Praying Mantis Symbolism & Spiritual Meaning

Praying mantises are perhaps best known for their striking appearance and predatory habits. But did you know these curious creatures also have a long history of symbolism and spiritual meaning? For many cultures, the praying mantis is seen as a powerful totem animal with a deep connection to the natural world. This post will explore some of the most popular meanings associated with the praying mantis. So whether you’re encountering one of these fascinating insects in your backyard or dreaming about them, read on to find out what they could symbolize for you!

What Does a Praying Mantis Symbolize?

The praying mantis has been a powerful symbol in many cultures, representing peace, alertness, agility, protection, wisdom, and intelligence. It is believed to bring good luck and divine protection, guide in difficult times, or even grant wishes.

A praying mantis is an incredibly fascinating creature that often symbolizes stillness and contemplation. A stance of praying as they appear to be deep in thought or general meditative state has given this creature its name and meaning.

This insect usually symbolizes patience, grace, alertness, and focus due to their ability to sit motionless for a long period of time to catch prey or avoid being caught by predators. In some Eastern cultures, the mantis has been used as the representation of an enlightened individual that is spiritually aware and at peace with himself. Some spiritual healers believe they can connect with the spirit of the praying mantis to cure any ailments or discomforts that might be felt.

praying mantis

Praying Mantis Facts

  1. Mantises have triangular heads with bulging eyes supported on flexible necks
  2. All mantids are predatory, mostly preying on insects and other small animals
  3. The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer
  4. Most species of mantis can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan their surroundings
  5. There are more than 2,400 known species of mantises in about 430 genera in 15 families worldwide
  6. Mantises have two spiked, grasping forelegs (“raptorial legs”) in which prey items are caught and held securely
  7. Some larger species of mantids even prey upon vertebrates such as lizards and frogs; small birds may be taken rarely
  8. The majority of mantid species are ambush predators, most active during daylight hours
  9. Although they prefer hunting live food, they will also accept dead prey, such as crickets or mealworms, when presented to them
  10. Adult female mantis lay eggs inside a hard foam-like structure called ootheca

What Does It Mean When You See a Praying Mantis?

Seeing a praying mantis can be interpreted as a symbol of both power and patience.

In some cultures, they are believed to bring good luck or ward off bad energy, while in others, they signify perseverance.

For example, the Chinese believe that mantises embody an ancient proverb: “A mantis shivers before it strikes,” suggesting that one must take the time to thoroughly assess their situation before making a move.

Similarly, Hindus believe that mantises are symbols of patience and contemplation.

In either case, a praying mantis sighting can be interpreted as a reminder to stay focused, remain patient, and use caution when making decisions.

what does it mean when you see a praying mantis

Different Color Meanings

The color of a mantis can also influence the symbolism associated with them.

Brown Praying Mantis

Brown mantises represent stability and security. It symbolizes the need to remain grounded and practical in a given situation.

White Praying Mantis

White mantises are associated with purity and innocence. They can also symbolize spiritual enlightenment or the need to let go of old habits and embrace change.

Green Praying Mantis

Green mantises are thought to bring luck and prosperity. They can also be interpreted as a sign of growth and abundance.

Is it Good or Bad Luck to See a Praying Mantis?

Whether it’s seen as a sign of good luck or bad luck is heavily debated. Throughout history, many cultures have viewed them as a symbol of divinity. Indigenous tribes often use the praying mantis to interpret visions and perform prophecies.

However, scientists caution against anthropomorphizing these little bugs due to their predatory nature – praying mantises may share our devotion to the divine. However, they are still apex predators ready to devour any unsuspecting insect that comes too close.

Despite wide-ranging interpretations of the presence of a praying mantis in everyday life, one thing is certain: seeing them simultaneously can be both exhilarating and unnerving.

What Do Praying Mantises Symbolize in Arts and Literature?

In arts and literature, praying mantises are often employed to symbolize various ideas near and far. The most popular associations with these animals are death and resurrection due to their practice of eating the male partner after copulation.

praying mantis on a book

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This can be seen in paintings depicting The Triumph of Death and a handful of works documented by authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson. In more modern contexts, the symbol holds associations with female empowerment because it is framed to represent feminist symbolism; this is linked to the behavior mentioned above of consuming the male mate after intercourse.

Thus, praying mantises serve an array of productive meanings in literature and art, each specific to its context.

Praying Mantis Spirit Animal

The praying mantis spirit animal is a powerful symbol of stillness and trust. It serves as an important reminder that even in times of chaos, staying still and being open to what life has in store can bring enormous rewards.

praying mantis spirit animal

The praying mantis can also be a source of strength when things become too overwhelming; its presence brings the energy of focus, patience, and perseverance through difficulties that lie ahead.

The trusting nature of the mantis is an example of appreciating the unknown and inspiring confidence in ourselves when it comes to achieving our goals.

