The arachnid is always a daunting image and is the cause of extreme phobia for many people worldwide because of its poisonous capabilities as well as its multiple legs and eyes. Spiders are a distinct symbol of the wilderness of the jungle and have made prey for both humans and animals.
They have been made an icon of the creepy, scary and for many, disgusting creatures of the world and are often used to emphasize the darkness of the occult and the unpleasant.
In contrast to their deadly label, others view the spider as an elegant creature, the creator of beautiful and intricately designed webs. Regardless, the spider is generally a frightening image of death and danger for many cultures around the world because of their potentially toxic venom.
This leads us to the question, why would someone want to get a spider tattoo? We plan on addressing that. There is a great deal of symbolism attached to the image of a spider. Both negative and positive connotations are attached to the image of the spider. Most will assume this is a biker gang tattoo or someone who is an evil person. This isn’t always the case.
In this post, we will give you some facts about the spider, so you know about this fascinating creature. Next, we will address the symbolism behind the image and what the spider tattoo means to the people who have it. Then we will get into some different spider tattoo variations and talk about what each one symbolizes. By the end of this post, we hope you have a better idea of what the spider tattoo means and maybe you will think about getting the tattoo.
Most of you have seen a spider and if you look closely, you’ll notice that they have two parts to their body which include the cephalothorax and an abdomen. From little jumping spiders to big tarantulas, spiders all share this common trait. The cephalothorax is where you’ll find the legs, eyes, palps, fangs and legs. Connect at the “waist” is the abdomen which holds the spinnerets. This is the part responsible for spinning webs.
Another fascinating (and terrifying) fact about spiders is with the exception of one spider family, all of them are venomous. Venom is used in defense and mostly to subdue their prey. The glands for their venom are right by the fangs. The fangs are the tools the spider uses to inject its victim with venom. Most venom is used to paralyze their prey. The family of spiders that doesn’t have venom is called Uloboridae.
Spiders all hunt and capture prey. This makes them predators and all spiders fall into this category. Most spiders eat other insects and invertebrates but some of the bigger spiders are known to prey on larger vertebrates like birds.
Once they catch their prey, there is a process that has to take place before they can eat them. Since spiders can’t digest solid foods, they have to turn their meal into a liquid form. The spider does this by exuding digestive enzymes onto its prey. Once this enzyme breaks the prey down into a liquid form, the spider can then consume it.
One more fun fact is that all spiders can produce silk but not all of them spin webs. The silk a spider produces is used for much more than just spinning webs. They use them to aid them in shelter, capture prey and protect offspring to name a few. However, many spiders live in areas where they don’t need to spin a web.
The spider is a ubiquitous figure in many religious and non-religious mythology around the world. In Greek mythology and also found in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Arachne is a mythological creature of half-woman and half-spider. She was transformed into this monster by Athena in order to chastise her arrogance.
In both West Africa and the Caribbean, the spider is closely associated with Anansi, a trickster figure that is both wise and conniving, appearing as both a man and a spider, sometimes either and sometimes as a blend of both. In Native American Hopi and Navajo creation mythology, a spider, often Grandmother Spider, is told to have woven an intricate web and created the world by connecting many webs together.
Contrarily, the spider tattoo in the West has become a way to communicate that the wearer has been in prison when the tattoo is correctly placed. Convicts will sometimes get the spider tattoo on themselves because it represents that they have been caught in a web, the prison system. These images most often appear as a silhouette, completely filled in black, on various parts of the body including the face. Criminal tattoos, as they are known, often appear on the face, underneath the eye, symbolizing a devotion or affiliation with criminal activity and past criminal acts.
Much more than a criminal symbol, many people choose to tattoo a spider image on themselves to create a sense of ominousness. Additionally, the spider automatically conveys a sign of caution, unpredictability and uncontrollable wildness.
Spider Tattoo Variations
There are different styles and variations of the spider tattoo that might look cool or have slightly different meanings than others. Below are some of the spider tattoo variations that we have seen over time.
Black Widow Tattoo
The black widow spider tattoo is generally a sign of strong women. The reason you will see women with this tattoo is because it is a sign of female empowerment. The female black widow is known to eat the male black widow after mating. This is symbolic of a woman not needing a man in their life and they are strong without the presence of a man around.
The tarantula tattoo can be a darker symbol when tattooed on the body. It is probably the most terrifying of all the species of spider, so you can imagine it wouldn’t have a very happy connotation. It is said that if a tarantula shows up in your dream it might mean you are in bad health, represent a dark side of your personality or mean disappointment.
Spider and Skull Tattoo
The spider and skull tattoo seem to go hand in hand when trying to convey a dark theme. As we stated above, the spider is often associated with death and dying so when paired with the skull, it reinforces the theme. Many are fans of horror movies and the darker sides of life. It doesn’t make them bad people but they’re just into it.
3D Spider Tattoo
The 3D spider isn’t a specific spider in itself, but it is a tattoo that makes it look like the spider is crawling on your skin. This tattoo might represent something personal to the person wearing it, but the main goal of this image is to give the viewer a creepy feeling. Again, this tattoo represents the darker side of life.
Spider on Neck Tattoo
In addition to being a prison tattoo and representing being captured and imprisoned, the spider on the neck tattoo might also represent the hard times you are dealing with. It might feel like you are stuck in place or caught by the spider or in its web. It’s up to you to get out of it.
We named a few examples but there are many more ways to have this tattoo inked on your body. The key is to make sure you know what you want it to mean. You don’t want to regret this tattoo later so make sure you are ready for it. In addition, you need to find an artist who can complete your idea in the way you want it done. Have a sit down with the prospective artist and make sure you’re comfortable with them. If you need help finding and artist, let us know because we can help.