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Reincarnation/My dog the praying mantis


Hello Stephen,

Many years ago while vacationing in Mexico, a praying mantis flew into my palapa and landed on a candle on the table. She got wax on the tip of her front leg and was struggling to remove it. I put my hand out and she hopped onto my palm. I grabbed a pair of tweezers and carefully removed the wax. All the while, she sat calmly on my hand while holding her leg up as though she knew what I was trying to do. She stared up at me with her little triangular head tilting from side to side. Once I successfully removed the wax, she hung out next to me the rest of the evening. It was such and incredible experience.

Fast forward to a couple years ago, I decided to adopt a dog. I spent two weeks searching through local rescues and shelter sites. I finally came across a photo of a puppy and immediately thought, "That's my dog!" When I read her profile, it turned out she was born with a deformed front leg. I didn't care, she was my dog. One evening, months after I brought her home, she was sitting on the kitchen floor waiting as I prepared her food. I looked down at her and she stared back at me tilting her triangular head from side to side. The look on her face was very familiar. The memory of the praying mantis immediately came to my mind, it was the same look! A very euphoric feeling came over me, I was incredibly happy!

This could all be coincidence or my far reaching imagination, but curious what your thoughts are. Could my dog be the reincarnation of the praying mantis that I helped?

Thank you and best regards,

Hi Nancy,

First of all, your experience demonstrates something I think it is extremely important for our culture to realize--that animals have full and complete souls, just as people do. Traditional Christian theology of past eras has bequeathed us the legacy, that they do not have souls, and therefore society feels justified in treating them as objects, even though there is so much in our everyday experience with animals to show that this idea is wrong.

Secondly, it's my understanding that souls do move through the evolutionary scale. That would be a pretty fast jump from insect to dog, but interaction with human beings is said to speed an animal's progress; and an act of kindness certainly would draw an animal's soul to a person, just as happens between people.

One thing is clear, you have a loving and compassionate nature, and if you have expressed it in past lives, as well as in this one, there will be animal souls drawn to you, and vice-versa. Whether the matching aspects regarding the leg is a coincidence, I can't say. It's possible that both encounters harken back to something even earlier, which left a deep impression and keeps repeating. It could be it is the same soul, which due to some exception, progressed so very rapidly from insect to canine. My guess is that you have expressed compassion toward animals--as St. Francis did, for example--in past lives, and that this tendency continues, and that some of the animals you have thus befriended continue to be drawn to you. I would guess, in other words, that whether your dog was the praying mantis before or not, you have a past-life connection.

St. Francis keeps coming to mind for some reason. Perhaps that the insect was a praying mantis was significant as a symbol, as well, or maybe that's why it keeps coming to me. Have you ever felt a particular feeling toward St. Francis' order, or his story? There are, of course, other groups, like the Buddhists and the Jains, who teach compassion toward animals, but that's what keeps coming to mind.

Best regards,


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Stephen Sakellarios


I can answer questions about reincarnation (from both Eastern and Western perspectives) and life after death, and how these topics relate to religion and spirituality.


I produced a documentary entitled "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America" which aired on PBS station KBDI in Denver, CO, Jan. 2003
I have a masters in counseling from FSU, and over thirty years' study of Eastern mysticism from carefully selected sources, plus eight years' study of contemporary Western reincarnation studies. I've published nine related articles online and in print. I offer an online class on the subject and maintain an extensive educational website at, as well as giving talks and radio interviews (archived on the website).

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