The Symbolism of Locusts: Is This Insect A Harbinger Of Death and Disease?

In many cultures, locusts are considered to be a symbol of destruction and bad luck. They are often seen as an omen of forthcoming disaster or as a sign that something bad is about to happen. 

Although not all symbolism associated with these insects is negative, follow along for a deep dive into the symbolism of locusts. 

What does a Locust symbolize

Key Points

  • Locusts are a popular insect with an infamous reputation, mostly due to their depiction in the bible, which seems to have a powerful effect on many parts of the world. 
  • Locusts are considered one of the most destructive bugs when it comes to crops. There are many instances throughout history of these swarms ruining crops and creating food scarcity amongst those who experience them. 
  • Even though locusts have been painted in a negative life throughout history, they are likely just the same as any other insect or bug that may also cause crop destruction. It’s easy to create false symbolisms in external sources, but the locusts aren’t as disastrous as you may think. 
locust spiritual meaning

Spiritual meaning of locusts

Seeing locusts is a rarity but something you may experience in your lifetime. If you do happen to see these little creatures, there are a few messages they may bring. 

Warning

Locusts have been associated with a sign of impending doom or apocalyptic times. These insects may symbolize a warning to be aware of. If you’re currently embarking on a journey or following a path that may be leading you to a place that isn’t in your best interest, you may see these insects appear in your life to guide you in a safer direction. 

“Nature makes the locust with an appetite for crops; man would have made him with an appetite for sand.”

– Mark Twain

Longevity

Locusts are considered one of the oldest species of bugs. They are believed to have been around 252-201 million years ago. 

Seeing these bugs appear may be an indicator that you are a strong person who stays committed and dedicated to what you set your mind to. If you’re considering quitting or stepping back from a situation, the locusts urge you to continue forward in your efforts. 

huge locust

Sacrifice

Throughout history, the locust has plagued humanity, coming in swarms and causing destruction. These creatures have destroyed crops, taking away what’s vital and necessary for survival. 

In life, in order to move forward or gain certain desires, there must be an act of sacrifice to achieve this. The locusts symbolize the need to restrict yourself in some way or give something important up in order to make room for something greater. 

locusts together

Locusts symbolism in different cultures

Locusts may be the most popular insects depicted throughout many cultures throughout history. Due to their religious association and destructive tendencies, they have played an important role in many people’s lives. 

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Cant believe

Bible culture

In ‘Moses and the Ten Commandments, Moses is warned by God of the ten plagues that will conquer the earth. The 8th plague described an infestation of locusts that would cover the earth and eat everything in sight. 

These plagues were inflicted by God in order to set the slaves of Egypt free. Many religions follow the bible, and as they have branched out into their own denominations, these plagues have been depicted in various ways throughout history. 

Moses and the 10 commandments
Moses and the 10 commandments

Today, many believe that in the end times, swarms of locusts will cover the earth, initiating the final days of humanity. Locusts live throughout various cycles, and each time they immerse themselves back into the public, there is usually talk somewhere around the world that their presence is an act of God. 

To read the full text about locusts in the bible/book of exodus, click here.

African culture

In the book ‘Things Fall Apart‘ the story takes place in Africa and follows the story of pre-colonial times within certain parts of the country. There is a point in the book where a swarm of locusts appears, and they are associated with eating crops and destruction. 

While these locusts were a symbol of literal destruction, they were also a symbol of warning for the white missionaries that would later invade the area, appearing out of thin air like a swarm of locusts. 

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Things Fall Apart
  • Hardcover Book
  • Achebe, Chinua (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Chinese culture

Locusts are known for their destructive habits all around the world. In China, these pests have been incredibly invasive and damaging throughout their history.

Because of this, there is even a Chinese God, Pa-Cha, who is believed to shield their people from insects. Pa-Cha’s main purpose is to protect crops from locusts and other bugs like the grasshopper.

Ba Zha
Ba Zha

Chinese people worship Pa-cha for keeping their crops safe and praise him for his eternal service to them. 

“The frost which kills the harvest of a year saves the harvest of a century, by destroying the weevil or the locust.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are locusts bad luck?

With all of the bad press surrounding these interesting insects, you might believe that they are a symbol of bad luck. Locusts aren’t necessarily universal symbols of bad luck, especially for those who aren’t religious or follow the teachings of the bible. 

Addressing their association with crop failure, many insects, pests, and animals have caused crop longevity and abundance issues. If these bugs were depicted in the bible, they might not be such a popular image for their agricultural influence. 

If you see a swarm of locusts or hear about them emerging through part of their life cycles, try to view these insects just as any other out there. Nature goes through cycles and creates and destroys; locusts are no different. 

bad luck ahead

Seeing locusts in your dreams

If you see locusts in your dreams, you may be questioning if their presence has a deeper meaning than meets the eye. 

Stress

One of the main causes of dreaming about locusts is stress. Swarms of bugs may symbolize the chaotic feeling you have within your daily life or any underlying issues that you have ignored eating away at you. 

locust in dreams

Arrival

In dreams, the subconscious is neutral and uses symbols to the best of its ability to illustrate what’s currently happening in your mind and throughout your life. Dreaming of locusts may indicate that someone or something will be arriving in your life soon.

Life cycles

We experience moving through our own life cycles, the same as the locust. If these bugs appear in your dream, it may signify which life cycle you’re currently experiencing within a situation. You may be nearing its end or finally embodying a currently in the peak of it. 

While dreaming of locusts can be alarming at first, there’s no reason to associate them with negativity. 

For more information on locusts, check out this video!

In case you came across a dead locust, we’ve got a post about the dead locust’s spiritual meaning as well. Also, check out our post about insect symbolism and some close relatives of the locust, see below.

Sources

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