Also known as “lightning bugs”, fireflies are actually a nocturnal variety of soft-bodied beetle. There are over 2000 species worldwide, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica. Did you know that not all fireflies glow as an adult, but they all do in their larval stage – fascinating! They also spend most of their lives in this larval state, up to two years, and only live maybe a couple of weeks as an adult, during which time they only mate and lay eggs. They don’t even eat as adults! So, that means that the fireflies you see tonight, were from adults who mated two years ago.
The firefly produces light without heat, using a chemical called luciferin, which originates from the Latin word Lucifer, meaning “light-bearing”. That light attracts mates of the same species (each species has a different flash pattern). The males flash their courtship light shows, and if a female is interested, she will flash back, so the male can find her.
But many people also believe in the symbolism behind animals. Animal totems, spirit animals or power animals have been a part of many cultures the world over, for generations. From the Far East, to Norse and Celtic mythology, and Native American culture. The firefly can symbolize inspiration, illumination and creativity. Firefly magic is still sometimes incorporated into modern Pagan or Wiccan magic today. They are associated with moon magic, or can represent the element of fire.
There are many great online resources if you want to find out more about fireflies, either the critters themselves, or their mysticism and symbolism. I find both the reality and the symbolism to be educational and captivating!
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