Monday, July 11, 2016

Again, the spider!

In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, by Sigmund Freud and ‎James Strachey (1923, 2014), Freud writes:
According to Abraham (1922) a spider in dreams is a symbol of the mother, but of the phallic mother, of whom we are afraid; so that the fear of spiders expresses dread of mother-incest and horror of the female genitals.
The "Abraham" here refers to Karl Abraham, who published a 1922 paper, "The Spider as a Dream Symbol," in which he expresses the view that Freud ascribes to him.

I'm not one to take Freudian symbolism as all that persuasive, but I would expect that identifying a spider as a symbol of female genitalia, if valid, would tend to show up in such psychological systems of symbolism, and we have just that here.



At 5:27 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

But what's a "phallic mother"?

At 5:32 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Es ist ein Unding!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might want to take a hard look at the spider the protagonist kills with the large needle in The Incredible Shrinking Man. The spider's mouth is very suggestive of female genitalia. The needle, too, is a very thick shaft.

Adults Only

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'm almost afraid to look, but thanks!

Jeffery Hodges

@ @ @

At 10:13 AM, Blogger N.E. Brigand said...

I'm not sure if this bears on your inquiry or not, but J.R.R. Tolkien, describing his spider-monster Shelob, said in a 1960s interview, "The female monster is certainly no deadlier than the male, but she is different. She is a sucking, strangling, trapping creature." This was the subject of some discussion a few months ago here of "The Choices of Master Samwise", a chapter in his The Lord of the Rings.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks. I'll look into this.

Jeffery Hodges

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