Discovering the Meaning: What Does Cicada Symbolize and its Significance in Mythology and Culture

Summer is here and so are the cicadas! These insects make a deafening noise that you can hear from a distance, but have you ever wondered what they actually symbolize? Cicadas are commonly known for their noisy chirping, but they hold a deeper meaning in many cultures. They are often associated with rebirth, transformation, and immortality. In ancient Chinese culture, the cicada was a powerful symbol of immortality and spiritual transcendence, believed to live in the earth for years before emerging. In Japanese mythology, cicadas were seen as symbols of good fortune and prosperity, especially in the month of August when cicadas are most active.

The cicada’s lifecycle has a significant symbolism, as well. After spending years underground, cicadas emerge from the earth as adults, ready to mate and lay their eggs. This process is often seen as a symbol of rebirth and transformation. The cicada’s period underground represents a sort of hibernation or dormancy, and their emergence symbolizes a reawakening and renewal. The cicada’s song is another important aspect of its symbolism. Some cultures believe the cicada’s song is a form of meditation or a call to the divine, while others see it as a metaphor for the continuation of life beyond death.

The symbolism of the cicada is not limited to culture or mythology, as it also holds significance in our daily lives. The cicada’s loud, persistent song can be seen as a call to action, a reminder to speak up and be heard. Their emergence from the ground can encourage us to embrace change and growth, to shed old layers and emerge as something new. And their association with immortality can offer comfort in times of grief, reminding us that life continues even after death. The cicada may be a small insect, but its symbolism is vast and powerful.

Symbolism of Cicada in Ancient Cultures

The cicada may be a small and common insect, but it holds a significant role in ancient cultures all over the world. Different cultures perceived cicadas in unique ways, assigning spiritual, cultural, and historical symbolism to the creature.

  • In ancient China, cicadas were believed to represent rebirth and immortality. Cicadas are only seen in their adult form during the hot months of summer, once every 17 years. This long hiatus from visibility led ancient Chinese scholars to believe that cicadas undergo a form of spiritual rebirth and rejuvenation beneath the ground. The creature was also linked to the gods of music, representing a symbol of divine inspiration.
  • In Greece, cicadas were associated with music as well, as they were believed to be the favorite instrument of the Muses, the goddesses of the arts. Cicadas were also linked to the afterlife, with Greeks believing that the sound of cicada chirping represented the sound of lost souls.
  • In Japan, cicadas hold a special place in poetry and literature. The insect plays a role in the famous haiku by Matsuo Basho, where he writes that the cicada‚Äôs song is “only a name, but it echoes off the silent hills and through the valleys.” The cicada represents the brevity of life and the passage of time in Japanese culture.

The significance of the cicada is a testament to how small things can carry powerful meanings in different cultures. The creature has been assigned different symbolisms in various cultures, but what remains is the notion that the cicada represents the human fascination with the beauty of nature and the mysteries of life.

Cicada as a Symbol of Rebirth and Renewal

The cicada is not just a noisy insect that appears after a long hibernation period of 17 years or so, it also symbolizes deep spiritual meanings that humans have been able to draw on for centuries. One of those meanings is that it represents rebirth and renewal.

Cicadas go through a metamorphosis process where they spend a great deal of their life in a cocoon and then emerge as a different creature altogether. From this analogy, we can draw on the significance of the cicada as a symbol of renewal. Just like the cicada, a human can go through stages of growth, development, and maturation. These stages may be challenging, and we may experience significant changes along the way, but ultimately, we also emerge as new people with the potential to live a completely different life.

  • The cicada’s life cycle represents the power of transformation.
  • The cicada teaches us that changes in our lives can be challenging, but they also bring opportunities for growth and renewal.
  • The cicada represents pushing through the darkness and coming out into the light.

The cicada is also a symbol of renewal because it reminds us that everything has a natural cycle. Sometimes, things may seem bleak, difficult, or hopeless, but it is essential to remember that life is cyclical. Renewal is an integral part of the natural cycle, and the cicada’s metamorphosis represents this perfectly. It is a reminder to us all that we can emerge from the worst of circumstances to start again with a fresh perspective.

Below is a table that highlights some of the essential characteristics of the cicada as a symbol of rebirth and renewal:

Characteristics Significance
Transformation Life changes can be viewed as an opportunity to transform into something new.
Natural cycles Everything in life has a natural cycle, including rebirth and renewal.
Emergence Pushing through difficult times can lead to emerging into something new and beautiful.

