bonnie j horrigan

What Do Spiders Have to Do with Washing Dishes?

what do spiders have to do with washing the dishes?

I’ve never been fond of washing dishes or spiders – not washing spiders that is, but spiders themselves – ha! I’ll get to what spiders have to do with washing dishes in a moment. So please bear with me.

I was grateful when John took over washing the dishes a few years ago. I cook dinner, he does the dishes. Fair enough.

Then something interesting started happening about two months ago. I wanted to wash the dishes.

I’ve felt my forehead several times since, checking to see if I have a fever. Nope, not a fever. Though a few hot flashes that I’ve been experiencing which seem to occur just as we sit down to dinner.

But what is it that I had this urge lately, if I can even call it that, to do the dishes?

And then I was reading a book called, Red Moon Passage – The Power and Wisdom of Menopause by Bonnie J. Horrigan.

I came across a section in Bonnie’s book where she interviewed Paula Grunn Allen, award-winning Amercian Indian scolar and poet, and how she talks about Grandmother Spider.

Grandmother Spider is an important figure in the mythology and folklore of many Native American cultures.

According to Paula, Grandmother Spider is the female consciousness and holds tremendous power. Part of the female consciousness are rituals associated with female energy such as sweeping the floors, caring for others and doing the dishes.

Okay, so what does this have to really do with wanting to do the dishes? I wondered.

Reading further Paula talks about the menopausal time and how women can feel angry, sad, glad and scared all at the same time.

I raise my hand and can attest to those roller coaster of emotions!

Paula’s advice is to not try and push those feelings out of the way, but try to “play in a balanced way simultaneously.”

Huh. Interesting. But how does one do that?

Well, Paula believes that meditation is a bad idea for women’s physiology and that you can’t find a trace of native practice where women meditate by just sitting.

She says the problem is that we’ve been conditioned to think that washing dishes is trivial so that females won’t use their power – how women under sixty think doing the dishes is insignificant and useless.

While I  can’t say I thought it insignificant, this made sense to me. As I thought about how over the years I was working so hard to prove my worth, oftentimes exhausting myself in the process, to have to do the dishes did, in some ways, feel like it was just one more thing I had to do.

But Paula encourages women to balance the male and female consciousness – that this is what makes up who we are.

And I realized, as Paula also talks about that doing the dishes can be a meditation of sorts, that it was true.

I realized that when I do the dishes I don’t have many thoughts. Somehow my hands in the warm water, with all the sudsy bubbles, lulls me into a peaceful, centering place.

All those crazy hormonal imbalances seem to find a happy place to land… at least for the time being.

Maybe this all sounds rather crazy, but I have to say, it makes perfect sense to me.

And if the bonus is easing my way through menopause, well, then by all means, bring on the dirty dishes! I’m ready to meditate.

PS:  I have given John fair warning that this “urge” may disappear at any moment. Thank goodness I married one heck of a Prince Charming who is going with the flow of my menopausal moments.

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Red Moon Passage and Animal Medicine

Red Moon Passage and Animal Medicine
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Recently I came across a book by Bonnie J. Horrigan, published in 1997, called Red Moon Passage.  As someone who is a newborn of my post menopausal years, I was struck by the title and that it is about “The Power and Wisdom of Menopause.”

You may be wondering what this has to do with animal medicine, but hang tight as I will share that with you shortly.

Red Moon Passage is a term that the author came up with as a way to look at this time in a woman’s life “as a spiritual journey to a new way of being and celebrating menopause as a spiritual journey of transformation.”

red moonI love this because it is exactly how I am trying to embrace this transition I’m now in. It’s not to say it does not bring with it challenges, because I’m experiencing a few of those, too.

But as Frankie, my paralyzed dachshund taught me so many years ago, I want to always find ways in which to focus on the positive.

And there are many to this red moon passage time such as feeling freer to live from the inner light of who I really am and not getting caught up in what others may think of me and my choices.

While I’m not always positive about when a hot flash comes, I do remind myself to view it as the old self leaving and a more empowered self emerging.  And you know what? Most often, I really do like this new self that I’m witnessing in the reflection of my mirror.

Which brings me to animal medicine…

A friend suggested a homeopathic medicine called Lachesis Mutus by Boiron to help with the hot flashes. I was quite excited to give it a try because I want to move through this time as naturally as possible.

I went ahead and ordered the product. Afterwards, I came to find out it is made from the venom of the South American bushmaster’s snake. I researched further and read the venom is so dilute that only almost undetectable amounts of the poison remain.

But I couldn’t get over the fact it was snake venom. I thought I might die if I took the little white pellets which they instruct to put under your tongue when you feel a hot flash coming on. Which is silly because they couldn’t sell it if it did that!

But this led me to read more about snake medicine in Dr. Farmer’s Animal Spirit Guides book and to also consult author Dawn Brunke’s Animal Wisdom Tarot cards.

What did I need to learn from Snake?  I wondered. But more so, was I open to it?

As I consulted the two resources these are the passages that resonated with me:

From Animal Spirit Guides by Dr. Steven Farmer:

“You’re going through a major life or developmental transition, one so powerful that it requires you to shed a lot of attachments, especially to your old identity.”

“You’ve gone through a series of initiations, including death and rebirth experiences and as a result have gained compassion, wisdom, and a powerful capacity for healing.”

“You’ve gained a deeper interest in ancient and indigenous cultures and spiritual practices and feel quite at home with these.”

From The Animal Wisdom Tarot Cards by Dawn Brunke:

This is a card (Snake) of enthusiasm, adventure, excitement and adventure. Fueled with inner heat, we sense a challenge—and are ready.

As guardian of sacred places, Snake helps us to explore the far-reaches of our soul and learn to be fully alive.

Be bold, daring; let your inner light shine.

I appreciated how Snake reminded me of what was, what is, and what is yet to come…and to be open to all of it.

Animal Wisdom Tarot CardsI was still a little apprehensive about taking the tiny white pellets, though I was feeling a bit more confident. After a discussion with my friend a few days later, I finally found the courage to give it a try.

And guess what? They work for me… And I’m here to tell you about it!

And oh! how I’ve grown in expanding my awareness and embracing even more how animals can show us the parts of ourselves we are sometimes afraid to look at.

But when we do, how our world can open in even more magical ways helping us to heal and move forward.

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