It's no secret that I haven't been doing much in the way of spiritual or magical work lately, at least not like I used to. Part of the reason is that I'm busier than I used to be, what with a long commute and working two jobs. But I think the bigger part is caution. The last time I did major magical work, I got myself into an uprecedented amount of trouble. For more on that, see my post On Going Mad: An Analysis.
I'm describing the experience subjectively / phenomenologically here, which is to say I'm talking about how things appeared to me at the time, without placing value judgments like "real" or "fake" on them. While I was in prison, I received (downloaded?) a great deal of information, and performed the most elaborate ritual I've ever attempted, entirely through intuition. Much of that information was completely crazy; some was unverifiable one way or the other; some was very personally useful; and some, I'm still not sure about. But that isn't the point of this post. The point of this post is the story that Anansi the spider told me while I was there.
Before I tell the story, how about a riddle Anansi also told me: What shape contains within it the straight line, the circle, and the spiral?
The answer is a spider web. This matters because a line, a circle, and a spiral are the three main models cultures use to explain time. I'm unsure of whether the idea that all of spacetime is a wibbly wobbly wonky wubbzy oscillating web came from me or him, since at the time the line between us was very very blurry to me. But I do know it felt like the following story came from outside of me. The words and some embellishment are mine, though. Those who have already read my freeform game "Jungle Tales" may recognize parts of it. (A copy of that game sits on my Anansi altar, as writing it was an offering to him for his protection and guidance during the whole episode.)
In each cycle of the universe, when the humans began to lose touch with the animal spirits (something that seems to be inevitable as civilization develops), the animal spirits come together and propose plans for survival. Whoever wins gets to be the rainbow animal in the next cycle. That's why Australia and some parts of Africa have a Rainbow Serpent this time around - the winning plan last go-round was that of the Serpent. Interesting synchronicities with the bible, don't you think?
Also, the serpent can become a line, a circle, or a spiral, much like the way a spider web contains then all. I'm not sure if this is significant, but I definitely think it's cool.
I don't know exactly what the Serpent's plan was, back then. The sense I get is that while the animal spirits may be eternal, they lose all or most of their memories when the Wheel turns. The main point of this story is Anansi's plan that saved the animal spirits this time around: stories. He invited them to hide in his stories (which, if you believe the tales about him, includes *all* stories told anywhere by anyone). This way, no matter how disconnected we humans became from our animal natures, no matter how much we convinced ourselves that the spiritual equals the unreal, our parables and fables and myths would still sustain the animal spirits until we were ready to engage with them once more.
Based on the extension of "human" rights to dolphins and chimpanzees in some countries now, we may be almost there.
This should mean that when the next age comes, whether that means the Age of Aquarius or the destruction and re-creation of the universe or the age of indigo children or the singularity or something wholly different, the Rainbow Spider should emerge as a new entity or archetype. Arguably, the Connector (made famous in Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point) might be a form of this. Truly, human society continues to get more and more interconnected, all thanks to the Web.
You know, the Web.
The repository of all human stories.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's got a Rainbow Spider sitting on top of it already.