Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Epiphany from a Spider

I posted this on FB yesterday...
a spider has built a 3-tier webhouse on my kitchen window...and am supposed to be cleaning for houseguests. i think miss spider wants to stay and show off :-))
friends responded back: she is decorating; it is good feng shui; it brings good luck.
R said i should name her Charlotte and adopt her as a pet. 
But her name is not Charlotte, it is Caring/Caridad! -- this is the thought that came to me from nowhere and i stuck with it. 
C said that in the Yoruba - Lukumi Tradition, one of the Orisha Oshun's "messengers" is the spider. Oshun is also called Ye Ye Cari (short for Caridad); She is syncretized as La Caridad del cobre (Our Lady of Charity). 
Mike said that we Kapampangans have Mangatia (the net maker) is a giant spider who created the universe (sikluban) from it's web...from which all of us and our destinies are connected.

a month or so ago, while holiday cleaning, i had swatted another spider in the same window without thinking of the above. Perhaps because i had been reading David Abram's Becoming Animal, this time i paused and watched Caring at work. i was amazed at the pattern she has woven - 3 tiers - and so i kept coming back to watch her progress as the day went on.

in the evening, amused by the responses to my post, I looked up a few more stories about spiders and what they symbolize in different cultures. I noticed that this time i was paying attention...which means the stories were making their way into my body and not just the intellect.

ruminating on the day's events and why i was cleaning house in the first place (having lots of houseguests for a 3-day retreat), my thoughts turned to the books on my bedside: Lane Wilcken's and Virgil Apostol's. both of them tell of their ancestors - great great grandmothers they knew by name, stories remembered, healing powers passed on to them and now they are telling the world.

i was gripped by sadness and felt a little surprised by this feeling. a closer look - i was sad that i do not know my great grandparents. i have no stories about them. i remembered asking my mother, when she was still alive, about my ancestors but she too, didn't know names and stories. i knew, that she, too, was frustrated that she couldn't give me any answers. grief memories... and then tears flowed. and a quiet voice said....

you may not know our names, but we know you. you honor us by the work you are doing. you know us even though you do not know our names. do not be sad. we are still here.  we even visited you today and you named us...

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