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Animal Symbology

Animals have meant different things to different people and cultures all through time. When we talk about the meanings of an animal or its symbolism it is this body of knowledge that we are talking about. However no definition will ever be truly comprehensive. For instance if you asked ten people to picture a "ball" in thier mind you would get at least ten different images, from a beach ball to a baseball, from a medicine ball to a cotton ball. This is just an example of how diverse something as simple as a "ball" can be as seen by different people. It is our personal experiences that mold how we see animals just as it does how we see everything else. A person who was bitten by a dog as a child may see them as viscious beasts while someone else might see them as man's best friend.

When it comes right down to it it is what you believe an animal symbolizes that matters most. Sit down and meditate about the animal. Think about when, where and why it is appearing in your life. Look for a common thread. Learn about the animal from books, online or just go out there and experience it in its own environment if possible.

With that in mind this list was created to help you on your search for animal symbolisms. It was drawn from many sources including my own experience. To name a few, Animal magick by D.J. Conway, Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson, Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards, and many wonderful individuals that have donated thier personal experiences to this project, as well as countless other books, hikes, animal companions and animal spirits. Many of the entries have contradictions in them. This is because different cultures and time periods have ascribed vastly different meanings to the same creatures. It is for this reason that what the animal symbolizes to you is what should be most important to you over anything that you read.

Each section contains the animals, insects and birds that are most commonly associated with that area, although some are cross-listed if they clearly fit more than one area.

