Q: I went to bed with my newly pregnant wife. I was lying with her as I felt something on my right shoulder. When I turn on my phone light I noticed it was a daddy longleg and try killing it. As I freak out thinking of what else may be in bed, I decide to check under where I was lying and notice three other spiders. One was a wolf spider and two were unknown with multiple humps resembling eggs on each back. They were black and gray, large and extremely creepy (unlike a daddy longleg). . . We got out of bed and hit the lights. I shook myself down and brushed my body off and had her help. I then took off my clothes, which I notice still had random insects on them. I went back to the bed and saw that the side I was sleeping on was full of insects coming from the ground to the blanket and into bed. There were 4 large centipedes that crawled into the bed.
The sheet I was laying on in my dream is the wool blanket we use at the fire station where I work. It’s one I always refuse to use as I think its disgusting because people always sleep with it and never wash it.
Where my wife lay, there were no insects of any kind and she had nothing on her when we got out of bed. She stated in my dream that whoever we got the bed from was the issue. I argued saying it’s not the bed but another source of course, and that we needed to have it dealt with and to call an exterminator.
A: Thank you for sharing this dream, and congratulations on your coming baby! You shared this dream with me after finding the interpretation I did of a Spiders-In-Bed dream two years ago. As this is a very common dream, I’m glad to explore the images more deeply here. You will know from my first interpretation that spiders are very often referencing the Mother Complex in dreams. When they show up in dreams related to beds, I pay particular attention because it suggests that your mother is — symbolically speaking — in bed with you. In this case, I would venture that your relationship to your mother is somehow (probably unpleasantly) infecting your relationship with your wife. Having said all that, however, you also note specifically the Daddy Longleg several times, suggesting that your father is also involved here. The first questions you might reflect deeply on (not with your knee-jerk feelings): How are your relationships with your parents influencing you now and on the dawn of becoming a father, how are you feeling? What are your fears?
Your first instinct when you see the Daddy Longleg in the dream is to kill it. This is a red flag to me in regards to how you are living your conscious life, and something I would encourage you to explore. Everyone knows that Daddy Longlegs are harmless spiders. Why do you want to kill it? As a general rule, one’s reaction to other living things in dreams is very telling of one’s conscious relationship to lesser conscious aspects of themselves. Again, I’m curious: are you attempting to deny your feelings related to your father or your feelings related to becoming a father yourself?
When I explored a little more about the Daddy Longleg, I discovered that they are the only spider with a penis, mating directly through penetration (arachnologists, please correct me here if needed!). Again, this specific image points us to questions of procreation. Then, shortly following the Daddy Longleg’s appearance in the dream, other spiders appear — a highly dangerous Wolf Spider for one — and you see humps resembling eggs. Eggs: another image highly suggestive of procreation and new beginnings. Three spiders with eggs on their backs, one spider with a penis. 3+1 = 4, 3 feminine spiders plus 1 masculine spider… very curious, archetypal symbolism here, as the feminine and masculine are interwoven… 3 tends to be a number indicative of the masculine while 4 is a number suggesting feminine wholeness. (Typically, the 3+1 arrangement is the opposite combination; think of the Trinity + the Holy Mother, for instance.) Perhaps this is more complex archetypal symbolism for another time…
As a symbol, the Bed in dreams very often points to the “marriage bed”, a phrase suggesting the very beginnings of a union. Similarly, you can note that a synonym for “Bed” is “Foundation.” The bed is the foundation of the relationship much like a flower bed, the place from which plants and weeds alike can grow. This image is reflected in the way in which you see the insects coming up from the ground. So, in addition to questions of fatherhood, this dream seems to really be directing your attention to the foundation of your marriage. From the way this dream unfolds, I would say you are unconsciously bringing some stuff into your marriage that you need to take a hard look at. The mess in the bed is on your side.
To bring this into very practical language, I would say the following: you are clearly chewing deeply on what it means to be a father right now, consciously or unconsciously. I would venture a guess too that you’ve been moody and overwhelmed. Again, the fact that your side of the bed is covered in insects and that your wife’s side is clean seems to be telling you to be honest about your side of things. Your side is dirty, that’s undeniable. This makes me wonder if you’ve been blaming your wife for things lately, maybe that you two have been fighting a bit, and through your dream, your unconscious is correcting your conscious belief about who’s right and wrong in the marriage. Notice the way you disagree with your wife in the dream: she states, “whoever we got the bed from was the issue.” She’s pointing here to the root of the problem and perhaps is suggesting that your parental influences are infecting your marriage. Again, look at the image of the marriage bed here. Symbolically, your bed, your foundation, came from your parents. You can’t just call an exterminator to kill the problem. Just like killing the Daddy Longleg didn’t make the spiders go away, calling the exterminator to deal with the bed is just pure denial. It’s not going to work. In the dream world, death is just a precursor for resurrection.
