Introduction to Animal Symbols Animal symbols are so universal as to be a part of the collective unconscious, belonging to the mythology, legends and religious scriptures of virtually every culture on earth. Some animal symbols contain a secret code and reveal their inner meanings only through written and oral traditions. Other symbols are related to the characteristics of animals that are readily accessible to any observer.
Our intuitive sense of the meaning of animal symbols can be greatly enhanced by looking at the meanings given to contemporary symbols in a historic or cultural context. Understanding animal symbolism helps to reveal the deeper meaning in many figurative expressions and proverbs as well as gives us an immediate understanding of their use in films, novels, poetry, art and even advertisements! (Photo courtesy of Überraschungsbilder, Wikimedia Commons) Browse the animal symbols below to find the perfect animal for your personal symbol, business logo, club banner, organizational flag or heraldry project.
Links to All Animal Symbols Below Ant: Animal Symbols Ants are symbols meaning the accomplishment of a great labor, wisdom and providence. Ants are industrious and cooperate well as a group for community benefit. The strength of ants in proportion to their size is also legendary. Ants are social insects related to wasps and bees. Ants form colonies where each ant has a specific role to play for the survivial of the group as a whole.
Ants thrive all over the world with the exception of Antartica and a few islands. Ants are used in many cultures for both food and medication. Ants are believed to communicate through their sense of smell, aided by their long antennae. More Information on This WebsiteRead Aesop's fables about ants. Antelope: Animal Symbols Antelopes are symbols meaning beauty, sharp vision, gentleness and speed. In ancient Rome, the antelope was sacred to Minerva, goddess of wisdom.
The fleetness of the antelope has been proverbial in many cultures. For a woman to be compared to an antelope is a high compliment: she is graceful, beautiful and has beautiful eyes. The keen eyesight of the antelope led to a belief in ancient Persia and Arabia that antelopes could see into the future. The fleetness of the antelope, also known as a gazelle, was also legendary. In the Rig-Veda, the antelope is the steed of the winds.
The gazelle also appears in the Old Testament, representing man armed with two horns (abstinence and obedience) to defend himself from temptation. Recommended Amazon Books About Antelope Pronghorn Hunting (The Complete Hunter)Antelope Country: Pronghorns: The Last AmericansRacing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us About Running and LifeAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Bear: Animal Symbols Bears are symbols of strength, tenacity and courage.
The bear also symbolizes a gentle friend or docile disciple in disguise. The bear's love of honey adds a humorous element to this symbol of majesty and power. In ancient myths, the bear was the god of storms and sunshine. Bears are mammals and carnivores. Although there are only eight species, they exist in most areas of the world. (Photo courtesy of www.fapas.es, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon Books About BearsPolar Bear (All About Wild Animals)Pandas (All About Wild Animals)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsAnimal Symbolism of the Chinese ZodiacNature and Its Symbols Bee: Animal Symbols Bees are symbols of well-governed industry.
Bees protect their queen and their hive for mutual benefit. Ancient Egyptians saw the bee as a symbol of wisdom and regeneration. Bees also symbolize communication and fruitful activity. This is retained in our naming of group contests or activities: spelling bees and quilting bees. Bees are related to wasps and ants and are knownfor their role in pollination as well as for the production of honey and beeswax.
(Photo courtesy of Beatriz Moisset, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon Books About BeesBeekeeping For DummiesThe Backyard Beekeeper - Revised and UpdatedAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Beaver: Animal Symbols Beavers are symbols meaning industry and perseverance. The beaver also symbolizes family and sharing quality time with one's family. The beaver is an official emblem of Canada--quiet, hard-working and unassuming.
The beaver is nocturanl and semi-aquatic. Beavers live in colonies and create dams to provide deep water areas to protect themselves against predators. (Photo courtesy of American Beaver, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon Books About BeaverBeaversBuilding Beavers (Pull Ahead Books)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Boar: Animal Symbols Boars are symbols meaning fierce combat and fighting to the death.
The boar is a symbol of armour and warriors. In Celtic mythology, the boar can set fire to leaves with his breath. The tusks of the boar are particularly dangerous weapons. The boar is the ancestor of the modern domestic pig. Boars are also referred to as razorbacks, pineywoods and rooters. (Photo courtesy of Richard Bartz, Munich Makro Freak, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon Books About BoarThe Complete Book of Wild Boar Hunting: Tips and Tactics That Will Work AnywhereAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Bull: Animal Symbols Bulls are symbols meaning valor and magnanimity.
Since prehistoric times, the bull has been a symbol of fighting ability and male fertility. In Babylonia and Syria, the bull represented heaven in its most fiery aspect, with the god of storm riding on its back. The bull was a symbol of royalty in Egypt. Bulls have also been sacrificed in religious rituals for millennia, possibly the original inspiration of the ongoing practice of bull-fighting. (Photo courtesy of Oostvaardersplassen, The Netherlands, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon Books About BullsThe Story of Ferdinand (children's book)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Camel: Animal Symbols Camels are symbols meaning both humility, willingness to serve and obstinacy.
