Are grasshoppers just noisy and kinda gross insects that lurk in long grass? Or are they messengers that bring good news and fortune to those who see them? The grasshopper is an interesting creature that’s steeped in mysticism. Different cultures have different interpretations of what this insect represents, symbolizes, and means.
In this guide, we’ll take you through what grasshoppers symbolize. We’re going to explain what it means to dream of grasshoppers, the qualities of a grasshopper spirit animal, and some interesting ideas from different religions and cultures.
Well, let’s hop to it!
What is a Grasshopper?
The grasshopper isn’t just one species, it’s a group of insects. There are so many varieties of grasshopper, from lubber grasshoppers to rainbow grasshoppers. These insects have been around since the early Triassic period, making them 250 million years old. So, it’s no surprise that they have some intriguing legends and symbolism attached to them!
Some grasshoppers are known as crickets and sometimes they are referred to as locusts when they swarm.
While grasshoppers typically have good connotations attached to their symbolism, they can also be very negative. You’ve probably heard of locust swarms in the context of the bible, where they wipe out farms and cause famine. Locusts are a plague, while grasshoppers are lucky insects. Don’t get the two confused!
Grasshoppers have featured in a surprising number of books, films, and TV shows. The Man in The High Castle uses passages from the bible referencing grasshoppers. Meanwhile, Disney’s Mulan wouldn’t be the same without that “lucky” cricket accompanying Mulan and Mushu. And who can forget the highly sophisticated Mr. Grasshopper in Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.
Grasshoppers typically symbolize:
- Good luck and prosperity,
- Moving forward and hopping towards progress,
- New opportunities to achieve your dreams,
- Positivity and hope,
- Agility and talent.
Grasshoppers can leap from one blade of grass to another, across staggering distances. They are fast and agile. Due to these properties, the insect often symbolizes change and progress. The insects also bring luck. When you combine this together, seeing a grasshopper may be a sign that you’re about to have good luck with your endeavors.
The grasshopper can also symbolize a message – make a change to move forward and stay positive, then you will achieve your dreams.
Grasshopper Meanings In…
Depending on where you see and find grasshoppers, they can have different meanings.
A grasshopper in your dream often represents a leap of faith. It’s a symbol of good luck and tells you that now is the time to advance.
Of course, if you see a swarm of locusts instead, that symbol implies the exact opposite. Locusts in dreams represent a destructive force. Something is going to come crashing down on you, so prepare for the worst.
If you dream of a grasshopper in a specific location, for example in a classroom or at the office, it can symbolize that you need to make a change and/or push forward in that location. The grasshopper may also appear in a specific location if that area is blocked. If you are feeling stuck in a certain area of life, the grasshopper may appear as a symbol of your desire to leap forward.
On the other hand, an erratic grasshopper in your dreams can symbolize moving too fast. Grasshoppers are very difficult to catch because they move so quickly. This grasshopper dream can symbolize an unconscious need to slow things down.
Butterflies are the most common insect tattoo choice, and don’t forget spiders (although technically they are arachnids). So, grasshoppers are more uncommon subjects for tattoos. However, they do have meaning. Usually, a grasshopper symbolizes luck no matter where it is tattooed on your body.
A grasshopper tattoo can also symbolize movement and progress, especially if it’s tattooed on the ankle or foot (you take each step with the grasshopper). You may get a grasshopper tattoo if you are starting a new journey – literally or spiritually.
Grasshopper tattoos can also be a symbol of noise, either the natural noises of nature or a classical instrument like a violin.
Finally, many grasshopper tattoos are cartoon grasshoppers from pop fiction references. Jiminy Cricket, for example.
A totem is a guide, usually a natural animal, that’s part of your spiritual journey. It’s not quite the same as your spirit animal (see below) but it is similar. Seeing or feeling an animal totem can guide you through part of life.
Seeing a totem usually means you see this animal everywhere. Maybe you come across grasshoppers while you are walking through nature, or you can hear them chirping every night. If you keep hearing grasshoppers come up in conversation, or see references to them in films and TV shows, this can also be another way for your animal totem to present itself.
If you see the grasshopper totem, it’s possible that it will help you:
- Identify obstacles in your path and hop over them,
- Move forward and away from a difficult part of your life,
- Remember to let go of the past – the grasshopper can only move forwards. It’s a reminder that you cannot change the things that have happened, only learn from them and move on.
Think carefully. Is there any area of your life that feels stagnant? Your grasshopper totem could be indicating that you need to move forward.
Unlike an animal totem, your spirit animal is a messenger and part of your soul. Your personality traits and life choices are represented by your spirit animal.
People with the grasshopper as their spirit animal are usually creative and like to innovate. These are people that push the boundaries, especially when it comes to art. Photographers, dancers, and musicians often have the grasshopper as their spirit animal.
