The moment I stopped teaching and began writing my novel–an international crime mystery fabricated from personal experience as a fashion model in the late 70’s modeling world–I started receiving visitors…and they were not welcome. The first time they started pestering me will remain etched in my mind forever.

My husband and I were sitting in the TV room and I decided to go to bed. I left my husband, who was engrossed in a soccer match, and made my way into our bedroom, a clean, airy room painted my favorite color, a light seafoam green. Our bed, flanked by two ecru- colored nightstands, holds center court amongst a mirrored vanity and bookshelf. It’s not a big room, so it was easy to see my sneaky visitor when I switched on the light and headed toward the bed to remove the decorative pillows. In the upper left-hand corner, directly above my side of the bed, a large brown spider was lingering motionless on the wall.

I screamed for my husband.

“What is it?” he yelled back, annoyed.

“Come quickly. A spider!”

I heard him shuffle a few things as he got up from his beloved recliner and make his way into the bedroom. I kept a steadfast eye on the villain, planning my attack. When my husband came into the room, I had already decided that I would be the one to catch the spider because he would most likely swat it and miss, leaving the frightened thing to run and hide, only to terrify me in the wee hours of the morning while gliding down on its dragline above my head. Or he would swat it and smash against it against our beautiful pale green walls. Neither option would suffice, so I was going have to do the dirty work. He would assist.

I left the bathroom to get a clear glass and a piece of cardboard while he kept an eye on my unsuspecting six-eyed target. When I returned, gingerly and with one swift motion, I put the clear glass over the creature and then slowly slid the stiff cardboard under the spider, trapping it. Holding the two pieces of its prison firmly, I carefully, and with utmost attention, walked out of the bedroom and dropped the critter in my husband’s toilet. Good riddance, I thought as I flushed.

My husband retreated back to his labyrinth and I went into my walk-in closet and changed into my nightgown. OK, I just need to wee before I go to sleep. I made my way into my bathroom, sat down on the toilet and peered up at the walls above my mirrored medicine cabinet. Eek! I screamed and jumped up from the toilet (thankfully not midstream) when I noticed another large brown spider perched nonchalantly above my medicine cabinet. I’m sure it was smiling at me, taunting me because of my fear. Once again, my annoyed husband came to me and fixated on the monster while I carefully captured it again using the same routine. Phew!

Little did I know, it was to be the beginning of a three-year spider onslaught. The next visit was going to be soon after.

Early one morning, a week or two later, I noticed several new little red spots on my face while gazing into my medicine cabinet mirror. They had started appearing a few days before and I had chalked them up to pimples, although they were not in the typical zone and didn’t have “heads.” I put salicylic acid on the new and old ones and left the bathroom, a bit perplexed.

Later that morning, my housekeeper, Guya, arrived and began her usual routine starting with our bedroom. Guya knew of my spider trauma a few weeks earlier and was well aware of my acrophobia, so she began a thorough job of cleaning every nook and cranny of our bedroom. About a half an hour later, with utmost trepidation, she called out to me in Italian. “Liz,” she said, “come here.”

I walked into our bedroom to find her holding up the black sleeping mask I use nightly to block out any light. In an almost apologetic tone, she spoke. “I hate to tell you this, but I found an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny little spider living in the crevice of your sleeping mask.”

“What?” I replied. “How can that be?”

She shrugged her shoulders, and promised to scour the bedroom even more thoroughly. As I walked away, I realized that the red spots on my face were spider bites from the critter living in my sleeping mask! Yes, f****** spider bites!

Same room less than a month later. We returned home from a five-day vacation in Sicily. It was late and we were tired. We dropped our bags and my husband made his way into the bathroom. I followed him into our softly moonlit bedroom so I could remove our two oversized decorative pillows in preparation for a good night’s sleep. I reached over and grabbed my husband’s and placed it in on my mirrored vanity. Then I turned back to the oversized pillow on my side of the bed, ready to do the same. When I nonchalantly lifted it off the bed, I almost died in horror. I came close to having a massive heart attack – literally – because a huge terrified hairy wolf spider leapt out from under my decorative pillow and started running for its life down my side of the bed. WTF! In a flash, I captured it. I don’t even remember how because I was so traumatized. I was literally on a mission to save myself. I could not believe what had just happened to me, nor could my husband. Needless to say, I had a terrible time falling asleep and the big hairy wolf spider episode traumatizes me to this day.

