Spider symbolism might remind many of Anasi the trickster or the cunning web-spinner of Mary Howitt’s poem who invites a fly into its parlor. However, a spider is also motivating in that; it led King of Scotland (Robert The Bruce) to victory. So, let us study everything we know about what do spiders symbolize and different aspects of spiders so we can know its exact meaning in our life.
Table of contents
- Spider Symbolism and meaning
- Spider Native American Symbolism
- Spider Eastern Symbolism
- Spider Christianity Symbolism
- Spider Celtic symbolism
- Spider Medicine
- Spider in Dreams
- Spider Encounters and Omens
- Spider’ Mythology and Folklore
- Spider Spirit Animal
- Spider Totem Animal
- Spider Power Animal
- Spider Tattoo Meaning
Spider symbolism and meaning
The spider is the ultimate symbol of creativity. It shows its power in the way it spins its web. The spider is also aggressive and you can see its aggression in the way it traps, attacks, and kills its prey.
The spider’s spiral net or web converges into a single point in the center. Thus, the spider sitting in its web is the ultimate symbol of the center of the world or universe.
This is the reason why the spider is considered as the master of Illusion or Maya – the Hindu word for illusion.
This is the theory of the creation of the world as thought of by many experts who try to describe the creation of the Universe. The spider spins a beautiful web that conforms to Sacred Geometry.
No two spider webs are the same and the intricacy of this creation always fascinates and baffles humans. In this sense, the spider is a weaver of illusion. Spiders also create, destroy, kill, and create again. This behavior symbolizes the ceaseless alteration of forces upon which this Universe depends.
Thus, spider symbolism is very deep and symbolizes constant transmutation. Based on this, many theorists believe that death is also the winding up of old life to create or spin a new one. (1)
Spider Native American symbolism
Native American clans looked to the animals to be their teachers, to serve as symbols for them to live strong lives. In some Native American myths, the spider is said to have taught humans the alphabet, tracing the shapes of the web.
The spider gave the gift of the alphabet to the people so that they could record their journeys through the configurations offered in its web.
In some Native American cultures, the spider and its web bring the message of continual weaving of patterns, the infinite possibility of creation, and the importance of recording the complexities in our lives.
Thus, the Natives viewed the spider as a wise entity that instructs, illuminates, and documents, rather than entrap and victimize.
An old Cherokee Indian myth talks about the spider and its role in the creation of the world. In the beginning, the Possum and Buzzard fail to bring a piece of the sun into the world. This is when Grandmother Spider energy succeeds in bringing light into the world and that is how the Earth was created.
Based on the same legend, the Navajo Indians also believed that the spider’s web is very similar to the sun and its rays. And spiders also always spin their webs in the morning. This is to remind the people about the sun and to feel more grateful for it. (2)
Spider Eastern Symbolism
Spiders symbolize Maya or Illusion as per Hindu Mythology. In India, the Rig-Veda describes the dawn as ‘being woven’ during the night because the full moon assists the spider.
In Japan, spiders appear in a number of myths and especially in the tale of Raiko. Most of these legends portray the spiders as evil beings that had to be vanquished by the heroes. However, the Japanese also revere the spider’s powers of spinning webs so intricately.
So much so, that they have also honored the spider in the form of Yushkep Kamui – the Shinto spider Goddess. Many women pray to her for safe childbirth.
The Yushkep Kamui has many hands and legs, which helps her pull newborns out safely. Like the Japanese, Chinese mythology also looks at both sides of the spider controversy.
Spider symbols are sacred to the saintly Weaving Maiden, the romantic guardian spirit of young women.
On the other hand, female spiders, bored with male spiders and seeking to up their status, are known to kill and eat their male counterparts after having sexual intercourse with them.
This is the black widow symbolism. Fuxi – one of the greatest culture heroes in China is known to have created the fishing net by imitating the spider’s web.
Spider Christianity symbolism
The spider spiritual meaning in Bible and Christian art is a miser who bleeds the poor people dry just as it itself bleeds its victims.
Secondly, the spider represents the Devil for the Devil prepares its trap just as the spider prepares its web. Thirdly, it represents the malice of evil doers whose web will perish like those of the spider. Finally, the cobweb is a symbol of human frailty. (3)
There was a lovely tale about Mary and Joseph when they were hiding Baby Jesus as they fled into Egypt away from the soldiers. A tiny spider came to their rescue.
It industriously spun a web where the trio hid. When the soldiers came, they thought that no one could have recently entered the cave since the spider’s web was intact, thus saving their lives.
It is said that the common variety of garden spider carries a cross on its back for this service. The spider will bring you cosmic awareness of the patterns of life and death, as well as creativity, skilled craftsmanship, and good luck.