Those with the grasshopper spirit animal are also constant movers. When given the choice, they’ll always opt for change. While this does mean that you are more likely to reach your dreams and discover new opportunities, it can also be a hindrance. You may move too fast and miss out on the present. Don’t forget to slow down from time to time and smell the flowers.
To benefit from the grasshopper’s optimism and constant desire for movement, you’ll need to find a balance in your life. Learn when to use your intuition to move on, and when to pause for a moment and reflect.
Grasshoppers in Religion and Cultures
Grasshoppers are ancient insects and they’ve certainly left their mark on numerous cultures and religions.
In the bible, the grasshopper is mentioned in a negative light:
“When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come” 2 Chronicles 6:28
It’s also mentioned elsewhere:
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags itself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.
This highlights the grasshopper’s movement and desire. It’s a symbol of life, hope and advancement. When the grasshopper drags itself along instead of hopping actively from leaf to leaf, it’s a sign of the end.
The same could be said for those with a grasshopper spirit animal. Losing energy, positivity and desire is a sign that something is wrong or imbalanced in your life.
Native American Culture
Native American cultures also reference the grasshopper. Native American grasshopper mythology varies from tribe to tribe. Generally, tribes that rely on agriculture view the grasshopper in a negative light, as it can be a pest. In these tribes, the grasshopper is associated with bad luck, carelessness, untrustworthiness, and general discord.
However, tribes that relied on hunting or gathering more than agriculture tend to have a more positive (or ambivalent) view of this insect. Some sources say that the grasshopper would have some influence over the weather, especially drought and rain.
This may be because the lifecycle of grasshoppers is intertwined with the weather. Grasshoppers thrive in hot, sunny conditions so if there is a drought, you will see an increase in the grasshopper population. If there is a drought followed by a mild winter – and this pattern is repeated for several years – it can cause a swarm of grasshoppers that are then known as locusts.
In Japanese culture, many animals and insects have a deeper meaning. For the grasshopper, it’s simply a symbol of good luck. You can find grasshoppers depicted in several Japanese artworks and painted scrolls.
In Japan, locusts may also become a meal. Inago no tsukudani features boiled locusts with soy sauce and sugar. Historically, when locusts swarmed and devoured an entire crop, people had nothing left to eat except the locusts. Nowadays, there are measures in place to stop locust swarms from occurring, however they still may be consumed as a food in some areas of Japan.
Eating grasshoppers fried or on skewers is also a practice seen in China (as well as Thailand, Indonesia, and other Asian countries), particularly at street food stalls. However, grasshoppers also had significant meaning historically. The grasshopper is said to represent wellbeing and good luck. It may also be a sign of fertility and prosperity.
Grasshoppers often emerge at the start of the harvest season. The more crops/foliage there was for the grasshoppers to thrive on, the more grasshoppers would appear. So, you can see why the link between grasshoppers and prosperity emerged!
In Chinese culture, the grasshopper can also represent a longer lifespan, and although they could become pests (especially the Chinese rice grasshopper that thrived in rice paddies) they are generally well-received. Some sources even say that people kept grasshoppers as pets!
Furthermore, while the grasshopper isn’t one of the celestial animals, it does hold significance to Feng Shui as well. It is said that the grasshopper may represent immortality and protection, as well as wisdom and possibly nobility.
Greek Archaic Era
There is a Greek myth that involves a grasshopper. Eos, the goddess of dawn, fell in love with mortal Tithonus. They begged Zeus for Tithonus to become immortal, so he could stay with Eos. Zeus granted him immortal life, but not eternal youth. So, although Tithonus would live forever, he would continue to age.
When Tithonus got so old that he shrunk and shriveled up, he turned into a grasshopper. Eos was disgusted by the chirping creature and sent him into the world instead. So, perhaps it wasn’t true love after all!
Grasshoppers also had significant meaning in Archaic Greece (800 BC to 480 BC) where the grasshopper came to represent the polis in Athens. The polis means the city, or rather, the people that make up the city. This may be because grasshoppers were incredibly common insects and there were a vast number of them, just like there were a vast number of people inhabiting Athens.
The grasshopper became such a symbol of Athenians that some people wore gold grasshopper brooches to indicate their origins in the city.
The grasshopper is overall a symbol of good luck and prosperity. It often signifies movement and progress towards dreams and goals, whether it’s your spirit animal, totem, or just appears frequently in your dreams. As insects go, the grasshopper is one of the least icky and its distinctive chirping noise can be quite pleasant (when it isn’t used in the same context as a tumbleweed in comedy sketches).
Be warned, however, that the locust doesn’t have the same meaning. When the grasshopper becomes a pest or swarms with thousands of other grasshoppers, it becomes the plague-bringing locusts. These are destructive creatures that wipe out anything in their path.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that the grasshopper is good luck, and the locust is almost certainly bad luck!