Getting Over Our Fears Of Things In Nature


*This is a follow up post to ‘ Shadow Totems’ HERE

It is clear to say that a few years ago I used to be an insectiphobe. Creepy crawlies creeped me out. Bee and wasps terrified me, cockroaches still do and alien looking creatures gave me chills. Thankfully most of that has changed as I began to realise the things we fear have a lot to teach us.

Many fears are learned fears passed on down through the generations. In my family all the women showed me from an early age that bees and wasps are to be feared. So gripping was this message I saw my mum and aunt flee the scene of a trapped bee in absolutely mind-numbing terror. Running through the house as if an axe murderer had just entered, so extreme was this legacy of fear.

I obviously continued this fear until a few years back after a particularly strong crying session in my kitchen by the mere sight of a bee my house-mate had caught in a glass to set free.

It was then that I knew this phobic reaction was totally bonkers and I needed to change. So one day while at a zoo I gazed into a bee hive (behind a glass window) while my friend Mike did distant EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) on me. And from that moment on gradually things changed.

What I discovered was that those creatures we fear have the same qualities that we fear within ourselves. Qualities we have within us that we are resistant to embracing, and once we begin to investigate and educate ourselves about those creatures the fear begins to release (and EFT helps).

Wasps As A Gift

Last week, I sat in a cafe garden surrounded by wasps and bees. I was perfectly at ease around bees as those of you who know me, know that I have a love affair with them now, so this is a big turnaround. Now wasps, I sometimes loved but generally accepted and was not as scared as I used to be. The wasps flew around me. I felt some anxiety but not phobic reaction. And I did not get stung. So I left the cafe, walked up the High Street to see a friend and opened my raw chocolate goji berries and within a few seconds I saw this new ring adornment on what is called the wedding ring finger. I had a brightly coloured wasp sitting on the inside of my finger and then felt a stabbing pain in my finger as I dropped the wasp off my finger and hid my chocolate in my bag. Yelping and laughing, holding my throbbing finger, I walked to see my friend who works in a local Mind,Body,Spirit shop and she dabbed lavender oil on the sting. And instead of feeling dreadful (yes it was painful), I felt blessed.
This was my first ever wasp sting. And in some native cultures a sting means the creature is imparting its wisdom to you. To me this was a gift.
So feeling a little unnerved I decided to investigate the humble wasp. I realised that most people define wasps as angry pests but I knew that there had to be more to it than this.

Why do they sting?

I was not attacking this wasp, so I educated myself on the wasp totem (wisdom).

Wasp Eating Jam 
I discovered wasps generally sting in August and September. There is a reason for this. Before these months the female wasps take food to the babies in the nest and as a thank you gift the babies excrete a sweet substance as a reward. In August and September the nests begin to empty, babies are flying the nest, no more sweet reward. This could be similar to getting a human hooked on heroine and then suddenly taking its drug away. The female wasps are just hungry for the sweet stuff and this is why they invade our picnics and outdoor lunches, our fizzy drinks, jams etc.. They are not angry pests just hungry. This gave me a sense of compassion for them and a greater understanding. I discovered eating cheese and onion sandwiches did not seem to attract them (apparently they do not like onions, garlic and some sites say cucumber is a deterrent at BBQs – I am yet to try that out). So they only sting because they are hungry or they feel their nest is under attack. If they fly at you better to sit still and be gentle. If you kill a wasp they give off a sort of pheromone that attracts other wasps and that is why suddenly you are inundated with wasps.

What Do Wasps Teach Us If They Are Our Shadow Totems

(normal totems once embraced)

“The wasp is a totem of shape shifting and interdependence. Most wasp species are solitary. Unlike bees, which are hive oriented, the wasp is independent and prefers to work on his own rather than in a group. Solitary wasps have little patience and will swarm all over a task they are performing with a gusto. Wasp people are independent thinkers and have difficulty relating to authority figures. They prefer to do things in their own way. Individuals that hold solitary wasp medicine often receive recognition as the front-runners of new trends or ideas later in life. 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.  Just when you think you know the person, they change and become someone else. The wasp teaches those with this medicine how to use diversity to their advantage.  By observing the wasp we can learn how to shape our outer image and become more connected to our inner knowing.”  from

Education Releases Fear

Dependent on your fear or phobia of a creature in nature, educate yourself. If it is an insect my favourite book on the subject is ‘The Voice Of The Infinite In The Small’ by Joanne Elizabeth Lauck. For any other creatures there is a wealth of animal wisdom books by Ted Andrews and various other authors on animal wisdom. Nature does give us signs and if we read them we can really begin to understand ourselves a lot better.

I am yet to embrace my cockroach phobia but I would like to. I would need to go to a warmer country as I never see any in my area. But once I do embrace this, I will be embracing strength, resilience, community, my shadow and much more.


What creatures bring up fear in you?
Do you have any phobic reactions to insects or animals?
Do you feel your family passed down any phobic reactions?
What do you feel the creature you fear may have to show you that you are yet to embrace in yourself as a quality?

If you enjoyed this post you may like to read the following too: Wolf Medicine

Photos:1st Wikimedia2nd Flickr taken by Ed Needs A Bicycle

Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

Find me on: Web | Twitter/X | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Andy Bowker
    August 16, 2013 / 8:23 pm

    Slugs are the one creature I can't stand. Not sure if it's a phobia as such .. maybe I'll try staring at one next time I get chance.

  2. Andy Bowker
    August 16, 2013 / 8:31 pm

    not had anything passed down far as I know .. my Mum is not scared of spiders at all and doesn't understand why people are. Although I once saw some creepy crawlies that some old friends of mine kept at home (well, one of them I still know) and I was a little freaked out lol

  3. August 17, 2013 / 9:00 am

    I am okay with spiders since travelling around Oz, knowing that in this country you tend not to be able to die from a bite. I may need to embrace a little more in hotter countries.

  4. August 17, 2013 / 9:02 am

    Interesting about slug, when we had them I do believe I was working at my last job and there was so much gossip and bitching going on it was unbelievable slug was obviously telling me to get out of them.

  5. August 17, 2013 / 9:04 am

    "When the slug appears as a totem or messenger, we are opening to higher vision. A new path is opening: "This path (the Hermit Path) and its symbols and imagery place before us opportunities to become a new person. On a spiritual level this path stimulates a greater commitment to the spiritual life. We are setting energy in motion that prclaims to the universe, "I am ready to accept change in my life!" {From Ted Andrews book: More Simplified Magic.} The slug's appearance reminds us that we will soon recognize and realize the illumination that is always present within us. " this is interesting as once I left my job I did lead the hermit path very interesting indeed.

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