You state it clearly, your wife is helping you clean up. Take a good look at that image. I imagine her supporting you to sort through your past and your fears and your feelings. In the process, you’ve been removing clothing, an image suggesting the removal of false layers, of the personas in which we all walk around the world. Good for you. This is a strong symbol in many fairy tales, and shows up in dreams regularly as well. True transformation often comes with the removal of skins or clothes. Accept her help.
Finally, I’ll offer that your association to the wool blanket from work makes me wonder if you’re not bringing work home with you, in particular, other people’s stresses. You’re disgusted by this blanket and yet in the dream it is part of the foundation on which you are sleeping with your wife. How much of your work life is infecting your relationship with your wife?
There is a lot here for you to face, dear Dreamer. You can make a choice, gently but directly look at these issues I raise and whatever else occurs to you while you explore this dream further. Or… try to just kill it, call the exterminator, argue about the roots of things, and live in denial. I would suggest that these insects, your moods and frustrations, your upset words will continue to infest your life and marriage if you don’t deal with the foundation of things. But, as always, the choice is up to you.
Have you had a dream like this? Leave a comment and share!
Satya is a psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and work with individuals in their 20s and 30s. www.QuarterLifeCounselor.com
Q: I’m in England and I’m walking through an old industrial area full of brick buildings. It’s early in the morning and I’m holding a number of shopping bags full of new clothes. I walk into a warehouse and find a large number of people sitting around drinking wine, as if from medieval times. They’re about to have a feast and I see that the main course is a great white shark. There’s a huge shark hanging from the ceiling, it’s still kind of alive, and gory. On the table, there are different kinds of cooked shark meat and people are piling it onto their plate. In another part of the room, there’s a cauldron of shark meat, bubbling.
A: Whoa! Girl! This is quite the archetypal dream! There is a profoundly timeless quality to this dream that beautifully presents the myth-making, storytelling, artistic quality of psyche. You can’t make this kind of imagery up, and it could seemingly be drawn from the dreamworld at any point in history.
Last week, I discussed the motif of being stung or bitten by an animal in a dream, and I almost commented in contrast on another major animal motif that your dream so starkly presents: that is, when an individual is eating a wild animal not typically found at the table (bear meat is a common version). The cooking and ingesting of a wild animal suggests a very engaged attempt to wrestle with something in your personality and in your history (as represented by the medieval nature of this dream). A feast is taking place in your inner world. Something from the depths has been brought to consciousness and is being taken in, consumed, digested, and deeply integrated. It is a time of celebration.
So why is it this particular animal that is so powerfully represented in this dream? The shark swims deep in the cold ocean waters, representing something found deep within our unconscious (perhaps from things stored away in childhood or from difficult events). Many things swim in the ocean, however, and certainly do not represent the same things. Were a dolphin to appear in a dream, for instance, the emotional resonance might be more joyful: one might ask what playful, kind energy in you has been buried out of reach? But the Great White shark is a powerful, fierce animal that many fear. Its nature as the King of the ocean might represent a father complex, whereas the whale commonly represents something in the unconscious to do with the mother. It could also represent emotions once buried deep from events in your life in which you felt in danger or threatened, feelings stuffed away because they couldn’t be consciously expressed at the time.
Is it anger? Fury? Fear? Power? This part of you and your past has come up from the depths, into consciousness. It is now on land, in a human environment, and is being cooked and feasted upon. The beautiful alchemical symbol of the cauldron in your dream reiterates this theme of integration. The act of cooking is preparation for digestion: things that were once separate are broken down, boiled together, mixed with water, cooked by fire, and prepared for full integration into our bodies.
Not surprisingly, you reported to me that you had a dream a few months back in which a shark was chasing you and you were terrified. This is how we see personal evolution represented in the dream world. Your relationship to this shark energy in your life has changed radically. Now, you’re ingesting its power and its fierce strength. You are no longer separate from the power that the shark represents, nor subject any longer to its terrorizing in your daily life. The girl from your past has stepped into a timeless archetypal realm and has been welcomed to a banquet. And how symbolic that she’s carrying new clothes! The way you present yourself to the world and they way you’re seen by others is changing as a result of this integration. Revel – like those at the banquet – in this transformation at hand.
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Satya is a psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and work with individuals in their late teens, 20s, and 30s. For more information about therapy services in Portland, visit: www.QuarterLifeCounselor.com