FULL MOON DREAM WEAVING: Human Empathy & The Spiders in My Shower
"...There is much wisdom available in the light of this Moon. Those who are willing to look with eyes wide open will see with greater clarity where they’ve sought to side-step responsibility in favor of an easier road or more naive approach to matters of gravity."
- Sarah Varcas
This full moon in Capricorn is a potent time to find space within and invite empathy to flourish.
Imagine Pan- the wild goat-horned party god of wine and good times, leaving the full-moon forest banquet for a moment of solitude. Giggles and guffaws are heard in the distance as he escapes the candles glow and the musics melody. Slowly he comes to a clearing. A pond. He looks down and sees himself, not as others see him but as he sees himself. He looks tired, splashes water on his face, and begins to cry. He feels the worlds weight, as reality beyond the realm of magic forgets him and his kind. He mourns. From his side he takes a pouch and removes the top, drinking in the tart flavor of crushed grapes. He returns to the party, laughing.
A few days ago, I read a story about a man in Idaho who discovered a black widow, hiding in his broccoli from the grocery store. The small spider fled to the dry surface as she became drenched in the sink, afraid for her life. The man decided to call a sanctuary for advice, then made a terrarium for his new friend. Overnight, she shape-shifted from a wilted and dehydrated splinter to a plump and healthy form, her red hourglass now visible again upon her gleaming black abdomen. The man who discovered her said: “I’ve always had a soft spot for the animals other people might not really care to save,” Garcia said. “Most people might say, ‘It’s just a spider. Squish it and move on.’ But she’s so much more than that.”
This brief moment in time will pass on and be forgotten, remembered nowhere formally other than some endless streams of social media. The story haunted me for days after reading, and I wasn't sure why. I thought, "what a beautiful act," and reflected on all the spiders I have killed in my life, sacrificing their very existence for my imagined concepts of safety.
Two nights ago, I had a dream. My haunted mind performed a play as I slept, casting me as the lead. In this dream I was at home, comfortable on my couch and lounging in my bathrobe. I stood up to take a shower and invited my partner to join. As I entered the bathroom, I pulled back the shower curtain and saw the plastic lining covered with small spiders. I felt scared for myself, and embarrassed that my partner might be effected and leave, so I used the removable shower head to douse them all. I watched them tumbling in the streams of water, like paint sliding down the side of a can.
I woke up.
All day I mourned the lives of these spiders in my mind. I knew it had only been a dream, but still couldn't keep myself from reflecting on the reality of how we collectively view and respect life. Last week, I read a short headline about a ferry in Malaysia capsizing and losing an estimated 190 lives. I heard about another boat that sank in the Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy, carrying over 500 refugees- all now presumed dead. These lives wash away quickly like all lives do, but some are lost and forgotten while others are protected and mourned. In appraising my lifestyle and my comfort, I can't remove myself from the culture I live in. I drive. I drive to work. I work for money. I spend money on goods. I'm part of a driven culture that centers itself on progress. One that sees no value in diversity of living organisms or the simplicity of natural wisdom. It becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish myself from the clutter. My heart values don't always align with my lifestyle, and when they do, it's due to extra effort.
Who am I?
There is a part of me that sits just beneath the surface of my skin, speaking into me. She sings, she mourns, she feels deeply and wants only to heal. I've been so afraid of her, and the inconvenience of change she may cause. Each time she awakes, the rivers of my being begin to ripple. I've felt it countless times before, knowing exactly what it was and knowing exactly how to keep her subdued. The ripples turn to waves, every time. Old patterns are made new, and I find the cycle of my shadow self repeating. What if I simply allowed her to rise?
I wonder, where do I begin? How do I truly change? And the answer comes back to me sometimes in laughter, sometimes in anger, but always the same. It's nothing like a direct statement, nothing in any human language or said with any words. It's a feeling, a need. This feeling shares itself and asks that I begin. To start is scary. It means: now you have to hold yourself accountable. Now others get to as well. Now you may have a project sitting in the corner of your room, where it once was empty and safe. You may have a reminder that you want to be more.
The spider spins her web, without waiting for the perfect moment. She doesn't wait for the wind to stop blowing, or the people to stop brushing her home away. Frustration is a human experience, one of the ego. "I spent so much on that!" only to lose it. "I worked so hard on it!" only to have it break. These feelings are expected in our privileged experience. When living from a place of survival, we are not annoyed in the same way. When experiencing life from a place of privilege, life is an act of expression. We suffer the humdrum, the traffic, the clutter of other people living their lives. And we all just want space to hear ourselves think, or time to be reminded of what we had wanted to do in the first place. So much effort and chaos in an attempt to find our path, only to forget the path has always been right there beneath our feet.
What if we discovered a life of any kind- exhausted, or fearful for their longevity. Would we take them in? Build them a home? Find a place for them to live? Help in any way? We value those who are collectively valued. The beautiful, the familiar, the famous, or the opportune. But what about those that have nothing to offer? That simply want to live? Flowers wilt, as we lose the value of time to offer them a few drops of water.
These lives are hidden from the world, having no monetary or status value. They live until they die. And they die in secret. I wonder when the wealthy of the world will honor who they are, underneath the surface. Jesus said, "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of Heaven." I wonder if that kingdom is here, available at any time.
This does not mean to burn your riches. It simply poses the question: is our success upon success that important? So important that others must suffer in the silence of a world that ignores the poor? What does this offer our hearts? If success drives you farther away from spirit, I wonder what we hope to gain through it. Empathy is a pathway, leading those who are willing to see with eyes wide towards a path of the unknown. No reward is promised, yet it is a space that so many crave.
This full moon is a potent time to find space within and invite empathy to flourish. Empathy is an emotional way to strip back the weighted veneer of the superficial and find space to connect with the core of life at any time. Suddenly the need to consume is less important. Much less important than protecting life and helping it thrive. To move forward and honor this moon, ask for transformation through simplicity. Ask this of yourself, because nothing else will offer it. Only you have the authority to change your outlook, and in doing so, you shift the value system of the world. Listen to it crack, as the cornerstones are pulled away. Love is love - and life is life.
Escape the normalized sensation of scarcity, and live in the fulfillment of your own existence.
Expect feelings. Invite them.