In medieval art and sculpture, the camel was used to represent humility and the willingness to bear another's burden, largely because camels are trained to kneel down to receive heavy loads. Many artists employing this symbolism had no direct experience with camels. In the east, however, camels are famous as being disagreeable and obstinate. An eastern proverb proclaims that the camel, "Curses it its ancestors on the way up a hill and its Maker on the way down.
" For Egyptians, camels are symbolic of complainers and those who are slow on their feet. The average life expectancy of a camel is 45 years. They can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and sustain sppeds of 25 miles per hour. Their humps actually sotre fatty tissue rather than water as is commonly believed. More Information on This WebsiteRead Aesop's fable about a camel. Recommended Amazon Books About CamelsI Wonder Why Camels Have Humps: And Other Questions About AnimalsCamels (Asian Animals)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Cat: Animal Symbols Cats are symbols meaning spiritual power and freedom or love of liberty.
Cats were sacred in ancient Egypt. The Egyptian goddess Bast was feline and her chariot was drawn by cats. In the Christian world, cats were maligned as associating with witches and the devil. Cats have also been used as negative symbols of women, especially predatory women or those who seek to entice men to sexual misconduct. Likewise, "tom-cats" have a similar reputation. To be "catty" is to be flirtatious.
A "cat-house" is a place of prostitution. In addition, the cat is highly fertile and often has large litters. These associations have dampened the cat's magical qualities in some circles, although cats remain a favorite pet and useful for keeping the rodent population in check around the world. Cats have been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years. They are the most popular pet worldwide.
More Information About Cats on This WebsiteLearn about the cat in Chinese animal symbolism. Read Aesop's fable about the cat. Recommended Amazon Books About CatssYour Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger LifeThe Cat Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Troubleshooting Tips, and AdviceFour Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and DogsThe Natural CatAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Crow: Animal Symbols Crows are symbols meaning settled habitation and a quiet life.
Ironically, in some traditions crows also symbolize death and conflict. Native Americans often viewed the crow as curious and mischievous. Some ancient beliefs held that crows were fairies who shifted shapes in order to cause trouble. The symbolic meanings of crows include knowledge, eloquence, prophecy, boldness, skill, knowledge, cunning, trickery and thievery. Crows are often interchangeable with ravens.
More Information on This WebsiteLearn about the raven in Celtic bird symbolism. Read Aesop's fables about crows. Recommended Amazon Books About BirdsThe Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North AmericaNational Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North AmericaAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Deer: Animal Symbols Deer are symbols meaning heavenly longing, undisciplined vigor, the defeat of evil and the ability to renew one's youth.
The deer's search for water in the wilderness has often been compared to man's search for God. There is a le that deer draw snakes from their holes and then trample them to death--this is the basis of the idea of deer as defeaters of evil. In ancient Greece, the stag was a symbol of the anchorite or celibate dedicated to God. For the Druids, a deer or hart was also capable of prophecy. Visions often occurred in the presence of deer.
(Photo courtesy of Exlbris, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon Books About DeerThe Hidden Life of DeerBambi (Little Golden Book)Deerproofing Your Yard & GardenAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Dog: Animal Symbols Dogs are symbols meaning companion and guardian. Among nineteenth century Hindus, dogs often appeared as the manifestation of a local deity and were regarded as sacred.
Shiva sometimes rode on a dog. Among ancient Greeks, the dog was regarded as a magical animal with power over life and death. The dog was both the symbol of Gula, a goddess of healing and protection , and Hecate, the goddess of both life and death. In Egypt, dogs were buried next to their masters to guide them to the next world. However, both the Romans and Greeks also used the term dog as a derogatory appellation.
In the Old Testament, dogs were symbolic, of outcast, hostile people. The dog was also a symbol of unbridled lust due to it's habit of copulating in public. Finally, the dog is one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. In this context, dogs are generally seen in a positive light: loyal, faithful, honest and willing to fight injustice. More Info On This WebsiteLearn more about Chinese astrological symbols.
Learn more about Chinese animal symbolism. Recommended Amazon Books About DogsHow to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and BeyondCesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog ProblemsDr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and CatsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Dolphin: Animal Symbols The dolphin is a symbol meaning charity and a kind affection towards children.
Dolphins are viewed as free-spirited, happy and fun-loving. In Native American symbolism, dolphins mean joy, harmony and a connection with one's higher self. The intelligence of dolphins is well-documented, including their ability to learn sign language, to communicate with their own complex language and their ability to form deep attachments to humans. They have also been known to protect humans from shark attacks or even save them from drowning.
There are almost 40 species of dolphins. They are closely related to whales and porpoises. Dolphins have a streamline body that is perfect for fast swimming. Doplphins have extrememly sharp hearing and eyesight. They have no sense of smell, but their sense of taste may serve a similiar function since they live most of their lives beneath the surface of the water. More Info On This WebsiteRead Aesop's fable about the monkey and the dolphin.