The spider descending by its thread is emblematically ‘bringing in heavenly gifts.’ A spider always spins a dragline behind itself as it moves and when threatened, it drops to safety with the dragline suspending it. Thus, the spider is always protected by its Maker.
Spider Celtic symbolism
Early Celts believed that spiders symbolized good luck. Small spiders were believed to be money spinners, so killing them was considered negative. No spider will spin its web on Irish oak.
There are no spiders in Ireland because, apparently, St. Patrick cleared the Island of all vermin. Spiders were extensively associated with witches. They were an important part of a witch’s magical brew.
Apart from the spider energy, the cobweb also has symbolic importance in Celtic literature. The cobweb is much like a piece of fabric. Its spiral shape embraces the idea of creation and development.
In this sense, the cobweb symbolizes the negative aspect of the Universe representing the Gnostic View that evil is not on the periphery but in its center, at its very origins.
Celtic and Gaelic spider symbolism represents the spider as the Goddess of Matrix of life binding all destinies together. In wicca and witchcraft, spiders connect the past and the future. They represent creativity, the pattern of Life, and the Web.
Spiders are sacred to Arachne, Ariadne, Anansi, and Macardit. Due to this reason, the eight-legged creepy crawler has become a symbol of Halloween. It is not uncommon to see artificial spider webs, plastic spiders, spider-shaped candies, and even cardboard or plastic spider window-displays during Halloween. (4)
Spider medicine represents the weaving of the past, present, and future. Although spiders like tarantula invoke fear in many people, they are actually fragile beings which break when dropped from the hand.
The spider medicine brings with it an understanding of language. In Native American animal medicine, the spider represents the web of life. Grandmother Spider brings a piece of the sun which sustains life and also is the Keeper of the Alphabet.
Spider medicine also brings light and heat to the world. Many animals go to try and bring fire, but only the spider succeeds.
Spider medicine is an ally for writers. Writing is one of the tools for creating your reality and manifesting your desires. When you write down a wish, it is the first step in creating it.
Thus, spider medicine indirectly supports you as the creator of life. Spider medicine brings with it an energy of creation as it is the weaver of dreams and reality. Call upon the spider when you feel you are a victim of your circumstances.
Stop and write down whatever is bothering you or confusing you or leading you to believe that someone else is controlling your life. Next, write down the outcome you desire. Be precise as you write your vision as well as the exact steps you will take to implement it. (5)
Spider in dreams
Spider meaning in dreams symbolizes fear. Freud believed that dreaming of spiders represents the mother that devours her children (which she does through possessiveness or guilt).
When you dream of spiders, you are dreaming of webs, ancient knowledge, language, intricacy, and creativity, the circle of life, transmutation, feminine power, and creation.
It could also be an indication that you are being cheated or that there is a web of deceit, lies, or fraudulent activity around you. Spider cobwebs also mean areas of your mind that you have locked away and that sit there covered with cobwebs.
It could mean that you need to take some time out for cleaning. If there is guilt or anger or resentment, it is time to clear it out.
Dreaming of being threatened by a spider suggests that you are anxious about being emotionally entangled in a particular situation in waking life. To see spiders in your dreams denotes that thrifty and conscientious tendencies will be the power of amassing a large fortune.
A spider’s web has two-fold meanings – it is a home for the spider, but it is also a trap for its victims. Since spider web is an engineering marvel, dreaming of spider webs may mean that creative ideas are being spun, but you must also wait patiently for the results. (6)
Spider encounters and omens
In Medieval Europe, spiders came to be associated with Sabbath rituals and witchcraft. There were legends of spiders being used in potions, poisons, drafts, and witches’ brews.
It soon became an important symbol of Halloween owing to this myth. In some cultures, the female spider’s habit of devouring her mate came to be associated with the Crone aspect of witches’ Goddess, who reigns during Sabbath.
Viewing a spider in the morning may mean that grief is on the cards, in the noon means anxiety is on the cards, in the evening may indicate a financial loss.
Viewing a spider weaving means there is hatching of a conspiracy against the viewer. Some cultures, however, believe that spider weaving a web means gifts from heaven as well as Good fortune.
Some cultures believe that seeing a spider weaving a web in the afternoon means a journey is on the cards in the evening indicates a visitor. Seeing a spider climbing up its thread means good news on the way. If the spider fails to reach the ceiling, then it indicates bad luck.
Finding spiders on your body means good fortune; the red spider indicates money and fortune. Killing a spider is a bad omen and will bring bad luck. Seeing a spider going across a wall is good luck. (7)
Spider mythology and folklore
In many cultures, the spider is looked upon as a symbol of heroic ‘mother.’ Spider’s web symbolizes destiny and mortality.
Christian symbolism of the spider is usually that of a Devil, which captures by ensnarement just like the spider traps its prey. Folklore also associates the spider meaning with good luck, wealth, or coming rain. On the dark side, witches are known to use spiders in their brews.
