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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Celebrating the Spiders

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

We don’t have any seriously dangerous spiders here in the UK – they can bite, and bites aren’t delightful, but on the whole our spiders are harmless, friendly creatures who like to hang out in our homes. Autumn seems to be spider season. I always see more of them at this time of year, and the larger ones tend to appear more often now.

Spiders eat all kinds of other things that may get into your home to do you no good at all. They’re allies, and will take out things like clothes moths, mosquitoes and other bitey, unpleasant visitors. If you live somewhere with dangerous spiders, there’s a decent chance that a less dangerous spider might actually help you keep the scary ones out, even!

The photo accompanying this blog was taken of a very large spider who emerged from who knows where recently. It had to go out in an empty ice-cream box because it was too big to safely catch in a pint glass. A spider this large is at too great a risk of being eaten by the cat, and so for its own safety, needed to leave. Generally though, we let them stay and try not to disturb them.

The spiders in your home are, without a doubt, spirits of place. I think we need to question the idea that human habitats are supposed to be free from other living beings and signs of nature, unless carefully regulated by us. Sure, we want to keep pests out, but inviting spiders in actually helps with that. Keeping out creatures who would be harmed by coming in – as with night visiting moths – is certainly a thing. But butterflies who want to overwinter should be welcome.

We can learn a lot from the creatures who come into our homes. Some, like woodlice, only eat rotten wood, so if you’ve got woodlice, you may have a problem you need to pay attention to.

If you can’t bear spiders in your home, take the time to remove them gently and give them a chance somewhere else. Life on Earth is under a lot of pressure right now, and anything you can avoid needlessly killing, it is better not to kill. And it doesn’t hurt to think of all the spider Gods around the world. A spider gently re-homed is a good choice for a polytheist.

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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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