Recommended Amazon Books About DolphinsEverything Dolphin: What Kids Really Want to Know about DolphinsDolphins! (Step into Reading, Step 3)Oceans: Dolphins, sharks, penguins, and more!Dolphin Talk: Whistles, Clicks, and Clapping JawsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Dove: Animal Symbols The dove is a symbol meaning loving constancy and peace. In Christian iconography, the dove is a clear symbol of the Holy Spirit.
A dove can also be a symbol of martyrdom, the soul or the Church itself. The story of Noah and the flood is one of the original Biblical stories in which a dove appears, used as a means of determining if the flood water were receding. Doves and pigeons are in the same family and the words are sometimes used interchangeably. Doves and pigeons are present in all parts of the world, including oceanic islands.
More About Doves on This WebsiteLearn more about Celtic bird symbolism. Learn more about the dove in Chinese animal symbolism. Recommended Amazon BooksDoves (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)The Guide to Owning a DovePigeons, Doves and Dovecotes (Gold Cockerel)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Eagle: Animal Symbols The eagle is a symbol meaning a man of action, a lofty spirit, intelligent and judicious.
The eagle's sharp vision gives him the ability to see hidden truths and spiritual principles. The eagle has powers of intuition, creativity and the balance of power with grace. Eagles are large birds of prey with more than 60 species. Eagles have a large, powerful hooked beak and talons. Eagles build their nexts in tall trees or on high cliffs. They usually lay one or two eggs per season. (Photo courtesy of KetaDesign, Wikimedia Commons) More Information About Eagles on This WebsiteLearn more about Celtic bird symbolism.
Read Aesop's fables about eagles. Recommended Amazon BooksAn Eagle Named Freedom: My True Story of a Remarkable FriendshipThe Eagle Watchers: Observing and Conserving Raptors Around the WorldThe Bald Eagle (Welcome Books)Eyewitness: Eagles & Birds of PreyAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Elephant: Animal Symbols The elephant has long been regarded as a symbol of divine wisdom in India.
Sovereigns often assumed titles such as "lord of the elephants" or "the white elephant". The qualities of the elephant are recognized throughout the Orient: longevity, strength, patience, endurance and self-restraint. The ability of elephants to aid in battle led to their additional symbolic meaning of triumph, power and victory. Elephants are large land mammals with only three species living today: African Bush elephant, African forest elephant and Asian elephant.
The elephant's gestation period is 22 months, the longest of any animal. The name elephant originates with the Greek word for "ivory". Recommended Amazon BooksThe Elephant's Secret Sense: The Hidden Life of the Wild Herds of AfricaThe Field Guide to Safari Animals (Field Guides)African CrittersAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Falcon: Animal Symbols The falcon is a symbol meaning one in eager pursuit of an object greatly desired.
Falcons are migratory birds that travel long distances. Falcons have a keen intellect and an incredible ability to judge the movements of their prey. Falcons symbolize success, victory, superiority, freedom and aspiration. A person with falcon qualities can rise above difficult situations. Falcons are strategic planners with visionary powers. The word falconery refers to the practice of hunting with trained birds of prey.
There are many species of falcons which appear to intermix, resulting in ongoing hybridization. Falcons have tapered wings to fly at high speeds and change direction quickly. (Photo courtesy of jjron, Wikimedia Commons) More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about Celtic bird symbolism. Recommended Amazon BooksFalcon (Reaktion Books - Animal)Birdology: Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, etcAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols The fish is a symbol meaning immortality and the source of life.
In Egypt, the symbol of a fish sometimes replaced the bird to represent eternity. The fish was recognized as having a connection to the earliest forms of life that emerged from the sea in myths and legends. The power of gargantuan fish monsters also added mystery and power to fish symbolism. In Christian iconography, the fish alone was able to survive the Great Flood. The great whale that swallowed Jonah was later interpreted as a foreshadowing of Christ's days in the tomb before His resurrection.
However, the selection of the fish as a symbol for Christians was more likely because the Greek letters for Jesus Christ of God the Son Savior spell ichthus--fish. Recommended Amazon BooksDown, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the SeaReef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, BahamasFishes of the Open Ocean: A Natural History and Illustrated GuideAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Fox: Animal Symbols The fox is a symbol meaning one who looks out for himself or herself.
A fox will use all of its intelligence, wit and wisdom in his or her own defense. The ability of the fox to look out for itself (sometimes at the expense of others) has led to the expression "sly as a fox". A fox is slightly smaller than a domestic dog and belongs to the same family. The most widespread species is the red fox. (Photo courtesy of Agostino64, Wikimedia Commons) More Information on This WebsiteRead Aesop's fable about a fox.
