fine art

Animals and Their Symbolic Meanings

A - C   |  D - M   |  N - S  |  T - Z | TREES and MORE | By Meaning

Most of the symbolic meanings for the animals and plants listed on this page come from Native American and Celtic traditions. Some are representative of a variety of other traditions.

A word of caution — I am providing this list only as a starting place, a quick reference. To truly understand the full meaning behind the words in the list you really need to read the stories, myths, natural history, and traditions surrounding a particular animal. Nearly every animal has more than one meaning. And some animals have the same or similar meanings. To know which animal or tree holds the meaning you are trying to match requires more than just a look at this list.

The books listed among Recommended Resources page are a terrific place to start. Check with your local public library, or buy them here.
ADDER - healing, life energy/breath, transformation (see also SNAKE)
AIR DRAGON - insight, inspiration, vitality
ALLIGATOR - the Goddess
ANT - discipline, order, patience
ANTELOPE - action
ARMADILLO - discriminating, empathy, personal protection, boundaries
BADGER - aggressiveness
BAT - rebirth
BEAR - intuition with instinct, primal power, sovereignty, introspection
BEAVER - builder
BEE - celebration, community, organization
BEETLE - resurrection, metamorphosis
BLACKBIRD - mystic, understanding the energies of Mother Nature, enchantment, the Gateway, self-awareness
BLUE JAY - proper use of power
BLUEBIRD - confidence, happiness, modesty
BOAR - direction, leadership, warrior spirit
BUFFALO - abundance, prayer
BULL - beneficence, wealth, financial wealth, potency
BUTTERFLY - metamorphosis
CANARY - healing power of song, power of song and voice, musical
CARDINAL - renewed vitality
CAT - detachment, guardianship, sensuality, mystery, magic, independence
CATBIRD - language, communication, opportunities
CHICKADEE - cheerful, seeker of truth
CHICKEN - fertility, sacrifice
COCK - sexuality, watchfulness, resurrection
COW - the Goddess, motherhood, nourishment
COYOTE - fool, jokester, trickster
CRANE - creation through focus, longevity, patience, secret knowledge
CROW - magical, shape shifter, watchfulness, sacred law
CUCKOO - new fate
DEER - gentleness (see also HIND and STAG)
DOG - guidance, protection, loyalty, servant, service
DOLPHIN - Manna, the breath of life, life force
DOVE - peace, maternity, prophecy
DRAGONFLY - illusion, dreamtime
DUCK - comforting, maternal, protective
EAGLE - Spirit, spirituality, renewal, intelligence, courage, illumination of Spirit, healing, creation
EARTH DRAGON - personal power, potential, riches
ELK - stamina, strength, nobility, warrior spirit FINCH - multiplicity, new experiences and encounters
FIRE DRAGON - energy, mastery, transmutation
FLICKER - healing love, new growth
FOX - cunning, diplomacy, wildness, camouflage, shape shifting , invisibilility
FROG - sensitivity, hidden beauty and power, medicine, cleansing
GIRAFFE - farseeing, farsightedness
GOLDFINCH - connection with nature
GOOSE - parenthood, productive power, vigilance, call to travel, fidelity, infinity, call to quest, story telling
GROSBEAK - family relationships, heals old wounds
GROUSE - sacred spiral, enlightenment, personal vision, personal vision
HARE - balance, intuition, rebirth (see also RABBIT)
HAWK - big picture, broad vision, recollection, nobility, cleansing, observant, messenger, guardianship
HERON - self-determination, sef-reliance
HIND - femininity, gracefulness, subtlety
HORSE - the Land, travel, unearthly power, personal power, the Goddess
INCHWORM - quantitative
KESTREL - mental agility
KINGFISHER - calm, peace, prosperity
LIZARD - dreaming, subtlety of perception, the Shadow
LOON - realizing dreams, imagination
LYNX - secret knowledge
MAGPIE - collector, occult knowledge, willful, wily
MARTIN - community peace, good luck
MEADOWLARK - cheerfulness, inner journey, sublimation
MOOSE - self-esteem, wisdom
MOUNTAIN GOAT - surefooted
MOUNTAIN LION - leadership, surefooted
MOUSE - attention to detail, scrutiny, organization
NUTHATCH - ethereal, grounded faith
OPOSSUM - diversion
ORIOLE - positive energy
OTTER - helpfulness, interpersonal, joy, play, female energy
OWL - critical (discerning), change, detachment, wisdom, clairvoyance, deception
PELICAN - non-competitive, self-sacrificing, unselfish
PIG - (see BOAR and SOW)
PORCUPINE - faith, innocence, trusting
PRAIRIE DOG - community
PRAYING MANTIS - stillness
PRONGHORN - adaptability
RABBIT - fear, fertility
RACCOON - disguise, maskes, dexterity
RAM - achievement, breakthrough
RAVEN - initiation, magic, protection
ROAD RUNNER - technical
ROBIN - new growth
SALMON - rejuvenation, wisdom, inspiration
SEAGULL - communication, responsible behavior
SEAL - longing, loove, dilemma
SKUNK - reputation, respected, self-respect
SNAKE - transmutation (see also ADDER)
SOW - generosity, nourishment, discovery
SPARROW - nobility
SPIDER - weaver, creative, creativity
SQUIRREL - gathering, plans ahead, prepared
STAG - independence, pride, purification
STARLING - sociable
STORK - birth, unspoken communication
SWALLOW - chattery, verbal
SWAN - grace, beauty, emotional, soul, love, mystic
SWISHER - accomplishment
TURTLE - grounded, the Goddess, Mother Earth
WATER DRAGON - connection, depth, passion
WAXWING - gentleness
WEASEL - stealth
WHALE - record keeper
WOLF - teacher, intuition, learning, the Shadow self, pathfinder
WREN - cunning, humility, the God
VULTURE - purification


ALDER TREE - completeness, oracular
APPLE TREE - a choice of beauty
ASH TREE - holistic, inner and outer worlds linked, macrocosm and microcosm
ASPEN TREE (White Poplar) - helps rebirth, prevention from illness
BEECH TREE - old knowledge, old writing
BIRCH TREE - new start, beginning, cleansing, purification, protection of children
BLACKTHORN TREE - no choice however unpleasant, cleansing
ELDER TREE - end in the beginning and the beginning in the end, banishing, exorcism
FURZE - good at collecting, associated with the MAGPIE.
GRAPE VINE - prophesy, binding, fertility
GROVE (group of trees revered or held sacred) - a sacred place, all knowledge available past, present and future
HAWTHORN TREE - cleansing, chastity, protection
HAZEL TREE - intuition, straight to the source
HEATHER - link to inner self
HOLLY TREE - best in the fight
HONEYSUCKLE - hidden secret, way to inner knowledge
IVY - search for self, spiral of the self
OAK TREE - strength, doorway to the mysteries, personal protection, positive purpose, solid protection
REED - direct action
ROWAN TREE - empowerment, protection against enchantment, self-control
SILVER FIR TREE - high views, long sight
SPINDLE TREE - sweetness and delight, sudden intelligence, enlightenment
SEA - the sea, travel, maternal links
WILLOW TREE - night vision, lunar rhythms, female aspects
YEW TREE - everlasting


back to previous page
Site Map ••• SymbolArt Home

Copyright © 2002 Lydia Mong, all rights reserved