Arachne’s Cauldron*

Quiet tears rim the eyes of the slim figure, back-lit by a honey coloured moon that hovers over wine-dark seas, it’s light flaring across the path its reflection makes and climbing in through the creeper framed tower wind eye. The glamorous light also picks out a brace of looms and whalebone chairs in the floor’s centre.

A second source of light  grows brighter. This light is warmer, the scent of resin and burning herbs fills the heavy night air. Above the fire is a cauldron, hanging by a thin chain from a tripod. There is little smoke. This is a witch-fire. A strong enchantment is being prepared. There is much to be asked for; and it must be done well; done without fear. In all honesty.

This is the crafting room of young Arachne, princess of Lydia. The daughter of history. The weaver of living legend.

She is humming, chanting, hair crackling with otherworld energy now.

Clear words leave her mouth, though her lips are still and closed.

“I look to you my spellcaster pot to right the wrongs that I may have done, may have caused.

I look to you now, though I have been guilty of neglecting you, preferring rather to tarry with loom and thread … in the hope that you can balance what needs to be done with what is just, humble and seemly.

For I have offended the High Gods by plain speaking; and cannot believe that that can be wrong, or that I will be allowed peace when tomorrow is closed by the sinking of Apollo’s carriage.

The fire lit below you burns eight logs of sandalwood and seasoned pine, strewn with the same number of pine cones and sprigs of rosemary. You are filled with eight ewers of wine that is eight years in the amphorae, with eight added drops of blood from my right forefinger, pricked by the oracles dagger.

And I stir with owl-feather decorated olive branch in the tradition-writ pattern: eight turns the way the moon travels across the sky, eight in opposition. Eight times. Breathing steadily.

I confess to a childish and stubborn pride, but cannot deny my weaving skills. Neither mortal nor other can compare their tapestries and patterns to mine. I can feel the colour of a thread by sense of touch alone and my muse bends my fingers around the warp while I am tranced. The act of weaving to me is a holy tribute dance that tempts the nymphs and shepherds to pause and stare, the hungry to forget their gripes, the aged to forego their pains, the vanquished to forego their vengeance mutterings.

Where can be the wrong in such?

But soft and still, I know that I have offended Athene sorely; that there will be a terrible price to pay … tomorrow … so soon!

Now I add eight pinches: madder, dried petal of mountainbloom, Aegypt-henna, Tyrian purple, safflower, Hephaestus-tears pumice, ground coral and twice-dried octopi bladder…

I feel the dark presence of Athene, summoned by my summoning spell. She has to know that I worship her, but seek not to be intimidated. I want fairness, fair goddess. Will it be possible?


…inspiration I need you now … come to me as you always have …

… and the patterns sing to my pulse. Zeus and his conquests, the Highest of the Immortals taking careless advantage of their inferiors, dalliances that they will not answer for, but their victims must, oh how many, many times will this echo down the histories?

Rains of gold

Charming swan

Rampant bull

There, the mixing is done, my eight sided cauldron squats among the skeletal embers of my last fire. I know now that the goddess wrought work will not be finer than mine. But I have seen that her fury will know few bounds. She cannot declare me the winner.

I will be undone.

Will I miss my life? Me? A princess of Lydia?

I think not; my life was always a toy of the cruel Olympians was it not?

Is it not, indeed the same for you, my writer-confidante?

But I will miss my joy, my skills and my craft, and would not wish its absence on the world that must continue!”

Illustration by Gustave Doré of 1861 edition o...



* This post comes as part of an exciting, inspirational – if challenging – workshop at

My thanks to everyone involved; here’s to the next taskette eh?

Bring it on!

8 thoughts on “Arachne’s Cauldron*

  1. Oloriel says:

    Oh my…. this was beyond great! The way you wrote it, it reminded me of the Charge of the Dark Goddess. It was mythologicaly fantastical. I love the way you approached the mythological figure, as well as the workshops theme of recipe. Your ingridients are all magical and they are very great, I had fun connecting and exploring what does each one mean or can mean and represent. I also liked that you put so much emotion inside, you have let us straight into the head and heart of a mythological being.

    You should add the link to the Workshop in your post itself instead of the tagged area btw, so it will automaticaly do a pingback and people will be able to see it more easily 🙂

    • beeseeker says:

      Ok, will add the link in a short while, thanks for the gentle hint 🙂
      But mostly, really honoured by your other words.
      Bless you!
      (did the repetition of eight get through?)

      • Oloriel says:

        Yes, it is one of the extra mythological things that I was mentioning, you gave an indepth view of the Spider Queen herself, not just merely mentioned her and it is that which makes this character, that is mythological, relatable to us who are alive.

      • beeseeker says:

        Again, thank you: very reassuring words: just felt like I might have been overdoing it while I was writing.

  2. […] Neal – Anubis prepares for a dinner partybeeseker – Arachne’s CauldronJim – Pheonix Arisepapermashed – Lil Sil and the Light GatheringThe Lack of Harmony – […]

  3. Fascinating and wholesome. Thank you.

  4. M. C. Dulac says:

    What wonderful atmosphere and sense of impending tragedy! I’m moved! 🙂

  5. beeseeker says:

    Thank you all for the wonderful feedback, much appreciated.

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