Wibbly Wobbly Cicadas

“Is not the whole world an illusion? And yet it fools everybody.”

(Angela Carter)


My mother was a big Dr. Who fan. My daughter is also a Whovian. Me? Not so much. However, having spent so much time surrounded by Whovians and Who references, the phrase “wibbly wobbly timey wimey” has been a rolling snippet in my brain for many years. I really like it.

For my fellow non-Whovians, Dr. Who is a Time Lord. There have been at least 14 Dr.s Who. Each brings their own flavor and flare to the position. In my opinion, nobody delivers my favorite wibbly wobbly phrase like Dr. Who #10, David Tennant. I can see his wildly excited eyes, full of mystery and mischief, explaining that while we non-TIme Lord types think of time as some static, concrete thing, for someone who bends time, regularly shooting around in between timelines in a blue British Police Box, “time” is entirely flexible - wibbly wobbly, if you will.

Ask a student

If you doubt the wibbly wobbliness of time, ask any kid in school. When you sit in a boring class with a teacher you can’t stand, you can look up at the clock, note the time, wait for a good 20 minutes to tick by, and then look up at the clock to find that three whole minutes have passed. Wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

When that same kid is trying to not get out of bed, not get ready for class and not log in on time for school, that same perceived 20 minutes turns out to be an hour and now you’re late! Again! Wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

It’s not just time

If you were blindfolded and someone touched a sub-zero, thin, frozen rod to your arm, you wouldn’t know at first if what you were feeling was hot or cold. The same is true if that was a very hot rod, or even if the touch is a needle. You don’t know what it is until your neocortex takes in all of the clues and decides if what you’re feeling is hot, cold or OUCH!! Perception is also wibbly wobbly.

That’s a good thing! Especially when it comes to cicadas.


I had a session recently with a client who was terrified of cicadas. As in, her whole body would seize up, her brain would go blank and all she could think was RUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUHHHHHHHN!! She had been completely avoiding going outside since the 17-Year Cicadas emerged this year. This was a big problem because going out for walks was one of her best stress-busting, anti-anxiety habits.

She disclosed to me that the last time “these jokers,” (her words, this current batch of cicadas,) showed up, she had almost been hit by a car after she was swarmed with them and accidentally walked out into the street trying to get them off of her. It was a horrible experience. Every time she even thought about cicadas her whole body would carry the sensory flashback to her as if it was happening right now.

When I probed a little deeper, it turns out that a very kindly older man of a different ethnicity, (whom she never would have imagined would notice or care for her,) in a very gentle, fatherly way, helped pick the bugs off of her, get her up out of the street and saw to it that she got safely to her office. The feelings she had in response to that man’s care were overwhelmingly positive.

Perception is everything

Using some Ericksonian hypnotherapy techniques, we were able to quickly start a new neural path reaction to cicadas. Where once she was seized with panic, now she is flooded with sensory memories of tender, fatherly care. The more she practices, the deeper and deeper this connection will be.

She is back to walking now. The cicadas don’t bother her. If you read a story in 2038 about an older woman making friends with the cicadas that will once again pop up …just don’t be surprised.

We can use the wibbly wobbliness of perception to make our lives better.

True confession

While I admit the cicadas are crazy loud? It doesn’t really bother me. In fact, I have my own wibbly wobbly perceptions and connections. I have more than half a century of summers that have those high-pitched waves of CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K!CH!K! as their soundtrack. I kinda love it.

Of course, the current swarm has a slightly different sound. The high pitched CH!K!CH!K! seems almost drowned out by the lower WAHWAHWAHWAHWAH cheesy 70’s sci-fi sound that gets loud enough to sound like helicopters landing on your driveway at times. But still, the sweetness of the CH!K!CH!K! Is enough to make me not care.

For me, it’s connected to not having to go to school, to having hours and hours of free time to ride my bike, walk for hours with my dog, ride my skateboard down crazy steep hills and just… be. My soul settles when I hear it.

Mother knows best

And as my mother would say, we look just as freakish to the cicadas as they do to us. We can snuff out a cicada’s life without even knowing it. All they do to us is seem weird and make lots of noise.

I bet you can think of at least a few other things that seem weird and make a lot of noise -- Performance artists, bagpipes, leaf blowers, politicians or evangelists knocking on your door… While some do run screaming from one or more of those things, they don’t typically freak us out the way cicadas do.

It’s all wibbly wobbly after all.


If you'd like help with the wibbly wobbliness of it all, contact me here. I’m happy to help anyway I can.