A cicada situated itself on the underside of a tarp at our tent, and over the course of the next hour, slowly extricated itself from its old, armadillo-like casing, hung upside down as gravity assisted with the separation, very slowly restored itself to a horizontal position near the shell, clung to it for a bit to gain strength, unfurled its new wings and let them dry and strengthen, and tucked itself further under the tarp to ride out a rainstorm before flying away.
Since this doesn't happen right before my eyes on the average day, I took is as a teaching, as 'medicine' or wisdom being delivered, as is the way of many Indigenous wisdom traditions. Everything speaks, and if you're paying attention, you can receive helpful and valuable guidance.
The message delivered by the cicada was twofold: one, in showing us its process of emergence from the old shell; and two, in the message given by the cicada's whole life cycle.
A cicada's life cycle begins when a female cicada deposits her eggs in the bark of a tree or twig. When the eggs hatch, the new cicada drops to the ground and burrows. It spends much of its 13-17 year life as a creature of the underground. Then, when it's time for emergence, it tunnels to the surface, sheds its old shell and takes flight.
Cicadas are also known for their unique music, often heard in the heat of the North American Summer months of July and August.
Symbolically, the cicada gives us the message of transformation, shedding the old skin and emerging into a new life cycle and a new cycle of expression -- of sharing our unique music with the world. It shows us that the process of shedding skin takes patience, strength, and faith, with no small degree of vulnerability and 'hanging upside down' while the forces of gravity pull us from our old norm, but it is a process and will proceed to the unfolding of our new 'wings' and the shucking of our old, no-longer-appropriate shells.
The cicada also tells us of the wisdom that our journeys 'below the surface' can yield us; the wisdom we can 'sing' or share when we return to the surface and take flight, with a new song to sing.
Blessings on the Way,