Category: Animal Spirit & Medicine
Wasp/Hornet/Yellowjacket's Wisdom Includes:
Understanding female societies
Time of Power: Noon
Attributes: Feminine Power, Social Diversity, Creation, Daring, Flamboyance, Vengeance
The Shamanic Totem WASP
WASP is the powerful female warrior and shamanic healer, prompting us to take a good look at our lives and ask if we are fighting the good fight. If you are stung by Wasp, it's her way of saying, "Wake up! Do your spiritual work! To thine own self be true!" She confers great protection to those wise enough to give her space to do her thing, and does not stand for her sacred nest being disturbed. Her compassion is the highest form of compassion, which assists others in learning the difficult lessons of power and humility. Anyone gifted with Wasp's female warrior Medicine must cultivate humility, for to use the Sting for purposes of the ego is a grave mistake. Only those committed to peace may walk with the power of the Sting in the left hand. Her intense alternating stripes of yellow and black symbolize duality, Yin and Yang, extremes which, when alchemized in the Heart, create a transcendantly beautiful whole. Wasp shows up when we're learning to bridge the duality of life and death, around the time of a birth or death, a life-affirming transformation, or a personal healing crisis. She is serious but teaches us to laugh at ourselves. When you face the big issues of life and death, worrying about anything less is truly laughable!
If the Wasp is your Animal Totem;
You are comfortable in both social situations and on your own. You are an independent thinker who is goal oriented and allow nothing to get in the way of your plans. You are willing to be expressive with your thoughts – regardless of the sting that is occasionally behind them. You have a detachment when it comes to romance in your life and more often than not do not commit to long term relationships. You will simply do your own thing whenever you choose to.
The wasp teaches those with this medicine how to use diversity to their advantage. Balancing all aspects of the various species is an art in itself and can take a lifetime to accomplish. By observing the wasp we can learn how to shape shift our outer image and become more connected to our inner knowing.
Because wasps can be either independent or social, those with this totem often display two different yet distinct personalities, aggressive or communal. Personality shifts can create chaos for those in relationships with wasp medicine people. All wasps undergo a complete metamorphosis that contributes to the challenges of communication. Just when you think you know the person, they change and become someone else.
Those with this medicine are independent thinkers and have difficulty relating to authority figures. They always do things in their own way. Individuals that hold solitary wasp medicine often receive recognition as the frontrunners of new trends or ideas later in life.
Because of the wasp's intricate framework as well as their connection to numbers and angles they are said to hold the secrets of sacred geometry. They use six sided, Hexahedron, shapes in their building constructions and nests. Those with this medicine would benefit by studying this ancient art.
When Wasp comes buzzing into your life:
You are being reminded that simply thinking about your dreams will not make them a reality as quickly as going out and doing it. Make a plan, keep working towards it and let nothing get in your way. Perseverance, desire and action are what is called for. Apply your passion to the reality you wish to achieve!
Alternatively Wasp is letting you know that resistance to change is by definition self sabotage. It’s time to allow yourself the notion that all things are possible, and that you deserve to have all your dreams come true. Be the best you can be!
If the Wasp has come to you in your dreams:
To kill a wasp in your dream signifies your ability to stand up fearlessly for your rights and to stand tall against your opponents. To be stung by a Wasp signifies the need to look closely at what is going on around you. Perhaps something you have sown is going to come back and bite you. To dream of a Wasp building her nest is a symbol of productiveness and success in the pursuit of your goals.
Additional Associations for Wasp:
- Intellect through thought and reason
- Use of female warrior energy
- Expecting the Unexpected
- Understanding female societies
- Communal living
Ah, the Wasp. Who doesn’t know that stinging little annoyance that always invades our summer picnics and spoils our good times. What use is this animal you might think? Well, its not all bad as you will see form this article. There are more than several thousand species of Wasp in the world today including yellowjackets and hornets. Wasps are flying insects (mainly). They have a smooth exoskeleton body (differentiated from a bees more hairy appearance) and a thin waist (Bees are thick waisted). Wasps have transparent wings and strong jaws. There are several species of wasp, like the 'velvet ant' that are flightless, but retain the other attributes of the wasp, including the venom.
The biggest adaptation of the wasp is the ability to make paper. Wasps have the ability to chew wood and plant fibres and produce pulp from it. They use this pulp to build things. Unlike bees, wasps do not have the ability to create wax, so all wasp nests are built out of paper, even the interesting hexagonal cells in their nests. They are quite adaptable at where they make their nests too. A Wasp may make its nest hanging down form a structure, in the ground, under logs, in an old rodent den, inside your walls, basically anywhere. When they needs more space in your house or underground, they dig and excavate more space. Lets see a bee do that! They are very protective of their homes and will defend them vigourously. This brings us to another special adaptation of the Wasp - the stinger. The workers of a wasp colony are sterile females, and these sterile females have a stinger. The stinger is actually an ovipositor, which is a female sex organ on the Wasp (meant for laying eggs). And it’s envenomed. And what is distinct from the Bee is that the female Wasp can sting repeatedly with its ovipositor without fear of death. So if you were stung by a Wasp, you know it was a female and you know you just got poked with its envenomed sex organs.
