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Tattoo designs - G >> Grasshoppers

Grasshopper tattoo design ideasGrasshopper & Locust Tattoo Design Meanings - A 'plague of locusts' is perhaps our most common reference to the grasshopper family, and gives this insatiable insect a horrifying reputation. Walt Disney did his best to anthropomorphize this creature in the guise of Jiminy Cricket, the comical and wise sidekick of Pinocchio, serving as his official conscience. In heraldry, nobility and wisdom were two of the grasshopper's attributes, emblematic of great warriors and destroyers.

For the Ancients, the mysteries of the cosmos were explained in legends about creatures large and small, the grasshopper being one of the smallest and also among the earliest to arrive on the mythical stage. Evidence of its role in the cultural life of human societies can be found in art, mythology, religion and literature dating back thousands of years.

Queen Mab of Celtic myth, said to be the midwife to the fairies, had a carriage made from grasshopper wings, and a riding whip made of a cricket's bone. In many Native American cultures, the grasshopper or locust was a symbol of creation, and played an important role in describing the people's origins. Whole nations identified with it, naming themselves 'Grasshopper People' and 'The People of the White Locust'. For the Hopi and Pueblo Indian, the grasshopper was the supernatural patron of the flute players.

Ancient Egyptians wore amulets with the grasshopper symbol, believing in its power to ward off locust plagues. A single locust design was applied to tombs, as a wildlife element of the Nile and symbol of the human soul. As a hieroglyph, the locust represented 'great numbers'. Indeed, its characteristic demolishing of entire fields of crops made it a biblical symbol of the brevity of existence. In the Old Testament, the locust was a symbol of death and devastation, and was one of the plagues called up by Moses to be afflicted upon the Egyptians. A locust shaped apparition the size of a horse was one of the creatures of the apocalypse. In the Bible, the locust is also a recurring symbol of judgment or punishment for immoral behaviour. In later Christian art, the grasshopper is held by the infant Christ, signifying acceptance and reverence.

In Chinese mythology, those condemned to the 'Sixth realm of Hell' were devoured by locusts, but in other contexts it was a popular symbol of fertility and luck. In Chinese folk art, the image of a grasshopper outside of its cage spoke of the peasant leaving his village for greener pastures elsewhere.

The Dravidians (pre-Aryan India) believed they could influence the forces of nature by performing certain rituals. To protect against a locust plague, they would decorate and honour the insect, then release it in the belief that the swarm would depart. In regions of China where severe infestations occurred, locust temples were built, presumably for roughly the same reason. More than 800 such temples still survive.

In societies ancient and modern - with the exception of Europe which deemed insects dirty - the grasshopper was gratefully accepted as a nourishing food. John the Baptist lived exclusively on locusts while living in the desert. Aristotle and his gang of Greek thinkers sang the praise of the cicada and locust.

Grasshopper as spirit guide advises one to take that leap of faith without fear and without preparing too much. The grasshopper totem is rich with the power of song and sound, ancient mediums in which to alter consciousness and communicate with our animal and spirit relations.

Grasshopper Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!On the other hand, the fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper, reminds us of the importance of planning ahead and for heeding the demands of Winter. The hard-working Ant toils all Summer long and stores a generous supply of food to survive the long Winter that is coming and generally ignores the carefree Grasshopper's enticement to be carefree and worry about tomorrow another day. The Grasshopper plays and frolics all Summer long and makes few provisions for the Winter. Of course, when Winter sets in, the Ant flourishes and the Grasshopper suffers and in the end, perishes. This fable finds its beginnings in the solid, no-nonsense roots of the protestant work ethic that came to dominate much of the religious and philosophical underpinnings of the modern industrial revolution. Work hard, save for tomorrow, postpone immediate pleasures for long-term benefits.

Get inspired by some great images and photos in our Grasshopper Inspiration Gallery

Grasshopper Tattoos and designs from Tattoo Johnny

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See also: Insect Tattoo Index, Insect Tattoos

Tattoo designs - G >> Grasshoppers

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