A woman named Jennifer recently shared a vivid and very specific account of how
the behavior of a black spider in a series of dreams has given her
disease markers she has learned to take seriously. As she tells it,
the sequence includes the following prodromic dreams (and follow-up
1. “I am standing in an open doorway. A black spider leaps from the
frame onto my abdomen, scaring me badly. Three months later, I developed
appendicitis in the same spot and had to be rushed to hospital for an
2. “A black spider jumps on my face. I am terrified and grossed
Several months later, I developed a horrible and virulent skin
condition that made
about a hundred years old. After 5 days, hospitalized on intravenous
antibiotics and anti-viral medicine, I learn was a life-threatening
3. “A black spider leaps on my face, near my left
eye–again from the
door frame in former dreams. A few months later, I am driving on the
freeway and a black, spider web configuration covers the entire visual
field of this eye. In an urgent care intervention, the on-call eye
doctor discovers that I have a
retina in that eye, and I undergo emergency laser
This is a very instructive example of how dreams can anticipate physical symptoms. By learning to recognize personal markers, we may not only be forewarned of possible problems; we may be able to take action to avoid manifesting those problems.
The spider in Jennifer’s dreams is not the spider in your dreams, or mine. While we recognize common themes when we hear each other’s dreams, every dreamer’s experience is personal and unique to them. For some dreamers, the spider is an ally, offering the power to re-weave the web of possibility in life.
I worked with one dreamer, a gifted artist, for whom the spider was at first a disease marker- warning of a possible recurrence of cancer – but then became an extraordinary ally when she found the courage to go back inside her dream, through our Dream Reentry technique, and face the spider.
The artist was terrified by a recurring dream of a jumping spider that grew bigger and bigger until it took over her studio. I urged her to go back inside the dream and volunteered to go with her. Sitting together, with our hands joined, we embarked on conscious shared dreaming with a clear intention: the dreamer would face her terror and find out what she needed to do, while I would support her as friend and bodyguard inside the dream space.
Between the energy of her fear and the familiarity of her dream space – her studio – the artist had no difficulty reentering the dream. Almost effortlessly, we found ourselves together in the dream version of her studio, facing a spider that grew rapidly to enormous size. Its multiple eyes and cheliceral fangs were not a pleasant sight at close range. The artist was shaking and sobbing, but she stayed inside the dream.
Then spider shapeshifted into Spider Woman, an indigenous American form of the Goddess. Spider Woman told the artist: “Because you found the courage to meet me, I will give you the power to re-weave the energy web of your body and the web of possibility in your life.”
At that time, the dreamer was facing a biopsy. The results showed she was cancer free. She embarked on the most creative period of her personal and artistic life. Spider kept her promise, when the dreamer found the ability to brave up and reach for the power beyond the terror.
For more on the techniques of Dream Reentry and tracking (entering another person’s dreamspace to help bring through guidance and healing) please see my books The Three “Only” Things and Conscious Dreaming.