Sunday, October 5, 2008

Praying Mantis Visitations

I hadn't seen a praying mantis since I was a small child in my grandparents' backyard. Now, yesterday marks the second time I've had one drop from out of nowhere inside or just outside my window in the span of a month. Eerie. (And by eerie, I mean . . . eerie. Have you seen one of these mofos up close‽ *shudder*)

Mantis Dude says the "mantis under the crescent moon in European cultures would represent a female's menstruation . . . [In] the 1920's European symbolism had crept into the Japanese culture and female 'sanitary pads' were advertised with crescent moons depicted on the women's kimono." (Well, if Mantis Dude says so, I guess I'll have to believe him. After all, he is Mantis Dude.)

Just so happens that this week was "my time of the month" and the moon is crescent-shaped right about now (according to the lunar calendar). Sorry if that's T.M.I., but, hey, it's a natural part of life, so I am going to have to ask you to just get over it. And speaking of getting over it, what's up with the quotation marks around sanitary pads? Were they not sanitary? Or not pads? Or is this just another example of society still treating menstruation like something taboo and dirty? I should probably fight my urge to send Mantis Dude a link to this.

Of course, the female praying mantis is probably most known for killing and eating the male immediately after copulation (see video below), so it has also been associated with radical feminism and "man-haters." Turns out, though, that this sex-typed cannibalism might be a behavior provoked in stressful laboratory settings when the female has been deprived of an adequate food supply and not something that actually happens independently in nature as often as has been suggested by scientists in the past.

Others say the praying mantis symbolizes peace, patience, and stillness. Particularly funny considering my purposefully ironic status update on Facebook the other day - "Cheri wants more patience . . . now." I'm going to choose to believe my praying mantis visitations are reminders to invite more peace into my life, so I'm going to try to make an effort to cultivate a little more zen in my intentions and surroundings. It's been a while sine I've done any yoga or meditated properly. I'm thinking that might be a nice place to start.


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