Grandmother Spider's Blood Teaching

My relationship with my moon time changed dramatically one day a few years ago. I was one of those people who came to expect terrible cramps as an inevitable part of the first day of my period, sometimes two days. Since I was trying to avoid taking synthetic pain medication, I would spend the day curled up in fetal position in bed if I could afford to, drinking herb tea and cuddling the hot water bottle. But more often I would have to brave the public world while enduring this constant, sharp, gnawing pain in my middle. It was beyond distracting, and once in a while I would have to stop everything, double over, and just breathe. It felt like the pain extended to my lower back and sometimes into my upper back and thighs or my whole body, like a dull ache that comes with the flu.

On this particular day, I was able to stay home, so I was anticipating another day of tossing and turning in bed, unable to get comfortable. It’s no fun, but it’s better than going out. Then sometime in the middle of the worst of it, I decided to stop fighting it; I committed myself to just lie there and feel it, all of it. I welcomed every ounce of my pain into my body, trying to see how fully conscious and aware I could remain. I imagined the line of all my women ancestors, all of their collective female wisdom flowing into and through me with this holy bleeding, and I formed my thoughts into the words, “Grandmother, I am here. Please lend me your teachings.” I lay there on my back, as still as I could, and received the pain. I let it become me.

A strange thing happened after a short time. I felt, or imagined I felt, a tickling sensation like something small crawling slowly up my ankle. In my mind’s eye I saw a black widow spider, though I knew this was highly unlikely. Still, the image was vivid and frightening. My resolve to lie still was severely tested as it made realistic progress up my leg. It seemed like hours that I lay there sweating, distracted from fully feeling my pain by this mirage of a deadly but beautiful creature crawling on my body. I figured whatever happened, it must be part of the teaching, and so I must endure it. I breathed and opened my heart the best I could manage. Welcome, I thought. Welcome.

Then suddenly it changed, like an eruption of honey-colored light flowing up and out from the core of my being, thick and sweet. I relaxed. My intellect was overpowered, and let go for once. The pain was gone, completely. So was the spider. After a while I got up: no pain, just the familiar watery feeling in my head and limbs, and the heavy gravitational pull of my belly to the earth. I enjoyed experiencing these feelings, as if for the first time, without the cramps. I decided to go to the Saturday Farmers’ Market later that afternoon. It felt otherworldly to be in public like this. I felt so intimate with whomever I interacted with. My emotions were right there at the surface, and I felt really present, really powerful. I chose to be there, and these were good people, so it worked. It was like standing in two worlds at once.

Since that day, I have not had cramps. This part of my cycle still feels really different, but I know what to expect, and I’ve learned to have different expectations of myself at this time. I am just not going to function like I would on any other day, so whatever I choose to do; I need to be aware of that. It’s still frustrating when I have to go to work and keep track of mundane details when my mind seems to be inhabiting an entirely different plane. I wish all women could have at least one day per month to allow their sacred inner space to take over. There are divine gifts flowing through us at this time, gifts for the whole of humanity, and we need to be present to receive them. 

(Written by Amber)