When you see a praying mantis it can mean many things and how you interpret it can depend on your culture and your belief system.
Christians believe that a praying mantis is a symbol of piety and if you have one in your home it means angels are watching over you.
Muslims believe that the praying mantis is always turned towards Mecca and the Japanese believer that it can be a forewarning of death.
So it means different things to different people, let’s take a look at some other symbolic meanings of seeing a praying mantis.
Seeing A Praying Mantis
The most common meaning for seeing a praying mantis is one of luck. This little creature is thought by many to be a portent and bearer of good fortune.
The type of luck is not immediately obvious, but it could be an increase in money or better health or good news.
If you see a praying mantis it should remind you of the benefits and attributes of patience and stillness.
Patience is a virtue that not many people have, but it is found in abundance in nature and no more so than in the extremely patient praying mantis.
She will stay still for hour after hour patiently waiting for her prey to pass by.
She doesn’t go out frantically and hurriedly looking for food, she knows that the world will provide what she needs, and she just needs to be patient and wait for the right moment.
Being focused on your desired outcome and not being tempted to try and hurry things along will pay off in the long run. Remain still and patient and what you want will come to you, you don’t need to rush around trying to pin down what you need.
Just like the praying mantis your patience and stillness will be rewarded without the need for outward agitation or stress.
Finding A Praying Mantis
You may find a praying mantis in your home, in your yard or when out on a hike. They can be quite hard to spot as they are designed to be camouflaged against their environment. So if you do find one it is definitely lucky for you.
Of course in some places and cultures finding a praying mantis is not considered lucky, quite the opposite. If you are from Italy and you find one you might be worried.
In Italian culture if a praying mantis looks at you, it means you are going to get sick.
In Japan, finding a praying mantis could be a warning that you are about to die.
The bushmen in the Kalahari Desert believe that this insect is an incarnation of God and on finding one will try to decipher what message the praying mantis is attempting to convey.
For some cultures if a fat female is found during harvest time then it means that the harvest will be plentiful. But if a small male mantis is found it can be interpreted as a sign that the harvest will be lean.
As the female mantis has a tendency to eat its mate during reproduction some cultures compare them to the black widow spider who also devours its mate.
For this reason not everyone looks on the praying mantis as a sign or symbol of good luck.
Dreaming Of A Praying Mantis
What if you were to dream of a praying mantis, what could that mean? There are many symbolic dreams about praying mantis.
Dream Of Killing A Praying Mantis
If you dream that you have killed a praying mantis you may think this is a bad omen. If they are seen as symbols of good luck, surely killing one means you are about to bring the wrath of the universe down on yourself.
But no, that is not the case.
Dreaming about killing a praying mantis is more complicated than that. What it actually symbolizes is your willingness to face your fears and try your best to overcome them.
A dream sends you a message that it is time to face something scary but that you will prevail.
Dream About A Dead Praying Mantis
A dream about a dead praying mantis is a warning to your soul that you are not concentrating enough on the important matters in your life and focusing too much on irrelevant things.
This is the time to stop yourself being distracted by things that are not important and focus your attention and energy on what really matters.
Dream About An Attack By A Praying Mantis
Dreaming about being attacked by a mantis can be the universe’s way of testing your spiritual growth and to see if you are progressing. If the dream is about a praying mantis attacking your partner it can symbolize relationship issues.
Dream About A Friendly Praying Mantis
This dream is mostly a positive omen and means that you are in control of your emotions as well as your inner spirit.
Spiritual Meaning Of A Praying Mantis
The name praying mantis comes from the way that this insect holds its front legs which resembles someone praying. On top of this the word mantis comes from the Greek word ‘mantikos’ which means prophet.
So already we can see where the spiritual association with this insect has come from. There are more than 2,000 species of mantids in the world, but only some are from the genus ‘mantis’.
Their legs are not used for praying but rather for catching their prey.
Nevertheless, the praying mantis is a powerful spiritual animal and its connection to good fortune is well known.
