Things are strange indeed –

spider web

The threads, holding it all together is strange – a thread as fine as a spider’s web and fiercely strong. The silk from the spider’s web is used in the manufacture of pilots’ parachutes. Delicate and strong. Two apparently opposite words in meaning.

It seems as if we, collectively and individually, hang suspended, in mid-air, wondering when the thread is going to break – and hoping that that very strong parachute will stay aloft and not come crashing down when tested to the limits and finally giving way and breaking. Slowly at first, each break weakening the next thread … and then the next and so on – on a trajectory towards the tipping and then the breaking point. The limit is reached, the centre cannot hold ..

the stuff of writers and poets, artists and those who see perhaps with a different eye, and the stuff of those of us who wish to see further trying to discern what’s going on.

We know what a virus means, we have viruses entering our computers and the hard drive being wiped out. We have cold and flu viruses. HIV, hepatitis B and so on. An antibiotic does not help as this is a virus and not a bacteria. But viruses can be treated medically and the patient is advised to be patient. Rest is often prescribed and to stay at home so as not to spread it.

The word is late Middle English (denoting the venom of a snake): from Latin, literally ‘slimy liquid, poison’. The earlier medical sense, superseded by the current use as a result of improved scientific understanding, was ‘a substance produced in the body as the result of disease, especially one capable of infecting others’.

Corona: mid 16th century (in corona1 (sense 5): from Latin, ‘wreath, crown’.

So, the corona/crown virus that is capable of wiping out peoples’ hard drives.

Is it the crown that is wiped out? Does this have some sort of symbolic meaning? I suspect it does – the head being chopped off. History comes to mind as does the practice in this current day in different fundamentalist parts of the world.

Well, I’m not going to wax lyrical ad nauseam as to the symbology of it all. Although I can’t help wondering if ‘coronary’ has its etymology in ‘corona’ . Even as I write, I want to say the symbol is always in state of change or meaning, but this symbol of the chopping the head off, does seem rather fixed – I mean, once the head is off its off right? No more breathing, no more pulse, no more nothing. Just bleeding until the body is all bled out ….

Who knows if this speaks to the dismantling of patriarchy thread by thread; the dismantling of much hitherto known and familiar; the dismantling of that which no longer serves us; the dismantling of illusion; the dismantling of excessive reason and logic which, when extreme, is quite fixed, as if in stone. I can’t help but wonder …

But, can spirit or soul emerge from the stone? Especially when forced to? Even if a hammer has to be used to crack it open?

There is no huge panic as yet in South Africa – a mild form of it is evident, which is in itself a form of virus in that it spreads, along with fear. Panic and Fear, two well known – and used – psychological weapons of war. I know that our National Defence Force has flown to Wuhan to fetch the 122 South Africans who’ve been working there and their location on return is known and will be in lockdown.

Many thoughts come to mind: a concern for those who are frail and elderly, those who have compromised immune systems or underlying health concerns, the rural areas where fresh water is not always available or polluted, the poor and malnourished, the readiness of our health institutions to meet it should it become a crisis.

So much is falling apart, and of all this we are a part. I definitely live in a bubble here in Plettenberg Bay. One more prick and the bubble will burst. Hundreds of pricks have been happening here in this beleaguered country – rioting, burning of academic institutions, burning tyres on national roads, our stock exchange crashing, murders and assassinations galore, appalling road deaths most times due to overloading of taxis and buses and aggro drivers who do not know what a speed limit means, ongoing commissions of enquiry into corrupt politicians, and wondering whether the ratings agency is going to downgrade us even further …

And yet – what is the limit? And if that limit is reached and the threads break irrevocably, then what? What is our limit? Can a limit be limiting? Can we look at all that is happening in some other way and endure our discomfort in the process? Can we rethink our attitude to all that is happening and see our own role in the larger world view? Could the breaking down of the world as we know it be some sort of break through, where we use our hearts instead of our heads?