So spiders are representative of witches Goddess who reigns during Sabbat. In Greek Mythology, the Mother Goddess of Athens is possessed by a totemic spider that spun the Web of Fate.
The Goddess was jealous of Arachne and turned her into a spider because the young woman’ skills of weaving and spinning were better than the Goddess.
In Hindu mythology, the spider was Maya-illusion. Maya was depicted in artwork as a woman with eight legs who could weave magic, fate, and earthly appearances. Native American shamans consider the spider to be creators and weavers of the web of fate.
Associated with planet Mercury, spiders are also used in spells to protect against enemies. To discover a spider spinning a web in your house is considered a good omen and to allow a spider to crawl on your hands means that your luck will increase. (8)
Spider spirit animal
Spider spirit animal indicates a web of connection. The spider is asking you to cast your web far and wide and see what it brings. Let the spider guide you into making new fabrics of connection.
It will guide you into weaving your life and personal space into a strong and beautiful pattern. A spider spirit animal tells us that everything is connected and we are all just a collective consciousness. Spider’s web is spiral and the creature is a master of circularity of energy.
Ask a shaman what spider spirit animal signifies and this will be his answer: “Humankind has not woven the Web of Life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the Web, we do to ourselves.
All things connect. All things are bound together.” If the spider is your spirit animal, connect with your Web building power. Cast your net wide and then be patient. For it will bring heavenly gifts to you.
Listen to what vibrates your Web by being in touch with your connections and with the Earth itself. The spider is telling you to work in Harmony with Nature. Bathe in the sunshine and let the wind caress you. (9)
Spider totem animal
Spider totem animal meaning changes based on how you view the spider. If you view spiders and cobwebs as a mess, then ask yourself what part of your life needs cleansing or what part you want to be cleared out.
If you are frightened of spiders, then ask yourself what intricate aspect of your nature are you afraid of. The spider builds a beautiful nest which glistens in the morning sun.
Just like that, you must let your abilities and natural talents glisten and sparkle in the sun. When you are in touch with your creativity, you will be in a better position to enrich all aspects of your life.
The spider has the power to create, but it can also take life. The same is true with human life: it can also give bountiful gifts, but it can also bring sorrow and destruction.
Thus, your choices will impact those around you. You have the power to impact others’ lives positively or negatively. Thus, a spider totem animal is asking you to choose wisely and bring positive changes in others’ lives by expressing your true brilliance that lies within.
A spider will appear to you if you are feeling overwhelmed and believe you lack something. It may even appear if there is a web of deceit or lies around you. (10)
Spider power animal
Each “power animal” is a metaphor that represents a part of the person’s inner soul. It can be an animal you often encounter: it may try to deliver a message, or it could be a shadow animal (an animal you may be afraid of such as a snake or spider.
Spider power animal may be asking you to let go of your fears and cast your web wide. It is asking you to get in touch with your creative side and foster new connections.
This power animal may also mean that you need to do an inner cleansing; clean out parts of you that you aren’t fond of.
Spider power animal also symbolizes transmutation, femininity, and creation. Grandmother Spider has been revered by Native Indians as the weaver of the Universe.
The Lakota Indians called her Iktome or weaver of the healing power. Thus the spider is teaching you to endure your present reality. Spider uses a sticky substance to weave a web. Similarly, our thoughts weave a web, but when you meditate on this power animal, you will realize the transient nature of thoughts.
The spider is asking you to let go of your individual identity and receive the gift of a spider’s perspective. Notice how your web is deeply interconnected with those of the others. (11)
Spider tattoo meaning
Spider tattoo is usually very common among gang members. But there is no reason why you cannot go in for one, even if you do not belong to a gang!
For, as seen above, spider symbolism is powerful and has several positive meanings associated with it. Be very careful what tattoo you choose because not all spider symbols are positive.
Discuss black widow spider symbolism, white spider symbolism, etc. with your tattoo artist. After all, not all tattoos have positive meanings.
In general, spider tattoo meaning symbolizes creativity, femininity, and patience. Spider tattoos also represent transmutation.
So go in for a spider tattoo if you have recently been through a huge change or want a constant reminder of the fact that we are all interconnected as there is a Universal Consciousness that connects all human beings.
So, if you take care of others and Nature and Mother Earth, then there is a greater chance that you will be happier and more positive in life.
So go ahead and cast your web wider and make deeper, more intricate connections with the planet and its creatures big and small. As stated before, discuss your vision with an experienced tattoo artist.
Now you know what spider means when you see one in your house or when you see one weaving a web. Spider symbolism is connected with creation, feminine power, transmutation, and also deceit and entrapment. So, take a look around you. Introspect and meditate, so you know exactly what the spider meaning in dreams or on the wall is trying to tell you.