Praying Mantis Meaning And Symbolism

Image source: Wikipedia

The Praying Mantis meaning and symbolism has existed for centuries, while it is simultaneously an insect and a spiritual symbol, it also represents patience and stillness.


But what is this insect really like and why do its symbolism and meaning come from? If you would like all there is to know about the Praying Mantis you have come to the right place.

The Mantis

Although commonly known as the Praying Mantis the insect’s name is simply Mantis (plural mantises).

Manties belong to the Matodea insects, to which as many as 2,400 species belong; the Mantis is just one of those species.

Mantises live in both temperate and tropical climates all around the world.

Beijing was such a different city. There were so few cars, I could walk in the middle of the road. In the summer, the streetlamps attracted swirling bugs. I loved those bugs: crickets, praying mantis, all kinds of beetles. I also have a vivid memory of dazzling sunlight coming out of the sky. – Ma Jun

They are easily recognizable because of their physical appearance. They have elongated bodies (sometimes winged), and long forelegs; their triangular heads, which are supported by a long and flexible neck, contain two bulging eyes. They usually stand upright with their arms folded and they use their long forelegs to catch their prey. They get their common name, Praying Mantis, because of their posture and the folding of their arms.

Image source: Wikipedia

One of the most shocking characteristics of many species of the Praying Matis, particularly the one known as Mantis religiosa, is sexual cannibalism.

The Symbolism of the Praying Mantis

The main symbolism of the Praying Mantis comes partly from its posture, as we said. But it has also something to do with the time it deploys in every little thing she does always moving extremely slowly and meticulously. Often, the Mantis just stands still for long periods of time.

Image source: Wikipedia

Many people have derived teachings that could be applied to human beings, translating Pray Mantis’s behavior into attitudes that could make people’s lives more spiritual by harnessing concentration and stillness.

The traits that have been observed in the Praying Mantis and that some people would like to emulate include quietness, meditation, stability, peacefulness, and patience.

Following from that, it could be said that those qualities produce wisdom. It is generally held that wisdom can often only come from quietness and stillness because that is what is necessary to foster wisdom.

It is also often believed that wisdom can only truly be obtained with old age, if at all.


The Praying Mantis symbolizes that internal peace that only people who get their priorities right, putting aside hectic work schedules and do not let stressful lifestyles to overrun their lives.

What is the Meaning of Praying Mantis Symbolism?

Over time, the Praying Mantis has come to symbolize the following traits:

All these traits come from the pose the mantis adopts before striking their prey. It is in this pose, that some people have seen both patience and balance.

Image source: Wikipedia

The reality, however, is that the mantis has developed those traits in order to surprise. If they move less carefully and strikes just a moment too soon, their prey will get away from them and they will go hungry. That is why the mantis is careful, precise and always takes its time when catching prey.

But what could we, human beings, learn from the Praying Mantis?

Just look at what happens when your timing is off, whatever you are trying to do. What usually happens then is that we may struggle to get what we wanted, sometimes creating unnecessary hurdles in our pursuits. Sometimes, if our timing is off we might even ruin our chances completely. Think back to instances in your own life and you will most probably find plenty of examples when your timing being off jeopardized or even blew some of your opportunities for success.

Observing the Praying Mantis we can perhaps learn that balance and stillness can only increase of our awareness and that, in turn, can only make us more bound to recognize what the perfect moment in which to strike metaphorically is. Acting impatiently is never a good idea. Although some people may think that being still and seemingly doing nothing is a waste of time if we observe the behavior of the Praying Mantis we could learn that having patience will often yield far better results for us.

Mindfulness is all about being in the moment, observing not just our surroundings but also ourselves. Knowing when and where to strike. We might still be unsuccessful, of course, as the praying mantis is, no matter how much mindful and still we manage to be. But our chances of success will increase.

Achieving serenity and remaining calm is particularly challenging in our stressful work. But recognizing that we create a lot of that stress by ourselves, albeit unintentionally, is the first step toward serenity and mindfulness.

Living like the praying mantis means making profound changes into how we approach most things in life. And that, like all profound changes, will take some time. In other words, mindfulness cannot be reached overnight.

What Does It Mean to Dream of a Praying Mantis?

It is actually fairly common to dream about praying mantis. If someone dreams of this insect, it usually means that the symbolism of the praying mantis has crept into that person’s subconscious.

Dreams, in general, can indicate that your subconscious is trying to take over to realign your judgment or trying to mend a broken concentration in your waking life. As long, as you can see through the symbolism of your dreams clearly, it is often a good idea to let such dreams influence you.

Dreaming with a praying mantis could be taken as a sign that your subconscious is telling you to become calmed and still, and not rush into any decision or action. These could be important life lessons.

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Cite this article as:
Juan Ramos, MA. Praying Mantis Meaning And Symbolism, Science Trends, 2018. Available at:
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