The first tarantula stared at me from the ground and pounced with the utmost strength upon my right arm. I’m paralyzed; my muscles tight with my jaw clenched. Don’t move, don’t breathe, don’t think. A second, a third, a fourth, bound and latch onto my legs, my shoulders, my hips. A tight shrill rises in my throat, but the sound wont come out through my pressed teeth. I’m screaming in my head, my lips stretched and my neck taut, covered in bulging veins. I can’t breathe. Redness travels the course of my cheeks into my blood shot eyes, and then, I feel it. The fangs. I’ve been bitten. I’m done for, I’m dyi–
And I wake up, tangled in sheets, literally covered in sweat from head to toe. Holy fudgeee, this morning was NOT the nicest way to wake up to my alarm, and NO I did not make this dream up. Needless to say, my google search of “spiders in dreams” led me to my next mythological story; Arachne the Weaver.
Arachnid’s have been used in multiple forms of books and movies since one can recall. Some of the most famous examples being Harry Potter’s Aragog, The Lord of the Rings, Shelob, The Silmarillion’s, Ungoliant, Alice and the Looking Glass, The Gnat, and of course Charlotte’s Web. Other authors, such as George R.R. Martin and Dante Alighieri, as well as artists like Gustave Dore (art displayed above) and Salvadore Dali, have all used a form of the arachnid to propel their work.
So, where does the influence come from? Where did these liberal artists get their inspiration? None other than the Greek myth, Arachne the Weaver. Apart from the ROMAN story of Arachne, expanded upon in Ovid’s Metamorphosis, the Greek tale is extremely similar in essence (besides the usage of their names, which are always confusing AF). Let’s review the myth in warp speed:
Arachne is the name of a young, HUMAN woman, who is extremely talented in the art of spinning and weaving tapestries. She studied beneath the goddess Athena, to learn her trade, and man was she good at it. Word had spread across the land that Arachne was a badass weaver and Athena became jealous of this fact. So, she decided to challenge Arachne to a weave-off.
Now, Archne had let a lot of this attention go to her head, so she demonstrated her ‘15 seconds of fame‘ by creating a tapestry that resembled the God’s mistreatment of humans [like when Zeus pretended to be a swan and raped Leda, smh]. Within moments of Athena viewing Arachne’s tapestry, she grew FURIOUS, not because Arachne’s work was flawless but because it was strident and embarrassing. Athena destroyed Arachne’s work and bitched her out SO bad, that Arachne took it upon herself to hang from a tree to die. Needless to say, Athena realized that Arachne’s talents could not be lost and decides to bring her back to life in the form of a spider, so that she can spend the rest of her days weaving beautiful webs.
And this my friends, is where we get the Greek term, “Arachnid” which stems from the name “Arachne” meaning Spider.
Does anyone else find it ironic that Arachne hangs herself..? Just like a spider that hangs from a web? *sigh*
The Gods are filled with hubris.
Now, other than my short scaled version of the Myth of Arachne, id like to share a interesting snippet of my google search related to my horrendous dream this morning. I googled it on the way to work. Made me reflect… and also pray I never dream of spiders AGAIN. Now, enjoy, and also, tell me about one of your own terrible dreams. I’d love to hear them in the comment section below.