The meaning of the dream symbol: Locust

Since locust invade land and crops, we may symbolize them as an interruption to the union of man and nature. Locust, like tornadoes, indicate to man that nature, (like man,) has a bad side, and that (that) side, may strike out at any time and absolutely ruin our well being. In as much, the dream may illustrate the fallacy of permanence and indestructible methods (and strategies) meant to preserve life (and livelihood). This forced realization of human vulnerability may have the dual purpose of keeping mankind humble, as well as, pushing him to strive for a better and more respectful confederation with his natural environment.

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In the Biblical tradition, when God became angry at the Pharaoh, he took the form of locust, to break the back and spirit of the Egyptian people. In this (perhaps mythical) imagery, we see the archetypal connection between God and nature. In fact, even today, a government relief claim, involving locust devastation, would certainly be considered in print, a justifiable ‘act of God’. When we respect nature we respect God’s creation and hence, we respect ourselves. The cycle is complete. Locust remind humanity of its rightful place in the scheme of things, not on top, but somewhere snug in the middle.

A devouring swarm of locusts is the very image of a destructive scourge. From Exodus 10: 14 to Revelation 9: 3 they are to be seen in this light, although in the latter instance critics judge them to stand for historic invasions or for hell-born torments. This aspect should most certainly not be overlooked, since exorcisms were long used against locusts.

In the Old Testament, although God himself may have decided to send an invading swarm of locusts, their visitation is regarded as something on the natural plane; in the New Testament (Revelation 9: 1-6) the symbol takes on a different shade of meaning and a swarm of locusts becomes spiritual and moral torment.

From the same point of view, Chuang Tzu regarded an untimely swarm of locusts as a cosmic disorder known to be caused by the microcosm being ever so slightly out of rhythm. In fact, in Ancient China locusts possessed very different qualities, their swarming symbolizing large numbers of descendants and hence the blessing of Heaven. The insect’s rhythmical hopping was associated with seasonal fertility rites and with the rules of well-balanced family and social life.