I always get excited when I see a praying mantis. This one landed on my son Mike’s arm last evening (he was here overnight en route this morning to Mauritius for a working 2 weeks) and he transferred it to a geranium leaf. It was tiny … less than 1/2 inch maybe 4 cm. A baby …
Why do I get excited? Well, it is a symbol of much. The praying mantis was believed by the African Bushmen to be a symbol of God. They believed it was a manifestation of God, and when they saw one, they tried to discern its message. The word ‘mantis’ is a Greek word meaning ‘prophet’ and is a reference to mystical or spiritual powers.
The mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives. Usually the mantis makes an appearance when our lives and the world seem chaotic, so much so we can no longer hear the still, small voice within us because of the outer noise that surrounds us.
We’ve been living on a knife’s edge here in South Africa. We expected our Finance Minister Mr. Pravin Gordhan along with two colleagues to appear in the High Court tomorrow on fraud charges. There were plans to get myself and a few friends off to Pretoria tomorrow to take part in the protests. The support for the Minister is very strong from all quarters, the public, government ministers, business, civil society – Min. Gordhan has commandeered us through some very tricky waters. The head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Adv. Shaun Abrahams has been after Mr Gordhan for a long while. Yesterday, at a press conference, Abrahams dropped charges against Mr Gordhan and his two co-accused and Abrahams has egg on his face. Now there are calls for Abrahams to fall on his sword, and he and his pathetic minions to disappear off the face of the earth.
We’re awaiting the release of the Public Protector’s report in which it is purported that our president has allowed our government to be captured by the Gupta Family (like the mafiosa), for nefarious reasons. There is every reason to believe so. Nuclear deal with the Russians for several billion rands, dollars, whatever currency? When we have the best wind and solar resources? And not that much money to spend on yet more state deals when for example our national air carrier is running into a few billion rands debt for the last few years running. Pres. Zuma and his cohorts are doing their best to not have it released. We’re undergoing our own Watergate – there are calls to have the president impeached.
After observing this creature for any length of time you can see why the symbolism of the praying mantis deals with stillness and patience. The mantis takes her time, and lives her life at her own silent pace. A reminder of the beauty of nature – its calm and storm – its unexpectedness –
I once had one on my desk. I’ve seen one once or twice on a plant just outside my study. I once saw one on the wall behind me when I was lounging outside on the deck at a game lodge.Their appearances are rare. When I see a lady bird, I also feel something within. A reminder of the beauty of nature and to bring that stilness within amidst the turmoil of the world.
It rained a bit last evening. And now as I write, it is raining. It is so much needed. It has cooled things down by a degree or two. We need the skies to fall and to cleanse this land we call home, to wash away the dust and grime that clings to us in so many ways.
The praying mantis gives me hope.
Thank you for reading – may the Force be with you and us all –
From whence arrived the praying man
From outer space, or lost Atlantis?
I glimpse the grim, green metal mug
That masks this pseudo-saintly bug,
Orthopterous, also carnivorous,
And faintly whisper, Lord deliver us.
— Ogden Nash