How Messengers Appear In Our Daily Lives: Cockroach Symbolism & Meaning

Periplaneta Americana(Wikimedia Commons)

Currently, I’m visiting Cape Town, South Africa with my wife and almost three year old son.  My family and I have decided to set off on another big adventure, staying here for three months first and then moving to Bali to live and expand our horizons there – to pursue the unknown essentially.  

What I’ve noticed is that we lost our “ground” and sense of stability and comfort when we uprooted and moved from our home in the mountains in Cyprus, where we’ve been for the past 5 years.  All our familiar grooves, friendships and feelings of security have vanished in an instant!  Okay, we can and do keep in touch with people on Social but the sense of loss was tangible.

Moving abroad, and certainly moving continents, is a type of death, a portal that one must walk through.

When one is younger, it’s definitely easier to travel and live abroad – with little or no responsibilities looming over one’s head the notion of failure hardly exists as there’s not much to lose.

What I’ve noticed, however, is that when we truly let go, then the Universe steps in to support us.  With enough trust, everything falls into place through intuitive wisdom… new friendships, places and activities that excite the Soul’s longing for new beginnings.

I’ve now been in Muizenberg, Cape Town for a couple of months and it has been a wonderful surprise for all of us – plenty of surfing nearby, finding a superb yoga teacher in her 80s who teaches the authentic wisdom of yoga, and great plant-based restaurants all over the place.  Plus, a truly eclectic mix of people, many with really cool, unusual names like “Aristotle”!

To be honest, my wife and I have been settling into this new rhythm and already feeling at home in a very short space of time.  We are truly shape shifters, adapting to new places very quickly.  I look back on my life and see how fortunate I’ve been, and also how courageous too.

Today’s message is about you though – if YOU want to master the art of survival and shapeshifting, then I’d like to draw your attention to working with “Cockroach” as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal.

Why am I teaching you about this almost universally despised insect?  The other day, one managed to get into our bathroom and then decided to visit our bedroom… I wasn’t prepared to deal with it initially!  I’ve dealt with big spiders (I like spiders) but cockroaches are seriously fast… I tried to get the thing into my dustpan but this thing moves like lightning, no joke!

Since my encounter, my inner guide was nagging me to meditate on cockroach and find out more because it was a ‘sudden’ encounter and I felt it was out of place — it was one of those times where I felt there was a message for me.  Nobody in the house saw it, I did.

When it came into the bedroom, and crawled on the wall above our bed, only I saw it… my wife didn’t see it, and my toddler normally sees everything that moves, but he didn’t see it either.

In a Conscious Universe, there are no ‘accidents’, only meaningful synchronicities.  As a Shaman, I know this first hand.

When I was in Miami, Florida, twenty years ago, I was sleeping on the floor of a friend’s house there, and these critters where everywhere, including having the very large flying ones ending up in our cooking pots and scaring the bejesus out of us!

Cockroach “Medicine”

When one thinks about Animal Spirits, particularly those who guide and offer wisdom, a Cockroach does not jump to the forefront of one’s mind as it’s one of the most disliked insects in the world! So, what does Cockroach offer to those to whom it shows itself?

Cockroach teaches you how to envision what’s difficult to see and how to endure through challenging transitions.

Cockroaches are among the hardiest insects and the survivors of the insect kingdom, even having some tolerance to radiation. Some species are capable of remaining active for a month without food and are able to survive on limited resources, such as the glue from the back of postage stamps. Some can go without air for 45 minutes! This gives Cockroaches the symbolism and meaning of durability, endurance, and continuance. Indeed, these six-legged critters have been on this earth since the time of the dinosaurs!

Cockroaches are also creatures of darkness. From a Shamanic perspective, darkness embraces the great Mysteries and those things just outside the range of normal senses. It is the Void, the season of winter and the unconscious mind. Darkness is part of a normal cycle – one necessary to the well-being of all creatures. In the dark, we renew ourselves. The night also has ties to mysticism and magic.

In nature, Cockroaches are adept hitch-hikers. They hop into grocery bags, a shoe, shipping containers, or a piece of clothing, and go along for the ride to wherever they land. They’re also pretty adept burglars in that they sneak through door gaps and even telephone lines. This ability exemplifies adaptation, creativity, and movement since they’re likely to thrive wherever life takes them.

Believe it or not, Cockroaches can symbolize community. The German Cockroach, in particular, has a complex social structure in which they share shelter, transfer information, work together in choosing food, and recognize members of their own family. They also appear to work cooperatively through chemical signaling in finding hiding spaces.

