Hi, read this if you constantly dream about spiders

vintage photo of woman sleeping in bed with spider, lightning bolt, and speech bubble icons around her
QQ: What does it mean if you dream about spiders?Getty | John Francis

Let's just get this out of the way: As much as I'm upset to be writing this piece, I'm sure you're even more upset to be reading it at 2:47 a.m. in the dark with your phone light brighter than the gates of hell.

Okay, maybe I'm projecting a bit based on personal experience. You could very well be reading this in the middle of the day because you're just generally curious about both 1) your dreams and 2) spiders. But I'm willing to bet money you woke up in a cold sweat after dreaming you were wrapped up in Shelob's web staring at your Frodo Hobbit feet. (Might I recommend skipping that scene in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King from now on? )

Anyways, we all know how terrifying it is to see an eight-legged creature with multiple eyes and pincers (nope, they're not called "pinchers") IRL when you're just trying to take a freakin' shower! I'm sorry to say that on top of the actual encounters, they're known for popping up in many nightmares dreams.

But there is good news! Ish. Just because you're dreaming about spiders doesn't mean you have a Black Widow's nest in the corner of your closet. Those spider dreams could also be telling you that there's something big and important to deal with in your life. Woof.

At least you can breathe a sigh of relief that they're not gonna eat you. Now read on for a couple of experts' take on what it means to dream about spiders.

So your dreams don't always just mean one thing...

"There are no common meanings," Jane Teresa Anderson, 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?—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 them. "Bugs in dreams tend to symbolise something that has been 'bugging' you in real life," explains Lauri Loewenberg, a dream expert. "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.

Woman lying in bed covering her eyes
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But it's still super important to remember the context of your dreams...

Heads up, killing a spider signifies a different emotion than if you're being bitten by one in your dream. "Every detail in a dream has meaning and relevance," says Loewenberg. "Spiders all over your body can indicate there is something about your body that is bothering you."

Anderson points out that the size of the spider is meaningful, too. "If the spider is oversized, it's the dream's way of emphasising the symbol, of emphasising 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 spiderwebs are often associated with feeling trapped. Remember that Lord of the Rings dream scenario above? "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. Chill, casual stuff.

Especially if you dream about killing spiders...

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.

Woman sleeping
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And if spiders keep haunting your dreams, you probably have some stuff to work out...

"Dreams reflect your conscious and unconscious experiences of the last one-to-two days," says Anderson. "Recurring dreams, because they are generally unresolved or worrying, reflect unresolved or worrying recurring waking life issues." 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 – and if you want the spider dreams to stop, you need to identify what could be influencing you to have such a dream.

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