Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Tangled Web

© 2019 by Michael Auld

Tales about the human obsession with spiders and stories about them go back for millennia around the world. The oldest images of these arachnids are in the Americas. Gigantic line images from Nazca in Peru and murals from Teotihuacan in Mexico are testaments to the awe in which spiders have always been held. Lauren Lyn Cidell who has edited "The Tangled Web: An anthology of spider stories" (2018) provides examples of some spider stories in her book published by Lulu Press.

Back and front covers of The Tangled Web

HIGHLIGHT: "Anansi and Brother Death": Michael Auld's story from



NAZCA SPIDER: Geoglyph that can only be seen from the sky. Southern  Peru.  Aerial photo of  ancient lines in the Nazca Desert created between 500 BC and 500 AD.

SPIDER WOMAN-1: Mural. THE AZTEC “GREAT GODDESS” The Great Goddess of Teotihuacan (or Teotihuacan Spider Woman). She is a proposed goddess of the Precolumbian Teotihuacan civilization (ca. 100 BCE - 700 CE), in what is now Mexico. The mural of the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan from the Tepantitla apartment complex located at Teotihuacan is in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.
SPIDER WOMAN-2: Another mural of THE AZTEC “GREAT GODDESS”_ Mexico. 

Anansi the Spider-man is a folkloric hero originating among the Asanti of Ghana, West Africa. He traveled with the Akan people to the Americas when they were prisoners of war during the enslavement of West Africans via the Slave Trade. His Anansesem (AnansiStories) continue to be told today as morality tales. (See

The introductory panel of a contemporary unpublished Graphic Anansi Story that begins with an invitation to visit his friend, Peenie Wallie the Firefly.

THREE ANANSI STORY ILLUSTRATIONS: A cautionary HIV tale from a story by Michael Auld as an extension of "Anansi and Brother Death". These are illustrated excerpts from the story on how to avoid AIDS. Here, Anansi falls to the ground after being covered by "Protection", a condom-like substance from as rubber tree in which various characters had taken refuge in an attempt to avoid Drybones, aka "Brother Death". 
STORY CONTINUATION: In this panel Anansi is protected from AIDS.

FINAL PANEL. Moral: The story's end panel that cautions the reader about taking care of Me, Myself, and I & I (or the Rastafarian term for the First Person Singular, "I").



(2) Above:  Book Illustration of the Cherokee's Grandmother Spider in Michael Auld's "Ticky-Ticky's QUEST: Travel to Turtle Island".