Last year could be defined as my year of waffling: Give up alcohol for good? Continue drinking and try (without success) to control my consumption? Each day, I would find myself bouncing back and forth: one foot in sobriety and one foot in alcoholism. This volleying went on for many, many months. It was exhausting.
Then something very unexpected rattled me. I was living alone at the time and had become accustomed to keeping company with Louis Martini (cabernet) in the evenings. One night, after pulling the cork, I placed the bottle and an empty wine glass on my coffee table. I went to use the restroom, and, in the two minutes I was gone, a big black spider had crawled into my glass.
I believe the Universe speaks to us in symbols and signs, and this was a very clear sign. The message that immediately popped into my mind was: WARNING. It was as if that spider had paid me a visit to let me know that, should I continue to drink as I had been doing, things would not end well. It literally sat in my glass, preventing me from pouring the wine (a great bottle, I might add).
After setting my little friend free, I hopped on my laptop to research the symbolism of spiders. Different cultures hold varying beliefs about these creatures. A few interpretations struck a chord with me: A spider’s presence can symbolize one’s fear. They may appear to remind an individual of the darker, shadow aspects of their personality or life that need to come into the light. Spiders frequently represent female creative energy, especially in regard to writing.
It was as if the spider was saying: Own your drinking problem, air it out and bring it into the light by telling the truth about it. Release alcohol from your life, but hold its lessons close so you can share them- weave them together with the written word.
That small, yet mighty, arachnid delivered a powerful message- and, since then, I have a deeper respect for animal totems. Brilliant spiritual teacher and author, Sera Beak, explains their significance in ‘The Red Book’:
“Many cultures, such as those of the Native Americans, believe strongly in totems- that is, in animal spirits or nature beings that align with and assist humans. Animals, even the mangier ones that roam the cities, have an extraordinary way of reflecting back to us what is happening in our lives and often offer symbolic support and guidance.”
I will never look at an irritating crow the same way again. And, the next time I take a walk or go for a hike, I’ll remember the words of Ted Andrews: “Nature speaks to us if we listen. Every animal has a story to tell. Every flower blossoms with reminders to be creative, and every tree whispers with its rustling leaves the secrets of life.”
I’m all ears.