Can all that is being put on hold such as concerts, gatherings, sports events, travel and much else besides, be an opportunity to pause, be still and find the meaning in all of this – because that is what we have to do, find meaning, even if it means asking difficult questions. What does it feel like to have my freedoms taken away at least temporarily, in service to the greater good? Can I isolate myself to some extent so as not to be an agent of spreading the virus? Can I turn inwards, towards the heart, and listen to its messages –

This little spider appeared on my computer today. It crawls up onto the screen and then falls back into the crack between screen and keyboard, disappears for a moment, re-appears, is still, then starts its journey again, upwards.

There’s something about this little spider that speaks to me even if I am a bit scared of them. And the snake as mentioned above is something I hope to not come across in my house. But I do know that what can kill can also cure. And I’m hoping that this virus and all that it means in our lives, brings about transcendence in one way or the other and that we see our way through it. And that Grace and Unity helps us along. We’re aware of medical teams and staff working under extreme pressure and our gratitude goes to them too.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is oroborus-1.jpg

P!nk – What’s Up (from Live from Wembley Arena, London … It’s a great song

Thank you for reading, stay safe, follow the advice given (wash your hands frequently) and may the Force be with you.

67 Comments on Strangeness

  1. So lyrically written Susan. I’ve had similar thoughts and discussion on the threads of the patriarchy dissipating. This I believe is the purge – the New World Order coming in. Mother Goddess taking back her power. Stay safe my friend as the world rocks til it once again finds new beginnings. <3

    • Thanks so much for coming by Debby. I too am hopeful that new energies will emerge from all of this .. there are many signs about as you no doubt know, the air in China being fresher and blue skies, fish in the rivers in Venice, Italians singing from balconies, more kindness about, care for the elderly and those at risk and much much more so it’s wonderfully paradoxical that in isolation there is togetherness. You too stay safe Debby – all good wishes to you and family 🙂

      • So true Susan. Mother is showing us the ravages of what man has done. Yes, there are huge lessons from each darkness. You too Susan, please stay safe and tucked! 🙂 x

  2. HI Susan, I’m so pleased I came across your blog (thank you for liking mine) as been scrolling through yours and love your writing. Never really understand how the blog world works really as don’t really get time to read others but delighted when come across one that I resonate with. Your new book looks fabulous too. I’m not an e-reader (as spend so much time on laptop generally ) so where would be best place for printed copy?

    • Well, that’s amazing Dominique and thank you for coming by my blog! I loved your recent blog post which I see Marilyn commented on and if a post is good for Marilyn it’s good for me too. Naturally I wondered if you are A SA and pleased to see you are! And that you’re coping with all that’s going on here there and everywhere.

      I haven’t checked on whether it’s available on Amazon as a printed copy, it may well be but we know how our currency has crashed against the dollar. If I had a copy of ‘Aging & Becoming – A Reflective Enquiry’ I would post it on to you, but I don’t. I know that the last one which was in Durbanville was forwarded on to a bookshop in CT. I’ll check with a friend of mine who lives in Muizenberg if she has the one and only copy that I know of. And see if we can make a plan …

      Thank you again for coming by!

  3. Hi Susan – we all need to be kind and careful at all times … take care down in Plett – cheers Hilary

      • Thanks – yes I’m glad I’m down in Eastbourne and not in a large centre. Life goes on and I have a couple of things which I hope will happen and after that I’ll shall do a lot of clearing out (well putting on one side, til we can get out and about again) … and reading and blogging … I’ll probably do the A-Z … but you take care – and I hope life in SA will be managed well … all the best – I keep an eye on the news et al … cheers Hilary

        • Good to hear Hilary … yes I also plan to do some serious tidying of cupboards and drawers and putting to one side. Am THINKING about the A-Z; if not it will be the first time to not do it in a longgg time.