Recommended Amazon BooksFox (See How They Grow)Arctic Fox: Life at the Top of the WorldAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Goat: Animal Symbols The goat is a symbol meaning victory through policy and debate. The goat is a symbol of mental activity, often including religious or artistic inclinations. The goat is sensitive, but can also symbolize overt sexuality or a cunning and mischievous nature.
The devil himself is said to occasionally appear in the form of a goat. Goats are closely related to sheepo and there are over three hundred distinct breeds of goats. (Photo courtesy of Karsten Dörre, Wikimedia Commons) More About Goats on This WebsiteLearn more about domestic goats and other farm animals in Chinese animal symbolism. Recommended Amazon BooksStorey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats: Breeds, Care, DairyingHow to Raise Goats (How to Raise.
..)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Grasshopper: Animal Symbols The grasshopper is a symbol meaning wisdom and nobility. In Japan, the grasshopper is a good luck symbol. In China, it is a symbol of fertility. A green grasshopper symbolizes new beginnings, growth and youth. On the negative side, grasshoppers, or locusts, can portend sudden invasion or disaster. A plague of locusts would be devastating to crops and therefore the economic wellness of a nation.
Locusts were also used to represent heretics in Christianity, those who would destroy the vineyard of Christ. Recommended Amazon BooksInsectopediaField Guide To Grasshoppers, Katydids, And Crickets Of The United StatesAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Greyhound: Animal Symbols The greyhound is a symbol meaning fidelity, majesty, courage and swiftness. The greyhound was developed thousands of years ago in Egypt, where the dog, along with the cat, was sacred.
Greyhounds were preferred hunting dogs in Europe in modern times, especially among the nobility. Greyhounds are racing animals due to their incredible speed. The Greyhound bus is an ironic play on the concept of swift travel. (Photo courtesy of Neurodoc, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksHow to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and BeyondCesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Common Dog ProblemsDr.
Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and CatsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Hedgehog: Animal Symbols The hedgehog is a symbol meaning provident provider. In Celtic lore, the hedgehog is a symbol of rejuvenation and spring. The hedgehog is also referred to as a urcheon or urchin. The hedgehog's ability to curl itself up in a prickly ball has given it the additional meaning of self-preservation.
There are seventeen species of hedgehogs which have changed very little over the last seventeen million years. Their spines are not poisonous or barbed and cannot easily be removed (unlike the porcupine). (Photo courtesy of Lar Karlsson, Wikimedia Commons) More Information About Hedgehogs on This WebsiteRead Aesop's fable about the fox and the hedgehog. Recommended Amazon BooksHedgehog (Animal Neighbors)Hedgehog (Wild Britain: Animals)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Horse: Animal Symbols The horse is a symbol meaning willingness to work and independence.
In ancient Rome, the horse was clearly associated with death itself as it pulled the chariot of the sun god over the horizon into darkness. In ancient Nordic art and religious ceremonies, the horse replaced the sacrificial bull of Mediterranean cultures. The horse signified resurrection from the dead to the Nordic peoples as it carried the dead to the other side of life. Horses have been domesticated since at least 4,000 BC.
Horses are divided into three categories based on temperament: hot bloods (speed and endurance), cold bloods (draft horses), and warm bloods (riding horses). More About Horses on This WebsiteLearn more about Chinese astrological symbols. Read Aesop's fable about the horse and the stag. Recommended Amazon BooksComplete Horse Care ManualEquine Acupressure: A Working ManualHorse (DK Eyewitness Books)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols The lamb is a symbol meaning gentleness and patience with suffering.
The sacrificial lamb led to the Christian association of the lamb with Christ himself., the Lamb of God, thus becoming an emblem of faith.The lamb is also symbolic of the followers of Christ, those who are taken care of by the Good Shepherd. Lambs are also classic symbols of pastoral life, peace and freedom from strife. Sheep are ruminant animals raised for their fleece, meat and milk, often made into cheese.
(Photo courtesy of Keven Law, Los Angeles, USA, Wikimedia Commons) More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about farm animal symbolism in Chinese iconography. Read Aesop's fable about the lamb and the wolf. Recommended Amazon BooksManaging Your Ewe and Her Newborn LambsPractical Lambing and Lamb Care: A Veterinary GuideAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Leopard: Animal Symbols The leopard is a symbol meaning a valiant and hardy warrior.
Leopard skins were worn by priests of ancient Egypt to ward off evil spirits. Leopards, like cougars and jaguars, are also considered to be familiars for shamans. In African lore, the leopard is stealthy, shrewd, solitary and loyal only to its own cubs. A Tanzanian proverb reads: "He who dines with the leopard is liable to be eaten." The leopard is the smallest of the big cats. The other three are tigers, lions and jaguars.
The leopard will consume almost any animal it can hunt down and can run at speeds of up to 36 miles per hour. (Photo courtesy of JanErkamp, Wikipedia) Recommended Amazon BooksPart of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of AfricaAnimal Tracks and Signs: Track Over 400 Animals From Big Cats to Backyard BirdsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Lion: Animal Symbols The lion is a symbol meaning deathless courage and fearlessness.
