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Totems: Cricket, Part 2

by Cie Simurro, a.k.a. Thunderbird Starwoman

Crickets and Grasshoppers (sub-order Ensifera) belong to the large order Orthoptera. There are over 900 species of crickets alone. If you want to recognize a cricket, look for a cylindrical black or brown body, extra long antennae, and jumping legs. They also have two long cerci (long, slender, spiky, sensory appendages) coming out of their hind abdomens. In New England, the ones you’re likely to see and hear are Field crickets or House crickets. Field crickets range in color from dark brown to black, while House crickets are a lighter yellowish-brown and display three dark bands running horizontally across the back of the head. Snowy tree crickets are leaf-green.

Despite using the daytime hours primarily to hide, the field cricket and house cricket demonstrate a strong attraction to light. Electric lights in fact, sometimes attract house crickets in groups as large as 1,000 or more. Never make the mistake of thinking that because cricket is a small insect, that its Medicine is small. Even on the world stage, cricket Medicine is worth valuing. As we are battered by the news of horrific acts of violence, cruelty, and greed around the world, and within the actions of corporate institutions, cricket Medicine will help us ameliorate suffering by acting with valor and compassion. It’s also good to remember this if we’re feeling knocked about by the so-called “realities” of our lives. Since crickets mostly live on the ground, they carry the admonition for us to remain grounded or rooted in authenticity.  Now of course, one person’s reality is not the same as another’s; however, everyone’s can be anchored in truth and compassion. If our beliefs do not fit in that framework, perhaps it’s time to molt and update them with spiritual maturity. Nymphs may go through as many as twelve molts before reaching maturity around mid-summer. With each molt, the nymphs look more and more like an adult (a spiritually mature person), so let us be patient with ourselves as we grow and change. Those long antennae are part of their Medicine, signifying developed intuitive abilities that can find light even in dark times. This is an era of enormous change. Deepen your trust in your inner voice, accepting your own inner authority. What are your most significant perceptions about life? Do you have a belief system you can trust, or that will withstand chaotic or turbulent times?

In addition to sound, cricket Medicine is about making big leaps. Above ground, some insects like field crickets, bush crickets or house crickets (almost entirely nocturnal) jump to get away from predators. The ones that live above ground have keen eyesight and hearing. If they suspect danger, they use their well-developed hind legs to leap away. Trust your intuition when  that squirrelly feeling tells you to get away. Some species can fly. Other sub-species, like mole crickets or cave crickets remain hidden much of the time, living in burrows in the soil, in caves, under rotted wood, beneath stones, or pieces of bark. The bodies of these crickets have adapted differently. Some no longer have eyes because they don’t need them. Others may have poor eyesight, and shorter, shovel-like legs for digging; no wings or smaller wings; and bodies shaped like cylinders. Finally, there are species that live underground their whole lives. This includes three from Australia that have very cool names: the Cooloola monster, the Dingo monster and the Sugarcane monster. They can actually be blind and wingless, with legs modified for digging. Males only come above ground at night after a rain. Females with bellies swollen so big they can hardly walk live entirely underground. Ant-loving crickets (yes, that’s their name) live entirely in ant nests and feed on secretions produced by the ants. Normally crickets feed on plant life, but some are omnivores, eating living or dead plants, seeds, fruits, small insects (living or dead), and even each other if they are really hungry. If you are dreaming or musing about crickets, it might be advantageous to ascertain if you are eating enough vegetables. Have you thought about growing your own? Have you ever wanted to study herbs or work with a wild edibles specialist?

Crickets are well camouflaged in order to blend in with their environment and thereby escape predators. They are virtually harmless to humans, except for the few that may inadvertently get stuck in your house, eat various fabrics, and lay their eggs there. Taking a camouflage tip from them, you may want to do your research thoroughly, before presenting new ideas to groups or your boss. Think things over, and then use that gift for sound through communicating or sounding out your ideas with a trusted friend.

