Ladybugs radiate joy! These vibrant little beetles are largely associated with good luck, happiness, and cuteness. The black-spotted ladybug stands out from the crowd and can be found amongst the plants and flowers in gardens all over the world. The ladybug’s lucky reputation may be due, in part, to the helpful role that these insects play. Ladybugs are a gardener’s best friend because they tend to hunt and eat the smaller insects which destroy plants. Goodbye aphids, hello ladybugs! (1)
Continue reading to learn more about this colorful beetle and its role in human symbolism and folklore!
Table of contents
- Ladybug Symbolism and meaning
- Ladybug Native American Symbolism
- Ladybug Christianity Symbolism
- Ladybug Celtic Symbolism
- Ladybug in Dreams
- Ladybug Encounters and Omens
- Ladybugs Mythology and Folklore
- Ladybug Spirit Animal
- Ladybug Totem Animal
- Ladybug Power Animal
- Ladybug Tattoo Meaning
Ladybug Symbolism and Meaning
Ladybugs are sheer joy. In most cases, these insects are associated with good fortune and happy things to come. For obvious reasons, these adorable little insects are also connected with cuteness, innocence, and childhood.
Ladybugs can also represent transformation. Like butterflies, ladybugs are not born into their lovely crimson forms. Instead, when ladybugs hatch from their eggs they do so as small black larvae which must eat and grow before entering their pupa form. In this form, the ladybug larva attaches to a surface and hardens. Within this hard pupa form, the body of the ladybug is completed and it emerges with its bright red exoskeleton and signature black spots! (2)
Many people connect the ladybug with wishes. Perhaps resulting from its association with the magic and innocence of childhood, the ladybug is thought to grant wishes to those who encounter it. Like dandelion fluff, one can blow on a ladybug’s wings and make a wish while releasing it to fly away.
Treating a ladybug kindly is thought to result in positive luck and dreams coming true, however mistreating a ladybug is thought to do the opposite. Some say that killing a ladybug will result in several years of bad luck., sometimes as many years as the ladybug has spots! While this bug is beneficial, its ability to curse humans with ill fortune is dubious. Some hypothesize that this superstition comes from farmers recognizing that less ladybugs means more pests to destroy their crops. (3)
Ladybug Native American Symbolism
Many Native American cultures have complex relationships with bugs. Arachnids, such as the spider, are extremely important deities to a great many tribes. In some cases, the spider is thought of as a wise mother goddess. For this reason, much like the common superstitions surrounding ladybugs, it is considered bad luck to kill spiders in many cultures. (4)
Despite the positive associations that some insects share, many others are associated with pestilence, swarming, famine, and poison. (5)
Fortunately, the ladybug is not among these. While I was not able to track down any specific tales involving the ladybug, these insects belong to the beetle family. Beetles in many Native American cultures are connected with prosperity and fertility. (6)
There are even a few tribes that believe that the earth’s original creator was a scarab beetle. Ladybugs, as a matter of fact, belong to the same suborder of beetles as the scarab. Coleoptera, the beetle order, is divided into multiple suborders. One of which, Polyphaga, includes the scarab beetle and the ladybug. Polyphaga is the largest and most diverse beetle suborder. (7)
Ladybug Christianity Symbolism
The ladybug may not seem like your typical Christian symbol. Unlike the lion, the lamb, or the dove, ladybugs play no role in the Bible. Despite this, ladybugs are surprisingly prevalent Christian symbols.
The name “ladybug” derives from “ladybird” which first appeared in the Oxford dictionary in the seventeenth century. Ladybugs are so-named because in the Middle Ages, poor farmers had to rely upon their crops to survive. According to the legend, during one particularly harsh season these farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary to bless and protect their vital crops. That same year, these beautiful red insects began appearing and eating all of the pests which plagued the harvest. (8)
These insects were so helpful, and the farmers were so grateful, that they took to calling the bugs the “Beetles of Our Lady.” Supposedly, the red color of the ladybug represents the red cloak which Mary is sometimes depicted as wearing. The black spots of the ladybug are then said to represent the sorrows of the Virgin Mary. This is especially true of ladybugs which have seven spots, representing Mary’s seven sorrows. (9)
In German, ladybugs are even called “Marienkafer” which means “Mary beetles” in English. So, these bugs represent the power of prayer, the protection of Christ, and the tender love and sacrifice of the Virgin Mary. (10)
Ladybug Celtic Symbolism
The color red is one of the most prominent colors in Celtic stories. Beautiful women are often described in old tales as having hair of “reddish gold.” Otherworldly creatures are often depicted with unusual colorations which prominently feature three colors: red, black, and white. (11)
If you examine a ladybug, the red color of its body and the black color of its spots will be immediately apparent, but the only other color which ladybugs sport is white. So, the ladybug is the perfect embodiment of the colors which symbolize the Celtic otherworld.
For this reason, ladybugs can be assumed to represent mystery, the occult, hidden things, and the spaces in between worlds.
Ladybug in Dreams
Ladybugs are famous symbols of good luck. If a ladybug appears in your dream, you may take this as a sign that good news is on the horizon. You would be right!
Ladybugs often appear in dreams as bearers of good news and positive fortune. The ladybug can signify upcoming opportunities which one should seize to the fullest.
Because the ladybug undergoes such dramatic transformations throughout its life, this insect may also represent personal growth. Dreaming of ladybugs may be a reminder of how far you’ve come or how how much change you’ll have to embrace in order to realize your potential.