In conclusion, cicadas are more than just noisy insects; they are symbols of rebirth and renewal. We can learn a lot from these creatures about how to push through challenging times, embrace change, and come out on the other side as completely new people. With each cicada’s emergence, we are reminded that everything in life is cyclical, and new beginnings are all around us if we are open to them.

Cicada Symbolism in Literature and Poetry

In literature and poetry, the cicada has been used as a symbol for various ideas and emotions.

Cicadas have been associated with the “voice of the trees” and the idea of renewal and rebirth. In ancient Chinese literature, cicadas were often used as a symbol of rebirth and immortality. The cicadas’ shedding of their skin was seen as a rebirth, and their long life was associated with immortality.

In Japanese literature, cicadas are a symbol of the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Their songs are thought to be a reminder that the seasons are changing, and they are often used to evoke a sense of nostalgia and longing for the past.

  • In William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” cicadas are mentioned as a symbol of peace and quiet in the natural world.
  • In John Keats’ poem “Ode to a Nightingale,” cicadas are referenced as a symbol of the natural world’s beauty and its fleeting nature.
  • In the Greek myth of Tithonus, a man is turned into a cicada, symbolizing his inability to die and escape his endless life.

Cicadas can also symbolize persistence and perseverance. Due to their long lifespan and resilience, they can be seen as a metaphor for overcoming obstacles and persisting through adversity.

The Cicada and the Ant is a fable by the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop. The fable tells the story of a carefree cicada who spends the summer singing and dancing while the ant works hard to store food for the winter. When winter comes, the ant is prepared while the cicada is left hungry and cold. The fable is often interpreted as a lesson in the importance of hard work and preparation.

Author Title Symbology
William Butler Yeats The Lake Isle of Innisfree Peace and quiet in the natural world
John Keats Ode to a Nightingale Natural world’s beauty and its fleeting nature
Aesop The Cicada and the Ant Importance of hard work and preparation

In conclusion, the cicada’s symbolism in literature and poetry varies greatly depending on the culture and context. As a symbol of rebirth and immortality or as a reminder of the changing seasons, the cicada has been used for centuries to evoke a range of emotions and ideas. Its resilience and perseverance have also been interpreted as a lesson in the importance of hard work and preparation.

The cicada’s significance in Chinese mythology

In Chinese mythology, the cicada holds a significant place and is associated with various myths, legends, and symbolism. The insect is seen as a symbol of rebirth, immortality, and transformation. In this article, we will explore the significance of the cicada in Chinese mythology, the various myths and legends surrounding it, and its cultural symbolism.

The Number 4 in Cicada Symbolism

The number 4 is a powerful symbol in Chinese culture and the cicada symbolizes various aspects of it. The number 4 is associated with death, misfortune, and bad luck in Chinese culture. The reason for this is that the Chinese word for the number four sounds similar to the word for death. This belief is so strong that many buildings in China do not have a fourth floor, with the elevator buttons jumping from the third floor to the fifth floor.

The cicada’s life cycle is divided into four stages: egg, nymph, adult, and death. The insect stays in the nymph stage for a long time, and the adult stage lasts only a few weeks. The cicada then dies, but its shedding skin remains intact. This symbolizes the cycle of life and death and the idea of reincarnation.

The cicada’s association with the number 4 is also seen in the symbolism of the four seasons. In Chinese mythology, the insect is associated with summer and the south direction. The other three seasons represent the north, east, and west directions and are associated with different animals.

Season Direction Animal
Summer South Cicada
Winter North Tortoise
Spring East Dragon
Fall West Phoenix

The cicada’s significance in Chinese mythology is vast and fascinating, and the association with the number 4 adds another layer of symbolism to this already intriguing insect.

Cicada Symbolism in Native American Culture

Cicadas have symbolized different things to Native American cultures, depending on the region and tribe. For some, the cicada represents rebirth and immortality while for others, it is associated with good luck, prosperity, and transformation. The cicada’s ability to shed its old skin and grow a new one has contributed to its representation of transformation.

  • The Hopi tribe associates the cicada with a warrior spirit and connects its song to the thunder that accompanies lightning.
  • The Navajo tribe sees the cicada as a protective spirit and a symbol of abundance, fertility, and healing.
  • The Zuni tribe views the cicada as the bringer of summer rains and a symbol of renewal and transformation.

