Beloved pets reflect teachings in their actions: they are familiars for this reason, and wild creatures do the same.  Observation and patience are required to access this knowledge.  So is the belief in the magic of metaphor and imagination.  Those two qualities help unlock shadow content by “pointing” outside to inner strengths and difficulties.  Sometimes it is hard to look at what hides in Shadow, but the hidden supports both life and death – if you have the strength to work the loom. ©Connie C. Cox November 1, 2017


My cat wanders in our fenced in yard; he does not leave the area and is content to prowl and watch birds and field mice he cannot catch.  He runs after unseen things that I imagine are insects.  One summer night I saw him – next to the rose bushes – in a pointing gesture, attentively looking toward the shed.  I pointed a flashlight in that direction and saw a black and white animal, about Jacks size, but lower to the ground.  Jack remained while the intruder approached.  It stopped within inches, happily wagged its tail in a greeting dance, and then left.  Jack wisely observed the skunk and avoided smelly calamity.

Several days later, he pointed again, this time staring intently at the empty space between two pine trees.  His cat senses of vision, smell and hearing are never wrong, and I depend on them to warn me of potential trouble.

That night as usual, I called him when it was time to come in.  He answered and I moved my flashlight in his direction.  Stretched between the two pine trees was the silver outline of a spider’s web:  about 4.5 feet tall by 6 feet long, with thickened silk in the center.  I walked quickly and knelt down to look at the creature: colored beige, with a figure eight shaped body and as many legs, its mandible gashed back and forth.  For a time, I watched the spider work its loom and found the process consistent and focused.  Because the spider and web were huge and impossible to miss, I wondered why I had never seen it in daylight.

My trance broke when Jack brushed against my legs.

I studied the web that night in dreamtime.  Here, I witnessed Moth struggling against the sticky web and Spider cocooning it in silver filament.  The death shroud and its supporting loom reminded me of a Native American cradleboard, worn on Mothers backs, thus freeing their hands for work.  A wash of disgust awakened me.  I was horrified that I related death with loving and beautiful tradition!  I felt dirty and lathered myself with soap in the shower.

The image of the cocoon entered my mind’s eye, as did a remembered teaching:  “Death always brings new life.”

©Connie C. Cox

November 1, 2017


6 thoughts on “SHADOW WEB

  1. I have been coming onto a lot of Buddhist teachings recently. I am exploring their ideas that we are part of everything and flow in that rather than being born and dying as separate beings. Quantum physics is starting to get there now as well. It is all an ongoing process as you describe.

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  2. Without the moth’s death, there is no next generation of spiders. I’ve struggled with that exchange a lot, because many of my messengers and allies over the years have been birds of prey, yet I feel a deep affinity for all the birds, many of which are raptors’ dinner. Several years of a hawk cheerfully using my bird feeder as, well…a bird feeder helped me find some perspective on that.

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