The spots of a ladybug may also represent important numbers which you might expect to encounter in the future. Th number of spots that a ladybug has may be significant for the meaning of the dream. Numerology may be a helpful resource for understanding the significance of this number. (12)
A ladybug in a dream may also appear as a reminder to be kind and patient with others. Although it may startle you to have a beetle land on your person, it is believed that swatting or killing the ladybug may bring terrible luck. Even if one is not superstitious, killing too many ladybugs might result in out of control garden pests. So, a ladybug dream may be a reminder not to be hasty and to avoid doing harm wherever possible.
Ladybug Encounters and Omens
One common superstition is that ladybugs entering one’s home is particularly good luck. This is in addition to the belief that ladybugs are lucky in general. A ladybug appearing in one’s home may also come as a sign that the home is welcoming and filled with love.
A ladybug encounter may indicate that one’s family will soon grow. This is especially true for ladybugs which appear inside one’s home or which appear to couples. The ladybug may be a sign that little ones are on the way.
A ladybug encounter may also represent protection or guardianship. In the same way that ladybugs remove bad elements from the garden environment, we are reminded to purge our lives of negative habits and harmful influences. Doing so will allow us to grow strong and flourish. The ladybug reminds us to protect others and ourselves.
Ladybug Mythology and Folklore
From backyard gardens to nursery rhymes, everyone is familiar with ladybugs. It’s no wonder that these eye-catching insects find their way into the myths, legends, songs, and stories of so many cultural traditions.
In old Norse traditions, the ladybug was called “Freyjuhaena” meaning “Freyja’s Bird.” According to legend, the first ladybugs were sent down to the earth upon one of Thor’s lightning bolts. (13)
Farmer folklore states that if one sees a huge number of ladybugs during the springtime, it means that they will receive abundant crops. This is only part superstition, as ladybugs do limit pests and promote a good harvest.
Old ladybug rhymes showcase various ladybug superstitions. One old rhyme, which uses an outdated name for ladybugs, “Bishop Barnabee,” describes the tradition by which a ladybug is thought to predict the date of one’s wedding:
“Bishop, Bishop Barnabee, Tell me when my wedding be; If it be to-morrow day, Take your wings and fly away! Fly to the east, fly to the west, Fly to them that I love best!”(14)
Other superstitions include the belief that ladybugs can cure various illnesses or even predict the number of children one might have.
Finally, the most well known rhyme associated with the ladybug is this one:
Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home!
Your house is on fire, your children all gone,
All but one, and her name is Ann,
And she crept under the baking pan. (15)
This rhyme may seem bleak, especially since it is often glibly recited whilst blowing ladybugs into the wind. Some say that the origin of this rhyme is actually not so bad as it seems. Farmers, out of appreciation for the ladybug’s helpfulness, may have recited this song as a warning to the ladybugs before setting the remains of the harvest on fire to prepare for the next sowing season.
Ladybug Spirit Animal
The ladybug spirit animal is intuitive, emotional, and unique. People who have this spirit animal are a rare and lucky breed for whom things often seem to work out just right.
The ladybug’s luck, however, is not its only virtue. People with the ladybug spirit are compassionate, grounded, and down-to-earth. The ladybug spirit animal is especially present in those who feel called towards helping and serving their communities.
People with the ladybug spirit animal often have strong nurturing instincts despite having a fairly childlike outlook. They are innocent, curious, and always try to see the best in others.
Often, people with this spirit animal are happiest in larger families and enjoy expanding their social circles.
Ladybug Totem Animal
The ladybug totem animal is associated with success, ambition, and patience. People with the ladybug totem animal are sure to attract the outcomes that they desire so long as they correctly focus their energy and intentions upon their goals.
People with this totem may benefit from carefully planning out and visualizing the way they want their lives to look. The ladybug totem hates feeling lost and may hesitate to make moves without a clear sense of direction. Sometimes, though, you just have to take a leap of faith!
The ladybug totem can help you to intuit the correct time to act. Like the ladybug waiting for just the right breeze before finally taking wing, keep your ambitions in mind and be open to opportunities as they present themselves. Sometimes, helping others will lead you to more success than you expect. Protecting the garden leads the ladybug to a feast of aphids.
Ladybug Power Animal
Ladybug power animal is associated with dreaming, visions, and self-knowledge. There is just something special about ladybugs. Across multiple cultures, this brilliant red insect speaks to human beings in a way that most similar bugs do not.
So many ladybug superstitions suggest that each ladybug you encounter might help you learn something about yourself; from its spots you might even predict your future.
So, the power of the ladybug is the ability to connect with one’s spiritual side, to suspend disbelief and explore the outer reaches of what is possible, and to be inspired by nature to explore one’s inner self.
Ladybug Tattoo Meaning
The ladybug is a very popular tattoo which is often chosen to represent luck and femininity. This tattoo is particularly popular with women, but may be chosen by just about anyone.
For Christian believers, a ladybug tattoo may be chosen to represent the “Beetle of Our Lady” and the love and protection that Christ and the Virgin Mary extend towards believers.
A ladybug tattoo may also represent a love for gardening, for the outdoors, and for nature.
Many associate the ladybug with both childhood and motherhood, so a ladybug tattoo may represent childhood innocence, a sense of wonder, or a maternal bond form the side of both mother and child.
The lucky ladybug is a ubiquitous and beloved symbol which is cherished by many. Vibrantly colorful, these insects remind us to appreciate the small things in life and to count our blessings as often as possible. Ladybugs may indeed bring good luck to those who encounter them, however it might just be the case that those who find ladybugs are already the lucky ones!