          Yup also keeping an eye (two actually) on things here tere and everywhere ,,, Keep well and safe

  4. Nice to read your post Susan, very interesting – Telengana the state where I come from is also affected by Corona, currently they say we are in stage 2 and India needs to fight and this is a crucial phase hence we are expected to distance ourselves and take care . The Government here has declared holiday till 31st march to all the Educational institutions, asking the malls, theaters and stop all public gatherings. I am working at the centre as this is a service for students and we cannot close… the attendance has decreased in the university. The exams are being conducted. Sitting here at my centre and reading your post and responding is great, as I feel connected and also reflect along with you – pausing for perspective and looking at this whole situation and question self – whether isolating myself and spreading positivity in small ways bring in some meaning and purpose to my existence… Thanks for sharing..

    • Thanks Genevive for coming by. Interesting to read how it is in your part of the world. I haven’t heard the term stage 2 with regard to Corona, though we are familiar with it here in SA as it refers to load shedding. Stage 2 is not as severe as eg stage 4 or 5 .. load shedding refers to electricity blackouts ..

      Our president addressed the nation last night – he was firm controlled and measured. Today various ministers are further expanding on measures to be taken. Ours are as much the same as yours. I’m half listening as I go about my tasks and now at last responding to you. It is such a big issue; maybe it’s now an ‘us’ – uniting, instead of ‘them’ – divided.

      We carry on. Do take extreme care with everything Genevive, hygiene of the highest degree. And advise your students to do the same.

      We are in awe of the medical staff including nurses, helpers and so on.

  5. Thank you for these complex, layered, thoughts, Susan. I think the one I will continue to ponder is the connection to the snake. First virus=venom. Then snake as dream symbol of transformation. May the world follow the delicate thread of transformation through this difficult time and find the strength to change what needs to change in order to preserve life for future generations.

    • Thanks Shirley for your lovely comment and highlighting the snake who if seen in a different psychological way was the bringer of consciousness and the meaning of choice (Inter alia) to Eve in the garden … instead of Adam & Eve being trapped and childlike in the garden. Yes, may we follow the delicate thread leaving in its wake a transformed world that is safe for us and future generations ..

  6. Interesting reflections and ponderings, Susan. It will be interesting to see where this all takes us – to somewhere better I hope where we learn to look after those who are more vulnerable than we are. We all need to work together on this to make the world a safe place for everyone. Look after yourself. Stay safe and well.

    • Thanks for coming by Norah … what a strange world we live in – who knows what tomorrow will bring. Right now our pres has been having a urgent cabinet meeting to discuss the way forward. We assume we will hear of this today. More than at any other time our pres needs to show real leadership – and action.

      You too take care and look after yourself and all other selves..

      • Meetings are occurring here all the time too, followed by changes and updates. Interesting times. May we all survive and be better for it.
        Best wishes across the waves.

  7. So much to think about and ponder. People are beginning to panic here in the U.S.–apparently there are lots of bare shelves in stores. It doesn’t help that we have such an ignorant and ineffectual leader. . .Sigh, I’ll think of that spider and its strong and delicate silk.

    • Thanks for coming by Merril. We haven’t reached panic stations here in SA but this could change tomorrow. The beginning of it … and its potential effects are scary to say the least. Maybe particularly here in SA for various reasons, the impoverished for one. No sign of my spider since last time .. so I too will think of it, both delicate and strong ..

  8. It’s a different world now here in the USA. I’m not one to panic, but I am aware and refuse to allow myself to become complacent about how we got into the situation. That being said, it’s reassuring to remember the smallest creatures, like the spider, who manages to do well for himself, following his own natural abilities.

    • Thank you for coming by Ally Bean …and thank you for noting clearly the purpose of the spider. There is no point in focusing on the how it got to where it got. Although that is of interest in its way – perhaps we can project better to its next land fall etc and preventive measures can be taken etc … ..We now have to take reactive measures I guess and protect ourselves and community – that is the focus. Take care, be safe, be well …

  9. What wonderful imagery and thoughtful narrative. Here in our home in the “middle of nodamnwhere,” as my wife oft describes our location near a tiny town in New Mexico, we are only somewhat insulated by the virus.

    New Mexico is the fifth largest state in the US but has barely two million people. It still manages ten cases of the virus so far. Much ado is happening to contain and mitigate things.

