It might be counter-intuitive to learn that there are positive connotations associated with creepy-crawlies in feng shui.
But that is exactly what the spider is – a good omen.
This is despite the 8-legged bug being portrayed consistently as a force of evil in both Eastern and Western entertainment productions.
A couple of good examples are the humongous spiders seen in Lord of the Rings and IT.
Whatever the case, in ancient China, spiders are considered as auspicious creatures.
However, when we talk about the sight of one being a good omen, it is always about spiders and their webs.
This is because the positive association comes from having a spider lowering itself down from a high position from a string of sticky web.
This event is said to be “good luck descending from heaven” or simply as “happiness falling from the sky above”.
This is a wordplay with the word spider in Mandarin.
Let me explain.
Although in modern times, we call the spider Zhi Zhu (蜘蛛), it was also called Xi Zi (喜子) or more affectionately as the HAPPY spider in the old days. Xi is a homonym of Xi (喜) which means good fortune. So the common phrase of Xi Zi Tian Lai (喜子天来) refers to a spider coming down from above, which means the arrival of good news or a happy event.
Spiders in Chinese culture
Spiders can often be found on artwork especially embroideries. It’s just that they are small and often escape the observation of the moving eye.
When a spider is dangling from a thread accompanied by bats below, it is a symbol that represents longevity.
This is hardly surprising as the red bat is associated with the same meanings as the spider.
Red spider have also been discovered as ancient ornaments unearthed by archeologists. This is meant to reinforce the auspicious representations of the bug as the word for red is 红, which sound the same as the word 洪 which means big and vast.
There are also artwork that depicts the 3-legged frog looking at a spider hanging from a web above. This undoubtedly has wealth luck connotations.
Besides the beliefs around spiders listed above, there is also a strong relation with the return of a son or a visit from a welcomed guest.
There’s a story behind this.
It was said that an unnamed woman who lived alone in an old house, sewing dresses to get by a day at a time. What she really longed for was the return of her son who had traveled vast distances for work. One day when she was deep in thought of her son’s face, a spider lowered itself and dangles in front of her. She found this occurrence puzzling as she had always kept the house clean. She took it as a good omen and a sign from the heavens that the day she had always been dreaming of is arriving. And alas, the filial son returned home the next day.
If you can somehow make out your initials on a spider web, it is said to be extremely good luck with good fortune coming your way for a long time.
Spiders in feng shui
There is no placement of spiders in feng shui… although some mavericks might insist otherwise…
They are mostly symbolic and can be found in clothing, artwork, and even on designs that porcelain ware showcase.
Spiders are seen as a good omen indicating the impending arrival of good luck or a celebratory event.
As such, do restrain yourself from flattening them the moment you see one.
Don’t do that to the messenger.