When I came home a few days ago, my daughter pointed out this rather large brown praying mantis above our front door. He was actually quite the looker for a scary insect. As I studied him, his head would move and study me. He seemed to be amused by my presence. I pondered for a moment… Exactly how many of these have I seen in my lifetime? The answer is just a handful of times, and here in California, it seems they are even more elusive… But there he was. I decided he was some sort of sign, but for what I could not tell. I went into the house and he was forgotten…

Fast forward this morning. I went to bed at nearly 4am, and forgot to set my alarm. I had a deep and dreamless sleep, and when I awoke the sun was beaming through my curtains. I awoke with a start. More than a few thoughts went through my head at that moment.. Was I late? Did I miss my alarm? Where was my clock? And in that instant my eyes focused on something that seemed to be wavering just inches from my face… The Praying Mantis was on my pillow!!!!

I nearly jumped out of my skin. It was reactionary fear of course. Normally, I love these guys… I’m not afraid of them in the least. But right there on my pillow? ON MY PILLOW??? I sat next to him, and he gave me that look, the same one (I know how that sounds) and I knew it was the same one. I picked up my red pillow and I set him loose on my porch. He stayed perfectly still right in front of the door. I bent down to the ground and got a really good look at him. He was beautiful, a perfect little slice of life in this great little world we call earth.

I went about my day, decided to see if I could find some lore on Mr. Brown Mantis and discovered the following:

The 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 time travel. 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 affect on me?  Is my perception correct regarding a situation?  Have I become narrow minded? Am I focused on my objective?

So… What do you make of this?

— Claude S.