Spider (kumo)

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. 蜘蛛と伝説 Legends about spiders .

Spider (kumo)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: All Summer
***** Category: Animal


spider, Spinne, kumo 蜘蛛

***** spider web (kumo no su 蜘蛛の巣)
kumo no i 蜘蛛の囲(くものい)spiderweb, cobweb

***** spider silk, cobweb (kumo no ito 蜘蛛の糸)
lit. "thread of the spider"

joroogumo 女郎蜘蛛(じょろうぐも)"courtisan spider"
Nephila clavata)

fukurogumo 袋蜘蛛(ふくろぐも)"earth spider"
Atypus karschi

kumo no ko 蜘蛛の子(くものこ)baby spider
fukuro no taiko 蜘蛛の太鼓(くものたいこ)
lit. "drum of a spider"

CLICK For original LINK ... www.art.com

Let me tell from my own experience living out here in the countryside, how I came to understand the Japanese kigo for ANTS and SPIDERS as summer. Living here in an old farmhouse is a lot like living in the Edo period, when most Japanese kigo where perceived.

Surely we have spiders all year round, but in summer, they are at their best.
They are everywhere and every morning when I go out to get the newspaper I run into Aunt Eulalia, who has been putting up her net between the beams of the entrance doorway, again and again.Her many sisters are hanging between the flowers luring mosquitoes, her hairy uncles, Mr. Crab and his tarantula friends, are coming down from the bamboo roof to partake of our food and life... In winter, they are seldom guests.

Gabi Greve

Read more about my Spiders in Paradise.


Spiders are ancient animals with a history going back many millions of years. They have always been with us, an ancient source of fear and fascination. They are abundant and widespread and are natural controllers of insect populations. Wherever you live, you're always close to a spider.

Differences between spiders and insects?
Relatively speaking - the Arachnida
Midgets to monsters
Spider origins
Living fossils
The largest 'spider' ever?

Read a lot more about these animals here:

.. .. .. .. .. .. Spiders in History

What do Mohammed, Yoritomo, David and Robert the Bruce have in common? Spiders changed their lives ... and they went on to change the course of history!

Approximately 3060 years ago David was being pursued by King Saul when he hid in a cave near Jerusalem. A spider made its web across the opening. When Saul saw the web, he called his men away, saying that it was useless to search the cave because the web showed that no one could have entered. So David's life was saved and he lived on to become King of Israel.

Eight hundred years ago Yoritomo, a warrior from Japanese mythology, was running from his enemies after a defeat in battle when he hid inside a large hollow tree. While he was hiding, a spider built a web across the opening. When his enemies found the hollow tree, they were convinced that Yoritomo was not inside because of the web. Yoritomo escaped to become a shogun (an important military leader).

In 1306, Robert the Bruce and his army had been fighting against King Edward I of England for control of Scotland. Robert was lying exhausted in a barn when he noticed a spider try to fix its web to a beam six times. On its seventh attempt, the spider succeeded. Robert was inspired, saying,
"Now shall this spider teach me what I am to do, for I also have failed six times."
He then gathered together some more followers and they won the next battle. After a successful campaign they eventually defeated Edward's army in 1319.

Fourteen hundred years ago the prophet Mohammed was being chased by his enemies near Mecca when he hid in a cave. Miraculously, an acacia tree sprang up out of the ground in front of the cave. A wood-pigeon nested in the tree and a spider made its web between the cave entrance and the tree. As a result his enemies overlooked the cave and Mohammed escaped to become the Prophet of Islam.

.. .. .. .. .. Related links
Spider Myths and Legends Links
Museum of Victoria Spider site: Legends and Myths
University of California Riverside, Spider site: debunking urban myths about spiders
Some Tarantula myths
Encyclopedia Mythica: search under 'spider'


All about Spiders (Arachnids)

Worldwide use


Spiders in Aboriginal art
In the Northern Territory, Aboriginal people have depicted spiders in their bark and rock paintings.
Spiders are an important Burnungku clan totem for the Rembarrnga/Kyne people in central Arnhem Land. Spiders in their webs are associated with a sacred rock on the clan estate and the design is connected with a major regional ceremony. These spider totems provide a link with neighbouring clans who also use spider totems in their rituals.


West Africa

"The wisdom of the spider is greater than that of all of the world together."

A traditional saying from the Akam people of West Africa

Anansi stories
West Africa is the home of Anansi, a folk hero, who is both spider and man. He is a trickster, a provider of wisdom and a keeper of stories. His role is both light hearted and profound, often providing the link between people and the supreme being.