In heraldry, the lion symbolizes, bravery, strength and royalty. The body of the lion has been used in mythological creatures, most notably composing the the body of the sphinx in ancient Egypt. In China, lion statues are common guardians of temples, villages and even private homes. Lion images symbolize protection of the fame and reputation of an individual or family. Until approximately 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread land mammal after humans.
The male lion is easily recognizable by his mane, which makes the lion appear larger and is used for intimidation. Images of lions have been found in the oldest cave dwellings on earth. The lion's main competitor in Africa is the spotted hyena. More Information About Lions on This WebsiteRead Aesop's fable Androcles and the Lion. Read Aesop's fable about the lion and the eagle. Read Aesop's fable about the lion and the mouse.
Learn more about Chinese lion symbolism. Recommended Amazon BooksPart of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of AfricaAnimal Tracks and Signs: Track Over 400 Animals From Big Cats to Backyard BirdsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Lynx: Animal Symbols The lynx is a symbol meaning acute sight. Early legends claimed that the lynx could see through tree trunks, walls and mountains.
The piercing quality of the sight of the lynx led to association with the omniscience of Christ. In the Renaissance, the lynx represented any man who could see clearly in the metaphorical sense. The lynx was also purported to have magical urine that turned into precious stones. However, the lynx would bury it's urine, thus depriving man of this treasure. As a result, the lynx came to symbolize avarice and lack of generosity.
(Photo courtesy of Nevit Dilmen, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksPart of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of AfricaAnimal Tracks and Signs: Track Over 400 Animals From Big Cats to Backyard BirdsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Monkey: Animal Symbols The monkey is a symbol meaning fun, activity, charm and an energetic nature. The monkey is one of the signs of the Chinese zodiac, indicating a person who has lots of friends, natural curiosity, and some level of self-indulgence and rebelliousness.
Unlike apes, monkeys usually have tails. There are over 250 know monkey species. Monkeys live in trees or on the savanna. All species have forward facing eyes. (Photo courtesy of Lea Maimone, Costa Rica, Wikimedia Commons) More About Monkeys on This WebsiteLearn more about Chinese astrological symbols. Read Aesop's fable about the monkey and the dolphin. Recommended Amazon BooksA Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the BaboonsMy Life with the ChimpanzeesAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Mountain Lion: Animal Symbols The mountain lion is a symbol meaning liberty, vigilance, forecast and courage.
Mountain lions are pure carnivores that live and hunt alone except for mothers with cubs. They are agile, strong and have the ability to become almost invisible as they blend with their surroundings. Mountain lions are natural leaders, balancing intention, strength and responsibility. Mountain lions are also known as cougars, pumas, mountain cats or panthers. Mountains lions are reclusive and usually avoid people, so attacks on humans are rare.
Mountain lions are most active at dawn and dusk and hunt alone. (Photo courtesy of ltshears, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksPart of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of AfricaAnimal Tracks and Signs: Track Over 400 Animals From Big Cats to Backyard BirdsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Owl: Animal Symbols The owl is a symbol meaning vigilance and acute wit.
The owl has long been associated with the spiritual and the magical. In Celtic symbolism, the owl is noted for wisdom, keen sight, and patience. The owl is a guide in the underworld and an effective hunter. The owl can help to reveal those who would take advantage of another or deceive others. Owls are generally solitary and nocturnal. There are about 200 species of owls, Owls hunt small mammels such as mice, insects, samll birds or sometimes fish.
(Photo courtesy of CharlesC, Wikimedia Commons) More About Owls on This WebsiteLearn more about Celtic bird symbolism. Recommended Amazon BooksThe Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North AmericaNational Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North AmericaAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Ox: Animal Symbols The ox is a symbol meaning industry, patience and strength. As a former principal medium of trade, the ox also represents wealth.
In Christianity, the ox is a symbol of the prophets and saints martyred for their faith and ultimately a symbol of Christ the true sacrifice. The ox also symbolized the Jews. This was carried through legends claiming that the ox stood by the cradle of Christ, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah that "the ox knows his owner (Isaiah 1:3). The ox was further the symbol of one of the four main evangelists, Saint Luke.
In Chinese astrology, the ox is steadfast and solid, a dependable leader with an innate ability to achieve great things. (Photo courtesy of Papa November, Wikimedia Commons) More About the Ox on This WebsiteRead Aesop's fable about the oxen and the butcher. Learn more about Chinese astrological symbols. Recommended Amazon BooksOxen: A Teamster's Guide (Story's Working Animals)Musk Oxen (Animal Prey)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Panther: Animal Symbols The panther is a symbol meaning a beautiful woman, fiercely guarding her young, to whom she is tender and loving.
According to ancient myths, the panther had sweet smelling breath that was used to lure other animals to their death. The Christian tradition, however, envisioned the panther as Christ overcoming the devil. Its breath was like the virtues of Christ. The multi-colored panther's coat was also reflective of the many attributes of Christ. The name panther is often used interchangeably with mountain lion or puma.