The Hopi creation story tells of two cicada sisters who helped to create the world. The sisters sang and danced, and their song was so beautiful that it was heard all the way to the heavens. This led to the creation of the earth and sky.

The cicada’s life cycle, which involves spending several years underground before emerging, has also contributed to its symbolism of resurrection. Some Native American tribes saw the cicada’s emergence as a sign that the dead were returning to the living world, bringing with them messages from the other side.

Tribe Cicada Symbolism
Hopi Warrior spirit, thunder, rebirth
Navajo Protective spirit, abundance, fertility, healing
Zuni Summer rains, renewal, transformation

Overall, the cicada holds great significance in Native American culture and is a symbol of transformation, protection, abundance, and life’s cycles. Its distinctive sound, the shedding of its skin, and its emergence from the ground give it a unique place in native folklore and mythology.

Cicada as a Symbol of Longevity and Immortality

The cicada, with its ability to spend most of its life underground before emerging to live a brief and vibrant existence, has become a powerful symbol of immortality and longevity across many cultures. Its remarkable ability to survive and grow over several years before finally shedding its exoskeleton and taking flight has inspired people for centuries, leading them to associate this amazing insect with ideas of eternal life and youthful vitality.

  • In Chinese mythology, the cicada is viewed as a symbol of rebirth and immortality, and is often depicted in literature and art as an icon of hope and eternal youth. Ancient Chinese poets and scholars have written extensively about the cicada, comparing its life cycle to the human experience and using it as a metaphor for the cycle of death and rebirth.
  • The ancient Greeks and Romans also revered the cicada, seeing in its transformation from a lowly nymph to a beautiful, singing adult insect a sign of the power of nature to renew and refresh life. According to legend, the goddess Athena gifted the cicada with the power of song in recognition of its beautiful voice, further elevating its association with the divine and the immortal.
  • Across many cultures, the number 6 has also come to be associated with the cicada. This is due to the fact that many cicada species take six or more years to mature before emerging from the ground, and because they typically only emerge every six or so years in large numbers. As a result, the cicada has become a potent symbol of patience, perseverance, and longevity, inspiring many people to strive for similar qualities in themselves.

In modern times, the cicada continues to hold an important place in our collective imagination. Scientists continue to study its incredible life cycle and unique behavioral patterns, while artists, writers, and musicians draw inspiration from its beauty and resilience. As we continue to explore the mysteries of the natural world, the cicada remains a mysterious and captivating creature, reminding us of the powerful connection between life, death, and rebirth.

Symbol Meaning
Rebirth In many cultures, the cicada represents the idea of rebirth and renewal, as it transforms from a crawling nymph to a singing, vibrant adult insect.
Immortality The cicada’s ability to live underground for years before bursting forth into a brief, brilliant existence has inspired many people to associate it with ideas of eternal life and youthful vitality.
Patience and perseverance Given that many cicada species take six or more years to mature before emerging from the ground, the cicada has become a potent symbol of patience, perseverance, and longevity.

Whether seen as a symbol of rebirth, immortality, or simply as a reminder of the power of nature and the importance of patience and perseverance, the cicada is a fascinating and inspiring creature. Its unique life cycle and resilience continue to inspire us to explore the mysteries of the natural world, and to strive for greatness, whether that means achieving long life, creative success, or a deeper spiritual connection to the world around us.

Cicada Symbolism in Christianity and the Bible

The cicada has been associated with various meanings throughout history, particularly in ancient cultures. In Christianity and the Bible, the cicada represents different concepts such as prosperity, resurrection, and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let’s take a closer look at the symbolism of the number 7 in relation to the cicada.

The Significance of the Number 7

  • The number 7 is often considered as the number of completion and perfection in the Bible.
  • It is also related to the seven days of creation and the seventh day, which is the day of rest according to the story of Genesis.
  • Moreover, there are seven spiritual gifts that God bestowed on the Holy Spirit, namely wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

Given the importance of the number 7 in Christianity, it is no surprise that the cicada is associated with this mystical number.

The Cicada and the Number 7

One of the most fascinating things about cicadas is that they spend most of their life underground, only to emerge after a specific amount of time. Their appearance above ground is tied to the number 7 in various ways:

  • Cicadas usually emerge from the ground after a period of seven years, and some species have a 17-year cycle, which is a multiple of 7.
  • Once they’re above ground, it takes them seven days to molt and transform into their adult form.
  • Finally, cicadas have two pairs of wings that are placed at a 70-degree angle, which can be interpreted as a reference to the number 7.

