In his 1967 poem Gnat Psalm, Ted Hughes, an early advocate of neo-Shamanism, gleefully describes dancing gnats in angelic and cosmic terms, and declares God to be ‘an Almighty Gnat’.1
Ted Hughes (England, 1930-1999)
When the gnats dance at evening
Scribbling on the air, sparring sparely,
Scrambling their crazy lexicon,
Shuffling their dumb Cabala,
Under leaf shadow
Leaves only leaves
Between them and the broad swipes of the sun
Leaves muffling the dusty stabs of the late sun
From their frail eyes and crepuscular temperaments
Writing on the air, rubbing out everything they write
Jerking their letters into knots, into tangles
Everybody everybody else’s yoyo
Immense magnets fighting around a centre
Not writing and not fighting but singing
That the cycles of this Universe are no matter
That they are not afraid of the sun
That the one sun is too near
It blasts their song, which is of all the suns
That they are their own sun
Their own brimming over
At large in the nothing
Their wings blurring the blaze
Fruit flies are oft seen as just pests or annoyances.
But in animal symbolism, this small insect holds many meanings. It is a colorful insect associated with characteristics of survival as well as transformation.
Here are some traits associated with the fruit fly:
- Color attraction.
- Ability to see things in different ways.
- Mobility and flight.
Fruit flies symbolize an ability to survive even in the most hard of environments. Their capacity to make use of their resources, even what is seemingly invaluable or even trash, make them a good symbol for perseverance. They also reflect an ability to see things differently and in many ways. Their eyes are suited to see and sense more than what is ordinarily possible.
Fruit flies also symbolize transformation, their growth stages from seemingly unimportant specks and larvae to adult flies reflect the changes that we go through as well.
Fly as a Totem Animal
As a totem or guide, the fruit fly may symbolize many things. They can be viewed as annoyances at first, but they can also be the key to deeper learning.
Fruit flies guide one through the transformations needed in life. Just as the fruit fly emerges from an egg and its different stages in life, so to do we transform from one stage of our lives into another. They can be seen as reflections of the transformations we ourselves are going through.
Survival and Mobility
Fruit flies are adept survivors. They can utilize most of anything they feed on, even though it may be only a scrap of food. As a guide, they can show us how to make the most of what is accessible to us, to be frugal and use what we have sparingly in order to survive. They are also quite mobile and fast, able to fly from one spot to another. This shows us how we too must be able to adapt and move from one environment to another, looking for what we need.
Keen Vision and Insight
The fruit fly has one of the most numerous eyes in the animal kingdom. It offers to us its ability to see things in different angles. With this, we are able to view a situation through different ways, assessing what we see in its entirety.
Fruit flies in different cultures
Flies have long been subjects of ancient texts. In Greek mythology, a fly was sent to bite Pegasus, the winged horse. This caused his rider to fall off before he was able to reach Mount Olympus.
In Biblical times, flies were associated with pestilence and decay. They were represented in the fourth plague that hit Egypt.
However, some cultures also associate the fly with a mentor figure as well as a messenger. This is apparent in some Native American traditions.
Association with celestial forces
Flies may be associated with symbols of pestilence and decay. They may be seen as heralds of celestial forces when it comes time to teach man to be humble as well as send punishment.
But flies are also seen as messengers of heavenly beings. They send important messages as well as teach and guide people. They are also hunters in some lore.
Fruit Flies in Alchemy
Fruit flies are often associated with transformation as well as in putrefaction and decay. These traits are highly desired in completing transmutation processes. While they may be small, fruit flies hold much power in their association in the decaying or breaking down of complex compounds and organisms.
Fruit flies show as a spirit guide when…
- Showing humbleness in front of victory.
- You are seeking change.
- Needed to show strength despite of your inabilities.
- You need to send a message, but you have no idea how to relay it.
- You need the ability to sense the hateful behaviour of someone.
Call on fruit flies as a spirit guide when…
- You need to keep graceful.
- You wanted a new challenge in life.
- You need to stand up for what you believe in.
- You need to clear the air.
- You need to sense the putrid behaviour of someone.3