Recommended Amazon BooksPart of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of AfricaAnimal Tracks and Signs: Track Over 400 Animals From Big Cats to Backyard BirdsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Peacock: Animal Symbols The peacock is a symbol meaning beauty and pride of carriage. The peacock is a symbol of self-renewal and immortality. Ancient peoples believed that the peacock's flesh did not decay after death.
The peacock became a symbol of the resurrection linked directly to Christ. Only the male possesses the extravagant tail used during courtship. The female is dull brown, green and grey. Peacocks are forest birds that nest on the ground. Peacocks eat pts, flowers, insects and small amphibians or reptiles. Peacocks were associated with the ancient Greek god Hera. More About Peacocks on This WebsiteLearn more about Celtic bird symbolism.
Learn more about the peacock in Chinese animal symbolism. Read Aesop's fable about the peacock and the crane. Recommended Amazon BooksLiving With PeacocksPeacocks, Penguins & Other Birds (Animal Kingdom Classification)Peacocks (Early Bird Nature Books)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Pelican: Animal Symbols The pelican is a symbol meaning devotion and self-sacrificing charity.
In medieval Europe, the pelican was thought to provide her own blood to her young when no food was available. This led to an association with the passion of Christ and the eucharist. The pelican appears today on the Louisiana state flag and seal. Pelicans eat fish, amphibians, crustaceans and occasionally small birds. White peans sometimes fish in groups by chasing schools of fish into shallow water.
Pelicans toss larger fish into the air and swallow them head first. More About Pelicans on This WebsiteLearn more about Celtic bird symbolism.(Photo courtesy of Arnaud 25, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksThose Peculiar PelicansFlying Brown Pelicans (Pull Ahead Books)Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Pig: Animal Symbols The pig is a symbol meaning honor and generosity.
Pigs symbolize happiness and are notably intelligent. Pigs are omnivores with a reputation for gluttony. Wild pigs forage mainly for leaves, grasses, seds, and berries. Pigs have been domesticated since about 13,000BC. There are roximately 2 billion domesticated pigs worldwide. In Chinese astrology, those born under the sign of the pig love to be needed and feel best when everyone around them is smiling.
They see only the best in others and may be exclusive in their friendships. They are nice to a fault and have impeccable manners and taste. Pigs care a great deal about family and friends. More Information on This WebsiteRead Aesop's fable about the sow. Learn more about Chinese astrological symbols. Recommended Amazon BooksPig: King of the Southern TableAnimal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry FarmsCharlotte's WebAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Porcupine: Animal Symbols The porcupine is a symbol meaning protection from both near and far.
This is due to the porcupines ability to sting those who attack it directly with its quills and also the belief that they to shoot quills at those who are far away. This is actually not true (you can only get quills from a procupine if they are close enough to brush against you while they are moving quickly). However, this meaning made the porcupine a popular heraldic animal. In 1397, the Duke of Orleans instituted the Order of the Porcupine with the motto "from far and near", meaning specifically that he would attack his enemy the Duke of Burgandy both at a distance and near at hand.
(Photo created by CJBerry, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksThe North American PorcupineAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Rabbit: Animal Symbols The rabbit is a symbol meaning generative power and fertility, obviously due to its amazing procreative abilities. In ancient Rome, the hare was highly valued as the animal of Venus, the goddess of love. In addition, the hare has traditionally been an exciting animal for chase hunting.
When the rabbit was imported to Europe, it quickly took on the same symbolism as the hare. This symbolism remains intact in the modern Easter bunny. (Photo courtesy of Conejo_astronomo1.jpg, Wikimedia Commons) More Information on This WebsiteRead Aesop's tale about the rabbit and the tortoise. Learn more about Chinese astrological symbols. Recommended Amazon BooksBarnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner's GuideAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Ram: Animal Symbols The ram is a symbol meaning authority and leadership, common in heraldic symbolism.
In ancient times, the ram was symbolic of virility and violence and was an attribute of Mars. The aggressiveness of the ram is traditionally depicted as two butting rams colliding. Rams and sheep are one of the earliest animsl that were domesticated. Sheep and rams have been used as sacrificail animals in various religions around the world. The wool from sheep and rams is a notable insulator and harvested in many cultures.
(Photo courtesy of Cheva, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksBarnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner's GuideAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Rat: Animal Symbols The rat is a symbol meaning clever and quick-witted, sometimes deceiving others or getting others in trouble ("ratting on them"). Rats are used extensively in lab tested for products and behavioral training.
Rats are medium-sized, long-tailed mammals, usually black, brown, white or grey in color. In Chinese astrology, those born under the sign of the rat also revel in excess and get away with promoting their own agendas at every turn. They are hoarders, but also generous to those in their "pack" of friends. More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about Chinese astrological symbols. (Photo courtesy of tinneke, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksChinese Astrology: Exploring The Eastern ZodiacAnimal Symbolism of the Chinese ZodiacAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Raven: Animal Symbols The raven is a symbol meaning destruction, despair and as the harbinger of bad news.
