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What It Means if You’re Dreaming About Spiders, According to Dream Decoders

A photo of a spider on a web, symbolizing dreams about spiders.

Photo: Stocksy / neongrounds

As if we didn’t have to deal with creepy crawlies enough IRL, sometimes they find a way to slither into our subconscious. While they’re not always scary, dreams about snakes, worms, flies, and spiders may give you pause. Spiders, especially, are notoriously associated with bad vibes: Arachnophobia1 is one of the most common fears among people around the world, after all.

The appearance of an eight-legged bug in your dream world isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Dream symbols like spiders can be found in both good dreams and nightmares alike, and when decoded, can shine a light on areas of your waking life that you may otherwise ignore.


Experts In This Article

Ahead, dream experts provide insights into the various meanings of spider dreams and break down the symbolism behind some of the specific spider dreams you could experience.

What do spiders symbolize in dreams?

As is true for any dream symbol, the meaning of spiders in a dream will vary greatly from person to person. “We have to take our personal association with that symbol into account when we are thinking about what the meaning of it is,” explains astrologer and dream decoder Stephanie Gailing, author of The Complete Book of Dreams. Our individual interpretations of and experiences with spiders will determine the value they hold as a dream symbol.

For example, if you’ve only ever had positive experiences with spiders throughout your life, then the appearance of a spider within a dream will hold a different meaning for you than, say, someone who got bit by a brown recluse growing up and now suffers from full-blown arachnophobia because of it.

The same is true for our exposure to cultural representations of spiders in movies, books, and music. Maybe your older sibling made you watch the 2002 horror movie Eight-Legged Freaks when you were a kid and you’ve been scared of spiders ever since, or maybe you have fond memories of reciting the Itsy, Bitsy Spider nursery rhyme with your parents. People in each of these camps are bound to have very different dreams about spiders… and find distinct meaning in them.

The context of the dream can also help determine the symbolism of the spider. “Details and specifics always matter in a dream because they are additional pieces of the puzzle that, when pieced together, provide a much bigger picture,” says dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg, author of Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life.

To this end, Gailing suggests looking at the big picture and taking into account how you felt when the spider appeared in the dream, what the spider was doing, and the setting in which the actions of the dream took place. Consider, too, if this is a recurring dream for you. Do you always dream about spiders, or is this just a one-off situation? If you do always dream about them, do they appear in the same context every time, or have they begun to appear in a different setting?

All of these factors can help you decode the significance of the spider and reveal any message your subconscious may be trying to tell you through it.

That being said, sometimes the themes that come up in common dreams transcend our individual experiences and can apply to a wide audience. Many of us tend to associate spiders with creativity because of their ability to spin beautiful, complicated webs, and because they trap their prey in said webs, it’s not unusual to associate them with themes of seduction and being captured.

“I’ve found that they can represent a narcissist in your life because—like a narcissist—they spin webs of lies to trap you and feed off you,” adds Loewenberg. “And we often say, ‘along came a spider’ when referring to a deceitful person that has entered the picture.”

What is the spiritual meaning of spiders?

Historically, spiders have held great spiritual significance across the globe—both negative and positive. As such, cultural interpretations of spider dreams vary greatly from region to region: Some cultures herald their skills as master weavers, focusing on the creativity and persistence that’s required to craft such complex, elaborate webs, while other cultures acknowledge their deadly potential, focusing on their venomous nature.

In Greek mythology, Arachne was a weaver who was turned into a spider after her beautiful, intricate tapestry offended the goddess of war, Athena. Her story is a cautionary tale about why you shouldn’t boast or brag about your talents, but practice humility instead. In Japan, a spider-like shapeshifter called Jorōgumo would transform into a beautiful woman to lure unsuspecting men to their deaths.

On the flip side, spiders were seen as a sign of good luck in ancient China, earning the auspicious name of ximu, which means “happy insect.” In many indigenous tribes of the American southwest, including the Hopi, Pueblo, and Navajo, the Grandmother Spider2 was an Earth goddess who helped create the world.

What does it mean when you dream about a spider attacking you?

