Why Do Spiders Creep Us Out?

I know it’s not Halloween, but it’s really this time of year when we start to see lots of spiders, isn’t it? The weather has warmed up. It’s time. 

I’m not really an arachnophobe, but I used to be. And even now, I have to admit that spiders do not make me comfortable, although I appreciate all that they do (which is a lot, by the way). Although many people think of them as bugs, the truth is that spiders are out there on the front lines between us and true insects. That venom that many have is not meant for us, and we are far more frightening to them than they are to us. We know all that, if we’re at all rational, and we might even know that spiders in houses are thought to bring good luck, but still…

Why do spiders creep us out so much? In my opinion this is a great example of a perfect question to ask tarot. It’s open-ended enough to give the cards quite a bit of flexibility in responding. So I asked the Yoga Tarot, and drew the Six of Wands, reversed Emperor, and reversed Fool. 

In the Yoga Tarot, the Fool is associated with the keywords freedom and madness, while the Six of Wands has to do with freedom also, but connects it with communication and the ego. Is anyone else thinking of the story of Arachne yet? In the center of this spread, we have the Emperor, representing order and balance. 

To me, this is a fairly clear answer — the kind of surprisingly clear answer that often comes out when we ask a why or how question. We can’t easily relate to what spiders do. Yes, we can relate to spinning and weaving. But we can’t really relate to a spider’s way of life. Or, maybe we can relate all too easily, and that fact scares us. 

When we look at other animals, cute ones, like kittens and baby pandas, we relate in a comfortable way. We can travel out of our own minds in order to imaginatively enter the world of some other cuddly mammal, and still make it back again. But when we think of spiders, it’s perilously hard to fathom how we can relate to what goes on the arachnid brain and still ever be able to make it back home to our own bodies and our own ways of life. 

We’re not afraid of spiders because they are creepy. We are afraid because they are so different and we are afraid of getting stuck in that difference. 

Yet we have to try, because the world is full of difference. There are as many different beings in the world as there are numbers, and the vast majority are probably not that much like us. If there are any rules of nature that we really know we can count on, I think those rules would be things like impermanence, beginninglessness/endlessness (in other words, infinity), and diversity. 

And what if spiderwebs are precisely the bridge we need to help us connect to what is different and come back again to ourselves? What if these tiny beings that we are afraid will destroy our minds are actually the protectors of our sanity? 

Strategies for Spider-Friendly Living:

If you see a spider,

1. Bless it.

2. Thank it. 

3. Stay out of its way; it has stuff to do.

That is all. 


  1. Their movement is so alien, you’re right. And they’re so formidable. I was in the kitchen, saw two long legs sticking out from under the washing machine. It was a wolf spider. I went closer with a broom, expecting she’d retreat. Nah. I pushed it closer, very gently. She pounced on the broom, ran all over it looking for prey, satisfied herself and jumped off and ran back under the washing machine. Mighty beast. I was glad she wasn’t my size.


    1. Wow. I have never seen a wolf spider, I don’t think (Googled them just now). They do look fairly formidable!


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