What do locusts symbolize


Keyword: grasshopper

Left: Insects, scorpion

Definition: Grasshoppers are winged insects that move by means of high jumping power, among other things.

Information: We mostly encounter locusts in fields and meadows. In summer you can hear their loud chirping, which is caused by rubbing with their hind legs. The animal science clearly differentiates between grasshoppers, crickets (also house crickets) and cicadas, in the symbolism here is not consistently delimited.

In the Bible we find the image of the grasshopper very often. The book of Exodus, the second of the five books of Moses, describes the plague of locusts on Egypt, one of the seven plagues that the God Yahweh inflicted on the Egyptians so that Pharaoh would let the Israelites leave his land: the east wind had brought the locusts into the country. They attacked all of Egypt and settled in swarms ... down. ... They covered the surface of the whole land, and the land was black from them. They ate up all the vegetation of the land and all the tree fruits ... in all of Egypt nothing green remained. "(Ex. 10,13)

After a plague of locusts, the prophet Joel urgently calls for repentance and conversion. Locusts also stand for the approaching judgment, as in the Revelation of John (Revelation 9: 3): When the fifth trumpet was called, locusts came out of a smoking abyss “... and they were given strength like scorpions have on earth : They were told not to harm the grass on the earth, the green plants and the trees, but only to the people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. ”These people should not be killed as a result, but tormented for five months with the pain that a scorpion sting inflicts on humans. The locusts increasingly turn into demonic beings (Rev. 9: 7): “And the locusts look like horses that are prepared for battle; on their heads they wear something that resembles gold shimmering wreaths, and their faces are like human faces, their hair is like women's hair, their teeth like a lion's teeth, their chest like an iron armor; and the rustling of their wings is like the roar of chariots… ”They are subordinate to Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek), which both mean“ Corruptor ”.

Interpretation: Above all, the migratory locust, which devastates entire areas of land in large swarms, is a symbol of voracity and destruction and is considered a visitation of God. In John's Apocalypse, the locust is interpreted either as a symbol of the heretics or as a vision of demonic powers. The cicada is considered a demon of light and darkness in cyclical periods. The locusts' connection with the venom of the scorpions can be seen through the traditional symbolism of astrology, which associates the scorpion with terms such as male sexuality, destruction, the occult, the mystical and enlightenment; healing and resurrection from death are mentioned as a counterbalance to the poison. Even a dangerous-looking sign is understood as ambivalent - as a changer and at the same time a symbol of overcoming death.

In ancient China, the grasshopper itself meant rich blessings for children and a symbol of luck and prosperity, perhaps because the four-time moult was viewed as a symbol of the soul. The cicada there meant eternal youth, control of desire and vice, immortality or survival after death. A cicada amulet made of jade was placed in the mouth of the deceased. The stylized cicada ornament was also understood as a metaphor for "adherence to principles".

In Greece it was assumed that the cicada had no blood and lived on dew. That is why she stood there for immortality. It was an attribute of Tithonos, who achieved immortality, but not eternal youth, so that he grew older and weaker until he turned into a cicada, and how it was constantly making incomprehensible sounds.

For the Chinese, the cricket is a symbol of summer and courage, but also of death and resurrection (also rebirth), as it lays its eggs in the earth and after a larval phase it comes to the surface as a finished animal. In China such as In the Mediterranean cultures, for example, the cricket, also known as cricket, which likes to live in the house and at the stove, is a good luck charm and symbol of fertility. However, swarms of locusts were seen as a sign of a disruption of the cosmic order.

From Gregor the Elder (A.D. 540-604) the locust was described as a companion of Christ against the Gentiles, and because of its molt it becomes a symbol of the resurrected Savior. Therefore a grasshopper in the left hand of the baby Jesus is used as a symbol for the conversion of the Gentiles.

The cicada was also occasionally the symbol of the indefatigable poet, his helper or attribute of the muses. In the past, stories were often used to describe a “cricket-like being”. Even nowadays one judges someone with the saying: "He has a barbecue", if he shows unusual ways of thinking or behaving. According to psychoanalytic interpretation, the cricket in dream and fairy tale symbolism is often the embodiment of victorious ego powers.

Literature: default

Author: Huber-Klein, Birgit