Have you ever dreamt of or come across a lion and wondered if it could mean something deeper than it does on the surface? Maybe you’ve come across an animal like an antelope, alligator, or unicorn and you’re not sure what this could symbolize.
You may not know it, but many animals carry a deeper meaning, wisdom, and even power with them. Some people believe that spirit animals are present for a reason. Spirit animals, or totem animals, are meant to guide you on your life’s journey.
Oftentimes, you will feel a strong connection to your spirit animal – for example, people may say that you remind them of a certain animal, or you may feel a personal connection to a specific creature. Other times, you may dream of or cross paths with a specific animal at many times throughout your life.
Regardless of your connection to your spirit animal, it can be fascinating to learn about what different animals symbolize. If you are wondering what your spirit animal may be or are simply curious to know the meanings behind certain animals, here is an A-Z list of animal symbolism.
Lists of Animals Spiritual Meanings
Bat Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Change, community, balance, evolution
Bats live in caves and only come out in the nighttime, so if you identify with bats, it shows that you are a person who is truly self-aware and fearless. You live your life unafraid of most things that other people are terrified of.
Bats are most often seen as a symbol of change, so if you see a bat, it could signify some change that is coming your way.
Bear Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Strength, confidence, healing
Bears hibernate in the winter and come back out in the spring. Rightfully so, they are seen as a symbol of resurrection and new life. Because of their large size, bears are also power animals that are symbolic of strength.
Butterfly Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Transformation, change, positivity, hope
Butterflies start off as caterpillars and then transform into the beautiful butterflies we see around gardens and parks. Given their transformative life cycle, it is no surprise that butterflies are widely seen as a symbol of change, and rebirth.
Similar to other insects, like the dragonfly, butterflies symbolize growth. Butterflies are also important symbols of hope, and they show the importance of finding joy in life’s changes.
Cat Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Curiosity, intelligence, independence
Cats are interesting when it comes to animal symbolism because they can signify both good and bad luck. Cats are independent by nature, so they are most often associated with people who are also independent.
It is said that cats have nine lives, which is what makes them lucky animals. In the same way that they can rebound from some of life’s obstacles, you can rebound from anything you are facing. The bad luck symbolism comes from black cats, which are often associated with witchcraft and darkness.
Coyote Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Playfulness, trickery, intelligence
In addition to symbolizing playfulness, coyotes can also symbolize resourcefulness and adaptability. The coyote serves as a reminder to take it easy on yourself when times get tough.
Coyotes are known for being able to quickly adapt to new environments and situations, so they are also a good way to remind you to keep yourself in check and balance the serious and playful sides that there are to you.
Dog Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Loyalty, honesty, fidelity, companionship
If you have one of these furry companions at home, then you know firsthand how loyal they are. Most commonly known as a “man’s best friend,” dogs are a true symbol of companionship, as they will never leave you lonely, especially in a time of need.
Ancient Greeks even believed that dogs had shape shifting abilities. More meanings behind dogs as spirit animals include faithfulness and vigilance.
Dove Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Peacefulness, prosperity, tranquility, innocence
Across many different cultures, white doves are often seen as a symbol of peace and innocence. As a spirit animal, doves act as your gentle guide on Earth, helping you choose the right paths in life and reminding you to stay on track.
Eagle Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Leadership, authority
With the graceful way they soar through the skies, eagles are often looked upon as leaders in the clouds. The symbolism behind eagles is that these birds are meant to help you embark on a spiritual journey. They also serve as a reminder to have authority over yourself and listen to your heart as much as you can.
Elephant Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Luck, wisdom, royalty
Elephants are most commonly known as a symbol of good luck. In many cultures, these sacred animals are also seen as a symbol of royalty, although they are endangered mainly due to hunters.
If you’re looking to elephants as your spirit animal, what you should learn from them is the importance of family and forming close ties with your loved ones.
Fox Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Agility, cleverness, discernment
Foxes are very smart animals and can even be deceiving in their ways. Because of how stealthy they are, foxes are a symbol to remind people to be quick and strategic in their thinking and to use it to adapt better to their surroundings. Like a rat, a fox can also symbolize thievery.
Hawk Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Focus, clear vision, perspective, messenger
Like eagles, hawks are some of the bravest birds in the sky. They represent everything from courage and self-awareness to truth and perspective. If you look to hawks as your spirit animal, this could be a sign to be brave enough to make the move to the next chapter in your life.
Hummingbird Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Joy, healing, good luck, celebration
Known for their sweet songs, hummingbirds encourage people to open up and show their true feelings. They are a reminder to let more love and light inside of your life’s journey.
They can even show you that it is important to let loose and be playful every once in a while. After all, you don’t always have to take things so seriously.
