Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

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Understanding Messages from Animals

You are pondering a major issue in your life. Tarantulas keep appearing to you in various ways. You finally realize that Tarantula is delivering a message. What do you do now?

After you run screaming off into the sunset, you calm down enough to notice how .Big. and .Hairy. She is. Not to mention, Venomous. “She!?” Now you are face to face with a great big, hairy spider, who looks bigger and scarier, the longer you stare at Her. “Her?” Since when do tarantulas have personalities?


As I have written, there are no bad animals. Animal Messengers However some are not as welcomed as others. You just been contacted by an animal, that you only see in your nightmares. First remember that Tarantula is to help you solve a problem. You had asked for someone to assist you, and She volunteered.

You could look up “spider” in an animal “totem” dictionary. But bear in mind that “spider” consists of an Order of 109 Families and 43,678 different species. Also, before you go any further, you need to know what is meant by “tarantula.” The spiders that people call “tarantulas” are Theraphosidae such as the furry bird spiders of South America. True tarantulas (Lycosa tarantula) are wolf spiders that live in Southern Europe.

It is important to know which animal you are talking to. For example, there are two mammals who are called “badger.” However, the settled European badger (Meles meles) lives a very different life from the solitary American badger (Taxidea taxus). Moreover, the folklore about these two “badgers” differs as well. The only thing that they have in common is the white badger stripe.

By “tarantula,” I am referring to a member of the Theraphosidae. Since there are over 900 species in this sub-order, I will simply give their general characteristics. Tarantulas have many unique qualities, which can be appreciated by people. Sensing vibrations around them, these spiders hunt by touch. Some lean back on their haunches, raise their head and legs, and then expose their deadly fangs. Others spear their victims with their hairs. Since tarantulas are ambush predators, they do NOT spin webs, preferring to live in burrows. Therefore reading in an animal “totem” dictionary about spinning webs and the web of life would not help you. It is better to research the natural history of tarantulas. This will give you clues as to what Tarantula has to say to you. Note any folklore about tarantulas that you find helpful.

Because of their placid natures, some people do keep tarantulas as pets. One popular tarantula is the Mexican red-kneed tarantula (Brachypelma smith). (illustrated) When she is disturbed, this spider will kick hairs from her abdomen and back legs. Moreover, she will flee before biting anyone.

In your meeting with Tarantula, simply ask Her what She wants you to know. Watch what is Tarantula doing. Is She hunting, resting, or simply waiting for you to feed Her a tasty cricket? Note what you are feeling and what are you thinking about. Answering these basic questions will guide you into understanding Tarantula’s message. What is, in particular, going on in your life that Tarantula is trying to advise you about?

As people are multifaceted, so are the messages that a particular animal delivers. Your personal insights will mesh with the animal’s qualities. Pondering Tarantula, you may decide She is telling you to look beyond appearances or to combine sensitivity with strength. Or Tarantula may simply be teaching you to be kind or to face your fears. What makes sense to you in your life now?

Ask in your meditation any further questions. You may shiver at the prospect of speaking with a venomous spider, but remember Tarantula is only aggressive when She provoked. Tarantula will not bite or spear you. Set aside your feelings of dread, and make Her feel welcome. You may never connect with Tarantula, and your personalities may not match either. But respect Her and her message. She is there to deliver an answer for one of your questions.

In understanding any message, first develop a tolerance for all animals, even those who upset you. Accept what they have to teach. The ones that you may feel uneasy about will help you if you allow them. Although there are ones we prefer to have in our lives, we need to welcome them all. Remember patience when Tarantula comes calling.

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


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