Dreams about spiders attacking you could point toward areas of your life wherein you feel vulnerable or powerless. This is especially likely if you’re unable to fight off the spider that is attacking you in your dream, says Gailing.

Alternatively: “If there’s a little, tiny spider, and it’s biting you, you may have an outsized fear for something small,” says Gailing. In other words, there may be a conflict in your waking life that would otherwise be menial or inconsequential, but because of the circumstances surrounding it, the conflict is eating at you.

What does it mean when you dream about a huge spider?

Compared to the stature of humans, spiders are teeny tiny. Even the largest spider in the world, the Goliath Birdeater, only has a maximum body length of five inches.

The symbolic meaning of seeing a giant spider in a dream, then, is pretty profound.

“Usually, when something is bigger in a dream than normal, it means the situation it represents is a big deal to you, or it is weighing heavily on you,” says Loewenberg. Depending on the context of the dream, a huge spider could signal a challenge in your life that feels too large to overcome.

What does it mean when you dream about millions of spiders?

Regarding dreams about spiders multiplying or dreams about spiders crawling on you, themes of infestation and control may be at play, says Gailing. “If there are lots of them in your space, or they’re climbing all over you, it could symbolize a boundary issue,” says Gailing. Ask yourself: Am I letting something into my life that I shouldn’t? Is there someone close to me that I don’t want to be?

Loewenberg recalls a specific time when she was working to decode a spider dream for one of her clients. To get to the heart of what the spider represented, she instructed her client to describe spiders as if she was explaining it to a five-year-old.“The first thing she said was that they are creatures that invade your home,” says Loewenberg. “I asked her how she has felt invaded lately. Turns out, a friend of hers had been reading her diary! The invasive element is what applied specifically to my client.”

However, how you’re feeling in the dream while this is happening will determine whether or not the above sentiment rings true. “If they’re crawling all over you and you’re like, ‘This is the most beautiful feeling I’ve ever had in my life, who knew that a spider crawling on me could be so great?!’, then you probably wouldn’t interpret it that way,” says Gailing.

What does it mean when you dream about spiders and spider webs?

If you’ve been dreaming of spiders and webs together and are wondering what the web represents, it’s important to appreciate the duality of spider webs in nature.

“If you think about their web, it’s used for both generation and destruction,” explains Gailing. “A lot of spiders have their sack of eggs protected in the web, that’s one of the reasons for it, but on the other side, that web is built to catch prey.” The context of the web, then, can help you understand its role in your dream.

Are you stuck in a giant spider web? Then maybe you feel “stuck” in other areas of your life, or perhaps you feel entangled with a particular person or situation, says Gailing. Just as a rogue spider web on a nature trail can stop us in our tracks, maybe there’s an obstacle in your life that’s hindering your forward progress.

On the other hand, if you see a spider actively weaving a beautiful, intricate web, the symbolism may be steeped in creativity and fertility, perhaps regarding your artistic pursuits or profession.

What does it mean when you dream about black spiders?

The meaning of a black spider dream can be tied to themes surrounding dark femininity, á la the infamous black widow spider, says Gailing.

Despite their reputation, black widows don’t kill their lovers every time they mate. What’s more, this cannibalistic act isn’t solely reserved for black widows, and most of the time, it’s done out of sheer hunger, not anger toward the male. Still, many of us associate black widows with the shadowy, seductive side of womanhood.

If you’re a woman and see a black spider in your dream, it could relate to your own relationship with your femininity, suggests Gailing. Alternatively, “a black widow could also symbolize a dangerous woman in your life,” suggests Loewenberg. “As always, your personal associations will apply!”

Citations
Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.
  1. Polák, Jakub et al. “Measuring fear evoked by the scariest animal: Czech versions of the Spider Questionnaire and Spider Phobia Beliefs Questionnaire.” BMC psychiatry vol. 22,1 18. 6 Jan. 2022, doi:10.1186/s12888-021-03672-7
  2. Wilcox, Lynne S. “Grandmother spider: connecting all things.” Preventing chronic disease vol. 4,1 (2007): A01.
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