These connections between the cicada and the number 7 have led some people to interpret the cicada’s emergence as a symbol of rebirth, renewal, and spiritual transformation.

Cicada Symbolism in Christian Art

The cicada can also be seen in some works of Christian art and architecture. For example, in the Cathedral of Siena in Italy, there is a pulpit that features a carving of a cicada on a leaf. This carving is thought to represent the idea of spiritual rebirth and resurrection, as the cicada emerges from the ground after a long period of dormancy.

Symbolism Meaning
Resurrection The cicada’s emergence from underground is seen as a symbol of the resurrection of Christ and the promise of eternal life.
Transformation The cicada’s molting process is a metaphor for the transformative power of faith and spiritual growth.
Rebirth The cicada’s emergence after a long period of dormancy represents the idea of being reborn and starting anew.

Overall, the cicada’s symbolism in Christianity and the Bible emphasizes the importance of spiritual growth, perseverance, and renewal. As we see the cicada emerge from the ground every few years, we can be reminded of the potential for transformation and renewal in our own lives.

Cicada as a Symbol of Perseverance and Resilience

One of the most noteworthy characteristics of cicadas is their unwavering perseverance and resilience. These insects spend years underground, enduring harsh conditions and extreme temperatures before finally emerging as adults. Their patience and perseverance in completing their life cycle is an admirable feat that has earned them a reputation as a symbol of endurance and hard work.

The Number 8 and Cicada Symbolism

  • The number 8 is highly significant in Chinese culture and is often associated with good luck and fortune. In fact, the word for “eight” in Chinese sounds similar to the word for “prosperity” or “wealth”.
  • Cicadas spend about eight years underground before emerging as adults. This connection to the number 8 has led to cicadas being seen as a symbol of good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture.
  • Furthermore, the Chinese mythology states that the cicada symbolizes immortality, resurrection, and rebirth. This is because of the annual cycle that cicadas go through, where they seemingly die and then are reborn as new adults.

The Resilience of the Cicada

In addition to their association with the number 8 and good fortune, cicadas are also known for their resilience. As mentioned before, cicadas face numerous challenges during their time underground – including predators, harsh weather conditions, and sun exposure. Despite these obstacles, they persist and emerge as thriving adults.

Their ability to survive and thrive in the face of such adversity serves as an inspiration to many. It reminds us that even when things are tough, we must persevere and keep going. We must have the patience and resilience of the cicada if we want to achieve great things in life.

Cicada Symbolism in Different Cultures

While cicadas hold significant meaning in Chinese culture, they are also revered in other cultures across the world. In Japan, for instance, cicadas are seen as a symbol of the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. In ancient Greece, cicadas were revered as a symbol of poetic inspiration and resurrection.

Culture Symbolism
China Good luck, prosperity, resurrection, and rebirth
Japan The end of summer and the beginning of autumn
Greece Poetic inspiration and resurrection

Overall, cicadas have become a significant symbol of perseverance, resilience, and good fortune in many cultures throughout history. They remind us of the importance of patience, hard work, and endurance in achieving our goals in life.

Cicada Symbolism in Japanese Culture

Cicadas are a common motif in Japanese culture and art, symbolizing both positive and negative concepts. They have inspired numerous poems, songs, and paintings, and their distinctive sound is associated with the arrival of summer.

The Number 9

The number 9 holds special significance in Japanese culture and is often linked to cicada symbolism. This is because the cicada’s life cycle lasts for 17 years, which is a multiple of 9. In ancient Japanese numerology, the number 9 was considered a sacred number, signifying completion and perfection.

There are also nine species of cicadas native to Japan, each with its own unique symbolism. For example, the Meimuna opalifera, also known as the “evening cicada,” is associated with the moon and considered a symbol of fragility and transience. In contrast, the Hyalessa maculaticollis, or “aburazemi cicada,” is known for its robustness and is associated with strength and longevity.

Other Symbolism

  • Cicadas are often portrayed in Japanese art as a symbol of summer and the passage of time.
  • Their ability to emerge from their shells and transform into a completely different form is seen as a symbol of rebirth and renewal.
  • In some traditional Japanese folktales, cicadas are depicted as messengers of the gods or as a symbol of an ancestor’s spirit returning to visit the living.