Land Animals

Ant Ant: Ants are industrious, community oriented, single minded builders. They symbolize patience, self-sacrifice, planning, trust in the future, stamina, completion, storing energy, work, thrift, forethought, virtue, and orderliness. They are connected to Wang-ta Hsien, Demeter, and Ceres.
Bat Bat: Bats symbolize rebirth, reincarnation, ritual death, initiation, confronting fear, letting go of old habits, happiness, good luck, health, wealth, long life, peace, unhappiness, unrest, chaos, incomplete understanding, avoiding obstacles, transformation, and past lives. They are connected to Shou-Hsing and the Underworld.
Bear Bear: Bears symbolize healing, divinity, invulnerability, spirit helper, protection, introspection, truth, female receptive energy, prophesy, stamina, harmony, patience, defense, revenge, transformation, intuition, answers from the Dreamworld, benevolence, strength, and bravery. They are connected to Artemis, Zeus, Callisto, Dea Artia, Thor, Odhinn, Freya, and Norse lunar water goddesses.
Cat Cat: Cats as protectors. They symbolize strength, cunning, agility, aloofness, independence, and seeing spirits. They are connected to Freya, Artemis, Diana, Liberty, Shasti, Bast, and Pasht.
Coyote Coyote: Coyotes are tricksters telling you not to be so serious! They symbolize lessons about yourself, humor, whimsy, night, shape-shifting, opportunity, stealth, creativity, opportunity, and experience.
Deer Deer: Deer symbolize gentleness, grace, swiftness, abundance, intuition, introspection, alternative paths to a goal, messages from guides, love, safety, serenity, sun, fertility, and the warrior aspect (stag). They are connected to Artemis, Aphrodite, Athene, Diana, Elaphaia, Dionysus, Apollo, Vayu, Lu-Hsing, Cernunnos, Cocidius, and Shou-Hsien.
Dog Dog: Dogs are service-oriented protectors. They symbolize loyalty, friendship, unconditional love, compassion, understanding, need for approval, tracking, companionship, intuition and truth. They are connected to Gula, Belit-ili, Astarte, Ashtoreth, Amenti, Cybelle, Artemis, Diana, Hecate, Celtice Mother Goddesses, Arawn, Nodens, Hel, Odhinn, Saramam, moon goddesses, Quezalcoatl, and Xolotl.
Fox Fox: Foxes are tricksters. They symbolize camouflage, observation, adabtability, cunning, family, travel, oneness, shape-shifting, slyness, wisdom, and invisibility. They are co nnected to Enki, Dionysus, and Inari.
Frog Frog / Toad: Frogs and toads symbolize feminine energy, fecundity, water, new life, new beginnings, the mystery of creation, cleansing, refreshing, purifying, refilling, clearing negativity, replenishment, positive energy, transformation, beginning a new cycle, long life, good luck, changing luck, starting new projects and prosperity. They are a Goddess symbol and are connected to the moon. They are connected to Heket, Isis, Hathor, Ch'ing-Wa Sheng, Aphrodite, Sabazius, and Ahirman.
Horse Horse: Horses symbolize strength, the ability to work alone or in groups, speed, stamina, endurance, faithfulness, friendship, cooperation, travel, overcoming obstacles, loyalty, independence, cautiousness, unconditional support, selflessness, freedom, power, balance, compassion, and sharing. They are connected to Epona, Kwannon, Anahita, Vesta, Apollo, Mithras, Surya, Odhinn, Freya, Rhiannon, Leukippe, Waelsi, and Volos.
Lion Lion: Lions symbolize regality, calmness, family, strength, courage, and relaxation. They have a strong connection to the Sun and are connected with Ra, Osiris, Sekmet, Apollo, Durga, and solar dieties in general.
Lizard Lizard: Lizards symbolize understanding what you dream of, wisdom, good fortune, facing fears, confrontations, death and, rebirth. They are connected to the dreamworld, Hermes, Sarapis, Ahirman, and Moko.
Lynx Lynx / Bobcat: Lynx is the knower of secrets. They symbolize honesty, open-hearted, non-judgmental counsel, stealth, silence, clairvioyance of secrets of others, suspicion, and vigilence. They can help with psychic skills, specifically divination.
Mouse Dog: Dogs are service-oriented protectors. They symbolize loyalty, friendship, unconditional love, compassion, understanding, need for approval, tracking, companionship, intuition and truth. They are connected to Gula, Belit-ili, Astarte, Ashtoreth, Amenti, Cybelle, Artemis, Diana, Hecate, Celtice Mother Goddesses, Arawn, Nodens, Hel, Odhinn, Saramam, moon goddesses, Quezalcoatl and Xolotl.
Panther Panther / Leopard: Panthers and Leopards symbolize the unknown, stillness, silence, stealth, night, healing, darkness, hidden truth, fearlessness, swiftness, perserverance, beauty, cunning, and strength. They teach you to not fear the future. They are connected to Dionysus, Pan, and Argus.
Praying Mantis Praying Mantis: The praying mantis symbolizes strength, adaptability, and ease of communication.
Rabbit Rabbit: Rabbits are tricksters, companions to witches, "gatekeepers" to the night and to a different type of consciousness. Rabbits symbolize fertility, mystery, fear of tragedy, long life, quick-thinking, strengthening intuition, illness, and disaster. They call your mental fears to you in real life. They teach you to stop "what if" thinking. They are connected to Eostra, Holda, Andraste, Freya, Hermes, Aphrodite, Eros, and Chandra.
Raccoon Raccoon: Raccoons symbolize ingenuity, adaptabilty, generosity, caring for others, benevolence, lack of greed, creativity, playfulness, curiosity, new ideas, and new jobs or schooling. They are protectors of those who cannot protect themselves.
Rat Rat: Rats symbolize fertility, wealth, cunning, timidity, meanness, wisdom, ingenuity, prudence, and foresight. They are connected to Daikoku and Ganesha.
Scorpion Scorpion: Scorpions symbolize revenge, returning negativity to those who send it, and dark magick. They are often thought of as a sign of evil. They are connected to South and Sun, Ishtar, Nanna, Siduri Sabitu, Set, Selket, Isis, Dadophori, and Sabazius.
Snake Snake: Snakes symbolize knowledge, change, creation, wisdom, secrets, mystery, reincarnation, immortality, sexuality, reproduction, the element of Fire, duality, solar/lunar, good/evil, healing/poison, life/death/rebirth. They are an early symbol of the Great Mother Goddesses. They are connected to Isis, Thoth, Apep, Hermes, Sabazius, Bel, Ra, Ahriamn, Mithras, Kadi, Kadru, Akkadian Ninhursag, Atargatis, Syria, Asclepias, Hygeia, Persephone, Apollo, Hera, Athene, Hecate, Gaea, Domovoj, Shakti, Ananta, Susanoo, Uga-Jin, Nu Kua, Fu Xi, Brigit, Quetzalcoatl, Kulkulcan, Coatlicue, Coyolxauhqui, Huitzilopochtli, and Julungghul.
Spider Spider: Spiders are weavers and tricksters. They symbolize fate, female energy, creative energy, female energy, wisdom, creativity, new life, entanglement, caution, divine inspiration, starting a project, becoming pregnant, being industrious, warning signals, illusions. They can act as hazard ahead signposts. They are connected to Neith, Ishtar, Atargatis, Athene, the Fates, the Norns, Holda, Inktomi, Kokyangwuti, Tsitsicnako, and Sussistanako.
Squirrel Squirrel: Squirrels symbolize gathering, foresight, energy, eratic behavior, storing, gossip, warning, change, discovery, truth, balance, and harmony. They are messengers of the Gods and mischief-makers. They warn you to be careful of useless hoarding and teach you to take life lightly.
Tiger Tiger: Tigers are quick to act, subtle, and inconcspicuous. They symbolize ferocity, royalty, fearlessness, authority, the warrior aspect, a lack of procrastination, and will-power. They are connected to Duga, Shiva, Dionysus, and Tsai Chen.
Turtle Turtle / Turtoise: Turtles and Tortoises symbolize longevity, strength, endurance, wisdom, patience, knowledge of the defensive position, goddess energy, grounding, shielding, treachery, perserverance, and slowing down to enjoy life. They are connected to the elements of earth(turtle and tortoise), water(turtle), and the moon. They are connected to Prajapati, P'an Ku, Pan, Aphrodite, Venu, Hermes, and Mercury.
Wolf Wolf: Wolves symbolize family, teaching, co-operation, insight, stealth, strength, leadership, loyalty, freedom, individuality, psychic energy connected to the moon (hidden wisdom), sharing knowledge and wisdom, cunning, hunting, seeking, introspection, listening, magick, and dreams. They are connection to the moon and to Wepwawet, Zeus Lycaeus, Apollo, Ares, Mars, Silvanus, Cernunnos, and Odhinn.

