The Red Spider Goddess

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The image of the Red Spider Goddess is actually the merging of two sacred, Mayan goddesses. The first goddess is pictured below, that of the Goddess in Flight, and is found depicted on the walls of the pyramids of Teotihuacan outside Mexico City. She is shown with a feathered headdress and outstretched wings and as she soars, she anoints those she passes with the nectar from the lotus flowers that hang from her wings symbolizing the vitality of creation and the healing power of the Sacred Feminine.

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The second sacred, Mayan image that is merged in this piece is the Red Spider Goddess herself. She is not depicted in the artwork on the walls of the pyramids. Rather, one of the pyramids was built to embody her and before it was weathered by the elements, was painted bright red. The cave, or womb, beneath this pyramid is storied to house her in much the same way that a tarantula will build a cave-like dwelling and weave a web over the top so it can hide beneath.

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While the tarantula isn’t my favorite animal in real life, I love the image of it spinning a web as a veil between the seen and unseen worlds. I am also intrigued by the manner in which all spiders weave their intricate, beautiful webs as well as their ongoing repair of those webs whenever they get broken. These weaving processes speak to me of the need for us to weave and reweave, to create and heal, the web of life connecting all of us to each other and to what lies beyond us.

Combining the images of both of these Sacred Feminine images is a powerful portrait for me, as well as a portrait OF me. My face and hands are depicted in the original as the face and hands of the Goddess of Flight. This helps me to embody my place in the web – to honor the sacredness of the seen and unseen worlds, to see what needs to be repaired, and to heal it with love.

The original piece is created on a 24 x 48″ canvas with acrylic paint, copper wire, feathers, clay faceplate, ribbon, and found objects. Completed 2009. Original not for sale, but images may be purchased via Fine Art America or RedBubble.

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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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