Legends of the Tarantula
By Deanna Jaxine Stinson, Arachnologist
Halo Paranormal Investigations – HPI International.
The tarantula is a spellbinding and powerful spider. Its presence is one that is known to inspire fear and danger. This is due partly in exchange of an unknown understanding of the species. Perhaps it’s through simple appearance, or the myths, which causes this hysteria. The truth is that more people die a year from bee stings than from a tarantula bite and those who do, have allergies.
Tarantulas are part of the family of spiders called Hairy Mygalomorphs. This means it is of various large hairy spiders mostly of the family Theraphosidae. Like other Arachnida, a tarantula’s body comprises two main parts; the prosoma (or cephalothorax) and the opisthosoma (or abdomen). The prosoma and opisthosoma are connected by the pedicel, or pregenital somite. This waist-like connecting piece is actually part of the prosoma and gives the opisthosoma a wide range of motion relative to the prosoma.
A large wolf spider (Lycosa tarentula) of southern Europe,was once thought to cause tarantism. Taranto is also the origin of the common name of the Tarantula spider family, Theraphosidae, ... Taranto (Italian
pronunciation: [ˈtaːranto] and Italian: Tarento from Latin: Tarentum;Tarantino: Tarde; Ancient Greek: Τάρᾱς, translit. Tárās; Modern Greek: Τάραντας, translit. Tárantas) is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. This folklore arose in the 14th century around the Lycosid spider, Lycosa tarantula, in the area of Taranto in Southern Italy.
Old Mother Tarantula
The Navajo used to live in what is now known as the Canyon de Chelly National Park, this contains an amazing monolith of rock 800 feet high known as 'Spider Rock'. This rock according to Navajo legends was the home of 'Old Mother Tarantula' or 'Spider Woman'.
The spider is a fascinating beauty, which has captivated humankind for many years. There are the new world species and the old world ones, (differing by the place of origin, not age) which are mainly of what the legends seem to have been written about. Tarantula is known in many cultural circles to speak on the cycles of life and death and its glorious resurrection in their art and weaving, their walk and graceful style.
Perhaps to many, the truth is too much to handle. For the power of the tarantula is widely recognized as a fragile gift. For the tarantula is a vulnerable creature, with a lot to lose. With reports of over 800 different species, there is much to learn. Let us listen to the movement of the past…
Most will find themselves in fear of this creature. It may be the way they are portrayed, as symbols of the unknown and pure times. Is the ancient D.N.A. lagging behind so bad that we cannot evolve to realize the harmless nature of the spider? Instead of appreciating the night dancers, we reach out and instinctively we want to kill it. Maybe millennia ago, our genes had not the immunities to withstand the bites. Yet, no one will die from its bites, unless they have allergies.
Perhaps these allergies signal a clue to the past that the genes are not changing like we thought they would or maybe you will find yourself like me; an arachnophile. I love and respect this angelic being like common sense tells me too.
I reach out into the soul of the spider and I receive a reply. My dreams and emotions are filled with an awakening of information, which summons the goddess within me, who finds power in every moment. I envision a safe exchange of energy, where we can meet as one being, called life and connect in a balance of magic.
Arachne the Weaver
Arachne is a skilled seamstress in ancient Greek legends. She becomes so great at her craft that she is often found bragging and boasting about her accomplishments and talent. She becomes so arrogant that she spites the God’s themselves by weaving an intricate tapestry depicting them in the worst light. They were corrupted, drunk and useless in the scenes.
Athena, a highly praised goddess was widely known as a master at weaving and pottery. Arachne herself had closely studied her, in order to learn her techniques. She did her best to compete with this immortal. Unfortunately, Athena is a very powerful and clever deity not to be surpassed. She humbled Arachne by destroying everything she had worked for.
In her pride, Arachne wove a rope, with which to hang herself. She could not bear the humiliation that the goddess had publicly put on display.
As she hung herself, Athena turned her into a spider and the rope into a web. Therefore, she could forever weave in her dishonor…
The dream tarantula may also symbolize the “dark” side of your personality or predict poor health or a disappointing love affair. A spider (tarantula) dream usually symbolizes someone in your waking life who is sneaky and cruel. It could also represent someone who is smothering you.
Below, I want to share with you my dream that came to me before I acquired tarantulas of my own. It is a beautiful dream and one which left me feeling very connected with this creature. If you have any tarantula dreams, it could mean many things!
Tarantulas are an omen of bad luck. Usually they foretell a betrayal, an enemy, or a misfortune. However, this all depends on what it represents to you. For example, they have inspired me with their beauty and mystery.
A couch covered in a metallic gold paint, sprawls flat and wide alongside the walls of a redone basement. It has pillows on it which are covered in chainmail and rectangular shaped. The wall is painted a creamy coppery white tone. There is a table built into the wall that is slim. It sits across the top of the couch. The board is copper painted wood. On this lays a few books, green and silver tones. Then at the top is a red painted vase shaped basket with tiny holes in the design.
My feet are in the air and I have on white socks and black silk pajama pants. My head is resting in the arm of the couch but, I can feel how my feet are entwined with another person with a male energy on the other side. I do not see this person. It does not seem to be someone that I know.
