With everything that's been going on in my life in the last couple of days (see my Líon Damháin blog for details if interested) I've been dreading the approach of Samhain (year's end). This is so not how I wanted my first new year back in the Lower Mainland to go .. I had hoped that, by now, I would have had my own home to celebrate in. Instead, the waiting drags on interminably as my sibling continues to play her games and the lawyer is slow about taking the next step. I have been dreading Halloween and, to anyone who knows me well, this would serve as a warning bell signifying that something is going very wrong with the Weaver.
Normally I love this holiday and I have, in years past, done everything I could to make it as much fun for myself and my family as I could (one of my children's favourite memories is getting up on Halloween morning to find that Mum had stayed up into the wee hours decorating the house so that it was spook-tastic when they awoke). This year, I have just wanted it to come and go quietly ... no jack o'lanterns, no decorations, no costumes, no altar, nothing. The only part of the Samhain season that I will still do is a very private nod to the ancestors, since that's a matter of respect for those who came before me and they are deserving of such.
I've been trying, fruitlessly, to dredge up the thread of a tale to spin for my NaNoWriMo challenge ... spinning my wheels while the greater portion of my mind has been preoccupied with dealing with the emotional fall out from "real life". It got to the point, yesterday, when I did the mental version of throwing my hands up in surrender and quietly asked the universe for help, for a sign, for something ... anything to show me that things will eventually be "all right" again, to give me just a little direction.
In an effort to get my mind off the issues that were preying upon it, I worked on the chainmail die bag that Kara had asked me for before her surgery in Montreal. I was partway through working the links when I realized that I was instinctively working with magical numbers ... 33 links long, 18 rows of 33 links woven before I began to build the bottom of the bag. There was something comforting about that realization ... likely my particular brand of OCD in action, helping me make some sense of order in the middle of my chaos. But, the magic didn't happen until I was all done.
Please keep in mind, I tend to a skeptical turn of mind when it comes to the ooky-spooky realm of magical manifestation. I do not tend to try to find metaphysical meaning in everyday events. I had been actively working on the links of the weave at the kitchen table for hours ... I picked up the completed bag and handled it vigourously, trying to shake loose any links that I may not have closed properly ... I showed the completed bag (holding it up and jingling it for effect) to the older boy before taking it to another room to show it to Kara.
I was still handling and manipulating the chain link bag as I walked up to her ... flipping the open end over the edge of my index finger, with the closed end in my palm, so it hung down the backs of my fingers as I approached. But, when I extended my hand to her, I flipped my wrist swinging the open end back towards my palm side and the links swung up and away to reveal a tiny spider on my finger. It looked like a perfect, pale orb weaver spiderling with a body hardly larger than a bran bud ...so delicate and so fragile that my mind couldn't grasp that she was really there on my left index finger. I watched her take a couple of hydraulic steps across skin that had been covered a mere second ago by the chainmail pouch.
I was just watching .. not thinking, not yet even able to wonder how she'd gotten there ... when Kara's hand moved to brush her off my skin. I watched as the perfect little spiderling, not waiting for Kara's fingers to reach her, leapt off my finger and out into thin air without even so much as an anchor line of web trailing after her ... just all eight little legs extended as she disappeared into space. Too tiny to track visually all the way through her plunge.
I am very grateful that Kara was there to see her, having a witness makes it much easier not to doubt my own eyes and chalk it up to my mind playing tricks on me. My mind just cannot reconcile her very dainty self perched upon my finger and the rough manner in which I had been handling the chain link of the pouch. The easiest way I can describe it is that the bag lifted off my skin to reveal the spider underneath ... as if she materializes there as the bag lifted away. The image of her revealed as the bag moved out of the way is imprinted on my mind's eye. I have been wrestling with the "how in the hells?" questions all day .. how could she have gotten there, could she have been hidden in the chain link and when would she have gotten there, could something so dainty and fragile have survived the rough handling I was giving the pouch to be deposited unscathed onto my finger as I was swinging the links away?
I'm going to dig out my Animal Speak book and take a refresher look at the interpretation of the spider as totem ... particularly since the spider is my primary totem and an important symbol in my life. Perhaps I should consider that little arachnid as a response and consider what I can take/learn from it.
The Bean Tighe (pronounced ban tig) is a helpful spirit that is likely one of the inspirations for the "fairy godmother" type donor/patron from faerie and folk tales. She is the one who makes it possible for others to achieve their potential ... whether it be helping with the maintenance of one's home, one's finances, or the ability to make one's dreams come true.