    For us, the biggest risk is to our summer trip. In our 70s, we shouldn’t fly. But we’re booked to Iceland, Norway and Northern Ireland. Not much incidence of viruses yet in those locales.

    We do have travel insurance (pricey, too) but it doesn’t cover epidemics!!! Of course, if the airlines cancel or the tours do, they must refund our money. Likewise, if one of us gets too sick to go, THEN the insurance applies. What a web of spiders and a viper to go with the virus!

    • Good grief John re the statistic that New Mexico is registering 10% of the US virus. That’s a high stat. That is a big concern re your upcoming summer holiday. You’ve mentioned it before and I know you and your wife have put much into the plotting and planning of this. I really hope that the all clear will be given in good time. And with your summer months on the way and higher temperatures this may mean that covid-19 has less of a chance to fester and spread – so they say.

      That travel insurance is a pain. You’re right, spiders, vipers and viruses is a potent brew. Keep safe and well, the both of you. The peak is yet to happen in a week or so, and then let’s hope the curve flattens and goes downwards. Thank you for coming by 🙂

  10. We are right to be very concerned about this virus in Africa, including South Africa, Susan. If it gets out of control there will be no ability here to control the spread due to the circumstances in which many of our people live. They cannot self isolate as they live in shacks and shared accommodations, many without water and proper sanitation and lately, without electricity some of the time. These people don’t have soap and water and hand sanitizer and won’t be getting any. Our government hospitals will never cope with a crisis they can’t cope with the current loads. There is nothing we can do but let the situation that has been created over the past eleven years roll itself out.

    • The circumstances of the poor and marginalised are cause for great concern here in our country Robbie I agree as they are all over the world. I wonder whether the Moria meeting over the Easter weekend will still take place near Polokwane. So many thousands attend this Zion Church meet. IF cancelled, can you imagine the wrath of taxis and buses. Hopefully there’ll be understanding of the need to cancel.

      I wonder if Gift of the Givers will get soap and water to the rural areas. I wouldn’t be surprised if they step into the gap … maybe South Africans will help out there. Or even the councillors of those areas? Am I being too hopeful?

      Thank you for coming by. Keep safe, you and family ..

    • I don’t know if you are being to hopeful, Susan. Gift of the Givers is a very good organisation. I haven’t heard of any collections for hand sanitizer for rural areas or squatter camps. There isn’t any to be had locally at all. We will have to take it as it comes.

  11. Your wise and beautiful words make me cry, Susan. Such a giant disruption, but maybe it’s a chance to turn things around before we go headlong off the cliff of extinction along with all the species that have gone before us. I have been working from home the second half of this week and will continue next week since my husband is immuno-compromised and I don’t want to bring the germs home to him. I have no trouble doing this since it’s a gift of 4 hours a day back to me in time I don’t have to commute. I know this places me in the luckiest of lucky categories and for that I am grateful. I also see the wisdom in slowing down, taking stock, figuring out what’s important, and so I’ve embarked on a massive house cleaning campaign; time to get rid of what no longer serves me. I think it’s the best use of my time right now. That and washing my hands a hundred times a day. Much love to you and yours. Stay healthy. oxo

    • Good on you Pam that you can self isolate; an excellent example of acting in the greater good. May NO germs come your husband’s way. So many are at risk. I heard a local virologist saying that he is more exposed because of asthma and noting his concern that all those with respiratory (and other immuno-suppressed) conditions really have to be extra alert. Hand washing is essential especially after touching surfaces, like we do when we go shopping, and to not shake hands or touch one’s face.

      I’m finding it ok so far to not go out – though I do go walking outside, sometimes on the beach. My son Mike was shopping the other day. A woman who he thought was a tourist (Plett is a tourist destination) coughed in the store. Mike cleared out of there in a hurry. He’s a very calm person so this surprised me. He takes after my husband with regard to hand washing who as a retired medical man was always washing his hands. Good practice.