For the Celts, however, the raven could also be a symbol of vision, power and healing since challenging events often clear the way for new life and new opportunities. Birds in general are seen as messengers between heaven and earth. More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about Celtic bird symbolism. Recommended Amazon BooksThe Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North AmericaNational Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North AmericaAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Rhinoceros: Animal Symbols The rhinoceros is a symbol meaning great ferocity when aroused.
The image of the rhinoceros can protect a home from robbery, accidents or harm. In an office, the rhinoceros will protect from back-stabbing or unfair politics. There are five species of rhinoceros. Two are native to Africa and three are native to sourthern Asia. Rhinoceros generally eat leaves and can weigh up to one ton. Some species have one horn while others have two. Rhinoceros can live to be about 60 years old.
(Photo courtesy of ryan harvey, Wikimedia Commons) Rooster: Animal Symbols The rooster is a symbol meaning courage, readiness to fight and defense to the death. Although chickens are now a common, inexpensive food in the modern world, they were once a treasured rarity in China. For this reason, chickens and roosters came to represent prosperity and abundance. Roosters were also noted for their ability to warn farmers of the approach of strangers.
In this way, they served as guards of the farmer's property. They came to symbolize vigilance and protection of the abundance represented by their female counterparts. Roosters are one of twelve signs in the Chinese zodiac. In this tradition, they are symbols meaning practicality, resourcefulness and keen observation. More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about Chinese astrological symbols. Learn more about Chinese Animal Symbolism.
Find out more about roosters in Celtic Bird Symbolism. Recommended Amazon BooksChinese Astrology: Exploring The Eastern ZodiacAnimal Symbolism of the Chinese ZodiacAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Sheep: Animal Symbols Sheep are a symbol meaning meekness, holiness and devoted followers. In early ties, the symbolism of sheep had mostly negative connotations: stupidity, blind submission, helplessness.
With the advent of Christianity, the symbol of the sheep was elevated by association with Christ as the sacred lamb and the apostles as the sheep gathered around the Good Shepherd. The sheep is also one of the twelve astrological signs in Chinese astrology. More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about Chinese astrological symbols. (Photo courtesy of Lestat (Jan Mehlich), Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksManaging Your Ewe and Her Newborn LambsPractical Lambing and Lamb Care: A Veterinary GuideAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Snail: Animal Symbols The snail is a symbol meaning the protection of providence, deliberation and perseverance.
The snail represents one who has steady footing and stability. The spiral of the snail's shell is a symbol of evolution, expansion, mystery and changing cycles. On the other hand, snails can be viewed as slow-moving and lazy. Snails are eaten as a delicacy in many countries around the world. There are three main types of snails: terrestrial snails, sea snails and freshwater sanils. (Photo courtesy of Mbartos, Wikipedia) Recommended Amazon BooksWolfsnail: A Backyard PredatorAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Snake: Animal Symbols The snake is a symbol meaning danger, charm and sexual energy (especially male).
The snake is one of the oldest symbols, appearing repeatedly in the Bible as well as in the iconography of Egypt and other ancient cultures. The snake is one of the Chinese astrological symbols. Those born under the snake sign lead charmed lives, usually gain or inherit wealth and are seductive and attractive to others. They may be insecure or possessive but they know how to get things done. More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about Chinese astrological symbols.
(Photo courtesy of Ande9174, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksChinese Astrology: Exploring The Eastern ZodiacAnimal Symbolism of the Chinese ZodiacNational Geographic Readers: Snakes!Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Spider: Animal Symbols The spider is a symbol meaning creativity and the linking of past and future. In many traditions, the spider is the weaver of the fabric of life, introducing both writing and the making of clothes.
The spider also represents a woman who captures her prey by unfair means. Spiders are found on every continent except Antartica. Spiders are predators with a wide range of hunting strategies including webs, lassos and runing down their prey. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Lee Ostrom's Hobo Spider Images, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksNational Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and SpidersAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Squirrel: Animal Symbols The squirrel is a symbol meaning resourcefulness, the ability to change direction quickly, the ability to rise above danger and the peace of life in the woods for those who are ready to retire from a more strenuous life.
The squirrel prepares carefully for the future (winter), but always has time to play! The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, woodchucks, flying squirrels and prairie dogs. (Photo courtesy of Hernán De Angelis Campephilus, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksOutwitting Squirrels: 101 Cunning StratagemsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Stork: Animal Symbols The stork is a symbol meaning happiness, prosperity, children, gratitude and filial duty.
The western association with the stork as a bringer of children may have originated with their habit of nesting atop chimneys, from which vantage point they could drop new babies down into the house below. The small red or pinkipatches often found on a newborn's face or neck are referred to as "stork bites". The stork is the symbol of Alsace in eastern France. Storks were once thought to be monogamous, but they may change mates after migration.
