to pursue the writing and creating that has become a new purpose in my life. It makes even more sense to me now, since for six weeks or so my writing efforts had slowed to a crawl, and I'd been feeling literally “stuck.”

My book project hit an unexpected snag or two, and I’d put it on the back burner.  I wanted someone to come along and show me the way out, to jump start my engine, to get me back on track.

I think spider came to tell me otherwise, to remind me that I can get unstuck by myself, that I need to just get back to work. So if you’re suffering from “alone-ness” like me, even if you’re busy as ever and surrounded by activity, take a good look around for clues from the animal world. What critters or creatures or bugs have been popping up in your vicinity, or even in your dreams, that might seem unusual or perhaps even annoying?  

They are probably coming to offer help or advice. You might be surprised by what you discover, if you choose to explore their significance. If you’d like resources for interpreting animal messages, just let me know. I’d be happy to share mine with you.

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Paula Rothaus March 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM
I am fascinated by spiders, too. Two years ago, in the fall, a large orb weaver of some sort was living in the foliage outside our house. I watched it 'drop' its lines of silk, fastening them on key points in the leaves, then fastidiously work its way around again and again, and I marveled at the work of art that was its web. The web was about 18" in diameter. Many nights, working in the opposite direction, the spider 'ate' the web- then started all over and remade an identical web. I was mesmerized. I referred to it as "my spider." When the weather got cold, my spider was gone- without a trace. I hoped it would come back the following fall. It didn't. I miss my friend. Hmmmm? What does that say about me?
Doris Sherrow-Heidenis March 27, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I shouldn’t even be on this page--I’m an arachnophobe, and I have shot the poor little things on site with my (now ex-) husband’s pellet rifle! But I also realize that my fear-driven “mind melt” that is totally unfounded. Spiders are industrious, inventive little creatures! [If only they didn’t have all those legs!] I haven’t shot one in quite a few years, and I try not to crush them now, either. I will try to remember your viewpoint the next time I see some little eight-leggedy…! ~Doris Sherrow-Heidenis
Helen Evrard March 27, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Maybe she'll come back this year! You must really be creative. Or is it time for you to "eat your own web" and unstick youself? Thanks, Paula.
Helen Evrard March 27, 2012 at 05:54 PM
You must be very creative! Maybe, like me, you need to "eat your web" and get un-stuck. I hope she comes back this year!
Helen Evrard March 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Yes, you've already started to break free of your fear web! Congratulations on your peaceful, tolerant approach to these little messengers of possibility.
Paula Rothaus March 27, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Boy! Helen, you are right on all counts! I am very creative, and I am STUCK! LOL!
Cate Tsahalis March 30, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Great post! I actually sleep with the book "Animal Speak" by my bed. It has become one of my favorite reference materials, especially when I feel lost or confused. It has brought me important insights on many occasions; it's wonderful to know that others are open to these messages. Keep writing, Helen, you will be un-stuck soon enough!
Helen Evrard March 30, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Thank's Cate. It's one of my favorites, too. Also "Medicine Cards" and "Animal Spirit Guides". Your encouragement means a lot to me!
Helena April 18, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Amazing realization Helen! I observed a stork outside my window for quite a while this past Sunday and was mesmerized by it. Later that night I started to wonder what it might mean...

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