Abergavenny has seen an explosion of tiny red bugs this week, due to the unusually warm weather and all parts of the UK have also been reporting hundreds of Ladybirds invading our homes and gardens! Some reports suggest they may in fact be an unwelcome species originating from North America called the Harlequin which threatens our native ladybirds. Like them or loath them though, they do bring with them more links to our ancient beliefs and have a mystery surrounding them that attracts people from all cultures as many still uphold their beliefs today about their magical properties.
Legends vary about how the Ladybird came to be named, but the most common (and enduring) is this: In Europe, during the Middle Ages, swarms of insects were destroying the crops. The farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help. Soon thereafter the Ladybirds came, devouring the plant-destroying pests and saving the crops! The farmers called these beautiful insects "The Beetles of Our Lady", and - over time - they eventually became popularly known as "Lady Beetles". The red wings were said to represent the Virgin's cloak and the black spots were symbolic of both her joys and her sorrows. This links it to spiritual idealism and religious devotion.
Children’s songs and stories abound about the ladybird and children’s toys, stories, clothing, and room decor continually incorporate the image of the ladybird. I am still squeamish about picking up any insects, except for Ladybirds, I always loved them and I even kept them as “pets” as a child, and would make them miniature gardens out of moss and stones and little twigs. There is an invisible connection between Ladybirds and children. Ladybirds are easy to find and accessible, giving children their first intimate chance to relate hands-on with a wild and truly free being.
Ladybirds as a spirit animal is believed to be foretelling of the spark of a child-like wonder in the natural world, waking the nature child within us all. She prompts us to go outside and stoop down to come eye to eye with the flowers. So muc