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They might often be depicted as pesky insects, but there’s a lot more to the grasshopper than meets the eye. These unique insects have highly symbolic meanings, which come from their behavior and unique traits. Let’s take a look at some of their powerful meanings.
What Are Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers are known for their beautiful colors and characteristics. They’re among the oldest insects, dating back to around 250 million years ago. Grasshoppers have beautiful wings, which they use for camouflage as well as for warning when faced by a predator. True to their name, they use their hind legs to hop around, flying only for a short distance before landing and lunging themselves into the air again.
Though you can find them in isolation, grasshoppers love to move in swarms, offering each other moral support. Even more interesting about these insects is that they make sound in two ways:
- By rubbing the rows of pegs on the inside of the hind legs against the outer edge of their wings which is stiff.
- By flapping their wings, a feat that produces snapping sounds.
Humans and grasshoppers have had a long, complicated, and interesting relationship. While humans classify them as pests, grasshoppers would classify humans as dangerous predators, because in countries like Mexico and Indonesia, they are a popular delicacy.
Based on their bouncy and chirpy characteristics and the aforementioned long, complicated relationship with humankind, grasshoppers have become a powerful symbol. Below are the meanings associated with grasshoppers.
- Fertility: Borrowed from Chinese culture, keeping grasshoppers was believed to be a symbol of fertility and abundance, especially for someone looking to have a son. This
- Health: Grasshoppers tend to appear when the land is fresh and full. Their vibrant bouncy movements are sighted when crops and plants, in general, have given produce. The way these colorful creatures move is seen as a symbol of health.
- Prosperity: This symbolic meaning also has its roots in Chinese culture. The Ancient Chinese kept grasshoppers as pets believing that they were reincarnations of dead loved ones. It was believed that keeping these musical pets brought prosperity to the specific family members.
- Nobility: This meaning is borrowed from the ancient Athenians who used to embellish brooches and combs with golden grasshopper hair as an indication of noble status.
- Good luck: This meaning has its roots in the Iroquois tribe of the Native American Indians. The Iroquois believed that sighting a grasshopper meant that good news was around the corner.
- Abundance: Grasshoppers are what you would call gold diggers. These colorful insects do not show up unless there is a reason to celebrate. Where there are grasshoppers there is plenty of food. As such, they have become a symbol of abundance and wealth.
- Freedom: Grasshoppers are seen as free spirits who live their lives on the edge and are uncaring of much. This symbolic meaning is well depicted in the baby rhyme, ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’, where the grasshopper is seen happily relaxing and playing his fiddle while the ants anxiously stock their food for winter.
- A Leap of Faith: This is drawn from the way grasshoppers move by leaping high into the air, sometimes without knowing what awaits them. They are seen as a reminder to take a leap of faith when unsure about the next step.
- Creativity: The grasshopper has been associated with music and art for centuries. Their jittering movement is akin to a choreographed dance while the sound they make is a melody of nature. The combination of its jittering and sounds makes the grasshopper look like it’s dancing to its own music, thus making it a symbol of creativity.
Grasshopper Symbolism in Dreams
Seeing a grasshopper in your dream has two contrasting meanings that you can pick depending on your specific circumstances. It can either mean that you are hopping too often between decisions and that you need to settle down and take care of one task first.
On the other hand, it can mean that something you are looking forward to is within your reach and you only need to leap to reach it. The latter is usually communicated by dreaming of a grasshopper that is leaping away from you.
Grasshopper As a Spirit Animal
A spirit animal is a divine messenger that chooses you and comes to help you on your life’s journey. Having the grasshopper as your spirit animal means that you have a lovely personality and people tend to enjoy your company.
It also means that you daydream a lot, are a master of camouflage, and can mingle with just about anyone. If this is your spirit animal, then you are blessed with good luck, healthy relationships, and the ability to dare into the unknown.
Grasshopper As a Totem Animal
A totem animal is a spirit guide you invoke based on an incessant pull towards a certain animal or numerous encounters with the animal.
A grasshopper as a totem animal comes to remind you that you have a high intuition and a high spiritual connection that you need to listen to more and use to help those that deserve it. It also comes to encourage you to get in tune with your artistic side, especially in terms of music, dance, and performance.
A grasshopper as a totem animal is also an indication that you are not in tune with weak-minded people, and that as lovely as you are, you have a potential for great evil that can cause great harm if unleashed. On a positive note, if this is your totem animal and you dream of finding your soulmate, then keep it close and sooner or later it will guide you to your pair of a tie.
Grasshopper As a Power Animal
A power animal is a spirit guide that comes to help with challenges and transitions. The vibrations of a grasshopper help transport your consciousness from this dimension to others and help you communicate with others on a divine level. Those that have invoked the grasshopper as a power animal are called to a great life than the regular earthly life.
Grasshoppers in Tattoos
Grasshoppers make for good tattoos, because of their symbolism. They can also be easily stylized into a beautiful design.
If you choose a tattoo featuring a grasshopper, your tattoo can represent concepts like taking a leap of faith (as grasshoppers literally leap when they move), being creative, fearless, and trying against all odds. It’s also a representation of knowing that you will be all right, life will be abundant, and all will be fertile.
But this tattoo also shows that you’re connected to nature, as the grasshopper is a part of the natural world. It shows your desire to stay grounded and remember your roots, while still following your passions, being free and independent.
Myths and Stories About the Grasshopper
Grasshoppers in Greek Culture
In Greek mythology, the mortal Tithonus who fell in love with Eos, the goddess of dawn. Eos pleaded with Zeus, the king of gods to make Tithonus immortal so that they could be together forever, but jealous Zeus granted him immortality without stopping the aging process. When Eos saw Tithonus getting frail by the day, she turned him into a grasshopper, creatures known to be immortal, and so Tithonus lived forever.
Another popular mention of grasshoppers comes from a folktale that originated in Greece. In this tale, while the ants collected and stored food during the summer, the grasshopper carelessly sang, played, and ate grass. When winter came, the ants had plenty to eat while the grasshopper had nothing. The grasshopper pleaded for some food, but the ant wouldn’t budge, and so he sadly died of hunger.
Grasshoppers in Native American Culture
According to a Native American myth, all humans lived in peace until the grasshopper came along. While children were out playing, they came across a grasshopper that they began fighting over for ownership.
To break the fight, their parents came along but ended up quarreling as well. A fight then ensued on the land and even though the source of the fight was found to be silly, friendships were broken. This divide has come to be known among the tribe as the grasshopper war.
Another story tells of a magician by the name of Grasshopper, who once stole and kept all the tobacco of the land to himself. A boy named Gluskabe then went to steal it back and share it with everyone.
When grasshopper went after Gluskabe for stealing ‘his’ tobacco, Gluskabe rubbed him between his palms to make him small so that he would never hog tobacco again. After this encounter, Grasshopper became so fearful that whenever he is held in the palm, he spits some tobacco as a show of his willingness to share.
Grasshoppers in the Bible
In the Biblical book of Genesis, God used a swarm of locusts, one of the grasshopper subspecies, to punish the Egyptians for refusing to let Israelites go. However even though the locusts devour the whole land causing a great famine, this doesn’t work, and it takes a few other tricks to make the pharaoh budge. In this context, grasshoppers are seen as pests and curses.
Grasshoppers are intriguing insects. Their movement and carefree life is a reminder to get creative and enjoy the pleasures of life. If you see one, then it’s time to get in touch with your spirituality and take that leap of faith. Their powerful meanings make them an excellent insect for symbolism.