Alternative Wheel: Other seasonal cycle stories

When this column started, it was all about exploring different ways of thinking about the wheel of the year, reflecting on aspects of the natural world to provide Pagans alternatives to the usual solar stories. It's still very much an alternative wheel, but there's a developing emphasis on what we can celebrate as the seasons turn. Faced with environmental crisis, and an uncertain future, celebration is a powerful soul restoring antidote that will help us all keep going, stay hopeful and dream up better ways of being.

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Spider Season

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

One of the joys of autumn is the finding of webs, dew decked and glinting in the early morning light.

Spider webs are amazing constructions, and the whole spidering business is fascinating – all spiders produce 8 or more kinds of thread, and they only don’t get caught in their own webs because they remember where to stand.

I see spider webs all year round, but have the distinct impression that autumn is a time of especial spider business. The webs seem bigger – as, often, do the spiders in the middle of them! The placing of webs seems more dramatic. I’ve had webs, and for that matter spiders in my face and hair several times in the last week thanks to more dramatic constructions across footpaths, and I’ve not had that happen at other times in the year.

I’d like to imagine that the spiders know perfectly well that increased dew, and early morning light will make their webs look especially awesome, and that this is the reason for building bigger and better webs at this time of year. That might sound like anthropomorphism, but, ask what a dawn chorus is about. Nature is not as ruthlessly practical and pragmatic as humans like to think.

We can celebrate the webs just by watching out for them and enjoying them. We can take it as a cue to think about webs of connection in our lives, and our own homemaking activities. Spiders are often icons for weaving, and spinning, so we might take them as inspiration for our own crafting. We might think about the kinds of metaphorical webs we throw out into the world and what we’re trying to catch, or what accidentally gets stuck in unwelcome ways.


I’ll end with a nod to Yvonne Ryves and her Web Of Life book, which points out the way that the eight legged spider in its web resembles the wheel of the year if you follow the path of 8 festivals.

The art with this post is by Tom Brown and comes from a Professor Elemental comic, and yes, those are tatters of vast spiderweb in the background.

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Nimue Brown is the author of Druidry and Meditation, Druidry and the Ancestors. Pagan Dreaming, When a Pagan Prays and Spirituality without Structure. She also writes the graphic novel series Hopeless Maine, and other speculative fiction. OBOD trained, but a tad feral, she is particularly interested in Bardic Druidry and green living.


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