When I even just hear the word "spider," I immediately think of two things: never sleeping again if one is spotted anywhere in the vicinity of my apartment, and Ron Weasley. No fictional character understood my tremendous fear of those eight-legged invertebrates quite like Harry Potter's bestie. Sure, I get why everyone at Hogwarts was freaking out about the giant snake in the castle, but Ron's fear of spiders was equally valid!! THEY HAVE EIGHT LEGS AND NO BACKBONE. IT! IS! UNNATURAL!
As scary as it is to see a spider in real life, it's also quite haunting to see one in your
nightmares dreams. But unfortunately for us poor saps, it's actually pretty common for those creepy crawly creatures to pop up in our subconscious as we snooze. The "good" news is that while, yes, dreaming about spiders is 1,000,000% upsetting, it doesn't actually mean your room is in imminent danger of being overtaken by arachnids. Breathe a sigh of relief with me. Then, read on for two experts' takes on what it means to dream about spiders.
First of all, remember that dreams don't have one single meaning.
"There are no common meanings," Jane Teresa Anderson, BSc Hons, a dream analyst and therapist, tells Cosmo. "Every symbol is unique and personal to every dreamer. Begin by asking yourself what you feel about spiders," she suggests. If spiders scare you, then dreaming about them likely means something is scaring you. On the other hand, if your mind conjures up happier thoughts—Charlotte's Web, anyone?—when you think about spiders, the dream could be entirely positive. With me so far?
Because spiders possess certain connotations in our culture, there are a few accepted themes to consider when you dream about 'em. "Bugs in dreams tend to symbolize something that has been 'bugging' you in real life," explains Lauri Loewenberg, a dream expert who works with celebrities, including Hoda Kotb and Kelly Pickler. "Spiders, in particular, often point to deceit, a web of lies, or a sense of feeling trapped, since the web is created to trap the spider's prey," she notes. Cool-cool-cool, a bit scary but helpful to know, nonetheless.
The context of what the spider is doing in your dream matters, too.
"Every detail in a dream has meaning and relevance," Loewenberg tells Cosmo. So killing a spider signifies a different emotion than if you're being bit by one in your dream. "Spiders all over your body can indicate there is something about your body that is bothering you," says Loewenberg.
Anderson points out that the size of the spider is meaningful, too. "If the spider is oversized, it's the dream's way of emphasizing the symbol, of emphasizing that this spider-like energy is really big in your life at the moment, whether you already know this or whether you've been trying to deny it," she says.
Understandably, dreams about spider webs are often associated with feeling trapped. "A spider web would represent something you need to free yourself of before it gets to the point where it will fully consume you—just as a spider traps its prey and eventually consumes it," warns Loewenberg.
Dreams about killing a spider could actually be a good thing.
According to Anderson, "anything you're killing in a dream reflects something you're 'killing' or putting an end to in waking life—or wishing to put an end to." Loewenberg echoes a similar analysis, saying, "It is connected to successfully putting an end to something in real life. So killing a spider can mean you have successfully exterminated a situation that had been bugging you or you put an end to a web of lies."
But again, if you have positive feelings about spiders, then dreaming of killing one is not a great sign. It's important to reflect on what spiders, or any character in your dreams, mean to you before you embark on an all-out analysis.
If you're having recurring dreams about spiders (or anything else), you probably need to confront something happening in your waking life.
"Dreams reflect your conscious and unconscious experiences of the last 1-2 days, and recurring dreams, because they are generally unresolved or worrying, reflect unresolved or worrying recurring waking life issues," Anderson says. She recommends taking some time to think about what usually happens in your waking hours before you have spider-infested dreams, in order to try to identify a pattern. "If these dreams are creeping you out, it's because your subconscious is trying to get your attention," agrees Loewenberg. "It is shining a light on a pesky issue you need to squash."
In other words, your sleeping self and your dreaming self have more in common than you might think, so if you want the spider dreams to stop, you need to identify what could be influencing you to have such a dream. Hopefully Ron made an appointment with an expert dream analyst after he was done fighting He Who Must Not Be Named—he needed it.
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