      Take care Pam, thank you for coming by. If I could do hearts emojis on my computer I would. But I can’t! I can on my ipad and cell phone so here’s saying love to you and yours xx 🙂

      • Thanks, Susan. So much to stress about but at least we can stay in touch across the ethers of the internet!❤️😘🥰

          • sorry about the mikdog gravatar- i was using my phone (which can do emojis and stuff) and when I use my phone mikdog is the gravatar, It’s my sons one – he hosts mine. Have a good week! 🙂

  12. Your posts are always so thoughtful. I liked especially that you began and ended with the image of a spider: the spider’s web is used in the manufacture of pilots’ parachutes. Delicate and strong.

    I appreciate also your parsing the word “corona.” And: what can kill can also heal. All change begins with chaos, some believe. May we find a Still, Small Voice of reason in all of this.

    Thanks, Susan, for putting the time into making this post most meaningful. 🙂

    • Thank you Marion for your lovely comment. May that ‘ … Still, Small Voice of reason…’ rise along with that strong powerful voice of Love 🙂 I heard on TV the POTUS give a press conference on this current crisis and it seems as if he’s now pulling out all the stops. Hopefully this will give re-assurance to you all …

      I am one who believes that order follows chaos and that chaos is a necessary condition for change to be effected. Be safe and well.

  13. Yours are the poetical and philosophical words I needed to read today Susan! To pull me out and away from a panic stricken world where toilet paper and pasta are fast becoming the most important currency. Indeed, where a deadly venom of the primordial snake has been unleashed on the world with such distress, might and fury! Your contrast of having our hard drives completely wiped by this virus is spot on, alongside the wise old saying of what can kill us, can cure us … all of this, beautifully woven together as Jeanie has stated.

    And yet one cannot help but circumnavigate the global “crown” symbolism of the corona virus with its sharp, perceptive timing as the “Old King” (however defined) is dying and the “crown” allegory, no matter which way I look at it feels like it lies at the centre of this recent outbreak, of that I’m sure. When in the month where Persephone is set to return (or depart) Harvey Weinstein has been dragged down to Hades, hallelujah! “Long live the Queen!” I shout in reply to the patriarchy as their markets unravel, thread by thread.

    And in their place may Persephone and Demeter visit our communities … where with kindness, we speak to our neighbours, shop for those who can’t get out, buy extra items for our Food Banks. Where we check on family and friends to make sure everyone’s okay. Yes, the world is breaking down, and in only a few days this past week I saw something I’d never seen in my lifetime … the world coming together, finally, hopefully in service to the greater good. This, this is the world I yearn to live in. In hope and prayer, Deborah.

    • Thank you Deborah for your fulsome response. I could not avoid the corona/crown simile which made me smile albeit rather ruefully. And the spider ON my computer gave me cause for pause when I was thinking about ‘threads’. I can’t see it anywhere now, but I recalled a dream from a long time ago of a spider nipping me on my right leg. And the symbolism of the web is not to be ignored.

      The Old King being lobbed off … Harvey Weinstein no less. May others note and note well. And all else that is breaking down and seen hopefully as break through. If the heart attacks us, may it do so in love, so strong that we are empowered in ways we never thought possible and that as you say ‘… the world coming together, finally, hopefully in service to the greater good. This, this is the world I yearn to live in’.

      May Grace and Unity be our touchstones now and always. Kindness and compassion their companions where we look out for others as we have never before. I know we do look out for others, but may this continue in greater ways. May we love our neighbours as ourselves. May you have a lovely weekend as spring approaches in your neck of the woods 🙂

      From my side to yours, in hope, love and prayer, Susan

        • Just also to comment on Demeter & Persephone and the chaff or staff of wheat they bring to the table. Do bring us this story in your next offering …. hope you’re having a lovely day 🙂

          • Loved the Pink song, so apt! Susan, you’re certainly tapping into the collective pulse there, as the world runs dry its supply of wheat and paper … as the Divine Feminine, Demeter and Persephone wander our empty supermarkets aisles, empty-handed and grieving.