Praying Mantis Totem Animal

The Praying Mantis is a powerful totem animal, representing stillness and silent growth. This seemingly otherworldly creature has been admired since ancient times for its patient and graceful nature. Unlike most animals, one of their most recognizable traits is how they oversee their surroundings as they wait for potential prey.

praying mantis totem animal

Symbolically, the Praying Mantis can teach us how to be present in moments of stillness and empower us to use our observational skills to manifest success.

By meditating on the power of the Praying Mantis totem animal, we can learn important lessons about being aware of our environment and using that awareness to further our goals.

Praying Mantis Dream Meanings

Dreaming of a praying mantis indicates that one should pay extra attention to the events and people around them, for the appearance of a mantis signifies the presence of a wise and influential teacher or mentor who may have vital guidance.

sleeping woman dreaming about a praying mantis

Furthermore, dreaming of a praying mantis could suggest that one should take some time out of their schedule to appreciate themselves and reflect on recent events with clarity.

Praying Mantis Meaning in Tarot

In traditional tarot, the praying mantis card symbolizes wisdom gained from introspection and self-inquiry. It is often referred to as a sign that the universe will always guide us in times of uncertainty or doubt. As the final card of the Major Arcana, the praying mantis represents completion, closure, and spiritual elevation.

praying mantis tarot card

In terms of life purpose and goals, this card suggests that it may be time to take action based on one’s inner guidance rather than external sources for direction. What makes praying mantis meaning so potent is its capacity to evoke a sense of inner power and its promise of spiritual growth when embraced fully.

Praying Mantis Meaning in the Bible And Christianity

According to Biblical legend, the praying mantis symbolizes faith and patient endurance. While it’s not officially mentioned in scripture, some Christian communities regard a mantis sighting as a sign of prayerful attentiveness and trust in God.

Praying mantises are unique insects, often presenting themselves with folded arms in an intimate posture with God. In spiritual beliefs, the praying mantis encourages believers to be aware of God’s loving care for those who wait patiently for his answers.

This can help us find the strength and courage to keep going when waiting seems unbearable or difficult. Christianity teaches that God will never forget His faithful children and that He has a plan that will only leave us better; so even when everything wildly changes around us, He ultimately has good in store.

Praying Mantis Meaning in Judaism

In Jewish culture, praying mantises serve as a reminder of the holiness found within nature and of the beauty of creation.

Many faith followers enjoy watching praying mantises and are amazed by their ability to move like no other creature, providing an inspiring metaphor for how one should lead life, moving mindfully and carefully. Additionally, there is a tendency amongst Jews to view praying mantises as symbols of renewal as they go through seasonal cycles in which they eventually become something larger than before.

Because of this deep-rooted symbolism in old Jewish tradition, modern practitioners often observe the prayer rituals associated with them, such as those found in Judaism’s Kabbalah teachings.

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Through understanding their profound spiritual meaning, Jews can continue connecting with nature and their own faith experiences in new ways.

Praying Mantis Mythology, Folklore, and Symbolism in Different Cultures

Praying mantises have been a part of mythology, folklore, and symbolism in many cultures worldwide.

African

In Africa, the praying mantis has long been a source of myth and symbolism. A common reference is to its predatory behavior – it is said to symbolize faithfulness and wisdom as it carefully stalks its prey. This creature is also used in traditional folklore and beliefs, often as a messenger for gods.

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One such belief was that when children misbehaved, the praying mantis would come down from the sky to punish them. Furthermore, some African tribes viewed the mantis as a symbol of good luck or fortune, believing it could bring positive energy and healing power.

In addition, some African cultures also see the praying mantis as an ancestor spirit, reminding us of our connection with nature.

Ancient Egypt

In Ancient Egypt, the praying mantis was a sign of protection and good luck. Ancient Egyptians believed the praying mantis represented their Goddess of Truth and Justice.

Ancient Egypt style praying mantis hyroglyphs
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They used it to represent leadership and courage, believing these characteristics reminded them to stand up for their beliefs and be true to themselves. This symbolism also guided through tough times and helped instill courage in those going through adversity.

Ancient Greek

The praying mantis has a long history of symbolism in Greek mythology. It was seen as an embodiment of wisdom, knowledge, and silent contemplation.

In some traditions, the mantis was believed to be a messenger from the gods, delivering prophecies and wise words through its movements.

It was associated with the goddess Athena, who was thought to be associated with wisdom and contemplation. They were seen as symbols of a spiritual connection between humans and nature and believed to bring insight and new perspectives when observed carefully.

Additionally, it is said that praying mantises can even predict future events or provide guidance on certain decisions.

Celtic

In Celtic mythology, it is believed that the Mantis symbolizes the ability to transcend physical boundaries and be a bridge between worlds – spiritual and mortal. This creature has been associated with strength, courage, knowledge, and wisdom.

celtic style praying mantis

It is believed to be a protector of the home and family, providing strength in times of need. The Mantis is also seen as a messenger between worlds, helping to bring spiritual guidance to those who seek it. In some traditions, the Mantis is seen as an intermediary between humans and gods, acting as a divine conduit for messages from the heavens.

