Spiritual teacher Alyson Charles trusts that animals have a way of coming to us when we need to hear their messages the most. "It's a guide trying to come into our lives, trying to get our attention," she explains.
In the case of praying mantises, they can represent everything from precision to prophecy, contemplation to deliberation, as well as vision, prayer, perception, and synchronicity, Charles explains.
If they show up around you, it could be a sign you need to make wise choices and act with precision, deepen your mindfulness practice, or be more patient. This is a creature that encourages us to slow down and connect with inner wisdom, and even sharpen our clairvoyant abilities, Charles tells mbg.
Historically, she adds, the praying mantis actually inspired a form of Kung Fu martial arts. During the Northern Song period (AD 960-1126), a Chinese Kung Fu master named Wang Lang was inspired by the movements of the praying mantis after he lost a martial arts competition.
"He watched a praying mantis trying to catch a cicada and was inspired by the agile moves of the mantis. It is said he then collected praying mantises and took them back to the Shaolin Temple to observe closely, going on to create his own form of Kung Fu inspired by the mantises moves," Charles writes in her book, Animal Power: 100 Animals to Energize Your Life and Awaken Your Soul.