Lizards, birds, frogs, toads, snakes and spiders are some of cricket’s predators. Since crickets have a life span of about three months, if you favor this totem, be sure you take some time in your life to enjoy yourself. Pleasure is not a dirty word, for it is through pleasure that we learn most easily. So rummage in the closet for those “dancing” shoes, and sing your heart out as often as you want. Risk putting yourself out there to love others; giving love is a gift that comes right back anyway.

Since ancient times, crickets have been kept as pets for their songs. In classical Greece, Athenians were particularly fond of them. Effigies of crickets have long been worn as protection from any form of danger. They are recognized as guardian spirits – warriors of the spirit world. Listen to your gut feelings. It’s your cricket inspired sensitivity working for you. Until recent times, crickets were treated royally in Japan and China, given fresh leaves and medicines when they were sick. Long treatises were written about “cricket medicine” although they meant a different sense of the word than what is used here. Some cages were quite ornate, decorated with precious stones and the finest workmanship to show how valued crickets were. However, some cages held them for fighting matches, and there are also places where they are still deep-fried as snacks for humans, and food for pets and zoo animals.

Crickets also show up in the arts. The poet, William Cowper extolled the virtues of crickets in his poem, Ode to the Cricket, wherein he referred to cricket as always a “harbinger of good.” Remember Jiminy Cricket, the beloved cohort of Pinocchio, who acted as “Pinocchio’s conscience, lord high keeper of the knowledge of right and wrong, counselor in moments of high temptation and guide along the straight and narrow path?”

In Tuscany, Italy ‘raising the cricket’ on the Ascension (40 days after Easter) was most likely built on the shoulders of a pagan festival celebrating the return of spring. People collected crickets and took them home in cages. If the captive then sang in the first three days, the family was assured of good luck, and they let the insect go free. If the cricket died, that meant that their fate was less certain. In some parts of Europe and the British Isles, crickets were good luck guardians for the home. Is everyone ready for some good fortune/luck? It may be time to jump away from a situation that is no longer good for you. Stay grounded, and strengthen your connection to Source through nature. Use cricket’s power to jump over the hurdles in your life. It’s all a matter of perspective. Perhaps you’ve heard the 2000 year-old Taoist story that goes: “Good news, bad news, who can say? Here’s the story: A Chinese farmer gets a horse, which soon runs away. A neighbor says, “That’s bad news.” The farmer replies, “Good news, bad news, who can say?” The horse comes back and brings another horse with him. Good news, you might say. The farmer gives the second horse to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg. “Sorry for your bad news,” says the concerned neighbor. “Good news, bad news, who can say?” the farmer replies. In a week or so, the emperor’s men come and take every able-bodied young man to fight in a war. The farmer’s son is spared.

The story shows that even our greatest trials have a silver lining, or are in our lives so that we may master the fears and character traits that have held us back for so long. Whether one considers crickets lucky or devilish depends on the culture and tradition. Although believed to have the power to do harm, most believed that if crickets were treated well or left alone, no harm would befall the host. What we deeply believe is what gets attracted to us by the power of our thoughts, and the vibration/feeling that they produce. So let’s open to new possibilities for happiness, joy and pleasure. As long as we’re vibrating all the time anyway, let’s vibrate to higher awareness, compassion, kindness, and always – love in action.

To read Part I of CRICKET, go to: https://wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/4114/

For over 40 years, Cie Simurro ~ Thunderbird Starwoman has been bringing forward the healing arts and ancient universal wisdom through writing, healing work, and teaching. She has been a Healer, Writer, Minister, Advocate and Steward for the natural world for over 40 years. For 15 years, she has been a contributing writer to Wisdom Magazine. For healing for you or your animal, spiritual training, to invite Cie to give her presentation: "Our Partnership With Nature" in your area, or to purchase her book, Totems for Stewards of the Earth ($22 to PO 295, Shelburne Falls MA 01370), call 413 625-0385 or email:  cie@ciesimurro.com

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