One of the stories is about Anansi's involvement in the creation of the world. Anansi was ordered by the sky god to spin the fabric from which people would be made. Anansi then acted as the messenger between people and gods. Through Anansi's skill as a messenger the sky god gave people day and night, rain and wind.

In another story, Anansi put all wisdom in a pot to keep it safe But the pot was so big he couldn't carry it. When his son wisely suggested that he put the pot on his back, Anansi realised that all wisdom wasn't in the pot. In a fit of temper he tipped the wisdom out of the pot. Now wisdom is available to all people.

Things found on the way

Spider Posters

Spider and Fig Tree, by Anita Munman


watering flowers -
the spider's hammock
filled with diamonds

© Haiku and Photo by Gabi Greve

.. .. .. a first spider
.. .. .. dangles in my view -
.. .. .. circles of life

Gabi Greve, March 31, 2005


© Haiku by Origa, Olga Hooper, 2004
© Haiga by Ashe


© Carol Raisfeld


Chilling howl of the wind;
a house spider
keeps on weaving

1. Ko, 1987.
2. Four Seasons. Haiku Anthology Classified by Season Words In English and in Japanese, 1991. Edited by Koko Kato. Published by Ko Poetry Association

Fresh-cut zinnia…
a white spider so difficult
to shake off

On the window’s
web-like crack,
a tiny spider

Lake-side house –
webs I knocked down yesterday

Zhanna P. Rader


Click for more photos of my spider !

autumn deepens -
my spider still weaves

 © PHOTO and Haiku: Gabi Greve, November 2007

Related words

***** Insects of autumn (mushi)


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Anonymous said...

sick on valentine's day
brown tarantula crouches
heart-shaped on the path

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gabi.
I enjoyed reading your page on spiders. The stories were fascinating.

C. from America

Natalia L. Rudychev said...

Dear Gabi,

In Russia there is a superstition:
if you see a spider and do not kill it you'll get a letter.

spider web
in the corner
valentine in the mail box



Gabi Greve said...

dark morning -
the fate of a spider
on my wall

  SPIDER by Gabi Greve, September 2006  

Thanks to Natalia for the following comment on this haiku:

Dear Gabi,

In Russia there is a superstition:
if you see a spider and do not kill it you'll get a letter.

spider web
in the corner
valentine in the mail box




Gabi Greve said...

dark morning -
the fate of a spider
on my wall

хмурое утро -
думаю о судьбе паука
у меня на стене

Thanks to Zhanna P. Rader for the translation !

Look at her here !

Gabi Greve, September 2006  

Ella Wagemakers said...

dusting away
cobweb after cobweb
how my days lengthen


Anonymous said...

I wonder whether the spider would be a kigo for any particular time
of year in Kenya, or whether we see them equally all year round?
My own impression is that the spider is not a kigo in Kenya, but a haiku topic.


Anonymous said...

Right, Isabelle, and so in Yemen!

SPIDER as a topic ... even if you see on my website the haiku linked to this summer kigo here for Europe and Japan.

Heike ;-) and happy hunting!

ImageNations said...

Hi Gabi...in giving the notes of spiders in West Africa you began with a quote and stated it is from the 'Akam' people. The word is 'Akan' and they are mostly in Ghana. We have the Ananse (spider) stories.

Gabi Greve said...

Thanks so much for your corrections, Nana !
I can only quote from the net and are never sure if it is right or not ... so I rely on people like you who know better!

anonymous reader said...

by Jean-Henri Fabre


The Spider has a bad name: to most of us, she represents an odious, onoxious animal, which every one hastens to crush under foot. Against this summary verdict the observer sets the beast's industry, its talent as a weaver, its wiliness in the chase, its tragic nuptials and other characteristics of great interest.
Yes, the Spider is well worth studying, apart from any scientific reasons; but she is said to be poisonous and that is her crime and the primary cause of the repugnance wherewith she inspires us. Poisonous, I agree, if by that we understand that the animal is armed with two fangs which cause the immediate death of the little victims which it catches; but there is a wide difference between killing a Midge and harming a man. However immediate in its effects upon the insect entangled in the fatal web, the Spider's poison is not serious for us and causes less inconvenience than a Gnat-bite.
That, at least, is what we can safely say as regards the great majority of the Spiders of our regions.


Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

sumi no kumo anji na susu wa toranu zo yo

and a few more !