As I start to peek open my eyes I sit silently in fear as I see a tarantula’s leg wiggling out slowly from the holes in the basket. The bottoms of its feet are dipped in gold and a bright red color patterns in between a tone of deep brown. I can smell forest everywhere in my dream like wet pine and Earth mixed with cedar when it emerges.
I study for a moment and then I start to lightly kick my partner. I don’t wake him up too much but, just enough for him to start becoming aware. By then, the spider has completely escaped and it is very large. Its body is chocolate colored. It is at least a foot wide and tall. It is so beautiful and powerful and we stare at each other until it backs away and disappears into the house somewhere.
As a spirit animal, the tarantula symbolizes feminine energy and creativity. In Ancient Egypt, the spider was used as a symbol to represent the goddess of the Divine Mother, Neith. She was the patroness of the city of Sais, in the Nile River delta. Neith was worshipped as early as predynastic times (c. 3000 bce), and several queens of the 1st dynasty (c. 2925–2775 bce) were named in her honor.
Her principal emblem was a pair of crossed arrows shown against the background of a leather shield. Another was a bow case, which she was depicted wearing on her head, in place of a crown. She is an archetype for female empowerment. A tarantula is a force to be reckoned with.
Many representations are found throughout the world. However, because of the poor connection between people and spiders, the descriptions are often vague, misrepresented or misunderstood. The spider has long been feared because of the unknown qualities of the many species.
Myth & Art
The legendary Nazca lines in the desert of southern Peru contain arachnid imagery. The series of geoglyphs depict straight lines and giant creatures and were created between 400 and 650 AD. The largest image spans over 660 feeet across. One of the geoglyph creatures is a giant, symmetrical, eight-legged spider.
Patti Wigington writes in About Religion, “In several cultures, spiders are credited with saving the lives of great leaders. In the Torah, there is a story of David, who would later become King of Israel, being pursued by soldiers sent by King Saul. David hid in a cave, and a spider crawled in and built a huge web across the entrance. When the soldiers saw the cave, they didn’t bother to search it – after all, no one could be hiding inside it if the spider web was undisturbed. A parallel story appears in the life of the prophet Mohammed, who hid in a cave when fleeing his enemies. A giant tree sprouted in front of the cave, and a spider built a web between the cave and the tree, with similar results.”
In Japan the Spider Princess, a mythological spider figure called Jorōgumo, is able to transform into a seductive woman who entraps travelling samurai. The Spider Princess has many names, such as “binding bride” or “prostitute spider”. Jorōgumo morphs into a beautiful woman to beguile warriors into marrying her. Sometimes the Spider Princess appears to carry a baby, which turns out to be her egg-sack.
In Germany and Ukraine, it is tradition to include spiders and webs in Christmas tree decorations, due to the association between tinsel decorations and the spider web strands. The spider is a secret and hidden force, which drives many spiritual ideas.
Rock art and bark paintings in Australia reveal that the indigenous cultures created spider symbols. Spiders in their webs are linked with a sacred rock and ceremony for the Rembarrnga people in central Arnhem Land. Several regional clans use spider totems in rituals.
Spiderwebs & History
Uttu, the ancient Sumerian goddess of weaving, was envisioned as a spider spinning her web. According to the myth of Enki and Ninsikila, she was the daughter of the water god Enki. After being warned by Enki's wife Ninhursag that he would attempt to seduce her, Uttu ensconced herself inside her web and agreed to let Enki in after he promised to marry her and give her fresh produce as a marriage gift. After giving Uttu the produce, Enki intoxicated her with beer and raped her.
Ninhursag heard Uttu's screams and rescued her, removing Enki's seed from her and planting it in the ground to produce eight previously-nonexistent plants.[Wikipedia] Spider tales are stories that were brought over from Africa and told to children of Maroon people.A spider is depicted on a shell gorget by the Stone Grave people, from a mound on Fain's Island, Tennessee. Ancient Moche people of Peru depict spiders in their art, such as this Larco Museum ceramic, ca. 300 CE.
North American cultures have traditionally depicted spiders. The Native American Lakota people's oral tradition also includes a spider-trickster figure, which is known by several names. As chronicled in the legend of The "Wasna" (Pemmican) Man and the Unktomi (Spider).
The evolution of spiders has been going on for at least 380 million years, since the first true spiders (thin-waisted arachnids) evolved from crab-like chelicerate ancestors. They will continue to evolve and surprise us in the future as well. Many times over, they have shared this world with other creatures, before humankind and beyond time.
Legends of the Tarantula
The tarantula is a supernatural force to believe in. A misguided world has taught us to fear that which we do not understand. Perhaps we can rise to the occasion and respect our Earth by treating the spiders how they should be. They resided on this planet first, anyhow.
Let the Legends of the tarantula guide you in soul and soil. Do not be afraid to acknowledge their existence and love. They do not seek to destroy anyone. They only wish to survive and be with us on this planet.
Let your heart turn to the secrets of the other world and be freshly renewed with divine resonance and circumstance of a truer condition which exists in nature; perseverance and concordance with the world and all her power.
May you never be forsaken by the darkness of a stigma. I hope that your days fill up with the lessons of spider and that in the night; your dreams carry you to a place where you can be one with this magical animal. I hope all that care for this being are blessed eternally and with great fortune. An intelligent subject, you who holds the gift of fire from primordial times in your hands. You who seeks out the purity of knowledge forever. May we become connected together, entwined in the mighty web of new technology...