The name “ladybug” is actually an American name for members of the insect family Coccinellidae. Ladybugs also known as ladybird beetles or lady beetles. There are over 5,000 species of these typically red beetles often with black spots found around the world.
Ladybugs are Good Luck for Farmers
The meaning of ladybug spirit animal is closely associated first and foremost with good luck, but where does this idea come from? Ladybugs are well known amongst farmers and gardeners for their preference for dining on aphid and scale crop pests. Legends of ladybirds saving an entire crop from pest decimation abound. These stories were passed down through the centuries, resulting in a general association with good luck. Now simply seeing a ladybug is considered good luck for anyone, and the ritual of sending wishes off on a ladybug’s wings is commonplace.
Beetles of Our Lady the Virgin Mary
Originally, it is said that in the Middle Ages farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help to save their crops from a plague of harmful pests. A swarm of ladybugs came, ate up the pests and saved the day. Thus, they became known as the “Beetle of Our Lady” or Lady Beetles. The most common species of lady beetle in England is the 7-Spot Ladybird Beetle. Many came to link the seven spots to the seven joys and sorrows of Mother Mary and the red of the ladybug with her red cloak.
Ladybug is a messenger of the divine feminine and goddess energy. So often we prize action, logic and strategy, but ladybug spirit animal brings us closer to our intuition and our ability to open up to receive the gifts of the cosmos. Ladybug spirit animal opens up her wings, lifts off and carries us into the heart of the mother. Her red and black protective outer skeleton (known as an exoskeleton) opens to uncover her transparent wings showing how the goddess bestows protection over all of our freedoms, including the freedom to wish and dream.
Like butterflies, ladybugs undergo what is called a “complete transformation”. Dragonflies, on the other hand, only undergo “incomplete transformation“. This means that ladybugs have a pupae stage during which they completely transform from one form (a crawling larvae) to a drastically different form (a winged beetle). With butterflies the pupae stage happens in a cocoon. Ladybugs undergo this stage in the open attached to a leaf. Ladybug spirit animal shows that the last, big step of your transformation will result in a quantum leap from one way of being to a brand new one. You will have a gap or quiet, inactive time when this shift is happening in you, but others will be able to see it taking place.
When you see what you know to be a ladybug you are actually only seeing one aspect of the beetle’s lifecycle, the culmination of all growth. We forget oftentimes that the beetle is the finished product and we expect as much from ourselves and our dreams. We grow impatient to reach the end without delay.
The ladybug spiritual meaning speaks of going through a number of transitions in the beginning because the crawling larvae (informally called “alligators”) have to molt four times before reaching the pupae stage. The larvae between molts are called “instars”. The larvae are little stars to farmers because they are voracious eaters of aphids and scale pests. This reminds us that even though we may not be complete, we are well underway in our development and we can be of great service along the way.
Does the Number of Spots on a Ladybug Mean Anything?
You may remember hearing as a child that the number of spots on a ladybug indicated the age, in years, of the beetle. At a young age, I realized quickly that insects don’t live that long, but I still wanted the number of spots to mean something. Science tells us that the number of spots usually tells us what species of ladybug we have in hand, which is useful albeit sort of bland.
Looking at the spiritual meaning of ladybug, we can discern more by counting dots. By using numerology, we can understand the meaning of the spots and how this speaks to a process of transformation we may be going through in our lives right now. The spots may tell how many stages there are to our process or by looking up the numerological significance of the number of spots we may learn more about the theme of our transformation.
Here is a VERY quick list to give a sample of the meaning of the numbers one through seven carry: 1 – union; 2 – duality; 3 – transcending opposites; 4 – cardinal directions, elements; 5 – center; 6 – love, perfection; 7 – completion, center, eternal life. I encourage you to do your own research to learn more about the specific number of spots the ladybug you saw had. You can always ask in the comments below and I’ll let you know about your particular ladybug.
Innocence and Childhood
Children’s songs and stories abound about the ladybug and children’s toys, clothing lines, and room decor continually incorporate the image of the ladybug. I recall being squeamish about picking up any insects as a child, except for ladybugs. Ladybugs could crawl on my hands and arms for days as far as I was concerned. There is an intangible connection between ladybugs and kids. Ladybugs are easy to find and accessible, giving children their first intimate chance to relate hands-on with a wild and truly free being.
Ladybug spirit animal can be the spark of a child-like wonder in the natural world, waking the nature child within us all. She reminds us to go outside and crouch down to come eye to eye with the flowers. So much of the weight of the world can be forgotten in a moment of childlike communion with the natural world. This is how the healing energy of ladybug spirit animal works.