Spider Symbolism

Symbolism of Spider in Literature

Spider as a symbolism in literature is mostly attributed to ancient wisdom rooted in Greek Mythology. Spiders are considered feminine power, femme fatale, and metamorphosis based on one of the famous stories of Arachne, a weaver who had challenged Goddess Athena. Spiders are also a symbol of creativity, illusion, and a source of art and literature since ancient times. A spider web has positive and negative symbolism. For example, a person weaving a web of lies means he or she is accused of deception or conspiring. Spider, also spelled as spyder in Medieval English, was derived from the Old English word spiðra, the Proto-Germanic word spinnaną or spin-thron, and the Danish word spinder which means spinner.


Despite its size, the spider is a power full creature that symbolizes creativity, self-dependency, patience, and skillfulness. In Native American culture, spiders symbolize creativity and the ability to weave the threads of life. In Hindu tradition, spiders are associated with the goddess Kali and are symbols of creativity with the power to design worlds and destroy. In Celtic culture, a spider is associated with the goddess Brigid, who is known for her creativity and inspiration.


The Osage Indian American tribe people consider the spiders a symbol of patience and endurance. In pop culture, white spiders represent the patience and value of life. According to Ancient Roman mythology, a spider symbolizes patience and diligence. The spider is considered a symbol of patience in Christianity because the spider has web weaving ability to represent Christ’s promise to offer protection. As per Islam, a spider symbolizes patience and perseverance. In Hinduism and Buddhism, the spider is a symbol of patience and cunningness, as it patiently weaves its webs and traps its prey within them.


The yellow spider is a symbol of good luck. In Europe, spiders symbolize good luck and fortune. In Buddhism, spiders are considered messengers from the gods and are believed to bring good luck. In Africa, spiders are known as a carrier of spiritual power and bad luck. Also, killing the spider brings bad luck. Seeing a Spider run across the wall symbolizes good luck. Giving spider webs as a gift to a friend or loved one symbolizes good luck in Japan. In Thailand, spider webs represent good luck. Orange Spider symbolizes bad luck. According to Chinese culture, the spider is considered as good luck, and its roaming in the home represents the brings good luck. In Europe culture during the middle ages, it was believed spiders were a symbol of bad luck, and it was associated with witchcraft.


Dreaming of giant black spiders symbolizes the messenger from the spirit world. According to Christianity, the spider also represents weakness and fragility. Killing a spider in a dream symbolizes courage, and the dreamer is ready to accept challenges. The black spider in dreams represents evil forces. Also, dreaming of white spiders is a symbol of good health, prosperity, and happiness.


In Egyptian mythology goddess of Neith is associated with a spider and symbolizes hunting power. According to ancient Chinese mythology, the spider symbolizes happiness and good luck. In Native American mythology, Spider is also a trickster to represent power. In Greek mythology, the spider is known as Arachneidae, and it represents knowledge and luck.


In Europe, the spider is a symbol of rebirth and resurrection. In Celtic Culture, black spiders symbolize death as well as rebirth.


In Greek tradition, spiders are associated with the goddess Athena, who is known for her wisdom and skill in weaving. In Celtic culture, the spider represents a symbol of wisdom. In African culture, a spider symbolizes wisdom and luck. In North American indigenous cultures believe the spiders are creators, helpers, and wisdom keepers. As per the Celtic culture spider is a symbol of wisdom, creativity, and inspiration. In Greek Tradition, spiders are associated with the Goddess Athena and symbolize wisdom. The purple spider symbolizes powerful ambition, luxury, and wisdom.

Examples of Spider as Symbolism in Literature

Example #1

Spider By Stanley Vestal

The tender naked spider with his rope,
The cowboy of the grass, who rides the wind;
Creator, weaving from his silent womb
A world to live in and a trap to tame
Those savage, brutal, iron-clad, venomous stings-
Air-raiders, hawks, winged, thirsting for his blood.
True poet, pioneer, soft brain among the brutes,
Who with a wisp, a dream, an intimate hope,
Meets and enslaves and feasts upon the world!

In this poem, the spider is a symbol of creativity, cunningness, and freedom.

Example #2

The Spider By Richard Eberhart

The spider expects the cold of winter.
When the shadows fall in long Autumn
He congeals in a nest of paper, prepares
The least and minimal existence,
Obedient to nature. No other course
In his; no other availed him when
In high summer he spun and furled
The gaudy catches. I am that spider,
Caught in nature, summer and winter.
You are the symbol of the seasons too.

In this poem, the spide is a symbol of survival, adjusting, and transformation.

Example #3

The Spider Who Lives by Thinking By H. R. Kent

Happiest of all is the spider.
The spider sleepwalks his life
one day.
He dances out each thought,
Leaving it in place.
When he awakes
he recalls only
aches in his joints;
sleep’s promise always kept,
new events to feed on.
He picks up his life where he remembers it
and follows his hunger to its logical conclusion.

In this example, the poet is describing the spider with a carefree life. Here the spider is a symbol of joy, trust, and survival.

Example #4

House of Fact, House of Ruin By Tom Sleigh

Look at the spider with the enormous body and tiny head,
a spider of no color: today, when I kneel
down to look at it more closely, its many arms nailed
to a many-armed cross are a prayer in a code that only God,
who’s forgotten it, can decipher. And its eyes
invisible to my eyes, which guided it like a pilot
through the wilderness of space,
no longer steer its legs across the intricate,
almost-not-thereness of its web. Each thread
it spins with the finality of fate divides its head
from its body. And the poor thing,
even with so many legs, doesn’t know which way to run.
Just look at its abdomen, huge as the stone blocking
what’s-his-name’s tomb, that the head’s condemned to drag around.

In this example, the poet is mesmerized by the spider and its anatomy. Here the spider is a symbol of bravery, survival, and beauty.

Example #5

Coraline By Neil Gaiman

“But how can you walk away from something and still come back to it?”
“Easy,” said the cat. “Think of somebody walking around the world. You start out walking away from something and end up coming back to it.”
“Small world,” said Coraline.
“It’s big enough for her,” said the cat. “Spider’s webs only have to be large enough to catch flies.”

In this example, the spider symbolizes greed and cunningness.

Example #6

Daily Drive 365 By Israelmore Ayivor

Everything that the spider needs to make a spider-web is not found in the housefly… it’s right there in the spider! Whatever you need to make impacts is in you! Discover yourself and make a difference!

Here the spider is a symbol of inner strength, hard work, and resilience.

Example #7

In a Sunburned Country By Bill Bryson

No one knows, incidentally, why Australia’s spiders are so extravagantly toxic; capturing small insects and injecting them with enough poison to drop a horse would appear to be the most literal case of overkill. Still, it does mean that everyone gives them lots of space.

In this example, the spiders are the symbol of danger and dominance.

Example #8

What Elephants Know By Eric Dinerstein

If the shrike did not eat the grasshoppers, then the grasshoppers would eat all the grass, and there would be none left for the deer…and the deer are food for the tiger. Life in the jungle is a giant spiderweb; if you touch one strand, it will vibrate at the other end. We cannot separate nature into good and bad, Rita. The gods do not will it so.

In this example, the author is comparing the life cycle and the food chain to the spider web. Here the spider is a symbol of the wheel of life.