Cicada Symbolism – Spiritual Meaning Of The Mysterious Insect

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Cicada Symbolism

The cicada is a mysterious creature that has long been associated with symbolism and mythology. This insect can be found all over the world and is known for its unique sound and appearance. Cicadas are often seen as a symbol of rebirth, transformation, and change. They can also represent new beginnings, optimism, and hope. In this blog post, we will explore the symbolism and meaning of the cicada animal totem. We will also discuss the spiritual significance of this fascinating creature!

A cicada symbolizes a superabundant flow of energy and positivism. There are times when people have come in contact with the cicada either while it’s emerging from the ground or moving around in a brood and noticed a positive shift in their lives from that moment. 

empty cicada shell

The positive shift is usually remarkable and that’s why this homopteran insect stands as a symbol of certitude. It also symbolizes fresh beginnings, love, and confidence.  

In this writeup, we would be focusing on what this hemipteran insect symbolizes, its spiritual meaning, and also addressing the symbolism of a dead cicada.

“Do you know the legend about cicadas? They say they are the souls of poets who cannot keep quiet because, when they were alive, they never wrote the poems they wanted to.”

– John Berger

What does a Cicada symbolize?

The cicada symbolizes the importance of perspective and how it drives growth and progression in everything we do. There’s a learning curve to everything that happens around us. Even the toughest battles can be seen as an opportunity to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and grow. 

Its mindful nature symbolizes the need to take a step back when you face challenges to determine what the best course of action would be. Sometimes, the best reaction could be no reaction at all. The only way to know this is to trust your gut to guide you.

Giving spiritual hints and indicating the importance of timing in our lives, here’s what a cicada symbolizes:

cicada meaning patience

Hint on a forthcoming challenge 

If you encounter a cicada at a point in your life where you’re not experiencing any difficulties, struggling with a feeling of emptiness, or facing a sudden desire for drastic change, it implies that you’re up against a fierce challenge in the nearest future that will require you to trust your gut and use your imaginations and problem-solving skills to get out of. Some might see this as an obvious reason to panic, but those who are in tune with the symbolism of cicada would understand the need to prepare mentally for whatever might be coming. 

cicada on plant

The Cicada also symbolizes growth and self-rediscovery. If you see a cicada or a brood of cicadas emerging from the ground, it indicates that you’ve attained your moment of rediscovery. This would be a perfect situation if in recent times you’ve experienced overwhelming feelings of being lost or without direction. Once this happens, pay close attention to everything around you because things would start making sense to you and you’d be able to find your feet in no time.

“Again and again, the cicada’s untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth.”

– Yukio Mishima

Perfect timing 

Cicadas are the ideal spiritual metaphor for appropriate timing. It takes a periodic cicada nymph about 5 to 10 weeks to hatch from the eggs. Once that happens, this newly hatched nymph digs into the ground and remains there feeding on tree sap until it becomes a full adult ready to mate or lay eggs. 

This connotes that life in its entirety is time-driven and processes cannot be skipped. There is a time to learn, make mistakes and grow. Skipping your destined timing could disrupt the seamless flow of your life. 

animal totem

It also teaches us the importance of patience. Some things in life should not be rushed. It was established earlier that cicadas dig into the earth and remain there until full maturity. This symbolizes the need to retrace your steps, go into a period of self-reflection, rediscover who you are, and emerge later as the best version of yourself. Without this mindfulness, it is easy to lose sight of your goals, your drive, your abilities, your sense of self, and your capacity for growth and success.

Additionally, the cicada has a distinct look that makes them stand out. It has orange wings that have visible veins and bulging blood-red eyes. This reinforces the need to always appreciate the qualities that make you who you are. 

Cicada Spiritual Meaning

The cicada can fly and explore its environment without any worry about the dangers around or uncertainties. This is a sign of true liberty. The liberty to become whatever you desire, the liberty to live on your terms, and the liberty to grow at your own pace.  

Whenever you experience difficulties that limit you, the cicada will be there to reignite this desire to live freely. 

If you often find yourself unable to vocalize your thoughts and desires even at critical points where you need to do this, keep in mind that the spirit of the cicada can fill you with inner confidence. It doesn’t stop there. 

Cicada symbolizes growth

The cicada also spiritually indicates a switch from your old self to a brand new you.  In this new phase, you will have the capacity to express yourself candidly. Switching means letting go of the old version of yourself and learning new things about the world to shape your outlook on life which would bask in positivism.

“I work even in the middle of the day, in the full sunshine, and I enjoy it like a cicada.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

Thanks to the tymbal organ, the male cicada can express itself with loud sounds. This peculiar sound can reach an estimate of 90 decibels which in reality is almost as loud as a running motorcycle that stands at 95 decibels. In most cases, the male cicada makes these loud noises when it’s summer. 

Also, the sounds are an indication of mating season. The clicking noise from this hemipteran insect has become synonymous with summer. The hotter the atmosphere, the louder the sounds.

