Arachne Solara is the epithet of an otherwise unnamed deity who may be the goddess of Nature in Glorantha. Her origins are mysterious and subject to speculation, but there are strong indications that she is the ghost of Glorantha, the Mother of the Universe.
Arachne Solara first comes to notice in the tale of the Great Compromise, wherein Orlanth, Yelm, and the other deities in the Underworld swear pacts and oaths to preserve themselves. The plan upon which they agreed is said to have been created by Arachne Solara, based upon mutual support between all the remaining world.
The Spider Woman constructed a great and magical web made of many things no longer found in the world, and then she gave the web to all the gods to hold ready between them. When Chaos entered their realm, the gods cast the net upon the Devil and held him tight. While the other deities had distracted the Devil, Arachne Solara leapt upon him with vengeance and a strength of desperation and mystical splendor. She enwrapped the Chaos god in her legs and struggled mightily, and at last devoured the evil soul.
The great beings of the universe then held council, and tried to discover what their further course of action might be. The Seven Lightbringers proved that they could lead the way out of the Underworld, but they were not sure what world was left outside. Their Old Way was gone forever, replaced by empty void and Chaos. But they could no longer exist within the confines of the universe.Arachne Solara proved capable of communicating with the Beingless Voice of Eternity. Through her, and with the Voice, the gods made unchangeable pacts and carved themselves into powerful spells. Arachne Solara led a great dance, reconstructing the shattered cosmic matrix, linking all the surviving gods within an immutable web of pacts and oaths, bonds and relationships, conjurations and creations. The gods swore themselves into a Great Compromise with Chaos, wherein the Old World and the New World (of Death and Chaos) would co-exist, alternating their forces and powers along the myriads of weaves within the matrix of the universe. She revealed her child, born after she devoured the Devil. The child is Time, the Pledge of the Gods, and all existence swore by it to uphold their agreements. This is the Great Compromise, and it is the oath which recreated the world.
The Lightbringers forced open the Gates of Dawn. Arachne Solara cast her net forth, and the myriads of immortals ran out upon it, filling the universe with their presence. Each knew their part, and went to it gratefully as if reaching home after a long painful recovery.Upon the tattered physical world, portions of the Old World drifted upon the decaying remnants of the once-Golden Age. The snares of the net encircled them gratefully, anchored there, and cast further to other islands of unviolated existence. Inhabitants of those places saw the distant sky grow closer, felt the earth grow firm underneath, and felt the air once again move about them. Thunder rumbled upon the eastern horizon, which grew grey and then rosy and finally bright as Theya, Dawn Goddess, led forth her father, fiery Yelm, into the Sky. The gods marched across the barren world, bringing warmth, light, and flowers to the awed survivors.
In depths of the Underworld, the Great Wheel began turning, beginning the myriads of rhythms and exchanges throughout the universe. The servants of stone began their tedious march. The new world was created. Time started.
Is Arachne Solara related to the Greek idea of Cosmos? The Cosmos – Glorantha – is related to the Greek idea of Cosmos. Arachne Solara is mysterious. Perhaps she is Nature, or she is the Sun Spider, or perhaps she is Ginna Jar in Hell? I have heard all those theories and more.
There’s a lot of hidden treasures in this version of the story. Lots of links with other secrets.
There’s a lot of Grandmother Spider there.