Spider Woman’s Web

By Evans Lansing Smith.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The inspiration of this presentation is an image of a large spider in a big cave weaving a shroud for my father shortly before his death. In the cave are numerous other such bodies in cocoon like shrouds hanging from the top of a large cave with a huge black widow in the center, and an oculus at the top of the dome of the cave. After weaving the shrouds, Spider Woman injects a poison into the shrouds, which makes the hearts of the dead glow red, reflecting the bright red cross on the black widow's body. The idea comes that the poison initiates the decomposition of the corpse, reducing it to the fluid within a cocoon from which the chrysallis of the butterfly will emerge. Included in the presentation will be a few images of the spider in Native American and World mythology.

Keywords: Spider Woman’s Web, Death and Rebirth, Native American and World Mythology

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.11-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 520.723KB).

Dr. Evans Lansing Smith

Co-Chair, Mythological Studies Program, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA, USA

Evans Lansing Smith holds a Ph.D. in English from The Claremont Graduate School, an M.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch International, and a B.A. in English from Williams College. He has taught at colleges in Switzerland, Maryland, Texas, and California. He is currently Co-Chair of Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute (Carpinteria, CA), and Emeritus Professor of English (Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX). He traveled on study tours of Northern France and Egypt with Joseph Campbell, and is the author of eight books and numerous articles on comparative literature and mythology, with a focus on the descent to the underworld. He now enjoys life by the sea with his partner Cheryle van Scoy.