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SPIDERWOMAN

Grandmother Spiderwoman is the divine spinner among Native Americans in the Southwest. Her Web is a shining web of spiritual, human and ecological relationships that has too often become invisible in the contemporary world. That's why my mask weeps.

When we work with the Spiderwoman, we are inviting Her to weave us back into the Web, strand by strand, story by story, re-membering our connections, finding our way back to the Center. As I developed my website, I remembered a legend. They say that when Spiderwoman returns, the world will enter a new age. It occurred to me that the World Wide Web is probably Her latest appearance.

"One morning I discovered a little miracle. The kind we're given every day, and usually don't notice. I sat in my garden, drinking coffee at my table, and there, stretched exactly across my line of vision, was a perfect spider web, spun so that, unless I looked in a certain way, it was invisible. But if I shifted my viewpoint, there it was, overlaid on the horizon, my table, the landscape, my new day. A shimmering, transparent web. Spiderwoman's reminder."

Joyce Winter

"In 1987, the last Dusky seaside sparrow disappeared from the earth. Imagine the people of Merrit Island, Florida, gathering to hold vigil on the marsh's edge each June 15, the anniversary of it's passing. Or imagine the citizens of San Francisco gathering in the spring, beneath rustling eucalyptus trees at the Presidio, to remember the Xerces blue butterfly. That was where the last one was seen in 1941. Can you imagine the California condor, it's wings circling in the desert air? Can you hear a Mexican Grey wolf, howling in the night? Psychologists have not begun to ponder the emotional toll of the loss of fellow life. Nor have theologians reckoned the spiritual impoverishment that extinction brings. To forget what we had is to forget what we have lost. And to forget what we have lost means never knowing what we had to begin with."

Mark Jerome Walters THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, 1998

SPIDERWOMAN SPEAKS


It doesn’t matter what you call me.
Call me Spider Woman.

Listen, I’ll tell you something.
Because you came here with your hands empty.

Your spirit has become woven into trivial things.
It’ s time to weave a new story now.

Walk out into the desert
and sit beneath a cholla in the sun, and be quiet.
Notice the shapes of things,
a hawk hunting against the sky, a mountain in the distance, the shapes of shadows,
the color of shadows, the shape of your own shadows.

Take a deep breath of all the stories that live here.

Stories like threads woven into the land.
Stories that wrap themselves
around old bones and pottery shards,
Stories flying in the wind, or running on four legs,
stories written in the rocks and cracks in the land
like a spider web,
full of light.

You say you can't see it.
Well, take a look around!
You don't need to climb a mountain
to see the Web!

All of its snaking rivers and twining roots
Are inside of you!
All those threads
come right out of your hands
And right out of your hearts
All those threads that just go on forever
forever, into the Earth,
and into each other,
and into all your stories,
into everyone you'll ever know,
into all those who came before you,
and all those who will come after you.

"Hands of the Spider Woman"

a 2007 Community Arts Project.

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