This spiritually means that you should own up to your true nature and show the world what you’re made of. If you keep cowering to the pressures from the world to conform, you’d become a shadow of yourself. That means, your life’s purpose becomes unfulfilled. If you take learning from the cicada, you’d blossom in no time and people would recognize you and appreciate you for your peculiarities.

in hands

Cicada symbolism in different cultures around the world

In some cultures, the cicada is a representation of rebirth, change, and new beginnings. This is because it spends most of its lifetime underground (up to 17 years) and only comes out for a short time to mate.


The cicada is a symbol of summer in China and has been for centuries. For the Chinese, the insect can also represent an individual’s passage through life, or more complex themes like rebirth and immortality depending on what you want to believe about them!

See below a video recording of musical mimicries of cicada sounds. Recorded at the 2013 Folklife Festival, comes from the Dimen Dong Folk Chorus from China’s Guizhou Province.

Native American culture

The Hopi people claim that two cicadas, known as “maahu” in their native language led them into this world. These curious insects played musical instruments which sounds similar to the buzzing of an angry locust (see our post about the dead locust meaning) or lawn insect and it is said these tunes heal ailments when piercers by arrows shot from eagles guard entrance into the fourth dimension.

The Hopi also believed that their ancestors had insect forms. Some suggest the humpbacked flute player found widely among Native American tribes in the southwest is actually a human form of cicadas and one group used medicine made from these bug-based ingredients on their wounded warriors hoping it would heal them for good!

The cicada also has a place in Native American culture. The insect is seen as a bringer of rain, which is essential for new life to grow. In some cultures, the cicada is also seen as a symbol of good luck.

Ancient Greek culture

The ancient Greeks thought that cicadas represented death and rebirth. They were amazed by how these insects emerged from the ground, transformed into an adult then died back down again in order to repeat this cycle all over again 

The Life of Every insect is like a story with many stages-even those pesky bugs we call “cicada.” The word comes from the Greek language meaning “to twice” because these critters breed once before dying off two times!

“Don’t buy society’s definition of success. Because it’s not working for anyone. It’s not working for women, it’s not working for men, it’s not working for polar bears, it’s not working for the cicadas that are apparently about to emerge and swarm us. It’s only truly working for those who make pharmaceuticals for stress, sleeplessness and high blood pressure.”

Arianna Huffington

Dead Cicada Symbolism

There are two directions to the symbolism of seeing a dead cicada. The first indicates a need to clean your spiritual connection with mother nature. This can be done by changing your mindset about the things around you, paying close attention to your body, and practicing meditation.  

The second indicates the death of something in your life that no longer serves any function in your life and bears no relevance to your journey ahead.

Whichever way you choose to look at the symbolism of a dead cicada, it ties back to your need to step back, evaluate and practice mindfulness, then emerge better than you’ve ever been. 

Dead Cicada meaning

What does it mean to dream of cicadas?

Cicadas generally symbolize change, new beginnings, and good luck. So, if you dream of cicadas, it could mean that something significant is about to happen in your life. Alternatively, it could be a sign that you’re about to embark on a new journey or enter a new phase in your life.

In some cases, the cicada also symbolizes immortality because of its long lifespan. So, if you dream of cicadas, it could be a sign that you’re about to achieve something great that will have a lasting impact.

Others think Cicadas are often seen as a representation of good luck and prosperity. If you dream about them, then it means that your future will be bright! They can also symbolize personal health or the economic stability of family members.


The dream of cicadas can also be a warning sign that you need to pay attention and start thinking outside the box. Insecurity in your life might be preventing this from happening, so it’s important for those who see these dreams as messages from above (or whatever else) to try their best!

Whatever the case may be, pay close attention to your dreams and take note of any other symbols that appear alongside the cicada. This will give you a better understanding of what your dream could mean.

Do you have any experience with cicadas? What does the cicada symbolize for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Read also our epic post about the spiritual meaning of insects.

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Author: John McDonald
John, an expert in spiritual wellness, shares his knowledge on Yoga, Mindfulness, Chakras, and more from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Join his journey of self-discovery on our blog.

3 thoughts on “Cicada Symbolism – Spiritual Meaning Of The Mysterious Insect”

  1. Thank you, very informative. Yesterday I found a cicada in front of my driveway it was alive and it couldn’t fly or walk I tried to help it or heal it, and then decided to bring it into my home place it with water and some food green sprouts, and play some music , cicada music for it hoping that it would come back to life or a peaceful Transcendence. this morning it was dead, I believe in symbols and was wondering what that could mean? that I found it alive that I tried to help it and then that it’s no longer here. I do believe in spirit and how Spirit speaks to us through animals and nature. Thank you

  2. I would think this means that you need to start giving your time and energy to things that need more of you. There are parts of your life are not going to improve not because they aren’t meaningful, but because they have outlived their purpose. You may find it difficult to embrace new things, but you need to in order to grow. Trying to give life to something that is already dead will drain your energy that is needed for new version of yourself. I know this is a super late reply, but I hope this helps!

    • Hi Joscelyn! Thank you for your insightful comment. You’re absolutely right. Just like the cicada symbolizes rebirth and transformation, we too must let go of what no longer serves us to make room for growth and new beginnings. Your wisdom is much appreciated!


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