People have been fascinated with—or repelled by—spiders for thousands of years. These deft weavers and deadly predators animate our stories, our dreams and our imaginations. Just this week, PhD candidate, Catherine Scott, in Toronto garnered many new followers by tweeting her observations of three male black widow spiders attempting to mate with three females.
Spiders, Spiders Everywhere
Last month, I had more encounters than usual with spiders. My nights were filled with dreams of spiders. In one dream, I had to help a very frightened friend through a doorway with many daddy long-legs in the top left corner. In other dreams, I entered rooms enveloped in webs with spiders everywhere. In none of my dreams was I afraid of the spiders but I was certainly hoping they wouldn’t fall on me!
I also found more spiders than usual in the house and promptly placed them outside before my daughter or husband saw them and panicked. One day as I was working on my computer in the kitchen, I just happened to look up and noticed a large cluster of teeny-weeny, black thingies on the end of one of the blades on the ceiling fan above my head. On closer inspection, I realized they were probably newly hatched spiderlings. They were so very tiny though that I couldn’t put them outside without squishing them; I couldn’t save them so I had to wipe them with a towel.
A couple of days later, as I was once again working at my computer, a tiny baby spider peeked at me from behind my laptop’s monitor. It was so adorable I decided to let it be. (Yes, as you can tell, I love spiders…)
Why all of these spiders in my life all of a sudden? And in these unusual ways? (A cluster of hatchlings above my head, seriously??) I didn’t believe it was just a coincidence so I decided to look into it. (If you do believe these things are just coincidences, that’s okay too; you can view them as opportunities to review what’s happening in your life.)
Spiders in World Lore
Spiders are featured in lore around the world. In many Native American tribes, Spider Woman or Spider Grandmother is a creator of the world or a helper with the emergence of life. She teaches people to make pottery, to plant trees and to weave. She creates the stars by lacing a web with dew and throwing it into the sky.
In many pre-Colombian Teotihuacan murals discovered in what is now Mexico, the Great Goddess has a world tree covered with spiders and butterflies growing from her head. Other murals of the Great Goddess include arachnids scurrying in the background, on her clothing, or hanging from her arms.
In ancient Egypt, Babylon and Greece, the spider is the weaver of destiny and is symbolized as Princess Arachne or the goddess Athena.
In the Vedic philosophy of India, the spider veils ultimate reality with an illusion. In West Africa, Anansi the spider was originally a creator of the world and a messenger between humans and the sky god, Nyame. But in the majority of stories, Anansi is a cunning trickster who loves to fool people and animals, and even gods.
Spiders as Spirit Guides
As a spirit animal or animal guide, Spider often represents creativity because of her skill in building delicate yet intricate webs. She is also a symbol of Mother and strong feminine energy, again related to creation. Spider is patient; she must wait patiently for her prey to come by her web.
As a creator of intricate webs, Spider brings together all parts of life to create a strong whole. She helps you to see a part of your life and to integrate it into a coherent whole. As a skillful weaver, she encourages us to show mental flexibility in viewing a situation from many different angles.
Fear of Spiders
If spiders inspired fear in me (which they don’t), I would be encouraged to explore and to face the shadow side of my personality. Her presence brings fear and unease so that we can examine their causes in our daily life.
Spiders in Dreams
When spider appears in your dreams, she asks that you consider the feminine energy in your life: creativity, patience, receptivity. Also consider how you felt and reacted in the dream: scared, stressed, curious, powerful, adventurous, etc.
In life, you weave your own web, you create your own reality. Spider says if you’re not happy with your web, change it.
A spider totem shows you balance between your past and your future, the physical and the spiritual, the male and female aspects. Strength and gentleness, like a web that is both strong and delicate.
The past is always interwoven with the future. Spider’s body is shaped like the number eight and she has eight legs; the number eight is the symbol for infinity or infinite potential, infinite creative potential.
Lots to consider as I ponder Spider’s presence in my life.