One of the most feared creatures on earth is a spider. People who are really scared of spiders have arachnophobia, named after Arachne, a princess in Greek mythology, who was turned into a spider. Spiders have also been on earth longer than the dinosaurs and kept the earth from contamination from vile pests. Early humans have been aware of the usefulness of spiders, and how they prevent homes from getting swamped by ants and other bothersome insects. People have always had stories to tell of spiders, and ancient legends feature a spider goddess somewhere imparting wisdom to early people.
Spiders spin webs made of silk. Some spiders have also spun golden threads. The webs don't just lure winged insects but also act as bad spirit blockers and keep negative energies out. Webs resemble jewels, especially after a rainfall when droplets of water decourate the webs. The traits of the spider goddess is weaving webs of magic and artistry.
The beautiful princess Arachne was skilled at weaving threads and baskets. She made fantastic tapestries and cloths. She insulted the goddess Athena by having such an inflated ego and she challanged Her to a weaving contest. Athena is a goddess of wisdom, crafts, weaving and warfare. The contest begun, and Athena used a glittering powerful thread to weave a tapestry of gods and mortals. Arachne used a fine rainbow coloured thread and weaved images of gods and mortals embraced. This total insult of the gods angered Athena, and she ripped up Arachne's work. Arachne was so distressed that she hung herself. Athene was full of regret and sadness after this, and sprinkled a magical potion on Arachne's lifeless body, bringing her back to life in the form of a spider. The spider Arachne was able to weave webs forever, and all of her descendants had the same gift.
The myth suggests reincarnation from a gifted mortal into a spinning spider. But the magic of altering a human into another species depends upon the person's abilities, talents, skill and natural gifts.
There are many spider goddesses and goddesses of weaving. Neith of Egyptian myth is a spider goddess. She's also called Net, and has so much traits similar to the Greek goddess Athena, as both are goddesses of crafts, war and wisdom also. Neith is a prehistoric goddess also linked with creation and the turning and spinning of water, sun and moon. She also acts like a powerful weaver who creates destiny and fate of the world, animals, men and women and individuals. She behaves like one of the Three Fates, also similar to the Norns, who are powerful cosmic goddesses that spin the destiny of both mortals and gods. They spin with static webs and each life pattern follows its orbit, as do the planets, suns and moons. Spiders are also spinners of webs, or nets.The Germanic myths don't have an obvious spider goddess but there are certainly those with traits of spinners and weavers of fate, such as the Norns, and the powerful goddesses like Freya and Frigga.
Native American legends tell of spiders creating the star contellations. Various people in the Americas feature powerful goddesses called Spider Woman and Spider Grandmother, who helped create the stars and galaxies. She taught people how to weave, make baskets and clothes. She stole fire from the animals and gave it to humans during winter months. It is this that the spider is highly respected and loved. Prehistoric art features images of spiders all over various ancient places. From the spider geoglyph on the Nazca plain, to Australian aboriginal spider totems.
In Japan is Jorogumo, the benign spider goddess of Joren Falls, saved people from drowning in the waters. Some spiders of the Jorogumo family can live for 400 years, and alter appearance over time. They begin to look like spiders but after a few centuries they transform into beautiful women. They're often magical and they look for particular men to choose as husbands. These spider women have a preference for Samurai warriors, who are very robust, strong, muscular and handsome, considered ideal mates for producing children with. It's been said that occasionally a Joro spider woman has stolen human babies to foster as her own.The nurturing side of spider mothers and spider goddesses has set out the birth of humans becoming learned and more civilised.
Magical spider web art from these mystical goddesses of weaving have been passed down throughout the centuries. Crafts, jewel making, tapestries from tartan to baskets and carpets, painting, threading, beading and even making magical ornaments such as dreamcatchers linked to spider folklore.