astvinr (astvinr) wrote,

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End of Empire

I was sitting out in my garden the other day, enjoying a cup of coffee, when I saw an extraordinary sight. A profusion of ants were swirling around my feet. Every picnic attracts them, of course, but there was a special reason for their being so busy, I soon saw. Among the workers were larger, winged drones. They’re on their mating flight, I thought. The queen should be around somewhere. No sooner did I wonder where she might be, than she landed on my knee. Six or seven times the size of the other ants, her wings still in place, there was no question who she was. This was a red letter day for the ants in our garden. They were celebrating the fertilization of their queen for renewal of their colony. Well, I thought. What a thing that she should choose to settle on me. She flitted off again and crawled away, off into the weeds. The other ants were still in their frenzy, tootling to and fro in the round-and-round random way they always do.
I went in for a moment and then came back out. I sat down again and, to my surprise, I saw the massive queen ant once more. She’s putting herself about, I thought. She scuttled down to the row of bricks I had built along the side of the path. What she was looking for, I could not tell, but her search was short lived. Out of a crack between the bricks, a spider pounced. Quick as a flash, it grabbed the queen and dragged her into its lair.
No lion could have taken an antelope with more panache. The minute physical scale did nothing to diminish its drama. A naturalist might have waited months to capture such a powerful moment, but I was the sole witness.
I watched in astonishment. Still waving her mechanical legs, the queen lay on her side as the spider sank its fangs into her ‘neck’. I observed only. It was not my business to intervene. Besides, I have a great fondness for spiders. I am a Cancerian, and as spiders and crabs are related they are practically a totem animal for me.
The worker and drone ants bumbled around at random as before. Your empire is over, I thought. You should have taken better care. Your newly pregnant queen is dead, and all your descendants gone with her.
What did it mean that I should see this? I had just been reading a fascinating book malabar has lent me - The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates. In the episode in question, a sceptical envoy is introduced to the ‘sisters’ - the spinners of the strands of fate. He is pursued by a swarm of bees, but his shamanic guide tells him the true state of things:
“Those bees are the Wyrd Sisters... The Wyrd Sisters have come to loosen your fibres... That will make it possible for you to encounter the spirits by travelling along your personal web of power...”
What were the ants for me? They were, on one level, merely ants, but my witnessing of their crucial drama put the events on another plane. I understood. The ants and the spider were the Wyrd Sisters - all female and (in the case of the ants) sisters indeed. They were come for me to show how I can move along my own web of power. How could that be made clearer? The spider sat in its web. I have just loosened my blockages, freed my choked and congealed chakras. Now, perhaps, I have a new path to tread through life. The old dynasty is at an end, symbolised by the defeated queen. My past life cannot replenish itself. It is all back into the web and must be rewoven.
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