In parts of Cuba, a yellow-green Cockroach is a popular pet! From an ecological standpoint, Cockroach is an important part of the food chain for creatures like birds and lizards. So, while the Cockroach scurries in dirty places gathering food, they have a variety of positive attributes and functions.

Cockroach Messages

Cockroach as a Spirit Animal brings several potential messages into your life, but the most important one is about survival. If Cockroach had a tagline it would be “Where there is a will, there’s a way.”  If you feel stuck and worried about just getting by, then it’s time to embrace a little Cockroach creativity! You need to adapt and keep your eyes peeled for those little cracks that offer a way out of your situation.

Cockroach also asks you if you are hiding in the darkness. There may be a different way of looking at things.

Cockroach is one who must live in the present. Moment-by-moment, it must be resourceful and tenacious. This is also its Medicine and message to you. Where are you putting your energy? How can you consciously contribute to persevering? What are you doing to use your power for building the future?

While you might be put off by an inherited dislike of this creature, it’s high time to shift your perspectives. Are you not seeing something you should? Are you being too negative about a person or situation?

Finally, Cockroach asks you to consider your decisions. Do you choose fear or courage? Do you give up or endure? These are important questions for every day of your life. Answer them well.

Cockroach Totem Animal

Those born with a Cockroach totem can get through anything. They seem to be akin to shapeshifters who mold themselves to fit into situations nearly seamlessly. Cockroach people are determined, strong, and very grounded. They remind us to keep one foot on terra-firma in case you have to move quickly.

If this is your Totem animal, you have a knack for getting to the bottom of things. You can also see what tools you have available to keep your head above water physically and spiritually. Remember to trust your senses. You know when danger is on the horizon, so buckle up and then figure out how to get out of the way.

Cockroach people sometimes face what would be considered critical moments. Even so, they transform and resurrect themselves over and over again; this totem lives in harmony with change.

The Cockroach Totem is a social being. They like to talk about interesting ideas and perspectives. One thing that people with this Totem should be wary of, however, is their eating habits. You need to focus on what’s really good for you, not simply what’s available at the moment. Put down that cheeseburger and grab a salad instead!

Cockroach Power Animal

Look to Cockroach when life seems hopeless. If you are stuck, frustrated or frightened about the future, this Spirit Animal can help. Cockroach will guide you in the darkness. He knows his way around. This is a time when you must trust in the guidance you’re given until you find the light again. At this point, Cockroach Power Animal gently retreats knowing you will be OK.

A second reason to seek out Cockroach is when you discover you’re retreating into your shell or your social situation seems broken. When people are talking past each other, when misinformation abounds or when there is a lack of cooperation, Cockroach Medicine can help greatly. A community needs to function together for survival and growth. That’s where Cockroach comes in.

Finally, if you are the edge of a huge change or move in your life, let Cockroach help you. Grab on to whatever makes you feel more secure. Know that wherever this adventure ends up, you will be okay. There may be struggles at first, but Cockroach will not leave your side until you are fully established.

Cockroach Dreams

If cockroaches appear in your dreamscape, it may be a sign that you’ve gotten yourself into a “dirty” situation. Whatever you see on the surface is only part of the picture! Something is moving behind the curtains of which you need to be aware.

Another possible way of interpreting the dream is as one about fertility as these creatures reproduce at a very healthy rate.

Cockroach Symbology in the Far East

In China, the American Cockroach is called Xiao Qiang meaning “little mighty one”. This is because the creature can regenerate limbs.

Call to the energy of Cockroach to help you regenerate your energy and health, if you are stuck and need a way out!

Positive articles on cockroaches 

In my quest to find out as much as I could about the positive aspects of these creatures, I came across a few articles that give these guys a chance to get out of our standard misconceptions about their true nature:

https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/in-defense-of-the-cockroach

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/cockroach-genome-shows-why-they-are-impossible-kill-180968554/

Reference: What’s My Spirit Animal

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February 4, 2020

Jaime Tanna

Jaime Tanna is an international teacher and energy therapist specialising in the healing arts. As the visionary founder and director of Energy Therapy, Jaime is an experienced Spiritual Teacher/Mentor, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher, Sound Healer and Intuitive, and brings a wide array of different skills to the healing table. Coming from a family of pharmacists and doctors, Jaime grew up with a strong allopathic model of the world but quickly saw the limitations of that paradigm. Today, with clients and students throughout the world, Jaime specialises in personal and spiritual development, yoga and meditation, and clearing and rebalancing the human energy field inspiring clients and students to connect to their deepest being to create a life lived on purpose, and with joy!

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