Outside my kitchen window the morning sun glints upon a spider web, its three-foot orb suspended from an overhanging lintel affixed to the porch railing. From the inch-wide circle in the center emanate silky strands, cross-hatched by others into irregular rectangles; within these are insects and bits of leaves. A quiet breeze whispers into the web causing it to shimmer like a hesitant lover. Its creator is long gone.

So it’s about the spider, spinning webs from the earliest of times. The Roman poet Ovid (43 B.C. to 17 A.D.) described its origins in the sixth book of his Metamorphoses. Arachne, thought by some to be a comely princess in Lydia, was highly gifted in the art of weaving. Even wood nymphs paused in their gambols to admire her deft hands working the loom set up beneath the trees. Eventually such attention inflated her pride and she challenged the Goddess Athena, the teacher of all art forms, to a contest.

The looms were prepared. Everyone watched, spellbound. Athena produced a panoramic view of the Olympian gods and goddesses on her loom, whereas Arachne’s depicted their foibles. Although her skill was undeniably superior to Athena’s, the latter transformed her into a spider and condemned her and her progeny to hang by threads and to weave for the rest of their lives.

So whenever puffed up with pride and anger, be wary of the webs we spin. We’ve no need to entrap others with our stuff. Instead, get help to dismantle them and learn deeper truth about our psyches.

 

 

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