This week I’m looking at a dream with a symbol that is not archetypical. The dreamer is a plumber who spends a fair amount of time in crawl spaces under houses. In his dream he encounters a spider which he had to confront.
I have helped other dreamers with spider dreams, and it has never ceased to amaze me how varied their symbolic interpretations are. Their metaphoric associations range from total panic to a completely biological, relaxed acceptance. I even dealt with one dreamer who raised tarantulas, and she expressed genuine affection for spiders. Let’s find out what our plumber thinks about them. I asked him to tell me his dream in present tense.
The plumber’s spider dream
I’m at work, on a job. I’m in someone’s crawl space, getting ready to install some new pipes for this customer. I’m on my back because there isn’t even enough room for me to crawl. I’m doing my best to slide along under the floor joists. Because I’m on my back, I can’t see where I am going very well and have to keep twisting my shoulders and craning my neck. One time, when I do this, I look and can’t believe what I see. It’s an enormous spider—about the size of a large dog. At first I think my eyes must be playing tricks, so I blink and look again. But it’s there and it’s real. I am totally panicked, but I also realize that there is no way to escape it, and I must confront it somehow. I think about various aggressive moves I might make—hitting it, using my propane torch, even screaming at it—but there is really nothing I can do. I finally decide that the only course of action is to try and reason with it. As calmly and lovingly as I can, I assure it that I mean it no harm. I tell it that, if it will let me, I will retreat from what is clearly its domain. And finally, I assure it that I have the greatest respect for it. When I’m done talking, I’m surprised to see it change from a spider to a small, white stuffed bear—slightly dirty. That’s when I wake up.
My initial conversation with the dreamer
Even before dealing with a single symbol, this dream has offered some clues to the dreamer’s state of mind, including a prognosis of how he might intend to confront whatever conflict this dream expresses. I suggest to him that, had he stayed panicked in his dream, that might have indicated that he felt helpless in dealing with his conflict. Had he chosen an aggressive action to try to defeat his spider-adversary, that might have implied a fearful, uncontrolled response. But he chose calmness and reason, and the adversary morphed into something desirable and (usually) associated with nurturing. I offered the opinion that this could bode well for finding a constructive solution to his issue.
Stay tuned for more on Wednesday!
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