            Yes, something to muse upon in the coming weeks for sure … especially if I need to self-isolate for two weeks. Okay, back to the supermarket as water is edging onto the “running out of items list” here. Water, can you believe it … here we go again! xx

            • Pretty tragic image of Demeter & Persephone wandering the aisles. I think the Divine Feminine will arise from the Philosopher’s Stone

              Our SA coat of arms has ears of wheat on either side of a central shield.

              • Pretty tragic is how I feel wandering empty supermarket aisles shouting and cursing (to myself I note) about all the greedy people in the world. Yes, She will rise again! Amen to that my soul-sister. Oh, listen to how the Goddess Demeter is calling you to your pen too! 🙂

              • It gets stranger and stranger moment by moment. Thank you for encouragement soul-sister to pick up pen – 🌺❤️

  14. Thank you for your amazing spirit and wisdom. How you have woven the spider web into our everyday thoughts and news is just wonderful. Keep writing and encouraging and spreading the light.

    • Thank you Diana for your kind words 🙂 .. I wasn’t sure about posting this blog truth be told but I’m glad I did. It’s wonderful to receive encouragement …

  15. Hi, Susan – I echo what Jeanraffa has said. Your writing is thoughtful, beautiful and provokes more thought from your readers. I love your idea about transcendence. I already see that happening in many ways.

    • Thanks Donna for your kind words. Yes I also see transcendence and transformation happening in among the crisis. Maybe it takes a crisis to push things to the limit and for meaningful change to occur ..

  16. It is important to remember we do not have to be alone like the spider in its web. We have
    to remember we are social and connection is essential. The thing to remember is that things go in cycles and there is the hope.

    • Thanks Susan, yes we are part of the web individually and collectively. Hopefully we’ll pull together in constructive ways and use any ‘isolation’ as a time for reflection and contemplation.

  17. Currently there is so much evil taking place in the world, maybe the coronavirus is God’s way of saying “Enough is enough, and there needs to be change!” Notice that it is the older people who are at risk. Maybe God wants a fresh mindset, not one filled with archaic beliefs with people not willing to open their mind to change. Like the dinosaurs vanished from the earth – maybe it is time for more dinosaurs to disappear.

    • Thanks Gwynn … maybe it’s OUR way of saying enough is enough. Crises present opportunities for a new way of looking at things. Yes, the elders are more at risk; more reason and heart to care for them as best we can. And hopefully by ‘dinosaurs’ you mean those who clearly do not have the general populations best interests at heart ,,, plenty of those around, here as well … 🙂

      • Yes, the dinosaurs’ to me do not care about the general population. In fact, there are many in our country that want to go back to the days of slavery. Heck, I’m amazed even at the number of people who show the Swastika from Hitler’s era. To me, these people are dinosaurs that don’t care about people in general and it hurts me to hear of people with these mindsets. I want people to care about one another, not just THEIR interests. That breaks my heart.

        • Extreme and unacceptable behaviour eg the rise of anti semitism is very alarming Gwynn. Let’s hope that we wake up to all this dreadful stuff and that change for the better is imminent. Even in the midst of darkness and despair … take care of your good self Gwynn xx

  18. Nicely written. These days I don’t go much of anywhere most of the time so much of what is happening doesn’t affect me too much so far. I do feel badly for so many local businesses such as those around Disneyland. They are going to be facing some tough weeks ahead.

    Stay well.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  19. Like all your writing, this thoughtful and beautiful weaving of outer with inner, fact with symbolism, flows into that deep collective well where meaning abides.

    And your questions: What is the limit? What is our limit? That made me think. I think that ultimately there is no limit really, unless Spirit itself has limits. Which I cannot imagine. As winter always moves into spring, so will our declines pave the way for new life.

    Let us hope it is a better life for all.


    • Thanks Jeanie. We’ll all be wandering into unknown territory, messy, uncertain, challenging, by the looks of it. Spirit will surely emerge from the Stone. From chaos, order will follow and as you say ‘hope for a better life for all’. Thank you for your lovely compliment 🙂

    • Thanks Ashen, Liz Edelkoort presented this at a meeting in Johannesburg recently which I read when it was posted on FB. Wise words 🙂

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