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When looking at spiders, various emotions are invoked including wonder, intrigue, and even fear. The webs they weave are intricate works of art that have given them the reputation of being mystical creatures. These tiny yet glorious creatures have several superstitions associated with them, both good and bad.
The spider and its web symbolize different things in different cultures, whether it is the concept of creation and growth that it’s web embodies or the association with the center of the universe.
Most superstitions and symbolism of spiders were associated with negative concepts. But were they also symbols of good luck?
Popular Spider Folklore
Superstitions about spiders are generally negative. Since the Middle Ages, spiders have been believed to be companions of evil witches and sorcerers. They have been described as harbingers of misfortune and even death.
Spiders had associations with witchcraft from ancient times. Some early superstitions about spiders state that if it fell into a lamp and got burned by the flame of the candle, witches were right around the corner. Spiders were used in various witch’s concoctions, poisons and medicines.
These little creatures were also associated with death. A black spider in the home also meant that there would soon be a death.
Spiders have also been mentioned in various cultures and their mythologies and folklores, including Egyptian, Asian, Roman, Greek, Indian and so on. In these contexts, they symbolized patience, industriousness, mischief, and malice.
Positive Spider Superstitions
However, not all superstitions about spiders are about misery and death. They were believed to bestow people with good fortune and abundance of wealth.
Ancient Romans wore spider amulets to be successful in business. If you killed a spider, you would cause bad luck.
Some early superstitions about spiders state that if you saw a spider, you would come into money. Whether it is found on the person’s clothes, their pockets or are just hanging around on their webs at home, a spider could bring good fortune.
But there are also practical reasons to want spiders around your home – and it wasn’t just about money. Because spiders can catch flies and other insects in their webs, they could keep diseases at bay.
This is reflected in an old rhyme, “If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive”.
Even in Christianity, you can find stories about the goodwill of spiders. They symbolize protection as it is said that a spider spun its web on the entrance of a cave to protect Jesus, Joseph, and Mary from Herod’s soldiers.
Good Luck Superstitions about Spiders
Spiders symbolize wealth, creativity, and happiness in many parts of the world. They are believed to bring good luck to those around them. If you see a spider dangling from its web, it is seen akin to joy and luck descending from heaven.
While a black spider symbolizes death, a white one that makes its dwelling above the bed is said to bring good luck. Spiders sighted at weddings too are believed to bring good luck and happiness into the lives of the newlyweds.
But not just that, spiders crawling into pockets will ensure money will never run out; seeing a spider working hard on weaving its web will also make the person’s hard work pay off with an increase in income. While even the sight of a spider just running across a wall is also a sign of good luck.
The most common spiders that bring financial luck are called ‘money spiders’. People believe that when these spiders are spotted, they must be carefully moved to a window with safety. If it survives the trip to the window, endless riches await the person and if not, they can look forward to financial losses.
Spiders of all shapes and sizes are considered good omens, except maybe the tarantula. The larger the spider, the more the luck that flowed and a house with a spider is considered a happy home.
Messages Conveyed by Spiders
People often look closely at what a spider does as they could be telling a very important message.
It is said that if a spider is seen quickly dangling down its web, the person is going on a trip shortly; while if it just directly dangles overhead, an important letter is about to arrive.
Another well-known superstition is that if a spider is seen in the afternoon, it is a sign that the person will soon receive a gift. Even dreams with spiders give out the prediction that the person will be prosperous in the future as long as it doesn’t bite.
Stepping on a spider is considered to be a sure-fire way to cause a downpour and a thunderstorm.
A spider browsing through a drawer or closet means that new clothes are on their way and best of all if it scampers down the wall, the dearest dream of the person will come true.
Spiders and Weather
There are many superstitions about spiders and weather. Some believe that what spiders do and what happens to spiders convey messages about impending weather.
For example, if you see the webs of grass spiders sprinkled with dew in the morning, you can anticipate a beautiful day with fine weather.
If a spider weaves its web before the afternoon, it means that the weather will be sunny.
When there are many spiders spinning their webs with their silken thread this means that there will be a dry spell.
If, however, you step on a spider, there will be a forecast of rain.
The presence of a spider foretells that there is an important event which is about to happen. When these eight-legged creatures are spotted it is best to transfer them to safety to another location. It is believed that if they die in the process, the good luck they grant will run out too.
Scotland’s King and the Spider
Another famous story about the spider is that of the King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce. When at war with England to reclaim his crown, he was at his wit’s end when his brother was executed and his wife, the queen was being held captive at their own castle. He was seeking shelter at a stable amongst the animals when he noticed a tiny spider weaving a web on the beam next to him.
The spider kept swinging itself in an attempt to reach the other beam but kept failing. This happened a total of six tries when Robert, having lost six battles against England himself, vowed that if the spider failed it’s seventh attempt, he would relinquish all hopes of winning too. But the little spider outdid itself, successfully bridging the gap between the beams.
Inspired to continue the fight, Robert de Bruce tried one more time, and finally reclaimed his throne after eight long years of fighting.
Spider Superstitions from Around the Globe
- Russians believe that new enemies are afoot if a spider has arrived at the dinner table. Any person who crushes the spider is then absolved of most of their sins.
- A spider in Turkey symbolizes the arrival of guests.
- In New Orleans, spiders symbolize joy when seen in the afternoon and hope if noticed in the evening.
- The Japanese consider seeing a spider first thing in the morning to be a good omen. Spiders have been known as connectors to the world beyond since ancient times in Japan, hence being associated with well-being. This myth may have arisen due to the spiders’ tendencies to weave webs during good weather. However, seeing the same spider at night not only attracts bad luck but also burglars into the house and when they make their webs in the dark, it is said to be the best time to kill them.
- In India, spider webs are not only considered dirty but also a bad omen. It is said that households with webs are disharmonious as it is akin to an abandoned place. It is a sign that ill fate may fall upon the members of the household.
Although feared, these eight-legged creatures are also believed to bring good luck and fortune to those lucky enough to spot them. These little cretins are associated mostly with financial success and good weather but stepping on one can cause bad luck.