* This essay is largely targeted at flies in Australia, but many of the lessons apply to flies globally.

Fly illustrated by Ravenari


Persistence. Never giving up. Annoying others. The ego. Arrogance. Narcissism. Seeing yourself as being better than others. Selfishness. A need to give yourself more than you can give others. Invoking and confronting feelings of disgust.

General Description:

Australia has many hundreds of species of ‘flies’ and flying insects, however this card refers specifically to the bush and house flies, the annoying flies of Australia that are persistent in their advances into human habitation. The bush fly doesn’t bite, however it can spread disease, infest unprotected or unguarded foods, infect and harm pets and livestock (causing ‘flystrike’) and be a general nuisance to those pursuing outdoor activities.

Flies have a complex series of life cycles, though they are most commonly known as their larval form; maggots, or their adult form as flies. Flies are always the first insect on the scene to lay their eggs in decomposing wounds, this has lead to forensic investigation being able to determine ‘time of death’ of deceased people from the number of maggots present and the lifecycle they are in upon being found.

Lessons and Challenges:

Fly is one of those animals that most people like to forget has the potential to teach us valuable lessons. It’s understandable, as many of those lessons aren’t pleasant to confront, especially as they tend to deal with the ego and concepts of selfishness.

The fly’s presence in a reading suggests that your ego is doing really well for itself right now, and might be taking over your sense of humility and groundedness. The ego, and its potential to overpower other aspects and facets of the power is emphasised with the presence of fly. Despite seeming like a ‘bad’ thing, fly suggests that at times, such self-importance is actually necessary.

We hit different peaks in our lives, peaks of self-loathing, and the peaks of self-importance and arrogance. It is through these peaks and understanding what motivates them that we can actually reach an equilibrium that respects the self and others with a sense of balance.

Fly lets you know that you’re probably annoying others at this time. Behaviours like narcissism and arrogance are also indicated. Your importance in your ecosystem (both in nature and with those around you that are friends / family etc.) is not disputed, but your attitudes regarding that importance, or behaviours, are potentially putting people off.

Fly suggests that you may see yourself or one of your roles as being more important than the roles of others. There is a level of selfishness that comes with the presence of fly. This is a creature that doesn’t scare easily, that will do almost anything to get within range of a food source, and exploits ecosystems just as much as it can aid the process of decay. Fly does not respect personal boundaries, nor does it care if it is irritating or annoying you. When it is around, you may be just as unable to respect other people’s space, or find that you are resorting to extreme behaviours and attitudes in order to get what you want out of life.

Fly can be a challenging guide, because many people simply do not want to accept its presence. But rather than reflecting poorly on you, fly actually shows that you have the gutsy strength to get what you need as you need it. If that means putting some people off, annoying people, or being selfish for a while, then do it. Don’t hide from the fact that even fly and its exploitative, persistent behaviours have a place in ecosystems, and relevance as a guide within your life.

At this time, there is a need to give yourself more than you can give others. Conserving energy is absolutely necessary, and locating other energy sources and using them up is a part of your life right now. When fly is around, you don’t have the time or luxury to give your energy away to others lives.

Fly invokes and then teaches us how to confront feelings of disgust; many people don’t like looking at decaying flesh, seeing maggots, or thinking about the role that fly plays in our lives. Fly may evoke feelings of disgust regarding our own behaviour, or the behaviour of others. We tend to avoid that which disgusts us, but fly asks us to confront the taboo and the frightening. What is it in your life that disgusts you? Why does it disgust you? Do you think the things that trigger disgust responses in your life warrant such a strong reaction?

Despite fly’s challenging nature as an animal guide, it teaches the indispensable lesson of persistence. Fly never gives up. As anyone at a barbecue in Australia can attest, they persistently come back despite being waved away or even sprayed with pesticides. Very little stops fly from getting to what it wants to get at.

The reward for this persistence is often food, and fly lets us know very specifically that the ability to pick ourselves back up again and keep on hammering away at something will eventually lead to nourishment. We may have to annoy others, we may even have to seize on behaviours that disgust ourselves, but if the reward is physical and spiritual nourishment, fly tells us to keep going. ‘Don’t give up,’ fly reminds you, over and over and over again if you give it the opportunity!

The Shadow Aspects:

Fly tells you to stop giving up so easily, because at this stage in your life, you are giving away passions, dreams, ideas and yourself because you are caring about what others might think or say too much. It is time to acknowledge the power of your ego and yourself, you need to give more weight and time to the things you care for that have nothing to do with others. If it annoys other people – so what? If you take time for yourself that could be spent with others – so what? You must confront the repellent feelings this may conjure and become more self-focused at this time in your life.

Those who fear or dislike fly, often have a problem finding beauty and worth in less common places. Fly as a shadow aspect also challenges us to review our own self-image. Do you think of yourself as annoying, disgusting, unimportant or worthless? Do you attach negative words to your own view of yourself? Fly tells you to stop this behaviour and replace it with positive reminders of your beauty and inherent worth in order to find your way to health and nourishment.


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. Fly, being a persistent fixture of Australian summers, is easily approachable by its very visibility in our lives. Any creature that seeks us out for food and nourishment is often easily sought out in turn, in visualisation and journeying. Fly usually reveals itself as a guide not in ‘real life’ (i.e. in physical encounters), but in dreams, journeys and even visualisations.

I’m not sure many people would want to consciously seek fly out, but for those who do, fly is a conversationalist; able to communicate a great deal about many subjects. Be aware that once you consciously invite fly into your life, you may have a difficult time showing fly the door once you feel you have learnt all you need to. In terms of offerings, I have found that fly appreciates offerings of anything that is biodegradable. Unwanted food waste is probably the most obvious or easy offering to give, but there are other ways to honour fly. Committing to composting, using cloth bags instead of plastic bags for shopping, and avoiding materials that don’t decompose in a timely manner are all worthy offerings.