Spiders, Ants and the Mystic in You

Paul Veliyathil
3 min readMar 15, 2023

Awareness of every part of the Earth as holy ground can evoke reverence and joy in our daily interactions with nature, which are hardly noticed and rarely experienced.

Environmental writer Nancy Jack Todd talks about her profound delight in an encounter with a tiny beetle in her garden.

At closer range I discovered my beetle to be a frog, a minute and exquisite creature, the size of a fingernail. I could see the delicate details of its perfect and intelligent feet and a light stripe over its amber eyes. I froze, transfixed, for as long as it chose to favor me with its presence. I walk, since then, with heightened mindfulness lest I disrupt the daily perambulations of small golden frogs who might still find my garden their sort of place.

In his book Pray All Ways, spiritual writer Edward Hays talks about the lesson he learned from a spider:

Watch a spider as she patiently rebuilds her web each time it is broken or removed. She reweaves its broken strands each time they are broken. She waits, in patience, for dinner to come into her white cosmos of tiny threads…Like the spider, we must return again and again to rebuild our webs by bringing together the threads of our lives and uniting them to the divine center within. Without such work, our lives become disconnected, unpeaceful and broken.

Perhaps the next time we see a spider’s web, we can see it as a spiritual classroom and not simply something to be swept away.

Observing the ants can evoke a similar sense of reverence and awe.

I do it often with spiritual delight.

Did you know that there are more than 12,000 species of ants on Earth and there are one million ants for every human on the planet? Ants can lift twenty times their own body wight. Ants don’t have ears. They “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet. Ants don’t have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over their body. Queen ants shed their wings when they start a new nest. And some ants can live up to thirty years!

Microscopic vision of an ant can be a mind-blowing and magical experience that can make you marvel at the mysteries of the Universe.

Seeing a blade of grass under a microscope can generate the same feelings of wonder and awe.

All organisms have such magic and mystery built into them by the Creator of the Universe.

According to renowned microbiologist, Edward O. Wilson:

The flower in the crannied wall — it is a miracle…Pull out the flower from its crannied retreat, shake the soil from the roots into the cupped hand, magnify it for close examination. The black earth is alive with a riot of algae, fungi, nematodes, mites, springtails, enchytraeid worms, thousands of species of bacteria. The handful may be only a tiny handful of one ecosystem, but because of the genetic codes of its residents, it holds more order than can be found on the surface of all the planets combined. It is a sample of the living force that runs the earth — and will continue to do so with or without us.

When you expand your vision into such mystical seeing, every little thing you see opens your mind to a world of meaning and wonder.

(from Cosmic Kindergarten: Earthly Lessons for a Heavenly Life)

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Paul Veliyathil

I am a citizen of India by birth, a citizen of the united states by choice and a citizen of the world at heart.