Updated: Oct 18
The insect world fascinates me and while there are some bugs I prefer they keep to themselves, every one of them has a special message for us. Exploring the spiritual meanings and symbolism of insects and bugs is an exciting way of learning more about these little creatures.
Insect symbolism teaches us a lot about behavior, communication, and working with others. Insects and bugs can teach us how to be more adaptable to the environment we live in while remaining connected at all times. Spiritual people are always looking out for signs and one of the ways of getting a message is through observing the world of insect totems.
How many times has a bug crossed your path, seemingly out of nowhere, and you wonder what the message is? Nothing is random in life and when you learn to appreciate nature’s way of sharing special messages with you, you’ll discover so much more about yourself.
How Do I Know This Is a Message?
Every insect carries a deep spiritual meaning or message. However, look out for the ones that keep cropping up in your life. This particular bug is trying to get your attention. Or, if you suddenly see an insect that seems out of place, then know there’s a message there for you.
A few years back, my partner and I continuously saw spiders – everywhere! And, I got bitten by one on my stomach which turned into a festering ulcer. It took months to heal. The type of spider that bit me was tiny and not one I should have encountered in my city home. We knew the spider was teaching me a lesson of sorts!
By examining the uniqueness of insects and other creepy crawlies, you’ll discover they each have specific traits or characteristics. When observing these, you’ll start to identify if the message is appropriate for you. Perhaps the insect is trying to highlight a characteristic you need to build within yourself. Or, maybe they’re reflecting energies that exist within you that you need to tap into.
The appearance of an insect or bug could also be a warning message. You’re being asked to take note of your environment and identify if it serves you or not. Our spirit guides will also send insects to you as a response to a prayer or request you’ve made. So, keep your eyes open for an unexpected visitor!
Spiritual Meanings of 5 Fascinating Insects and Bugs
Here are five of my favorite fascinating insects and their spiritual meanings. I’ve also included some creepy crawlies that don’t classify truly as insects but they’re often considered bugs anyway!
A prehistoric-looking creature, the praying mantis is a beautiful creature. You don’t see them often but when you do, you know you’ve been sent a special message. The Kalahari bushmen worship the praying mantis for its mystical qualities.
Watch this video for some awesome facts about this fascinating insect.
The praying mantis symbolizes the power of being still and biding your time. This insect is reminding you to use silence to tap into your inner resources. This can be done through meditation, observing dreams during sleep, or simply shutting out your external world and sitting quietly.
When you see a praying mantis, you may be asked to think about how you speak to others. Are you being harsh or irrational when communicating with others? Are you quick to make judgments? Or, are you acting out of haste?
Here are some cultural symbolic meanings of the mantis that may also apply to you:
China: Wisdom, sacredness, and power.
Native American: Wealth, good luck, success, and big families. The insect also means resurrection.
Japan: Courage, bravery, and warrior energy.
Celtic: Persistence, cruelty, and greed hidden behind religion using the stance of prayer.
In Christianity, the praying mantis represents focusing on God through the act of prayer and divination.
The dragonfly is recognized by its dainty wings as it hovers or flies over stretches of water. Look up close and you’ll notice the dragonfly has enormous eyes. This insect represents both water and air which is a reflection of both your emotional and mental realms.
The dragonfly can also fly “at the speed of light” (not really, but they move very fast) making so many cultures see this insect as symbolizing the “power of light.”
A dragonfly’s message could be asking you any of the following questions:
Do you need another perspective on life?
Do you need to look beyond the illusion?
Have you lost a sense of joy and have your emotions become stagnant?
Do you need to make a change?
Both Asian and Native American cultures associate prosperity, harmony, strength, peace, and good fortune with a dragonfly whenever they see it. The Japanese see dragonflies as representing joy and light, while the Native Americans believe this insect represents the soul of the dead.
If you’re battling to find your own light and a dragonfly flies across your path, you’re being asked to do some inner work. We all carry the light within us. We just need to know how to tap into it and let it shine out for all to see and benefit from.
I don’t often see snails but when a client of mine mentioned the other day that she keeps seeing snails wherever she goes, it got me thinking about these creepy crawlies’ spiritual meaning. My first thoughts were immediately those of patience, slowing down, and being gentle.
The snail gives off an air of calmness, steadfastness, and determination. He’s going nowhere fast but he’s focused and knows what he wants.
