Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Mystical See.kay.da

Hey ya'll! 

Been buzy reconnecting with your cultural roots this Chinese/Lunar New Year? Well, here's a little something that might usher you slowly further along the way!!!
Now, I am sure that many of us are familiar with the cicada; an insect that lives most of its life as a wingless nymph that sucks tree sap under the ground, which emerges (usually after a period of 2-5 years) as winged adults that somehow find their way into our lawns and homes. Even for those of us who have not actually seen a cicada, though, I am sure we would be more than familiar with the shrill buzzing sounds they make as they vibrate their wing muscles in search of potential mates! In fact the word cicada may be traced to Latin origin meaning "Tree Cricket", or modern Greek tzitzikas which are both (the latter being onomatopoeic) references to the sounds they make.  Unknown to many, however, is perhaps the cicada's relation to Asian mythology and mysticism. 

Cicada I found outside of my uncle's house in Ipoh, Perak (Malaysia)
 Emerging from their winter hibernation between the roots of trees, the coincidence of the adult Cicada's arrival and the season of Spring is often seen to be further symbolic of the Cicada's association with the cycle of life. Leaving behind a shell that looks very much like its adult-winged self, the cicada was a poetic reminder for the Chinese and Japanese of the bodies the dead left behind before their ascended to a greater mode of existence. The Tang Priest of the Chinese classic Journey to the West, for example, was also called the Golden Cicada in reference to this fact as it represented the various transformations the human being must go through during reincarnation before the soul could break through the illusory barriers of the material world and ascend to a state of Nirvana and Enlightenment. It is not surprising then that the cicada has traditionally been viewed as an auspicious insect by Japanese and Chinese alike and was once even a popular motive for amulets, pendants and the ornaments of hats worn by high-level officials.  

Ayuthia spectabilis from Sabah, Borneo (Malaysia)

I sure hope finding one today means that my bout of ill-fortune has finally begun to turn itself around!!! I even let the insect go instead of catching it and adding it to my collection just to be safe. And that's how desperate I am!


Stay with the one who makes you happy, not the one you have to impress


zzanyy said...

Sorry for my lack my knowledge but is this the insect that makes the "pedestrian light" sound?
Goes slow at first and then fast.
Nice info by the way. =)

Cyren said...

Yes, this is that insect! It's the noisy one.

Brittanie said...

Oh. My. God. They're GORGEOUS!!