For Native Americans this insect is sacred as they acknowledge that the praying mantis was here long before man walked on the earth.
They also saw the mantis as a symbol of good fortune and wealth, success and large families.
The praying mantis also represented the cycle of life, death and resurrection for Native Americans as they arose out of the ground, so representing rebirth.
With their resemblance to a praying person the mantis was considered by these people to be a symbol of the Great Spirit. As a result they were often used in ceremonies, for medicine and as totem animals.
A praying mantis was sometimes put in the mouth of a dying person to make their journey to the afterlife smoother.
Before leaving for a hunt Native Americans would listen to the sounds these insects made and would use them to predict the weather and the harvest.
Patience is something that the praying mantis displays with elegance and poise. It will sit for hours just waiting for the right moment to catch and devour its prey.
To patiently hold a position and wait for what you need to come to you is what the praying mantis teaches.
The praying mantis inspired a form of kung fu in A.D. 960–1126 when a master of this martial art observed the precise, careful way this insect moved.
He gathered some up and took them to a Shaolin temple to help him learn how these slow but calculated movements could be used to lethal effect. The mantis teaches how to use patience to achieve clarity which in turn can lead to action.
Patience is paired with calmness which allows the praying mantis to bide its time and not rush into trying to snare its prey. Instead it approaches the task with slow deliberate movements and a sense of overarching calmness.
The praying mantis doesn’t worry that it will not catch food. It doesn’t get agitated if it has to wait too long for an insect to pass by.
It knows that the food will come and its most efficient method of catching that food is to remain calm. Anything else will chase potential prey away.
We can learn to be calm by watching the praying mantis as it holds its position and doesn’t become stressed when a result is not instant.
The green color of some praying mantises is also associated with nature and the insect is a reminder to us that we should integrate ourselves with nature.
The mantis can stay still and hold itself in perfect balance as it waits for its prey, blending in with its surroundings.
This stillness is the reason it can survive. By remaining motionless it can lull prey into a false sense of security while also maintaining its own security by not attracting predators through movement.
The practice of stillness makes the mantis’ world work for its benefit.
We can benefit from this kind of stillness by going into a state of meditation. Physical stillness promotes mental and spiritual stillness to achieve calm within.
By being still and calm the praying mantis can become completely aware of its surroundings.
This will allow it to remain still until the precise moment when its action will have the most beneficial outcome, that is when it is most likely to catch its prey.
The mantis will not move until it is 100% sure that by moving it will achieve its goal. It does this by being acutely aware of not only the space around it but of its own abilities and strengths.
Self awareness doesn’t just mean being conscious of what is around you in the physical world but rather being aware of your own world and how you operate in it. You can then see your spiritual strengths and weaknesses.
The stillness of the praying mantis is perfect for us to imitate in order to become mindful. We can acknowledge our situation and accept the feelings, thoughts and sensations that go with it.
Rather than holding on to them, we become aware of them and then let them go.
This frees us from the heavy weight of emotional, psychological and mental baggage that we all carry around with us.
By being present, as the mantis has to be when hunting, we don’t drift outside the moment but remain in it experiencing but not holding on to the experience.
If the mantis is not mindful it will not be successful in its patient stillness, it must be present and not be distracted.
The praying mantis is a symbol of creativity with its incredible ability to blend into the background. It can mimic a leaf or flower so that it is hidden from predators and invisible to its prey.
Every few weeks it will molt and then renew its coloring to match its surroundings. It can make itself look like a stick or twig even blending into a habitat that has been destroyed by fire.
It can often be seen swaying as if to mimic a piece of foliage blowing in the wind.
This ability to make the most of whatever environment the praying mantis finds itself in can help us to adjust our outlook when we have major or even minor changes in our lives.
If you do see a praying mantis take the time to stop and admire it. It has so many wonderful attributes and so many things that it can teach us about the way we respond to the universe.
We should try to be more like the praying mantis, patient, calm, aware, still, mindful and creative. It would serve us well to imitate this mysterious and spiritual creature and learn from it.
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