The snail also takes its home with it wherever it goes so it's comfortable with its Existence. It also knows how to retreat as soon as there’s danger ahead (or above). Their spiral shell is a symbol of growth, cycles of life, and evolving consciousness.
Snails teach us not to be hasty. Life isn’t a race to be run and won. In fact, we should be taking it step-by-step by living in the moment. So, the snail teaches us about the power of NOW. They want us to relax and enjoy the journey called life.
Make sure you read Eckhart Tolle's book, "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment." to discover how to live in the moment.
If you’re facing any of the following in your own life and you come across a snail, heed its message:
You’re feeling insecure: Snail is letting you know you’re your own unique person and you don’t need to feel threatened by others’ successes or growth. You’re on your own path of self-discovery and growth.
Your world is spinning out of control: The message here is to “slow down!” Stop living the rat race and learn to do things slowly, meaningfully, and with patience. When you rush through life, you end up missing out on so much. Slow down and smell the roses!
You’re not giving yourself enough love: Self-care is vital for your overall well-being and if you’re not giving yourself enough love, you’re not going to be of any use to anyone else. Snail is teaching you to be more aware of self-care and to ensure you look out for your own mind, body, and soul.
The snail is an unassuming creature as it makes its way slowly across your garden path. But, don’t underestimate its powerful messages!
I’ve heard the sound of the cicada many times but the first time I saw one, I was completely enthralled by this creature. Who would have thought such a small insect could make so much noise? How do they do it? The male cicada has a soundbox in his stomach and by constricting a membrane called the tymbal it can produce the sounds we hear.
But, what's the symbolism of the cicada? They’re teaching us to use our voice with authority and to make sure we're heard when we want to make a point. But, you’re also being asked to make sure you’re being authentic in what you have to say. The cicada wants you to find your own sacred song.
What’s even more fascinating about the cicada is its life cycle which can span over a period of 17 years. Many cultures see this creature as a symbol of rebirth and death, resurrection, transformation, and spiritual awakening.
Greek culture recognizes the cicada for its sacredness and representation of eternal life. In Eastern traditions, a figurine of the cicada is placed with the dead to inspire a peaceful afterlife. In Feng Shui, the cicada represents protection against spiteful gossiping while ensuring a long and healthy life.
If you see a cicada or hear them trilling from your garden consider the following questions:
Are you communicating effectively and with authenticity?
Are you cooperating as a team member?
How are you getting the love you want in your life?
Are you undergoing a process of self-discovery and transformation?
Your answers will tell you the message this amazing bug is trying to tell you.
Scorpions have always fascinated me and I’ve had my fair share of encounters with them! Whether you encounter them as they cross the path in front of you or in a dream, know that they have some serious messages for you to reflect on. The scorpion is well-known for its tail with a nasty sting and pincers. But, what is the symbolism of the scorpion?
The most common message of the scorpion is transformation and resurrection. But, this insect also symbolizes protection and the need to be isolated (or are you isolating yourself too much?) When you see a scorpion, you can’t help but feel you should be wary and even back off from it.
The scorpion teaches you that even the smallest tail can deliver the biggest sting! So, don’t underestimate things or people that come in small packages! If you’re wondering what message or lesson the scorpion is sending you, consider the following:
Who needs protection in your life or are you being overprotective? (think the “helicopter” parent here!)
Are you reacting out of defensiveness and if yes, why?
Are you feeling vulnerable and need to hide away or lash out?
Are you trying to control everything in your life?
Do your dreams hold prophetic messages you should be heeding?
Different cultures and healers have a variety of symbolic meanings for the scorpion:
Ancient Egyptians: The scorpion protected the souls of the dead, moving from one realm to another.
Shamans: This insect was seen as a spiritual guide empowering a change in one’s consciousness.
Native Americans: A sign of imminent danger and change.
The next time you see a scorpion, ask yourself if there’s some poison you need to get rid of from within yourself. Or, maybe you need to come out of isolation and let yourself be seen, knowing that you’re protected and safe.
Our animal kingdom, including insects and bugs, can teach us so much about ourselves on a deeply spiritual level. By understanding the significance of each creature that comes into your life, you can learn so much about yourself. Animal, bird, and insect totems introduce us to the magic of these creatures, and by exploring their spiritual meanings, you can tap into this power.
I often refer to my book, "Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small" by Ted Andrews for a deeper understanding of the messages my creature visitors are trying to convey to me.
This post was updated on January 16th, 2023.