The wonderful discussion generated by my last post on Dream Spiders brings home how we want to approach every dream as an experience unique to the dreamer, even while it evokes universal themes.
Suzette reports that when she is ill a spider climbs inside her torso and starts spinning a web. While this would be terrifying to many dreamers, and might suggest a chest infection, Suzette’s dream spider is an ally who catches what is bugging her, rolls it up in a silk ball, and elegantly expels the possible complaint from her body.
By contrast, Wanda has found it necessary to eject spiders she felt were adversaries – possibly embodying a threatening disease – from her dream houses in various creative ways. In one of her examples, she managed to convert a large and menacing spider into a wind-up toy that could be put out into the street, like the trash.
I’ve had spider dreams of both kinds. I just rediscovered a dream report from two years ago in which I knew that I had to remove a large black spider – not a tarantula, and not furry, but about that size – from my dream kitchen. I tried to catch it in paper towels in order to carry it out without harming it, as I would probably try to do in regular life. However, the spider died as I struggled to contain it, and then promptly morphed into a set of plastic parts, like a broken child’s toy, that I carried out and placed in the trash. I woke from this dream feeling a strong sense of wellness and resolution, and felt no need to interpret the dream. Moving with the energy from a dream is often more important than figuring out what the content means.
When it comes to the pursuit of meanings, let’s remember that it’s usually a good idea to study the nature, habits and habitats of the critters that turn up in dreams. There is a vast variety of spiders on this planet, most of them non-venomous but some incredibly deadly, so when we dream of spiders we may want to pause and attempt an identity check.
We also want to study the specific gifts of different kinds of spiders: what kind of webs they weave, for example, and the uses of those webs. The first dream catchers were spider webs. An Onondaga friend told me that when his son was very young, he hung spider webs above his sleeping head to catch and keep out bugs of both the physical and the psychic kind, in the old way. Don reminds us in a comment on my last post that spider webs are helpful in stopping bleeding.
Finally (for now) let’s remember that in the shaman’s way of dreaming, we can learn to get close to fierce and dangerous creatures with whom safe encounters in the physical are generally inadvisable. In my dreams of my native Australia, I am sometimes offered a funnelweb portal to enter the Dreaming of the Koori, the Aboriginal people. I remember being sternly lectured by my parents, as a small boy in Queensland, to check boots and shoes every morning in case a funnelweb spider had built inside one of them overnight, and to avoid or kill this type of highly venomous spider on sight. In the Dreaming, things work rather differently.
Atrax robustus, Australian funnelweb spider, in threat position