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FThe praying mantis has a great deal of myth and lore associated
with it. Its name comes from the
manner in which they hold up the forepart of the body, with
its enormous front legs, as though in
an attitude of prayer.
Martial art forms in China have adopted specific movements of
the mantis into their practices.
These movements help the student reconnect with their personal
chi or energy. The discovery of
how energy moves through our body, what it is projecting and
where energy blocks are located
can be a great aid in healing ourselves. Those with this totem
would benefit from prayer,
meditation and martial arts.
These amazing creatures serve the earth and her people in various
ways. They consume large
amounts of insects helping to maintain ecological balance. Excellent
hunters with an efficient
attack strategy the praying mantis always knows the right moment
for attack and for retreat.
Time in the linear sense is irrelevant to the mantis. They move
according to their inner instincts
and remind us to do the same. Moving effortlessly between worlds
the mantis is associated with
They help us break out of linear time and move according to
our personal bio rhythms.
The praying mantis can remain motionless for an indefinite period.
This ability helps them blend
with their environment becoming invisible to predators. They
hold the secrets of materialization
and de-materialization and awaken this ability in people who
hold this medicine. Perception
through stillness is part of its teaching.
Patient, perceptive and focused this little totem holds a powerful
message. When it appears in
your life it is asking you to direct your energy, your thoughts
or your actions in a different way.
Asking the following questions can give you the insight necessary
to motivate appropriate
changes. Have I lost patience with a particular situation? Have
I been too patient, and if so, has
this had a detrimental effect on me? Is my perception correct
regarding a situation? Have I
become narrow minded? Am I focused on my objective?
from an interview with Joanne Elizabeth Lauck
The praying mantis is the oldest symbol of God, the African
Bushmans primary representative
of God on Earth. The Bushmen, (who were the first race of people
on Earth), lived in intimate
connection with the Earth and the animals. Bushman champion
Laurens van der Post was
intrigued that although the Bushmen were surrounded with all
kinds of animals, they chose an
insect to represent God. Why was that? In search of that answer
I re-introduce van der Posts
idea that with us on an archetypal level is a wilderness
self, a core identity and a foundation of
spirit with an image of God as an insect who represents a primal
creative pattern. That
wilderness self makes itself known even today in our alienated
world. It inexplicably directs the
physical praying mantis to make synchronistic appearances, particularly
when one is studying
the Bushman. It happened to me. When I was reading A Mantis
Carol by Laurens van der Post in
1984, (a true story about the praying mantis and a Bushman)
I walked out of my office and there
on the door was a praying mantis. I hadnt seen one for
20 years. Then I started to collect
similar stories. Joseph Campbell had a similar experience. He
was in New York in his hi-rise
apartment and he was writing about the Bushmen, when all of
a sudden he had an impulse to
look out of the window, and right there was a praying mantis.
The Bushmen call them the voice
of the infinite in the small, which is where the title
of my book comes from. I used it because it
really is about coming home to our wilderness self and the intuitive
creative pattern inside us
which could help us navigate the uncertain-ties of the future.
With this core identity restored,
insects will naturally be included in our circle of community
and recognized as spiritual beings.
In the Xhosa (a South Africa bantu people who have San/Bushman
blood in their ancestry)
tradition the Mantis is also seen as a sacred creature. I was
once told by a Xhosa woman that
mantis was "the one who teaches."
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