Bugs, Insects, & Crawlies

fly

I don’t want them in my house, on the dog, or anywhere near me. Flying, crawling or hopping, I was never much of an amateur Entomologist. However, as one who teaches literary analysis to pay the rent, I do have my students look into the symbolism of any creepy crawly found in any literary or expository text.

Bugs are symbolic!  Yup, that’s right! But you already knew that, right? I mean you don’t call someone a worm without reason! You refer to a person as a worm because a worm symbolizes a low creature who slithers through the dirt and feasts on decaying flesh.

Here are a few of my favorite bugs and just a wee bit of what they symbolize. For blog’s sake, I did not include a deeper understanding of the symbolism and myths surrounding these insects. I’m just providing a small symbolic glimpse!

Ant:
  •  Like ant behavior, the ant symbolises hard work, diligence, and orderly ( almost military behavior, ie; ants “march.”)
Bee:
  • Order, diligence, immortality, cooperation, teamwork–yup a no brainer.
  • The little stinger, its honey, and beeswax are prevalent symbols found in Christianity.
  • Also associated with royalty (especially the queen bee) and gods
  • The hive represents a church or immortality.
  • Kama, a Hindu god of love is portrayed with honey bees–aka the sweetness of love
  • Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) had 3 gold bees on his coat of arms.
Beetle:
  • Ancient Egyptians believed the scarab beetle was sacred because it represents scarabregeneration, immortality, and divine wisdom. The bug is also associated with the God of the Rising Sun.
Butterfly:
  • Yep–the insect of spectacular metamorphosis is connected to the soul–specifically to its transformation and resurrection.
  • It also is symbolic of happiness and beauty.
  • The winged creature is the symbol of the geisha in Japan, but 2 butterflies signify a joyful marriage.
  • Mmmm..ties in nicely to the symbolism of releasing butterflies at a wedding.
  • butterfly
Dragonfly:
  • The flitting darting critter is connected to illusion and magic.
  • Western cultures believe it evil.
  • In China, its erratic flight pattern represents unpredictability.
  • In Japan, it is symbolic of joy, strength, and courage.
Fly: 
  • A symbol of corruption and evil ( remember that when you swat it –“Take that Evil!”)
  • Bringer of plague and disease.
  • Lord of the Flies ( Beezlebub is the Hebrew word ) is another name for Satan.
  • Remember reading the novel Lord of the Flies…remember all the religious symbolism?
  • For Native Americans, Dontso, the Big Fly, is a messenger spirit who is associated with healing.
Grasshopper:
  • Ancient Greeks decided the grasshopper’s fecundity ( abundance) made it the perfect critter to symbolize fertility.
  • Greek nobles wore golden grasshopper hair ornaments.
  • In China, the green hopper is symbolic of good luck.
  • In Asia, the song of the grasshopper represents chanting Buddhist monks.
Ladybug: 
  • Once linked to the Virgin Mary ( fertility and motherhood ), the black-spotted bug is a sign of good luck.
Locust:
  •  Destruction, devastation, punishment– Old Testament wrath of God symbolism.
  • In  medieval times, they symbolize the torment and ruin of the soul.
Praying Mantis: 
  • Divine & magical OR diabolic & devouring…take your symbolic pick!praying mantis
  • Mantis originates from the Greek “prophet.”
  • In Japan, Samurai use it to denote bravery and cunning.
Moth:
  • A creature of the night ( scary), the winged ugly’s being drawn to the light symbolizes the soul’s search for God.
  • Throw in some insanity symbolism and the belief that witches morphed into moths and you can understand how the Mothman myth got started.
Scorpion:
  • The astrological sign of Pluto ( Lord of the Underworld ), the lil’ stinger is associated with death and treachery.
snail
  • Snail:                                                        **Slow but reliable,the slimy trailer represents the lunar cycle and the feminine.                     **Its shell is equated with infinity and the labyrinth.
Spider:
  • The eensy, teensy spider is the weaver of destiny.
  • But it also symbolizes a predator.
  • Symbolism varies from culture to culture.
  • For example, to see a spider hanging from a thread is a sign of good luck in China.
Termite:
  •  Diligent and collaborative, the critter is symbolic of fertility and persistence.
  • Their mounds represent a door to the underworld in India.
Wasp:
  • Unlike the highly regarded bee, the wasp is considered evil.
Worm:
  • Earth, death, decay, mortality–fun stuff!

Hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the Symbolism of Bugs! Now, I have to shower…my skin is beginning to itch!

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