Weaving webs of Fate and Destiny for Change and Transformation
I know that lots of folks are really scared of spiders and do not see their beauty and wonder at all; so I thought I would share this from my times of facilitating the Dark Moon Grove of Hectate, where I had a personal and profound connection to Arachne. She was our goddess of the eastern quadrant; very apt then to be of air and to be our guide to our fate and destiny.
Where does one start when searching for Arachne? How does one crawl through her web to unlock her mysteries without becoming tangled up in her silken threads?
I thought and studied long and deep about her magical correspondences, her connection to the dark moon grove, to air its self and to the east. However all the normal correspondences for the eastern quarter did not seem to fit, did not ring true, did not connect to Arachne at all. None of what I was finding out or reading about rang true to the individual essence that meant Arachne. I had to get away from what was perceived in modern day paganism as “correspondences” as finding the truth via the dark goddesses meant stripping away all previous knowledge.
This was a big challenge to me; there must be a way round this small challenge, a way into her world, a way to unravel her web. I knew that the answer to those elusive questions must be starring me right in the face but I just could not see it. I had to look differently, go deeper into another world to find Arachne and so to create a very special incense to her.
And then it slowly began to dawn on me; I must visit her world, walk with her, into the secret, green world of barks, mosses and dark, damp corners. A world of morning mists and shimmering webs, for there I would find her secrets, her scents and her magic.
I started studying the Arachne myths, reading them and re reading them in order to connect, to find her, to know her.
She was a determined, talented young lady who took upon herself a mighty challenge by a goddess. She, Arachne was a weaver of considerable acclaim and her work truly was a joy to behold. Purple in colour, it was said, and dyed thus by her father. But she was challenged in her weaving by Athene (Minerva) disguised as an old woman, undeterred though because in her mind she was the best, Arachne took on the challenge, maybe though she was just a bit too arrogant.
It was a hard fought contest of wills and weaving skills. Arachne and Athena wove and wove, shuttles weaving in and out as they frantically wove their many threads to create works of outstanding beauty. They both had a point to prove.
But Athene, being the goddess she is, eventually won the weaving dual and destroyed Arachne’s work. Arachne hung herself, stricken with grief and distress. The goddess however showed remorse and took pity on Arachne and sprinkled Aconite on to her corpse thus transforming her into the world’s first spider.
“ A gossamer scent, as light as a spiders footfall: touched with sighing mists: pallid flowers, dusty woods and soft herbs”
In another version the transformation is more graphic as the goddess
“sprinkled her with the juice of Hecate’s herb, and immediately at the touch of this dark poison, Arachne’s hair fell out. With it went her nose and ears, her head shrank to the smallest size, and her whole body became tiny. Her slender fingers stuck to her sides as legs, the rest is belly, from which she still spins a thread, and, as a spider, weaves her ancient web.”
Which to me denotes that change and transformation can often be (and indeed is) very painful, yet the outcome is that of to beautify.
So it seems I was on the right track and Aconite, sometimes known as Hecate’s Herb was to be a very important ingredient, as too, would be the barks and herbs and scents of my own garden.
This incense was to be an incense of courage and transformation which is the message I believe Arachne brings to us, She did not shy from her challenge, her destiny and yet when cruelly beaten she was forever transformed by her experience.
Gathered from where she weaves her webs…
Slithers of Willow bark gathered from the riverbank.
Shavings of damp Apple bark
Shreds of last seasons dried Honesty
Fresh scented shoots and stems of Bergamot
Twigs of winter Evergreen
Spring shoots of Evergreen
Sprigs of Heather
Fresh shredded Bay leaf from the kitchen garden
Sweet Lemon Balm gathered from the gardens edge.
New leaves given by Lady Elder, the fairy tree.
Musty, dusty Seed Pods from the woodpile.
Dark, damp Ivy
Hecate’s Herb (Aconite) The bark and leaves given with love
Three Strands of your hair with which to weave the web
Sweet Geranium, over which Arachne left her tracks.
Moss gathered from underfoot.
Use this incense carefully in specific ritual, spell work or magical rites to take on the challenge of courage and transformation. Of course if one has ‘webs to weave’ of ones own, one may of course put this incense to real good use.
A warrior of the Serpent Path; always questing upon the sphere of time
Bringing LIGHT to those open to receive