Cicadas in Modern Japan

Despite their rich cultural symbolism, cicadas are often viewed as a nuisance by modern-day Japanese people. The loud buzzing sound they make can be heard from miles away and can disrupt outdoor activities and conversations.

Cicada Species Symbolism
Meimuna opalifera Moon, fragility, transience
Hyalessa maculaticollis Strength, longevity
Cyclochila australasiae Summer, joy

However, many Japanese people still have a fondness for these insects and their association with summer. Some even collect their discarded shells as a nostalgic reminder of childhood summers.

In conclusion, Cicada symbolism in Japanese culture is complex and multifaceted, with different meanings depending on the context. The number 9 plays a significant role in cicada symbolism, representing completion, perfection, and the insect’s life cycle. Cicadas are also associated with summer, rebirth, renewal, and spirituality, making them an important cultural icon in Japan.

Cicada as a symbol of transformation and growth

Throughout history, cicadas have been used in various cultures and religions as a symbol of transformation and growth. Cicadas are known for their unique life cycle, which involves a period of underground dormancy, followed by a radical transformation into an adult form. This process is seen by many as a metaphor for personal growth and transformation.

  • One of the key aspects of the cicada’s transformation is the number 10. Cicadas spend 10 years underground before emerging as adults. This period of dormancy is often seen as a time of preparation and introspection, where the cicada is developing the strength and resilience needed to survive its adult life.
  • For many, the number 10 is seen as a symbol of completion and achievement. In numerology, the number 10 represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. This idea is reflected in the cicada’s life cycle, where the decade-long period of dormancy represents the end of one stage of life and the emergence as an adult represents the beginning of a new one.
  • The cicada’s emergence is also seen as a symbol of rebirth and renewal. The dramatic transformation from a subterranean larva to an adult with wings and a powerful song represents a new beginning and a fresh start. This message of hope and renewal is one that resonates with many people, especially during times of difficulty and uncertainty.

The symbolism of the cicada as a representation of transformation and growth has appealed to many throughout history. Whether used as a personal symbol of strength and resilience or as a cultural emblem of hope and renewal, the cicada’s message is one that continues to inspire and motivate today.

Symbolism Meaning
Transformation The cicada’s unique life cycle represents personal growth and change.
Resilience The decade-long period of dormancy represents a time of inner preparation and strength-building.
Completion The end of the cicada’s dormancy is seen as the completion of one stage of life and the beginning of another.
Rebirth The cicada’s emergence as an adult represents a new beginning and a fresh start.

Overall, the cicada’s symbolism as a representation of transformation and growth is one that has resonated with people for centuries. Whether viewed as a personal symbol of strength and resilience or as a larger cultural symbol of hope and renewal, the cicada’s message is one that continues to inspire and motivate today.

What Does Cicada Symbolize FAQs

1. What is the cultural significance of cicadas?

In many cultures, cicadas are seen as symbols of rebirth, immortality, and transformation. They are also believed to represent good luck, abundance, and new beginnings.

2. What do cicadas symbolize in Christianity?

In Christianity, cicadas are often associated with resurrection and the afterlife. They are also seen as a symbol of salvation and deliverance.

3. What do cicadas represent in Japan?

In Japan, cicadas are seen as symbols of summer and are often featured in traditional art and literature. They are also seen as a symbol of perseverance and resilience.

4. What does a cicada mean in Native American culture?

In some Native American cultures, cicadas are believed to be messengers of hope and renewal. They are also seen as a symbol of transformation and spiritual growth.

5. What is the connection between cicadas and rebirth?

Cicadas spend most of their lives underground, only emerging after several years to mate and lay eggs before dying shortly after. This life cycle is often seen as a symbol of rebirth and renewal.

6. What do cicadas symbolize in Chinese culture?

Cicadas have long been believed to be symbols of rebirth and immortality in Chinese culture. They are also associated with high virtue and grace.

7. What is the spiritual significance of cicadas?

Many spiritual traditions see cicadas as symbols of transformation and transcendence. They are often associated with inner growth, spiritual awakening, and enlightenment.

Closing: Thanks for Exploring the World of Cicada Symbolism with Us!

We hope you enjoyed learning about the rich history and cultural significance of cicadas. Whether you believe in their spiritual power or simply admire their fascinating life cycle, these insects have been a source of inspiration for centuries. Don’t forget to check back for more informative reads!