Working with insects

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Working with insects

Postby Heddwen » 28 Jun 2014, 18:07

I have recently been part of a discussion on another forum where I was informed that it was best not to work (magically) with insects. The person involved implied that there was some 'caution/danger' in doing so. There was no further information or explanation offered.

I regularly use The Druid Animal Oracle cards for divination. This contains the bee card, also I have worked in the past with other insects such as the butterfly, dragonfly, spider and ant. I have suffered no ill effects from doing so, in fact I have found positive results instead.

So......I am left wondering if I am missing something here. Has anyone else heard of this? Is there any 'danger' in working with insects?

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Fire oak
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Re: Working with insects

Postby Fire oak » 28 Jun 2014, 18:59

I work with butterfly all the time. Nothing dangerous about that at all. I don't know about with Druidry yet but in shamanism it's about connecting with the spirit of the animal/insect/or whatever and seeing how they will work with you. Each brings their own medicine and what is important is your sense of what that is not someone else's.
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Re: Working with insects

Postby elementalheart » 29 Jun 2014, 07:58

It may be that the person who advised this was influenced by someone with a lineage back to Michael Harner and the early shamanic writing Way of the Shaman, or his peers. Way is a classic text but one which Harner himself and other later practitioners agree was a little naive in some ways. He originally said that insects and snakes were signs of illness, disease and danger when doing spiritual work/journeying, but later amended his words when he realised that he experienced them in that way while intentionally seeking illness disease and danger ie in healing ritual etc and they were a form he and many people could see in a negative light so his psyche created a link and assumed it was the obvious cause. But if looking for an animal guide and a spider or snake arrived, someone might read his work and think they were evil or deserved a 'bad' guide which is far from the case. There was also the ego thing about big carnivores being more powerful than small ones or prey animals which, with a few exceptions, rarely appeared in the warrior accounts of indigenous cultures for obvious reasons. Harner et al changed their views and focused more on intention and readiness ie what you were looking for and what your mind could interpret in a useful way for that purpose. But the original view had an appeal and didn't always get corrected in those that developed or moved to other traditions so it is quite a widespread belief in some circles.

In fact spiders are hugely effective animal guides to work with for creativity (weaving), tenacity (think Robert the Bruce!), patience in goal achievement (web predator) and so on, while snakes were attributed healing status way before they got a bad press in the Christian tradition - the caduceus medical symbol of intertwined snakes also forms a DNA helix..

I guess it's about attitude and looking through fearful traditional teachings to find ones own truth. For me snake is both a healing guide (diagnostics in particular) but also a trance enhancer, a dancer and a transformational guide (skin shedding and growth). I was inspired by a fly around the time I gave up the day job to go self employed a few years ago. And I know the value of hedgehogs, mice and other small animals as powerful as any other manifestation of spirit if the ego isn't too busy looking for something to be impressed by ;) Bees and butterflies are obvious positive guides, pollinators, transformed creatures, community builders etc, ditto ants. It's how you look at them that counts, not what anyone in fear says - phobia is behaviourally transmitted, often unintentionally, through generations and it is easier for some to believe that myth than open the mind to the wonders we now take for granted in the years since David Attenborough arrived in our homes and showed natural world beauty in very small packages..
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Re: Working with insects

Postby Mannan » 26 Aug 2014, 10:57

The ancient belief was that insects (which often have a worm-like larval form) were of the class called 'serpents' and thus associated with the world of death and decay. Perhaps this is why the Isle of Man's 'fairy doctors' (seers and intercessors with the otherworld) viewed the appearance of insects on the herbs they lifted for their oracles as sometimes betokening death. Presumably the Irish and Scots seers had similar traditions? Flying creatures in Celtic culture were associated with souls, and flies sure love helping dispose of dead bodies! People used to believe that 'serpents' (by which I mean maggots) were generated by dead bodies... Of course, the original Celtic and Paleo-European traditions of death were not associated so much with connotations of fear and negativity - this was completed with Europe's nominal Christianisation, perhaps by the 15thC following the great plague mortalities. Death to the ancients implied regeneration and fertilisation, and many reasonably well-understood religious mystery cults (Orphism, Dionysia, the Eleusinian mysteries, Apollo's cult at Delphi etc) celebrated this. Christianity just borrowed the idea and modified it.
As, then, to the question about 'working' with insects: Sure, why not? If 'working' means understanding the mystery of them. You might find aspects of what you discover disturbing, but therein is the mystery of the 'serpent' and the 'gates to the underworld'...

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