Praying Mantis Meaning and Forgotten Spiritual Symbolism For Beginners
The praying mantis is a mysterious and often misunderstood creature. Most people are unaware of the praying mantis meaning and spiritual symbolism.
This post will introduce you to the spiritual power of the praying mantis and how you can begin using its energy in your life. Let’s jump in and discuss everything you need to know about this fascinating creature!
Animal symbolism frequently appears in the traditions of earth-based spiritual practices. Animals manifest in synchronistic moments, dreams, visions, or other manners. Animal appearances are significant, yet their meaning might be difficult to understand.
There is often an eagerness among spiritual communities and practitioners to connect all animal symbolism to the rituals and beliefs of indigenous Native Americans. Most of the time, these assumptions are entirely inaccurate or overlook other cultures’ spiritual meanings like Celtic animal symbolism.
Animal symbolism is a deeply personal spiritual practice that cannot be fully described in a blog post. Any explanation in a book or blog post pales to your personal experience. However, my hope is by reading this information, you’ll understand each animal’s spiritual journey, which will help your interpretation.
Please note that I make every effort to ensure this information is correct and accurate through my own experiences and referencing sources throughout AND at the bottom of this article.
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What is a Praying Mantis?
To deeply understand a praying mantis’s spiritual symbolism and meaning, it’s essential to understand its habits and characteristics. This allows you to connect with them for a better spiritual interpretation.
The praying mantis or mantid belongs to the Mantidae family (although entomologists have differing opinions on how to classify them). There are approximately 2000 species, and they generally live up to a year while undergoing about six or nine exoskeleton molts until they reach the adult stage.
A praying mantis head has a triangular shape with two compound eyes with thousands of light sensors that provide them with three-dimensional vision; it’s believed they’re the only insect able to see this way.
Praying mantis don’t have pupils; instead, you see an optical illusion that’s actually just more light receptors, which is why scientists call this a pseudo pupil.
Their neck is quite flexible, so they achieve a 180° range of vision. They generally measure between 1/2 to 6 inches long, with females usually larger than males.
They have an organ similar to an ear located in the thorax, capable of hearing frequencies above the 20,000 hertz that the human ear can perceive. This allows them to hear and recognize the ultrasonic frequencies used by bats who often hunt praying mantis.
When agitated, the mantid adopts an intimidating and hostile demeanor, rising and fluttering its wings and displaying brilliant cautionary colors. They are talented hunters but not a risk to humans because they are neither poisonous nor carry harmful diseases.
A praying mantis hunts insects and small animals such as moths, frogs, mice, fish (guppies), and even birds (typically hummingbirds). Mantises eat their prey, starting with the head; they can penetrate a bird’s skull and begin eating their brains.
A praying mantis is often green or brown because they can camouflage themselves based on their surroundings and natural environment. This allows them to hide from predators and hunt simultaneously. You’ll often find them on a branch, twig, or plant.
Praying Mantis are typically seen during the mating season, which takes place in late summer and early autumn. At this time, all a praying mantis can think about is sex and food, which is something I can get on board with.
Females sometimes eat their male partners after mating (sometimes during) if they are hungry or their male partner annoys them. This provides the female with tons of nutrients and amino acids which benefits the eggs and can allow her to have twice as many eggs.
After mating, the female lays approximately 200 eggs in a cocoon that protects the eggs from the weather, predators, and other external factors. A few weeks after laying her eggs, the female dies.
Newborn praying mantis are called nymphs, and as soon as they’re born, they begin to look for food, often resorting to the cannibalism of their siblings. Nymphs look exactly like adults, only much smaller and without wings.
Why Are They Called Praying Mantis?
The ancient Greeks gave them the name mantis, which means diviner because it was believed a praying mantis possessed magical abilities. This idea is still reflected in its name, mantid, meaning soothsayer.
They’re called praying mantis because their front legs join together when hunting. This method consists of staying motionless and camouflaging itself until the prey approaches close enough to catch it. Then the mantis snatches its prey with jagged forelegs and begins eating it in less than a second. Since all mantids are carnivorous, preying describes them more accurately than praying.
Praying Mantis Meaning and Spiritual Symbolism
Seeing a praying mantis is usually considered good luck but sometimes has mixed meanings depending on your culture or belief system. For Christians, their meaning symbolizes prayer and worship but can also represent cruelty and the hypocrisy behind false worship.
Praying mantis meaning and spiritual symbolism can vary depending on the spiritual practitioner. Here are a few reasons you may be seeing praying mantis.
Stillness and Rest
The mantis will only attack if it’s certain the timing is right. This is an important lesson to everyone: ensure your mind, soul, and body are on the same page while making essential choices!
Its stillness is a powerful force contributing to its meaning. When you learn to calm your mind and look within, you open up more options for strength (physical, emotional, and mental) that can be used to achieve your intentions or goals.
When a mantis appears in your life, you must remember you also have the ability to camouflage yourself and stay still. Take time to analyze your next step to “hunt your prey” effectively.
This does not mean avoiding obligations or abandoning your responsibilities; you must learn to assess what’s important and remove yourself from harmful situations.
If you see a praying mantis, remember the praying mantis’s movements are slow while hiding or hunting. They remain motionless until they’re ready to strike and achieve their goal. This is meant to teach you the power of control and perseverance. Take the time to be introspective, still, and rest.
The praying mantis is also associated with martial arts, and its agile legs have inspired movements in Kung Fu. This is why it’s considered a defense symbol of patience, waiting, and the balance between stillness and the attack.
They are always aware of what is happening around them due to their incredible vision and excellent hearing. However, they are not overwhelmed by it because they allow things to flow while they are simply the spectator. The praying mantis is patient and only jumps in on the action when the odds are in its favor.