Water Animals

Dolphin Dolphin: Dolphins and porpoises are guides to the Underworld and messengers of the dreamworld and of progress. They symbolize joy, playfulness, lack of inhibitions, power, swiftness, the sea, eloquence, magick (specifically water magick), discovery, communication, truth, trust, balance, harmony, breathing, rythm, patterns, and relaxation. They are connected to Water and to Astarte, Ishtar, Isis, Apollo Delphinios, and sea dieties in general.
Fish Fish: Fish symbolize love, fertility, victory over death, healing, prophesy, abundance, wealth, harmony, regeneration, children, pregnancy, and bringing love into your life. They are connected to the Moon, to Water, Atargatis, Ishtar, Derceto, Isis, Aphrodite, Freyja, Venus, Dagon, Poseidon, and Kuan Yin.
Otter Otter: Otters symbolize playfulness, balanced female energy, curiousity, joy for self and others, lack of jealousy and envy, lack of worry, talent, faithfulness, social life, and happiness. They are tricksters. They are connectes to the elements of Earth and Water and are connected to Cernunnos.
Seal Seal: Seals symbolize playfulness, parenting and protection, specifically protection during travel over water, when changing your life completely, when facing divorce or a traumatic separation form a loved one, and from gossip and danger.
Whale Whale: Whales symbolize elegance, ancient teachings, history, clariaudience, telepathy, psychic abilities, sound and music healing, death and rebirth, initiation, the waters of life, regeneration, the sea, music, longevity, family and friends, learning magick, elelmental magick, and trust. Whales are the record keepers. They are connected to Derceto.

