The Jamaican Anansi Spider

I found a spider today, and because of it’s large, “whitish”,  enlarged abdomen, they said it could be the Anansi spider; but it is not. Jamaican spiderI do not know what specie of Jamaican spider this is, but it is not the Anansi spider because Anansi is an African folktale character; he is not a real spider (as seen in the two pictures below).Jamaican spider Jamaican spiderStories of the Jamaican Anansi spider are told to many children across our island; and in my childhood, we heard and made up many tales about the Anansi spider.

This spider – the hero in all the stories,  is called “brother Anansi” (i.e. br’er Anansi). In the stories, he outwitted everyone, tricked people, and overcame every form of obstacle set by brother rabbit, brother dog, sister cat, and other animal characters. Brother Anansi always used his cunning to get whatever he wanted – from his morning breakfast, money to spend, and even a place to rest his head at nights. I guess today, we in Jamaica would call him a “Scammer”.When I checked Wikipedia about the Anansi spider, I discovered that this character is actually a spirit taking on the form of a spider, or the form of a spider with human characteristics. What I found interesting however, was that further research stated that the spider symbol is actually feminine – associated with creativity and cunning . . . yet the Jamaican Anansi spider is depicted as male. Hmm?

My question now is this: Is the Jamaican Anansi spider spirit a demon?
I think it is.



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