The praying mantis is seen as a symbol of assertiveness and a feminine aspect of death. The female can be cannibalistic but is taking a life to bring in many more. This seems terrifying to us but represents Nature’s wild and untamed aspects.
Due to its praying-shaped legs and large clairvoyant eyes, the praying mantis symbolizes the need to slow down and check-in with your spiritual self. How are you feeling? What’s going on inside of you?
Now is an excellent time to meditate and review your spiritual life path. It can also symbolize the awakening of psychic abilities and encourages you to learn and grow your divination abilities. This can be through scrying, with candles, runes, or whatever method resonates with you.
The mantis connects you to your spiritual relationship with Nature, reminding us it’s a part of the natural cycle to die. If you have been clinging to beliefs that no longer benefit you, it’s an excellent time to embrace the darker shadow aspects of spirituality and the soul.
Living a life of passion, purpose, and happiness is not always easy, but praying mantis wisdom teaches us how important it truly is!
Praying Mantis Superstitions, Mythology, and Folklore
According to French mythology, the praying mantis can guide a lost child home. Other superstitions claim a praying mantis’s brown saliva can kill a mule if eaten or blind a person. This gave it the nickname mule killer.
In Africa, there are many legends and mythology associated with the mantis. It was believed killing one was a sin, and all your cattle would die. The Khoekhoe people (meaning “men of men”) of Southern Africa worship the praying mantis as a deity.
Ancient Egypt and Greece believed the praying mantis had spiritual powers of divination.
Numerous myths and legends are associated with the mantid because it can remain motionless or sway gently back and forth, with head raised and front legs outstretched in an apparent attitude of supplication.
According to superstition, the brown saliva of a mantid can cause blindness in a man, and a mantid, if eaten, can kill a horse or mule.Britannica – Mantid Insect
Praying Mantis Meaning in Color Symbolism
The praying mantis changes its coloration to match its environment. If you find a praying mantis on a leafy bush, it’s likely to be green. However, it will be brown if it’s mostly been on branches or dried leaves.
To take your praying mantis meaning and spiritual symbolism interpretation a level deeper, consider the color in which it appears to you.
A green praying mantis brings good fortune and enhances success. Green is the color of Nature, prosperity, and luck. Seeing a mantis indicates good times are coming, and you will have peace in your life.
It also indicates you should seek a deeper connection with yourself because you have some inner healing work to complete. Spiritual work will help you achieve the satisfaction you need in your life.
Green is also the color of kindness, so remember to be gentle with yourself and those you love. Take time for introspection and connect with your spiritual self to heal emotionally, physically, and mentally.
The color brown reminds us of earth’s soil, the element earth, and has stable and robust energy connected to animal guides. Brown’s energy is terrific when you’re pursuing more dependability, stability, and trying to get your feet on solid ground.
A brown praying mantis symbolizes simplicity, so its appearance in any medium can be a sign you need to take action in your life. Make decisions for yourself with confidence and firm direction.
Your stability depends on your actions, so it’s essential to take time to honestly know what you want so you can make them happen!
Praying Mantis Dream Meaning
Dream meanings and interpretations often depend on the context, emotions, and other symbols that appear; this is still true when it comes to a praying mantis dream meaning.
Generally, dreaming of a praying mantis means you need to take a break and prioritize balance in your life. The mantis is the opposite of anxiety and reminds you to take things slowly but confidently.
Don’t react immediately to ideas or situations presented to you. Allow yourself to relax and go with the flow of life a bit.
If you feel in danger during your dream, it reveals you’re in an unfavorable situation you need to escape. Perhaps someone has questionable motives and is “stalking” you.
If you kill a praying mantis in your dream, it indicates you are scared or fearful of an upcoming situation where you lack control.
Dead Praying Mantis Meaning
Seeing a dead praying mantis indicates you’ve lost your spiritual connection with yourself somehow. Perhaps you’re going through a process where there seems to be no way out, or you feel constantly frustrated.
This stagnation can mean you’re not taking action in your life, which is reflected in your mental health, work, love, or personal projects. The appearance of a dead praying mantis symbolizes division and detachment within you that is difficult to let go of.
However, you can find the solution within the spiritual meaning of the mantis. Plan carefully and take action, even if it means leaving your comfort zone. You must accept the darker aspects of your spirituality and continue to learn and grow despite it.
Meaning of a Praying Mantis in your Home
Mantids become more visible during their mating season, in late summer and fall, and they may be looking for food.
Killing a mantis or inflicting any harm on it is a bad omen and will bring you misfortune. Feel free to place it outside in a safe space or leave it alone; the choice is up to you.
In general, finding a praying mantis in your home symbolizes tranquility. The praying mantis is attracted to your home and feels it’s a safe environment to camouflage itself, fee, and reproduce. This means your home is a sign of abundance and happiness. This is good luck and reminds you to be thankful for what you have in life.
Spiritual Meaning of a Praying Mantis Landing on You
A praying mantis landing on you is a good sign and means you will be fortunate during a pivotal moment in your life. It’s a sign you’re about to face a big life decision.
Now is an excellent time to get organized and analyze the most critical aspects of your life. Spend time getting those areas under control. Don’t overwhelm yourself with every minute detail; instead, worry about the big picture.
If you feel anxious or worried, look to the praying mantis for guidance. Take time to be still, find balance, and listen to your intuition. Set your goals, and then break them into small actionable steps that will allow you to reach them much quicker and easier.
I hope this article about the praying mantis meaning and spiritual symbolism was helpful! Lots of love to you and remember as always…
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “mantid”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 3 May. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/animal/mantid.
Britannica Kids. Mantis. https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/mantis/353422#
Bittel, Jason. Doug Main. National Geographic. Everything you need to know about praying mantises. 10 September 2018.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Khoekhoe”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 5 Oct. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Khoekhoe.