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The Shape of the Field

Flying Spider

Since ancient times, the spider has been an enigmatic teacher of Taoism. It is honored for the way in which it spins a web and waits for its needs to be fulfilled.

Representing a way of living without embroiling or chasing after one’s desires, the spider captures Wu Wei beautifully.

The Flying Spider

When I encounter a spider, I choose not to judge them in their work. However, I will take them outside because watching them spin a web in a room without any insects can only lead to one outcome. They just go along for the ride and build their web elsewhere.

So, imagine my surprise when I observed a spider not embodying Wu Wei. I thought it was descending from a one of its threads, but it lifted itself into the air, by spinning what looked like a parasail! Off it went, high into the sky.

I also honor trees for their steadfastness. Without moving from their place of birth, all that they will ever need comes to them. Some people believe plants are not conscious, but they demonstrate survival responses just like everyone else.

So, watching the spider go off in search of a better environment was a bit like catching a tree running through the forest. Why was this creature no longer demonstrating Wu Wei?

The spider’s ballooning journey often ends after just a few hundred feet of travel. In some cases, spiders can actually get taken up into the jet stream. Sailors often find these spiders in their sails, thousands of miles from land.

In this case, I watched the spider spin a multi-dimensional silk gossamer sail in a matter of seconds. Standing on two legs, it pointed its abdomen toward the sky, releasing several threads at once. These formed into a triangular-shaped parachute. The wind lifted it high into the atmosphere until it disappeared from view.

Going with the Flow

I was first reminded of the saying ‘if you cannot change the direction of the wind, adjust your sail and let life guide you.” Even while this little teacher of Taoism was jumping ship, it was still opening itself to the flow, or wherever the wind currents would take it.

In 1832, Charles Darwin, on board the HMS Beagle, woke to find many spiders on his boat. He realized they had somehow come from the Argentinian mainland. Since then, these ‘flying’ spiders have been found more than 2 miles up in the air and have been carefully studied.

Originally, it was believed that the air current alone was enough to create this phenomenon. However, since there are many threads being released at one time into a fan-like shape, aerodynamic drag cannot account for why the threads do not become tangled.

Earth's Electric Fields

Electric fields surround all of matter and we know bumble bees utilize the e-field between itself and flowers. The earth has a negative charge and the surrounding atmosphere is positively charged.

Michael Faraday, who contributed to our understanding of electro-magnetism, used spider silk as an electrical insulator because of its negative charge.

Ballooning is now understood to be how the spider detects the e-field and utilizes it to pull and shape its silk into this unique parasail.

Ever the teacher, this little creature was showing me something that is not normally visible to the human eye. And I am not talking about it’s aerodynamics.! It gave shape to the electrical field that surrounds us all.

It allowed me to see the shape of the field.

It acquiesced in Yin and opened to Yang, and off it went, taking my breath with it.