Not long after this episode, I went into my car and backed it out of the garage. I headed to the fast-moving winding road that leads us down the mountain we live on and into the city center. The road curves a lot and requires utmost attention while driving because of oncoming traffic. A few minutes into my descent, a small spider decided to come for a visit, nonchalantly sliding down its dragline in front of my very eyes, between the steering wheel and my face. I freaked. I completely freaked. But, what could I do? I was driving down a winding road with oncoming traffic and nowhere to stop. I had to keep driving. I forced myself to remain calm – not easy- and breathe slowly. I kept one eye on the spider and another on the road until I found the first opportunity to pull over and kill the intruder!

I began to notice spiders everywhere. It became a standing theme with Guya and me, and even my husband was perplexed. I thought, this is it. I am being haunted. What do all of these spiders mean, for crying out loud! I began to think the spiders were visiting me for a reason even though I’m generally not a very superstitious person. The 15 baby spiders I found on my ceiling one evening cemented my position. Coming home late one night, I did my usual new stint of scouring the bedroom for spiders. Imagine my horror when I looked up to the ceiling and spotted little baby spiders everywhere. Everywhere! And these spiders had nothing to do with the other spiders. They weren’t the same breed, nor the same color. I was in shock. I set about capturing each and every one and about an hour later I convinced myself that I had caught them all. I had to convince myself–it was three in the morning and I needed to sleep.

I decided it was high-time to investigate and see what all of these spider encounters could possibly mean. The fact was, my husband or housekeeper rarely had any spider confrontations. They always happened to me and I was starting to worry that it was related to the book I was writing. Although fiction, I was weaving a story that intertwined truth with make believe, and some of it was surely going to bring to light the seedier side of the fashion modeling business.

Imagine my surprise when I googled “What do spider visits mean?” and discovered that in the spirit world, spiders bring good luck and are considered to be the teachers of language and represent the magic of writing, all due to their amazing propensity to create intricate webs. I felt mildly better. Perhaps these spiders are a sign encouraging me to continue writing my book. Perhaps I should try to make friends with them or at least consider them a good sign, a sign to continue writing my story.

Even though I felt a bit relieved by this revelation and decided to treat them as a good omen, I didn’t want to see any more! Needless to say, a day or two later, I saw more. On the wall perched above the TV, above my shoulder while I worked on the computer, behind the picture leading into my dressing room, and finally, right under my dinner plate in a restaurant. And then I finished my manuscript. I finished the final version and sent it in to be published. And guess what? I haven’t seen a spider since. I kid you not!

Should you be fascinated by the subject of spiders, or should you, too, be receiving frequent visits, I have listed a few sites below for your perusal.

As with any other animal totem, spiders will show up the moment you need a sign from beyond, and will guide you to continue down the right path in life. The spider represents strong feminine energy, creativity, patience, and strength. It also invites you to become more receptive and intuitive, and rely on your unique gifts to get you ahead in life. Don’t fear the spider – embrace it, and it will teach you many valuable lessons on your personal journey.

According to spiders signify the following:

  • Patience
  • Receptivity
  • Feminine energy
  • Creativity
  • Weaver of life’s fate
  • Shadow self, dark aspects of life or personality

  • Fate
  • Death
  • Female
  • Crafty
  • Cunning
  • Cyclical
  • Rebirth
  • Creation
  • Protection
  • Progressive
  • Resourceful

As a creator of intricate webs, Spider brings together all parts of life to create a strong whole. She helps you to see a part of your life and to integrate it into a coherent whole. As a skillful weaver, she encourages us to show mental flexibility in viewing a situation from many different angles.

The Spider is the guardian of the ancient languages and alphabets. Every society has had myths about how the different languages and alphabets were formed. One example is the Ogham. The Ogham can be found in the web of a Spider. This is why the Spider is considered the teacher of language and the magic of writing. Those who weave magic with the written word probably have a Spider as a guide.