This series, published every Friday or Saturday, will focus on specific prayers for the Thiasos of the Starry Bull. These prayers may be original creations, chants, translations of ancient prayers, or analyses of modern ones, but all will be useful for members of the Thiasos.
You may wish to skip this one if you’re very arachnophobic, however.
With September nearly halfway done, October–and therefore, the United States’ extended Halloween festival–is nearly upon us. Already there are racks upon racks in every store, from Target to locally-owned fabric stores, of spooky decor in tones of black, green, orange, purple, and skeletal ivory. For the Thiasos of the Starry Bull, given our veneration of the dead and Gods who act as intermediaries with the dead, it’s go-time.
Here in the eastern United States, where I live, it’s also prime spider season. We’re getting our big ones now: golden-black orb weavers with their lightning-bolt webs by daytime, and spotted orb-weavers (better known as the inspiration for the title character of Charlotte’s Web) by night.
Between the oversized, faux-fur-covered Halloween decoration spiders and their living, mosquito-nibbling cousins, this time reminds me of a lot of Thiasos traditions. Persephone, in myths, is given some spider-like qualities; Ariadne has Her sacred thread; Thiasos myths have, among their common themes, girls who hang from ropes like Arakhne. With winter moving in, house spider sightings will only increase until the coldest months of the year drive them to hibernation.
If you, like me, live in an area with lots of our eight-legged friends, let spider-sightings be a reminder to you of these Ladies. (They might even be a sign for you, depending on what type of spider and where you’ve seen it!)
Lady Spider, spin your web,
Hunt your dinner, bring it home.
Guard us living, guard us dead,
Guide us with your golden thread,
For with the Bull we’d roam.
Emily Kamp is a Hellenic polytheist, devoted in particular to Hestia, Hermes, Apollo Soranus, and Dionysos the Starry Bull. When not teaching high-school Latin or making horrendous puns, she is the moderator of an online shrine to Hestia (which doubles as a daily devotional for polytheists of all stripes).