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Dreams of the Moon

Spider Woman Cuff Close-Up

We know that Grandmother Spider is a giver and gatekeeper, a guardian and guide. We know that teaching and wisdom are hers to give, patience and protection and the power of weaving, too.

But perhaps she is also a dreamer, a visionary? One who not only guards our dreams, but dreams them with us?

Perhaps, as is so often the case with women elders, we have failed to see her as she truly is, the whole of her rather than merely those parts we find useful to us personally?

I learned today that some spiders can see the moon as we do. Not just any spiders; specifically, the jumping spider, of which there are several variants, including the girl with the green fangs who set up housekeeping in Wings’s studio over the weekend. She is of a different subspecies, the daring jumping spider, than the zebra jumping spider featured in the article, but she is apparently possessed of the same unusually telescopic eyes. The writer reports that in all of nature, only three types of animals are known to have such eyes, crossing categories of creatures: arachnids, reptiles, and raptors — specifically, the jumping spider, the chameleon, and the falcon.

I forwarded the article to Wings, knowing that he would find it equally fascinating. But for us, it raises questions less about what our jumping spider sees than about what we humans see in her.  How much have we limited her full identity, how much have we failed to see about who she is and what she represents? It’s not merely a question of what she gives us, though for the self-interested, there is that, too; it’s also about her broader role in the actual cosmos, and thus in our cosmologies.

Her web protects our dreams at night, does she dream of the moon as she weaves it?

Today’s featured work was decided days ago, but I’m struck anew by how apt it is. In this incarnation, Grandmother Spider’s pincers (the malachite-green fangs on Monday’s visitant), resemble a stylized crescent moon, putting her head (and thus, her eyes) directly behind — or beneath — a moon of sorts, placing it in full view. From the work’s description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

Spider Woman Cuff Side View

Spider Woman Cuff Bracelet

Our dreams are the threshold between our contemporary existence and ways much older than memory. In many traditions, Spider Woman is the gatekeeper of such thresholds, and today, we still use the gift of her web to protect our dreams. Here, her ancient power is embodied in this spectacular cuff, hand-formed from a single piece of sterling silver and adorned with stones of protection and power. Her eight legs, texturized by hand-stamping extend from the dazzling oval lapis cabochon that forms her body. Hand-cut, hand-stamped pincers and silver spacer beads accent the protective Skystone of Sleeping Beauty turquoise that forms her head. Another view shown at top.

Sterling silver, lapis lazuli, and Sleeping Beauty turquoise
$1,200 + shipping, handling, and insurance

 

This has always been one of my favorite pieces among Wings’s entire body of work. Part of it is the blues, especially that violet lapis cabochon. Part of it is the intricacy of the design, its identity as fully articulated as the spider’s own legs.

But part of it is surely the fact that it summons the spirit of Spider Woman herself, a complex and complicated female spirit, one lives, in in part, in the spaces between the worlds. In our way, she is a creature of good dreams, one who helps to banish the nightmares.

Now I wonder what powers of vision she possesses, in both senses of the word . . . and whether she, too, dreams of the moon.

~ Aji

 

 

 

 

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