I believe a Praying Mantis to be a sacred being and I feel awe in their presence. Their front legs are characteristically held in a prayer-like posture, which is regarded as a sign of reverence, veneration and respect. It is also a form of greeting "Namaste", which means "I bow to the divinity within you from the divinity within me."
The IXam, the First People of my country, South Africa, believed Mantis (whom they called ǀKágge̥n) to be the first being and creator of the world. He was a shape-shifting trickster god (similar to Coyote and Raven from the stories of the first nations of America) who stole fire from the ostrich for humans. He was curious and watchful, observing and pondering everything he saw in silent contemplation.
A Praying Mantis embodies stillness in its slow, graceful and mindful movements, never hurrying. However, it is a deadly predator and great hunter in the insect world, waiting patiently and motionless, blending with its surroundings, suddenly grasping its prey at the most opportune time. A Praying Mantis demonstrates the great power in stillness and silence. “It teaches us to still the outer, so that when it is time to act (in any form) it is done with surety, accuracy and great power” (1).
The word “mantis”, derived from Greek, means “prophet”. Encountering a Praying Mantis may indicate that Spirit is speaking to you in a significant way and you may need to go within to find the prophecy from your Higher Self. Meditate on what is important to you. Listen to your intuition. Be mindful that your choices are in alignment with your inner self. Reduce the external clutter and unnecessary activity in your life. . When a Praying Mantis enters your life through a dream or a sighting, what you may need is peace, quiet and calm.
(1) Ted Andrews. Animal Speak (1993), p. 349
(1) Praying Mantis http://bfuword.blogspot.com/
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