archives, wisdom

Spider Medicine: The Power to Create Your Life.

{Photo credit: Magdalena Halford}


Last summer, I spent some time with a tarantula.

A friend found her inside his home, a heart-pounding change from the usual scatterings of daddy long-legs and wolf spiders. He sent me a text with the words “how the fuck did this thing even get into my house?” and a photo that showed her leg span relative to a pencil.

It was no coincidence that Spider had come by for a visit… that week he felt particularly frustrated about having a full-time job that was not his passion in life, and how that left little room for anything else.

I asked him not to harm her, and to please catch her for me. I brought her home and set Spider up in a terrarium, complete with moss and a shell to hide in (which turned out to make a great hermit crab costume) and a small orchid. My children and I acquired some doomed crickets.

Spider’s house was near my desk. There was a strange sense of attachment I felt towards her, almost a kinship, as I considered her silent message. After a few days, I felt a strong sense that I could not be responsible for her well-being, and that keeping her any longer ran against the grain of her wisdom.

So I let her go, back into the rocky wilderness outside of my friend’s place, back where she had come from before wandering through an open door.

So what is Spider Medicine?

Spider. The Great Weaver. Spider medicine bestows the power to create your life, your home, your destiny. It is the skill to weave all the elements of your choosing into a strong and splendid web. It is the ability to acquire what you need to survive by sensing the vibrations around you and responding appropriately.

When we reflect on spider medicine, more clues emerge as to how we can use this power. First, we must consider what elements we choose to include in our lives. What kind of work, which relationships, what habits, hobbies, and ventures. Which choices we make, and how gracefully we make them. When we weave, be it webs or baskets, we must choose material that can bend and not break.

It is an art, the kind of craft where the feel of something in your hands is all you have to go by. Is this material strong enough to use? How much can this one line stretch? How much pressure can this piece of wood take without snapping? We cannot force things. Instead, we work them tenderly to create our container.

Spider medicine means knowing how to respond to opportunity. Spider is centered and balanced. She is aware of everything around her. Her senses are so keen that even subtle vibrations at the outskirts of her web do not go unnoticed. She doesn’t necessarily have to leave her center at every tug or twinge, she has the ability to discern what is important.

Spider knows when it’s just the wind blowing or when a bird has stirred a branch connected to her web. She saves her energy for what has the potential to nourish her.

Spider does not get caught in her own web. She knows how to gracefully walk across the vast and sticky terrain of her life without getting tangled up in what she’s created. She will not be her own victim.

Spider medicine is strong and resilient. The threads that create our web can handle rough weather and unexpected impacts. There will be times when our webs will need mending. Something will happen that creates a hole, a rupture, and we will need to find the time and energy to repair the wound. Even if our web is destroyed, we have the ability to weave a new one.

Webs need regular tending and clearing. We can a take a look at our lives and ask ourselves, “What’s on our web that is taking up space but not serving us? Are there any fallen leaves, things of no value to us? Are there any carcasses that need removing, that fed us long ago but are now empty shells?”

We can apply the design of a web to how we manage the various components of our lives. When we envision our life as a web, we can even draw it on paper so that we can take a good look at its present form. On this web lie all the elements that compose our life, our relationships, work, hobbies, even our goals and dreams. We are the spider at the center.

Where does each element fall upon this web? What vibrations does each element create in our web, and how does it make us feel? What maintenance does the web need? What needs to be shifted closer to the center so that we can tend to it better, and what needs to be removed that is no longer serving us?

If we feel a vibration at the outer edges, we can choose to explore, but most of our attention can stay focused on what is closest to us. These are the elements of our lives that nourish us the most, the most enriching relationships, the ventures that put food on the table and also offer us a sense of purpose and meaning. By keeping what feeds us close by, we use our resources and energy wisely.

The web pattern can even be correlated to how much time we ought to devote to the various parts of our lives. The things that lie on the inner rings are the things that deserve our attention daily, while the things further out and on the edges are the matters we attend to weekly, monthly, even yearly.

Not everyone has spider medicine, and even those who do may not always be aware of it. Ask yourself: Do you create your own life? Or do you get caught in other people’s webs? Is your energy used to feed someone else, or is it available to you to use as you wish?

Next time you encounter an animal, take a moment to consider what it can teach you. There is endless wisdom in nature that can be applied to our human lives, and if we pay close attention, we can learn so much from the creatures that cross our path.


Magdalena Halford has an insatiable drive to help people discover their highest potential, design their own lives, and experience them to the fullest. A manic lover of life, she realizes the journey is different for everyone, and her wish is that we all find the strength to question the beliefs that limit our reality, to see the unseen, and to explore what is in the shadows. Magdalena lives in a small mountain town in Northern California where she devotes time to writing, candid conversations over tea, walking in the woods and lying on hot rocks by the river. You can explore more of her work at Live Your Best Life.


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