The Arachnid Minion in the Year of the Sheep



Still waiting for the Mystical Cats Tarot, Dave came home from the post office today, shouted “Chinese New Year” and decided he liked this card from the Animal Messages deck.

Travel will open up new possibilities and one special connection.

Dave has been travelling to make a special connection with me. The idea of touching, sensing things even if you don’t see them, is something Dave is interested in. He has been helping me find old blue fabrics by touch.

Dave is now wanting a sheep figure.




The Epitome of Stillness

Daily Draw May 2nd, 2009

Today is a paring between the Tarot of Reincarnation ( a tarock deck) and the Birds of China Playing Cards.


This is only identified in the booklet as “Spider.” The original illustrations are taken from a Funk and Wagnall’s dictionary circa 1895. It’s not a jumping spider, or a brown recluse, black or brown widow, crab, trap door, funnel web, wolf spider, raft or fishing spider, or common house spider, It looks a smidge like the Cave orb weaver Meta menardi which is European, but it doesn’t seem to fit the North American species of orb weavers.

I have found it difficult in some cases to identify images in this deck. It’s possible that some illustrations are of animals that no longer exist, since the pictures were done in the 19th century, or that the artist took liberties with things like banding patterns or markings. It may be a slight exaggeration of a house spider or it may be an orb weaver. It does look like an orb weaver of some type or other, but I’m not an expert.

These are the spiders that weave the orb-shaped webs, and it’s the female who sits in the web. The males are always on the move, looking for females. “Twas ever thus. They are docile spiders and only bite if they feel threatened. They eat a lot of pesky insects so are good to have in the garden and not harmful to people or pets although some look a bit scary. They are very graceful and when their arms are straight over their heads they look like they’re holding the yoga asana Mountain or maybe the Crescent Moon pose if they bend a bit.

I imagine her meditating under the sun, all relaxed power and immoveable stability, the epitome of stillness.

The 8 of Clubs means a blockage of some sort and feelings of frustration leading to impatience. Yeah, you try looking up spider species and see how far you get. But the spider is never impatient, she sits and spins and suns, occasionally having a snack.

2 SPADES – Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas)

It took me a while to track this bird down because I should have realized it was a hornbill and immediately looked up pictures for various hornbill species instead of fiddling around on sites about birds of China. This bird is seemingly only found in South Africa, but since the Hornbill family is generally found in sub-tropical Asia too, perhaps this bird occasionally shows itself in China, which is why it’s on my playing cards? It seems a bit odd.

Hornbills are omnivorous birds, eating fruit, insects like spiders, scorpions, termites and ants. They cannot swallow food caught at the tip of the beak because their tongues are short, so they toss it into the back of the throat with a jerk of the head. They feed mainly on the ground as the illustration shows. My goodness what a very, very handsome bird this is.

The 2 of Spades means an abrupt change. Like the hornbill deviating from its territory in South Africa and landing in China, it is a definite change of course.

This is a bit like a morality play in motion: the spider hunts and eats and is then itself eaten by a bigger predator.

You can only be yourself and live your life. You can’t worry about predators and what you should be doing or where you should be. Maybe you’re supposed to only be in South Africa, but you turn up in China? You mad gadabout. Maybe you sit in your web and every morning eat it with the dew for your thirst and then rebuild it, occasionally moving into the foliage to lay a trap line for food, stuck in a seemingly monotonous routine?

The epitome of stillness within frustration, plus the opportunity for change, to go off the beaten path.