spider woman's hands

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Spider Woman is the Great Weaver of Native American myth, and a profound metaphor for our time. This was the presentation I gave at the Pagan Studies Conference at Claremont School of Theology in 2010. May we all "rub a bit of Spider Web" into the palms of our hands as weave our world........


  • 1. Spider Womans Hands

2. Among the Pueblo peoples of the Southwestit is said that Spider Woman spun theworld into being with the stories She told.She is also called Thought Womanbecause what she imagined came to be.Mississippian Gorget,ca. 1500 ad. 3. Spider Woman passed on this creative power to all of Her Relations. 4. Ts its tsi nako,Thought-Woman, the Spider, is sitting in her roomthinking up a good story now: Im telling you the storyshe is thinking Keresan Pueblo Proverb 5. The Universe is made of stories, not atomsMuriel Rukeyser 6. The Cross and Spideris an ancient symbol found among prehistoric peopleliving along the Mississippi, the Southwest and as far away as the Maya of Mexico. So is theubiquitous Hand and Eye. 7. The Navajo say that Spider Womanlives on Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly 8. They revere Spider Womanbecause she taught them how toweave.Like a spider, she can be so smallone may never see her . Yet theWeb of Grandmother SpiderWoman is everywhere, for thosewith eyes to see. Anasazi petroglyphs from the Arizona desert 9. To this day, Navajo midwives rub a littlespider web into the hands of newborn girls ~so they will become good weavers. 10. like Spider Womanwe also spinour worlds into beingwith what we imagine:with the storieswe tell about the world 11. And weave with the manifest creative work of our hands. 12. We are eachweaving a threadthat reachesinto times primaland farinto the unknownfuture 13. warp and woof : the foundation or base ofsomething[ Old English owef "weave on" < wefan "weave" < Indo-European]weave [weev]:1. to make something by interlacing threads vertically and horizontally.2. to spin something such as a spiders web.3. to construct story:4. to introduce separate parts into something larger[ Old English wefan < Germanic] 14. What might we see, how might we act, if we saw the world with a webbed vision? The world seen through a web of relationships.. as delicate as spider silk, yet strong enough to hang a bridge on. Catherine Keller, Theologian 15. The 6thExtinctionPsychologists have notbegun to ponder theemotional toll of the lossof our fellow life. Nor havetheologians reckoned thespiritual impoverishmentthat extinction brings.Mark Jerome WaltersTHE NATURE CONSERVANCY 16. We arethe Web 17. At the quantum level Reality is strange and non-local: the whole universe is a networkof interconnection that transcendstime and space.Ervin Laszlo, Physicist 18. Synchronicitiesmay demonstrate an underlyingunified patternthat is aboutthe nature ofconsciousness .F. David Peat,Physicist 19. Synchronicitiesmight just be. 20. Spider Womans way of saying Hello. 21. ~All those threads ~Go on forever.Into the Earth,into each other,into all of your storiesinto all thosewho came before,and all thosewho will come after.Spider Woman Speaks(2004) 22. Were incubating the future with the stories we tell. 23. Birthing a new world. 24. May we rub a bit ofSpider Webinto the palms of our hands. 25. Spider Womans Handsis a cross-disciplinary Community Arts Project. In 2004 it wassponsored by the Muse Community Arts Center in Arizona, in 2007 byan Alden Dow Fellowship at Northwood University, in 2008 by theCreative Spirit Center of Michigan, and in 2009 as Resident Artistat Wesley Theological Institute in Washington , DC. 26. Wesley, 2009 27. Weaving the Web Performance, Tucson, Arizona (2004)2004Tucson Performance in 28. The Midland Center for the Arts, 2007 29. The Creative Spirit Center (2008) 30. Naming the Links with Prayer Ties and Personal Icons 31. With Gratitude to:The Henry Luce III CenterWesley Theological SeminaryThe Creative Spirit CenterThe Alden B. Dow Creativity CenterThe Puffin FoundationKathy Space and Space StudioThe Muse Community Arts CenterMorgana Starr & EnsembleTurn of the Century GalleryBrushwood Folklore CenterLauren Raine MFA(520) 609-4904 laurenraine@aol.com