There are nineteen living species of storks. Most eat frogs, small mammals, fish, insects, earthworms and small birds. Storks create large nests that they may use for many years. They are mostly monogamous, but may change mates after migration. More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about Celtic bird symbolism. Tiger: Animal Symbols The tiger is a symbol meaning power and energy around the world.
The tiger is featured prominently in Chinese mythology and ranks second behind the lion as a badge of military rank. Tiger claws and whiskers are talismans against fear and ill-luck and tiger images have been traditionally painted on interior walls to ward off demons. The strength of the tiger combined with feline stealth make this animal a fearsome enemy but a tremendous ally. The tiger is the largest and most dangerous of the "big cats".
Tigers in the wild live about 10-15 years and they can live 20 years in captivity. Tigers generally live alone, requiring large ranges for hunting. This has led to conflicts with human populations. More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about Chinese animal symbolism. Learn more about Chinese astrological symbols. Recommended Amazon BooksPart of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of AfricaAnimal Tracks and Signs: Track Over 400 Animals From Big Cats to Backyard BirdsAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Tortoise: Animal Symbols The tortoise is a symbol meaning invulnerability to attack.
Among amphibians, the tortoise is clearly separated from the poisonous snake and the fearsome lizard. Supernaturally endowed with amazing powers, tortoises are emblematic of steadfast effort and eventual, inevitable success. The tortoise is one of the four cardinal animals of Chinese cosmology with the dragon, phoenix, and unicorn. Tortoises are generally reclusive animals. Toroises dig burrows and deposit from one to thirty eggs.
The eggs are left unattended and hatch in 60 to 120 days. Tortoises generally hve lifespans that are comparable to humans and have been known to live as long as 150 years. The oldest recorded lifespan of a toroise is 188 years, from 1777 to 1965. More Information on This WebsiteLearn more about Chinese animal symbolism. Read Aesop's tale about the rabbit and the tortoise. Recommended Amazon BooksChinese Astrology: Exploring The Eastern ZodiacAnimal Symbolism of the Chinese ZodiacAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Weasel: Animal Symbols The weasel is a symbol meaning purity the ability to escape without harm.
Some writers have used the weasel as a symbol of chastity, a use that also occurs in paintings, sculpture, tapestry and engravings. Weasels are small predators that vary in length from five to eighteen inches. They usually have red or brown fur with a white belly. There are seventeen species of weasels. (Photo courtesy of Karunakar Rayker, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksThe Natural History of Weasels and Stoats: Ecology, Behavior, and ManagementAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Wolf: Animal Symbols The wolf is a symbol meaning valiance over the course of long effort.
A wolf also symbolizes one who is dangerous to assail and reacts violently to being thwarted. In pagan iconography, the wolf represents cunning intelligence. Wolves are highly communicative and operate within a highly structured social system. The wolf is the largest member of the Canidae family. The wolf shares a common ancestery with the domestic dog. Wolf size and weight varies widely worldwide.
Female wolves are smaller than their male counterparts. Wolves rely on their endurance to outrun prey. More Information on This WebsiteRead Aesop's fable about the lamb and the wolf. (Photo courtesy of Ber'Zophus, Wikimedia Commons) Recommended Amazon BooksNever Cry Wolf : Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic WolvesAnimal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsNature and Its Symbols Animal Symbols Resources for EducatorsFor more information about animal symbolism, try the following books on Amazon:Animal Life in Nature, Myth and DreamsAnimal Symbolism of the Chinese ZodiacNature and Its Symbols See the following educational materials and kits related to learning about animals:Discovery Kids Smart Animals ScanopediaIlluminated Ant Farm Gel Colony by Uncle MiltonAnimal TracksMicroscope Slide Kit - Typical Animal and Plant CellsDiscovery Kids 3 In 1 Microscope See the following educational posters related to animals: Resources for Pet OwnersFor more information about health for pets and animals:Natural Health Care For Your Four- Legged Friends: Using Essential Oils and SupplementsDr.
Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and CatsThe Nature of Animal Healing: The Definitive Holistic Medicine Guide to Caring for Your Dog and Cat Resources for Chinese Astrology Animal SymbolsFor more information on Chinese astrology, see these books on Amazon:Chinese Astrology: Exploring The Eastern ZodiacAnimal Symbolism of the Chinese ZodiacThe Chinese Astrology Bible: The Definitive Guide to Using the Chinese ZodiacThe Year of the Tiger: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac ©2004-2010 Living Arts Enterprises, LLCSee Also: Kershaw County Animal Shelter
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Spiritual Meanings & Correspondences of Specific Words in the BibleSelect a Category to get a list of words Activity Animal Artifact Body Clothing Colour Family Feeling Food Geographical God Housing Money Music Natural Number People Place Plant Religious Seven Churches Social Spatial Spirit Thought Time Full index (8 columns) (4 columns) Home Author: E. Swedenborg