Ladybug Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Success, ambition, patience
Chances are, you’ve randomly stumbled across a ladybug when you least expected it. Maybe you even missed it because of how small these creatures are. It’s important, however, that you do not just brush these bugs off, as ladybugs are signs of good fortune and grace. In addition, ladybugs, like ants, symbolize patience.
Lion Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Majesty, strength, courage, nobility
Lions are large in size and are often seen as the “kings of jungle” when it comes to survival and the circle of life. As a result, lions are great symbols of majesty and strength, as well as courage. If you see a lion in your dreams, this could mean that you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up, be courageous, and never camouflage your feelings or thoughts.
In addition, if you see a lion together with a lamb in your dreams, this could indicate a state of peace.
Owl Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Wisdom, intuition
Although owls can be easily spotted in popular movies and television shows, it is rare to see an owl out in nature since they tend to hide away. If you ever come across an owl, you should trust your intuition and know that the universe is sending you some kind of sign.
Owls are the ultimate symbol of wisdom, and this wisdom can be seen as a sign to unlock your full potential and live free and independently without fear.
Peacock Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Divinity, confidence
Peacocks are known for their beautiful feathers and patterns. One can even say that peacocks are magical, especially since they can charm you with their looks. Given how showy these birds tend to be, it is no surprise that peacocks can symbolize traits like confidence and vanity.
Rabbit Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Sexuality, fear, spontaneity, wittiness, sensitivity, fertility
Rabbits are most often seen as sexual symbols of lust. However, it is important to know that is not all there is to them.
If you come across a rabbit, it could mean that it is time to over overcome your fears. In the same way that rabbits hop around merrily, they can act as a sign for you to think things through before you leap into something new.
Raven Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Transformation, intelligence, cunning, insights, guidance
Can you think of a more mysterious animal than a raven? As a spirit animal, ravens can act as guides to help you navigate through some of life’s challenges. Although they may be mysterious, ravens are often considered the wisest birds there are.
Snake Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Evil, deceit
Snakes often carry negative connotations – and there is a good reason for this. Like dragons, snakes symbolize evil and deceit, and if you see a snake often, it could be a sign that there is a toxic person in your life.
The origins of this animal symbolism can be traced back to the Bible. As the story goes, the snake convinced Eve to do exactly what she was not supposed to do – eat an apple from the tree.
Spider Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Creativity, connection
For many people, spiders may symbolize something scary, even terrifying. But it is important to see just how unique this animal is to understand the animal symbolism behind spiders.
It may be hard to believe, but spiders are seen as symbols of creativity. Just look at the webs that they weave – their webs are intricately woven and creative.
Speaking of webs, spiders also serve as a symbol of connectivity because of how their web connects from one end to the other and ultimately comes together in the center.
Swan Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Grace, beauty, love
Swans are extremely graceful creatures, so they most often serve as symbols of light, love, and romance. If you’re visited by a swan – whether in your dreams or in real life – it could mean that love and romance is right around the corner for you and your soulmate.
Tiger Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Confidence, instinct, strength, ambition
Tigers are similar to lions in what they symbolize. Seeing a tiger in your dreams can serve as the gentle push you may need in order to have confidence in yourself and trust your instincts. Tigers are also fighters with lots of stamina, so if you can relate strongly to a tiger, it could mean that you too have a fighting spirit and a strong will.
Turtle Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Wisdom, health, longevity
Turtles are also very peaceful creatures that often keep to themselves. If you see a turtle in your dreams, it could be a sign to slow down and take it easy regarding whatever you are going through in life.
Wolf Spiritual Meanings
- Animal Meaning: Intelligence, instincts
As a spirit animal, wolves are meant to look after you and provide guardianship. They can also serve to provide you with inner strength and loyalty when you most need it.
By seeing a wolf in your dreams, the universe may be sending you a sign that you are safe as someone is looking after and watching over you from afar.
Everything You Need to Know About Animal Symbolism
Whether you believe in it or not, it can be super fascinating to dive into animal symbolism and learn the deeper meanings behind what certain creatures signify. Animal symbolism, however, has everything to do with your own beliefs, so it is completely up to you what you take away from any animals you are constantly faced with.
While keeping these things in mind, here are a few things to remember when looking into what a certain animal may symbolize for you.
- Animal symbolism is subject to your own beliefs and interpretations, but it can be a great tool to interpret animals that you encounter in your dreams or animals that you constantly come across in real life.
- Looking into animal symbolism can help you determine what your spirit animal is.
- Knowing your spirit animal can help you decode and interpret any hidden messages they may be trying to send you.
If you have any questions about animal symbolism or if you want to learn more about an animal that we didn’t cover in our list, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.