Eight legs which remind us of infinity and a constancy and creativity which would make a positive addition to our daily lives. There is so much more to the spider than meets the eye!

Spiders (scientific name: Araneae) belong to the vast family of Arachnids and there are over forty thousand different species, the largest of which, the tarantula, can reach twenty-five centimetres in length.

Dumitru Todirica, Mirel Tattoo Art Gallery, Mannheim, Germany
Dumitru Todirica, Mirel Tattoo Art Gallery, Mannheim, Germany

Symbolically speaking, the spider is the most ambiguous creature of all. For some cultures it represents good while others see it as both negative and evil. Just like the bat or black cat, there are amulets of it reputed to be able to summon the powers of darkness, whereas other peoples consider it the perfect emblem of hard work and creativity thanks to that for which it is famous: the spider web. A metaphor in its own right for life and the interweaving of events caused by fate.

The ancient Romans belonged to the first category and had a number of spider talismans to bring them good fortune and prosperity. Christianity, from this point of view, has much in common with the beliefs of the Romans, seeing the web as a symbol of evil which would ensnare the most fragile and stupid men.

Neil Dransfield, Heartache And Heartbreak Tattooing, Leeds, UK
Neil Dransfield, Heartache And Heartbreak Tattooing, Leeds, UK

In the United States this idea has survived to this day (spider = trickster) and yet in South America there are a number of tribes which take the completely opposite view and worship the spider as supreme creator of the universe.

Ancient Greeks and Egyptians held the spider in high esteem and saw the spider’s web as a “symbol of the complexity of the fate of each and every one of us” while in India, the creature is the exact centre of the universe and with the help of its web able to weave a sort of cosmic order.

Steve Wood, Sacred Tattoo NZ, Auckland, New Zealand
Steve Wood, Sacred Tattoo NZ, Auckland, New Zealand

Anyone who gets a spider tattoo should be aware that life is a matter of purely personal responsibility. Events are not caused by the laws of chance or fate but by what we ourselves decide. We who with the great spider web of our minds will always somehow manage to govern the chaos that surrounds us.

Spiders also symbolise creativity, therefore those who simply can’t stand daily routine yet manage to bring conflicting character traits into a harmonious whole thanks to the perseverance with which they weave their own personal web.

Matthew Gordon, There And Back Again, Bordeaux, France
Matthew Gordon, There And Back Again, Bordeaux, France

And apart from being the fruit of an ingenious design, spider webs also stand for the functionality of dwellings, pantries filled with food and incubators of eggs. They basically symbolise a new way of spurring us on to get to work on what is not working in our lives and build what we actually want for our wellbeing.

Finally, spiders stand for the concept of infinity which is associated with the number eight. After all they have eight eyes and eight legs and the number eight, if you turn it on its side, is the symbol of infinity, since its shape, just like the life of the spider, reminds us of a continuous cycle, the flow of time and never ceasing evolution.

Now enjoy our photo gallery dedicated to a selection of strictly eight-legged tattoos!

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