Native American

Native American cultures have a long and rich tradition of using the praying mantis, or “preying” mantis, in their mythology. The praying mantis is seen as a symbol of strength, protection, and spiritual guidance. It is believed that by meditating on the image of a praying mantis, one can open up to greater insight, wisdom, and understanding.

Native American style praying mantis

In some Native American cultures, the praying mantis symbolizes transformation. It represents the journey from innocence to knowledge and the path from darkness to light. It has been used to signify a person’s willingness to change and grow. By meditating with the image of a praying mantis, one can gain greater insight into life and its challenges.

In addition to being a symbol of transformation, the praying mantis is also seen as an omen of good luck in some Native American cultures. For example, praying mantises have long been linked to abundant harvests and fertility. It is believed that praying mantises can help protect against bad luck or bring good luck to a person in need.

Japan

 In Japanese culture, the praying mantis carries the symbolic importance of courage and strength and holds mythical connotations as an omen of good luck, often seen when encountered in nature or depicted in artwork. Many see it as a guardian protector or a symbol of good health because of its medical associations, given its swiftness and agility.

japanese style praying mantis ink painting

It also represents power, perseverance, wisdom, and insight. Praying mantises are symbols of luck and good fortune, and their presence is thought to bring prosperity and abundance.

Additionally, the praying mantis is seen as a messenger of peace and harmony, with its meditative stance and patient movements embodying true tranquility. This symbolism has been used to represent balance and harmony in all aspects of life, from interpersonal relationships to health and well-being.

China

In Chinese culture, the praying mantis has long been a symbol of alertness and agility. The insect’s movements have been compared to those of a martial artist, making it an appropriate mascot for warriors, fighters, and even police officers in some areas.

The praying mantis is also believed to have special powers, such as warding off evil spirits and bringing good luck. In some regions, the praying mantis symbolizes protection for homes and families. Stories abound of how these creatures can grant wishes or provide guidance on difficult matters.

The Chinese also believe that the sound of the mantis is a good omen, signifying success and good fortune. The praying mantis has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat some illnesses or as an ingredient in certain remedies. Its ability to capture and consume other insects has also made it a symbol of wisdom and intelligence.

Hinduism

According to ancient Hindu mythology, it is believed that mantises are a sign of divine protection and blessings. This is due to their physical characteristics resembling those of the gods – they have an erect posture, and their arms are prayer-like. Their long antennae and fast reflexes have also earned them a reputation for being wise and all-knowing.

Hinduism style praying mantis

It is often associated with the god Shiva, the lord of destruction, transformation, and renewal. In some stories, Shiva is said to take the form of a mantis to protect the world from evil. Hence, it is believed that if one sees a mantis near their home or property, they are blessed by Shiva and protected from any harm or danger.

In some Hindu folklore, it is also said that praying mantises have the power to grant wishes if treated with respect and reverence.

Buddhism

In Buddhism, the praying mantis is a symbol of vigilance and alertness. It is believed that if you take the time to observe a mantis, you will be able to learn important life lessons. In some cultures, it’s also said that praying mantises can provide guidance in difficult times or bring good luck.

In Buddhism, the praying mantis is also seen as a symbol of patience and focus. This can be applied to meditation practices, where one must focus on their breath or mantra to reach a higher state of consciousness.

FAQ

What does a dead praying mantis symbolize?

A dead praying mantis symbolizes the death of old ways and a new beginning. It can also be seen as a sign of transformation and the importance of letting go of things that no longer serve us.

Is it good luck for a praying mantis to land on you?

In some cultures, it is seen as a sign of good luck if a praying mantis lands on you. It is believed that the creature may provide guidance and protection or even grant wishes. However, it is important to remember that mantises are wild animals and may bite if provoked.

Final Words – Praying Mantis Symbolism

The praying mantis symbolizes peace, alertness, agility, protection, wisdom, and intelligence. It has been used in many cultures to represent the power of transformation and renewal.

In Chinese culture, it is believed to bring good luck; in Hinduism, it is seen as a sign of divine protection; in Buddhism, it signifies vigilance and focus. Whether you believe that seeing a dead or alive praying mantis brings luck, one thing remains clear: its symbolism speaks volumes about how powerful this small insect can be for our lives.

So next time you see one near your home or property – take some time to observe its movements with respect and reverence – who knows what kind of guidance or blessings may come from doing so!

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Christina Johnson

About the Author

My name is Christina, and I am the founder of centerspirited. Being a physiotherapist for several years I have found that many people, including myself, don’t achieve well-being only from a physical point of view. I’ve always viewed a person’s body, soul, and emotions as a whole construct of beauty. Always being a yoga enthusiast, I finally became an instructor myself. On a secret mission to capture spirituality in all of her beautiful shapes, I found myself being guided on a way through ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle. Through this platform, I will hopefully be able to help other beautiful souls out there find their inner peace and bond with their spiritual selves.

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