AntThe Future

* This essay focuses on ants in Australia, but many of the lessons here apply to ants globally.

Ant illustrated by Ravenari


Stockpiling. Preparing for the future. Caring about our children. Storage. Hoarding. Nourishing future generations. Challenging others. Hard work. Planning ahead. Doing what is right. Teamwork. Determination. Storing energy. Causes.

General Description:

Australia has a very diverse number of ant species (over 1000), and many more are expected to be confirmed over time. Ants are social insects, forming colonies that can become incredibly huge and complicated. Most of them feature an egg-laying queen, sterile workers and occasionally males and winged queens that help to sustain and create new colonies. Ants are primarily liquid feeders, and are known to farm the waste product from aphids (a form of liquid sugar) for food. Ants are common across Australia and are often consisted a pest in the suburbs and in homes. In Australia, ants aren’t commonly venomous, and so are not as common as a health problem.

Lessons and Challenges:

Ant teaches us how to see the value in preparing for our future by doing things like stockpiling those things that will nourish us. It may be money, food, a reliable source of fresh water; or it might be through more metaphysical support systems of friends, healing methods, relaxation techniques etc.

There is an importance in learning how to store energy, at this time. It might be learning how to literally store energy (through using techniques like qi gong, or meditative exercises). Alternatively it could be looking at ways you can cut down on your stresses, so that you have more energy in general to ‘spend.’

Many of us think of our future, but how many of us actually take those thoughts and turn them into something we can implement into our present, so that they become our future?

It’s important to be determined to see your goals through; no matter what they are, or how unfeasible they seem. Ant does not buy into the concept of the pipe dream, ant wants future ideas to become reality. This involves taking the time to plan ahead, to put hard work and persistence into a goal. Ant knows that you may not reach that goal, but the energy of ant insists that expending energy into a cause that may come to nothing is better than just leaving your goals and wants for your future in your head and nothing with them at all.

Ant asks us to consider ‘doing what is right.’ This means not only doing what is right for us, but also looking at what services we can offer to enrich our community and family. Communal ant works towards an idea of a greater good, which is sustaining and nourishing its community so that it – in turn – may be protected by its community. It is through a healthy community that many species of ant thrive; and ant brings this to our attention.

Ant also shows us the inherent illnesses in our current society, and then sometimes suggests ways to actually counter them. This may mean taking up a cause which wasn’t previously yours, or acting upon the causes you believe in, those things which you think that if changed – would nourish the society around you.

With a mentality of teamwork, it is possible to overcome a great deal. While not all ants are social creatures; many are. And it is obvious that those that are communal can create great, sustainable communities for themselves that last for decades. Take the time to interact with others and find people who have similar goals to you, get to know them, learn how to work with them. By working with others for a common goal, you may find at this time you make far more progress than if you persist on remaining on your own.

For those who find that ant energy is in their lives, there is emphasis on caring for children, or alternatively focusing on ways to best nourish future generations. For some, this will involve maybe looking at their own children; but for many others it will involve looking philosophically at the type of future we are creating for future generations? Can we assure them shelter? Sustenance? A community that will protect them, that they in turn can protect?

One of the reasons why ant can be such a challenging guide (even when it isn’t in its shadow aspect), is because when we honestly look at the kind of future our community is creating, we know that we (as a collective society) are not best serving future generations. Many of our lifestyles are geared towards immediate gratification and a consequence of this is wastage and environmental degradation. With the lives many of us lead, we are actively damaging the concept of a future for ourselves.

Ant challenges us, and then tells us to challenge others in turn. Sometimes it is important to educate others by challenging their currently held beliefs, asking them if they honestly believe they are doing the right thing, and of course; leading by example.

The Shadow Aspects:

There is such a thing about focusing on your future too much. Taking it to excess – as indicated by the shadow energy of ant – means that we live a half-life, never actually enjoying or valuing the present. If we spend too much time on the future, we worry, we become anxious, and most of all we start to lose sight of ourselves and what we truly want from our present. The future is meaningless if we are unable to enjoy the present. You may not be here tomorrow, so stop planning so much for the future, take a break and start thinking about who you are now. Often when ant bites us, it’s reminding us to pay attention and to live in the now!


Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Ant is often a very visible guide, in that it will bite you or literally come into your life to get your attention. However, the messages that ant brings can be cryptic.

In my own experience, and through the observation of others who work with ant, it is not an animal that ‘talks’ in the conventional sense. It is very important with ant to observe what is happening, and to actually study the nature of ant itself. Are the ants coming into your life communal, or not? Are they foraging for food in your home to ensure their own future? Are they biting you and challenging you to face something difficult within yourself? While ant will take the time to enter the lives of many, its message only communicates – I feel – to a few.