You may remember HH. I introduced you to him a few weeks ago. Henry Huntsman has taken up permanent residence in my office. He is a little concerned that his presence has caused discomfort for some. I had to gently explain to him that some people suffer from a condition called arachnophobia. Henry scratched the top of his hairy head with one of his eight legs, looking puzzled.
Arachnophobia, I said as gently as I could, is when people are scared of spiders.
Noooooo…. he gasped.
‘Fraid so, Henry.
But why? I’m not scary. I don’t hurt anyone. In fact, I help to keep your office free of bugs.
I know you do Henry. You’re quite right. Don’t take it personally, please.
And that’s when Henry asked me to introduce you to Lucas. You see, Lucas helps people not to be scared of spiders. That’s his job.
There’s a lot of interesting things to know about spiders, like, for example –
- There are approximately 40,000 species of spiders.
- Most spiders are not capable of penetrating human skin.
- Most spiders will bite humans only in self-defence.
- Most spider bites have no more effect than a bee sting or mosquito bite.
- Recent studies show that the ‘toxic effects’ of spider bites are often of no medical relevance.
- Most venomous spiders are not capable of injecting enough venom to warrant medical intervention and of those that can, only a few cases are recorded to be fatal.
- Most researchers agree that the Australian funnel web spider is the one to avoid because of its aggressive nature, but even so, there are only two recorded bites (not deaths) a year.
- In western society, around 55% of women and 18% of men experience a fear of spiders to some degree.
- In the 20th century there were around 100 reliably recorded deaths from spider bites (one a year on average), but there were 1500 deaths from jellyfish stings.
- The house spider – usually spotted during autumn running around our carpets looking for a female mate – is not harmful to us.
- Scientists are working with spider venom to create a less toxic pesticide alternative; spider venom can be deadly to insects but harmless to other animals such as pets. So, not only do spiders catch flies and mites, they may help us further tend to our plants in future too.
- Arachnophobia, like many other ‘simple’ phobias, can be treated very effectively these days
Greco-Roman mythology tells us that Arachne, a Greek maiden and an excellent weaver, learned her craftsmanship from Athena (goddess of craft). Her tapestry work was incredible. She refused to tell who taught her. Athena got mad and challenged her to a tapestry contest. They finished at the same time. But Arachne won because hers was prettier. Athena was so furious she trashed the tapestry and hit her on the head. This made Arachne so sad she killed herself. Athena, feeling guilty, brought her back to life as a spider. Apparently so she could keep weaving. Geez those Greco-Roman gods do some weird things.
Spiders were blamed for the Black Plague in the Middle Ages in Europe. They really got a bad rap there. But not everyone believed that spiders were evil, fearful creatures. The Native American Indians regard them as symbols of wisdom.
The University in Toronto has done some research on arachnophobics. They have found there are two different categories of spider fearing people. The monitors scan the environment for the fearful beasties so they can keep their own beady little eyes on them at all times.
The blunters, on the other hand, will do anything they can to never see or encounter one.
There is good news too. Exposure therapy using virtual reality stimulators is far more gentle than being thrown into the deep end with a pit full of spiders. The level of exposure can be monitored and titrated according to the individual’s responses.
© Raili Tanska
Ho’oponopono helps –
Please forgive me
I love you