Wasps have varied tastes in food. They are aggressive predators of other bugs: flies, spiders, caterpillars, aphids, etc. Just about every 'pest' species of insect has a species of Wasp that preys upon it. We have the Wasp to thanks for keeping these species numbers down. They generally like things that fall under two categories: Sweet and Meat. This is why they like to frequent summer picnics and barbeques. Kool-Aid, Pop, and Burgers are high on their list of yummy foods. Wasps have even been known to raid bee hives for food. With some wasps, they provide the meat aspect to their young and the young in turn provide sweet secretions for the adults to dine on. They will also dine on nectar from fruit, pollen, or even munch on road kill. Many things prey upon the Wasp in turn including birds, reptiles, skunks, raccoons, amphibians, bears, and spiders. In fact spiders and wasps often prey upon each other. Its an interesting relationship that should be explored if you have either a Spider or a Wasp Totem.
The Life cycle of the Wasp is a fascinating thing. It starts with a queen who has wintered somewhere sheltered. She retains within her the sperm of many males form the previous season. She used this in the spring to generate new Wasps...well Wasp Larvae. These Wasp larvae eventually change into adults. The first offspring are always sterile female workers. Closer to the end of the season, the offspring are drones (males) and several queens (fertile females) to keep the species going. In general, the Drones fertilize a queen from a different colony to ensure genetic variation.
The Workers make up the majority of populace, with the queens being the least numerous. The interesting thing is that one queen manages to create colonies of up to 15000 Wasps from herself in one season. This is an extreme example of fertility. 'Queen' may be a misnomer with the Wasp though as this individual does not have an elevated status (as they do with Bees), she is simply the reproductive workforce, the slave, not the master. Not all Wasps are part of this caste system mentality though.
Many of them are solitary. It makes for a strange balance, where some are solitary and some are communal. This is quite different from the Bee which is always hive-minded. All adult solitary wasps are fertile, which is different from the caste system of the social wasps. Wasps generally live for about a year. One can understand the agitation of the Wasp. They are quick to sting and defend what is theirs as they have to pack a lifetime into one year. A lot is at stake.
There are several bits of mythology and lore for the Wasp from around the globe. I will relate a few here. One bit of folklore has a Butterfly and a Wasp conversing. The Butterfly is angered that in his previous life he was a noble philosopher and warrior in his previous life and now only gets to be a flitting butterfly while the Wasp was a donkey in a previous life and now gets this magnificent for that can sting whoever and whenever it wishes. The Wasp replies with wisdom 'It doesn’t matter what we were, only what we are now'. The story ends there, but I totally imagine the wasp then stinging and eating the arrogant butterfly.
There is a Siberian story that is similar to the stories of Asclepius and Orpheus. There was a Siberian shaman that could bring people back from the dead and the god of the dead was angry about this, so he devised a test for the shaman. He trapped a soul in a bottle. The shaman journeyed to the underworld, transformed into a wasp and stung the god on the forehead. The god of the dead was hurt by this, dropped the bottle and the soul was free.
There are African myths that tell of the Wasp bringing fire to man much like Prometheus. This one is tough for me to buy...sure their stings burn like fire but I will hardly thank them for that. Finally, there is an Egyptian goddess of chaos, discord, and fear called Ahti which was shown with the head of a Wasp and the body of a hippo. Personally I think the head and jaws of a hippo and body and stinger of a wasp would be more fearful, but I can see why this would be scary in any form. She was said to be a very spiteful goddess and was rarely depicted in art. I can totally see the Wasp being associated with Chaos and the Chaos archetype, but also with Inspiration due to its rapid and impressive fertility.
The Wasp Totem is all about girl power. Even though there are male wasps, they are less populace and really only good for one thing: procreating. The real power lies in the female. She is the one that builds structures, gathers food, and propagates the species. And to any that get in her way - Sting! A person could certainly be male and have a Wasp Totem, but he would probably be an active feminist at heart as well. The fact that a Wasp can be either part of a colony or solitary says a lot about their social life. They could be comfortable at a party amongst a lot of people, or on their own.
Either way is no big deal. This is an interesting bit though as there are not many totems like this. Most will be one or the other. They will be independent thinkers who are willing to be quite expressive about their thoughts to others regardless of any hurt or anger they produce. And when called to defend their thoughts, watch out! They hold their ideas and thoughts with real possessiveness so making them defend them may end out in a thorough mocking of your character or even a black eye.
Romantically, the Wasp will be quite detached, having a fling here or there but really not committing to any sort of long term relationship. Settling down will all depend on the worth of the person and what they bring to the relationship, it won’t be due to romantic or sexual needs. If you are involved with a Wasp totem, the best advice is to be prepared to let her do her own thing when she wants. Don’t get in the way as you are likely either be dumped or feel the sting.
Career wise, the Wasp can exist in a variety of settings both independent and in a team. This is a very adaptable way to be. The Wasp is all about creation though so careers that involve creating something, or making the world a better place are the way to go. Construction Worker, Artist, Sculptor, Journalist, Social Activist, Film Maker: these are all careers that are well suited to the Wasp.
The wasp has strong jaws and two pairs of transparent wings. Many females have a stinger at the tip of their abdomen. There are over 2000 different species of wasps alive today some of which have complex social structures. Like all insects, wasps have a hard exterior skeleton, six jointed legs and two jointed antennae. Their complex nests with many six sided cells are made with a type of paper that they make by chewing wood and plant fibers.
Most wasp species are solitary. Unlike bees, which are hive oriented, the wasp is independent and prefers to work on their own rather than in a group. Solitary wasps have little patience and will attack whatever task they are performing with a vengeance.
Some wasps however, live in colonies and work together. These are called social wasps. They are divided into three classes: Queens, workers and males.
All wasps are beneficial in some way or another. Some are pollinators while some are parasites of other nuisance insects such as caterpillars and aphids. Their diversity depends on the particular species.
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