A reader asked me for clarification about grasshopper symbolism and various symbolic/cultural roles this magnificent creature plays within the insect realm.
As a cultural symbol, this insect is a prominent feature in Asian traditions. For instance, the Japanese connect its molting phases with the wax and wane of the moon. Further still, the Japanese cherished the song of this creature (particularly the long-horned grasshopper), and believed the moon coaxed the music from them.
As a Chinese symbol, the grass hopper offers attributes of longevity, happiness, good health, good luck, wealth, abundance, fertility and virtue. In fact, grasshoppers were thought to be fertility symbols; specifically omens of the birth of a son (hence, another reason for its good luck symbol status as sons are considered prized gems within the setting of the family).
In certain regions of China, grasshoppers were kept as family pets and it was believed grasshoppers embodied the personalities of family members who were deceased. Keeping these reincarnate souls in the form of grasshoppers insured prosperity amongst the family members.
In Ancient Greece the grasshopper is a status symbol. Athenians would adorn themselves with golden grasshopper hair combs and brooches as an indication of nobility. The grasshopper is also a symbol of immortality as we see in Greek myth when Zeus grants immortality to Tithonus, who was later transformed into a grasshopper (who of course, lived forever).
In Native American Indian symbology and tribal lore (specifically the Iroquois nation) grasshopper symbolism deals with messages of glad tiding. In this context, the grasshopper is a harbinger of good news. Indeed, when this creature is seen on spirit walks, it is a sign that the seer will receive profoundly joyful news that will benefit the entire community.
Here's a quick-list of grasshopper symbolism...
As an animal totem, the grasshopper appeals to artists, musicians and dancers. To wit, the lilting song this creature emits is an inspiration to our muse; its skittering and jumping is divine choreography. The artist within us all easily recognizes the grasshopper making its own dance steps, and grooving to its own special melody.
The grasshopper moves to its own rhythm and tune, indicating this creature is a advocate of intuition and listening to our inner voices. The grasshopper encourages us to listen to our own stirrings - those beautiful chirping lullaby's that sing in our hearts are indications of our inner beauty and creativity. The grasshopper totem reminds us these inner musings must never be silenced - rather, they should be nurtured, and always remain as the background music to the performance of our lives.
As with most insect totems, the grasshopper keeps itself to the ground. As such, this is a grounding totem, and the grasshopper can teach us stability, patience, security, and solidarity.
The grasshopper chooses those of us who are innovators, forward-thinkers, and those who progress in life by unorthodox methods. This is because grasshopper symbolism recognizes tremendous leaps of faith, impressive jumps in progress and consistent forward momentum. Those with this totem are likely to aim high, and achieve amazing feats - they take great leaps where others fear to tread (or jump, in this case).
Another special feature of the grasshopper totem is that it calls to those who have natural clairvoyant abilities. Just as the grasshopper uses thousands of tiny eyes to formulate the "big picture" so too do those whom the grasshopper is called. In other words, those with this totem are visionaries. They see things intuitively, seeing beyond what the concrete world holds, and they use this special vision to see the world with a childlike wonder.
We can call upon the grasshopper when we need a sense of adventure in our lives. When we feel stuck in a rut, the grasshopper can bounce us into magical viridian worlds filled awe and joy.
The grasshopper can also help us when we need a little creative inspiration. If muses kept pets - the grasshopper would certainly be a first choice.
Take the time to connect with the grasshopper. Here are some suggestions in doing so...
I hope you have enjoyed these observations on grasshopper symbolism and grasshopper totems. This is truly a magnificent creature capable of expanding your horizon to new heights.
I've written more about grasshopper symbolism on my blog here.