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Spiders in Myths and Folklore

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:28 pm June 29, 2017

We’ve been trying to figure out why those creepy, long-legged spiders since the day humans first walked this Earth. If you’ve studied any mythology or folklore, you have probably come across numerous stories featuring the creepy crawlers. Myths help us look at these often frightening creatures and think about them in a way that makes them less frightening, taking the creatures we fear and making them more familiar, like taking hold of the boogie man inside your closet and bringing him out into the light of day. These stories help us humans deal with our fear of the unfamiliar and strange and try to understand them better by talking about them as if they are also humans, and not quite so different from us as we think. Here are some myths and folklore featuring spiders from around the world.

There is a Greek legend about a woman named Arachne, who boasted that she was the best weaver in the world.  This doesn’t sit to well with on of the goddesses that monitor these people, as Athena thought her own weaver was superior to Arachne’s. She decides to go head to head against the skilled Arachne to settle the score, but Arachne ends up winning. Seeing that her weaving was indeed better than hers, Athena angrily destroyed the piece. Arachne hangs herself out of despair, but Athena ends up saving her by turning her into a spider and the rope she was hanging from into a spider web. This way Arachne could weave her beautiful tapestries forever.

Another well-known tale about spiders comes from West Africa. The spider, called Anansi, is portrayed as a trickster god, always causing trouble in order to fool other animals. Many stories of Anansi connect him to creation, usually of storytelling and wisdom. Tales of Anansi are still told in Africa today, and ended up spreading to Jamaica and the Caribbean by way of the slave trade. He is portrayed as a somewhat untrustworthy god, but one that is still well respected and revered by people.

Do you know any other myths or folktales featuring spiders? Where does your story originate from?