Air Animals

Bee Bee: Bees symbolize industry, community, concentration, planning and saving, working with the spirits of the deceased, industry, prosperity, purity, acheiving the so-called impossible, birth, death, resurection, luck, misfortune, and Otherworld wisdom. They are connected to Bridgid, Ra, Vishnu, Krishna, Indra, Aphrodite, Demeter, Cybele, Artemis, aDiana, Rhea, Zues, Dionysus, Pan, and Priapus.
Butterfly Butterfly: Butterflies symbolize joy, freedom, living in the moment, transformation, the birth-death-rerbirth circle, mental powers, reincarnation, magick, divination concerning the life cycle, understanding where you are in the cycle of your life, inspiration, immortality, leisure, beauty in old age, longevity, love, happiness, falseness, vanity, and the soul. They are connected to the element of Air and the Horae and Zochiquetzal.
Crow Crow / Rook: Crows and rooks symbolize resourcefulness, survival, death, a call to the magick and the mystery around us, the law, the supernatural, the mysteries of creation, shape-shifting, change, harmony, justice, integrity, bad omens, boldness, skill, cunning, prophecy, eloquence, and divination. They are tricksters connected to Morrigan, Varuna, Rhea Kronia, Apollo, Hermes, Macha, and Babd.
Dragonfly Dragonfly: Dragonflies symbolize illusion, dreams, change, enlightenment, irresponsibility, unrealiability, weakness, instability, swiftness, dreams, and seeing the truth. They are messengers of the elemental world and the god/esses. They are connected to Summer.
Eagle Eagle: Eagles symbolize nobility, clarity of vision, balance between the spirit world and everyday life, the ability to soar above everyday life, lightning, rising above material in search of spiritual, connecting with the spirit world, helpful rain, the warrior spirit, fearlessness, keen vision, war, freedom, majesty, authority, strength, victory, and courage. They have a connection to the divine and to the Sun, as well as to Air, Fire and Spirit. They are connected to Ninurta, Marduk, Asshur, Pan, Zeus, Indra, Vishnu, Mithras, and Ohdinn.
Falcon Falcon: Falcons symbolize freedom, speed in action, far-sightedness, magick, astral travel, clear vision, and healing. They help those who are dying through the process. They are connected to Horus, Circe, Ra, Menthu, Freya, and Odhinn.
Hawk Hawk: Hawks are observant and perceptive messengers from the spirit world. They symbolize noticing the big picture, using your talents, omens, dreams, courage, defense, wisdom, illumination, truth, and experience. They are connected to Horus, Ptah, Rehu, Seker, Amenti, Apollo, Artemis, Indra, Ahura Mazda, and Mithras.
Hummingbird Hummingbird: Hummingbirds symbolize freedom of movement, energy, tireless joy and living from life's nectar, accomplishing things that are said to be impossible, finding the joy in living and learning from your own life experiences, flowers, love, beauty, art, relaxation, and fearlessness. They are connected to Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli.
Owl Owl: Owls symbolize wisdom, the ability to see things that are hidden, stealth, swiftness, darkness, freedom, dreams, shape-shifting, secrets, omens, clairvoyance, astral projection, magick, deception, observation, total truth, night, death, and misfortune. They are connected to the Underworld and the Moon. They are connected to The Goddess in general, as well as Athena, Mari, Lilith, Anath, Gwynn ap Nudd, Blodeuwedd, Yama and Cailleach. Barn owls, however, are the ones who see without seeing and hear without hearing; the ones who can hear what is not spoken and ones that see things without physical sight.
Raven Raven: Ravens symbolize magick, inner fears, the spirit world, a change in consciousness, healing, dispelling "dis-ease," the unknown, mischieviousness, adabtability, intelligence, ingenuity, death, war, bloodshed, battle, divination, and the destruction required for creation. They are the messengers of the spirit world. They are connected to the Crone, the Sun, and to Odhinn, Apollo, Athene, Cronus, Asclepias, Brahma, Morrigan, Babd, Nantosuelta, and Lugh.
Swan Swan: Swans symbolize grace, healing, altered states, intuition, transformation, transitions, spiritual evolution, hunches, omens, spiritual divination, dignity, monogamy, loyalty, and silence. They are connected to Apollo, Aphrodite, the Muses, Venus, Zeus, Aphrodite, Sarasvati, Brahma, and Devi.

Mythological Creatures

Dragon Dragon: Dragons are teachers, warriors, and protectors. They symbolize the Great Mother Goddess, matriarchy, benevolence, divinity, royalty, the supernatural, infinity, change, elemental magick, and spiritual instruction. They are connected to Mithras, Horus, Apollo, Indra, Aruna, and Soma. There are some differences between eastern and western dragons. Eastern dragons are more serpentine looking and often whiskered. They specifically symbolize the power of the ruler, masculinity, yang, porosperity, rain, wisdom and hidden secrets. Western dragons are more reptilian, more massive and often have large, almost batlike, wings. They specifically symbolize fire, confrontation, danger and seclusion.
Griffin Griffin: Griffins are guardians. They symbolize spiritual enlightenment, the seasons, the relationship between psychic energy, and cosmic forces. They are connected to the Sun, the Sky, and the Earth as well as Nemesis and Apollo.
Pegasus Pegasus: Pegasi symboplize inspiration, poetry, grace, freedom from eartly cares, astral travel, transformation of evil to good, fame, and eloquence. They are connected to Demeter and Osiris.
Phoenix Phoenix: The Phoenix is a symbol of resurrection, rebirth, spiritual growth, strength, energy for life trials, fire, and royalty. It is a a lunar/solar symbol and is connected to Osiris, Ra, and Circe.
Unicorn Unicorn: Unicorns are symbols of innocense, good will, fame, prosperity, healing, gentleness, purity of mind, personal power, naivety, joy, life, nature, and freedom. They are connected to Artemis, Diana, and moon goddesses in general.