By Phoenix the Elder – Cicadas are very unique because they live in retreat and underground for most of their life. They are active underground, tunneling and feeding and not sleeping nor hibernating as commonly thought. They emerge from the ground as nymphs. Nymphs climb the nearest available tree, and begin to shed their nymph exoskeleton.
That right there is the essence of this totem. A long journey of struggle, not a life that lives in the sunshine and light in order to mature. Then their day finally comes where they enter the fertility of life and sing their song. Its short lived, but it is wonderful. If we apply that to why cicada has come to be in our presence, the time of your underworld life, or karma or struggle has now completed its cycle.
Insect totems in general, are about the smaller, more intimate nature of the self and the reflective nature of its life. They are always busy, working hard, being productive but not basking in the glory like Dragonfly or Ladybug. Their symbolism is about structure (since they are the ones) who keep the earth growing, transforming, decaying, breaking down and rebirthing. Without them or bugs like them, life would not be a fertile place to life.
They have been around for millions of years like the mosquito which makes them a symbol of longevity, of time and cycles coinciding with nature and the seasons of life and its the season of abundance and fullness of Summer. Transferring this as a totem, it means this cycles of life, its seasons and our nature of death and rebirth, becomes one of the main associations of our struggles and to see meaning in that.
Lately I have had one cicada show up wherever I am at and the single lone cicada makes sure that i know its present. In a strange way, it brings some comfort. I have never been afraid of bugs and insects and know how important they are to the life cycle, to plants and even to animals. Humans don’t care for them very much, but I see their important nature that is in tune with the root or primordial earth.
Cicadas are symbols for the past and past life and the present. They experience metamorphosis which relates to both reincarnation, and changes within reincarnation and karma, these death and rebirth cycles of the spiritual life of the soul.
They do speak to individuals directly, not only through their song but in the messages that their lives send. Cicadas as a totem guides aid in the development, recognition, and emergence of the self throughout the various phases of the life cycle. If you have been doing something or struggling a long time, Cicadas come to tell you the fullness is here.
This is why they sing, they live a long time in silence underground, and only get to sound their trumpets once every 13 years and once every 17 years. They have a relationship to the yearly 3 Moons. In the more scientific perspective, Biologist Keith Clay of Indiana University says 13 and 17 are prime numbers, meaning they can’t be divided evenly by any other number except one. The main hypothesis is that it’s very difficult for predators to have a similar life cycle which keeps them safe.
So look back at what you were doing 13 years ago and 17 years ago if a Cicada has shown up, but only judge that against when they reemerged. For me, where I live, the Cicada’s came out in 2015 in their 17 year cycle. So the one appearing now is a totem because its not in its normal appearance.
They may appear to those who have lived in retreat, isolation, seclusion and struggle and say that long cycle is now completed. This is because they live in the underground (symbol for the underworld) for much of their life, just like those who have suffered much of their life.
Because they shed their skin like the butterfly, it is a symbol of shedding your own skin now. Its when you feel completely lost and do not know where to look or what to do, that they say your new beginning or great transformation is coming. Because they come late July and August, this means that the change that comes will be in Autumn
When the cicada comes forth from the underworld (under ground), a rebirth is occurring for you and those are slow, just like the cicada is slow and moves slow and sings slowly.
Their sound is very unique. My ears ring a lot from deeper dreaming than normal and to me the sound of the ringing in my ear sounds exactly like a cicada, so for me, the ear ringing doesn’t bother me at all. I remember many nights as a child, listening to the comforting sounds of cicada’s in the country and the frogs in June.
Because they rule cycles and not every summer season, just one every 13 or 17 years, if they show up, it means you start a new 17 or 13 year cycle and have finished the old one. If you’ve been experiencing a long and hard spiritual journey for the last 17 years, just know that its about to change. For those that have not, know that it might begin.