Have you ever heard of a bird called cassowary? Many people haven’t heard of the less famous cousin of the emu. These flightless birds are native to Australia and New Guinea and are said to be modern-day dinosaurs.
Cassowaries feature in aboriginal myths and carry symbolic meanings. Although you are unlikely to encounter cassowaries in the wild, anyone can ask for guidance from the cassowary spirit, and some people are born with the cassowary totem.
In this article, you will learn about the cassowary symbolism and how their spirit can guide you in life.
Since many will be unfamiliar with cassowaries, let’s find out more about them.
The cassowary is a large flightless bird of the genus Casuarius family. The six-foot-tall bird is the heaviest bird in Australia and the second heaviest in the world after the ostrich.
Cassowaries have dense, black feathers that keep them dry. They have tiny wings and the colors on the face and neck vary between species and locations. The female cassowaries are bigger and more brightly colored.
Cassowaries have a casque, a helmet-like protrusion, that grows on the top of their head. The casques are spongy and covered in keratin. A female often has a larger casque than a male cassowary.
Very little is still known about these birds because they prefer the thick foliage of the rainforests. However, they are considered the most dangerous bird in the world because of their four inches long dagger-like claws. They can run up to 31 miles per hour, jump nearly seven feet up into the air and are powerful swimmers.
You can find out more about these unusual birds here.
Before the British colonized Australia and discovered the cassowary, the bird was already important to the Aboriginal people. Cassowaries feature in a Dreamtime myth:
Cassowary Aboriginal Mythology
There is no real explanation for the casque on the cassowary’s head. However, there is a Dreamtime myth that explains how it got its casque.
In the story from the dawn of time, all animals lived happily and protected the earth together. Except for the cassowary who hid from the others. He knew they would make fun of him because he couldn’t fly.
One day, one animal made fun of the cassowary, just as he feared, and he ran into the forest and crashed into a boulder, which smashed into pieces. A piece of the stone lodged itself in the cassowary’s head and he ran further, sobbing.
When the cassowary returned to observe the other animals at the watering hole, he was spotted by the seahawk. To cassowary’s surprise, the seahawk didn’t laugh but explained that everyone has their place in the world. He pointed out that the stone in the cassowary’s head made him unique.
Later, the seahawk was in danger when snakes attacked the animals’ camp. The cassowary alone came to the seahawk’s rescue. He chased the snakes away. After that, the cassowary became a hero and the regal champion of the forest.
You can read a longer version of the myth here.
Through the story, we learn about the uniqueness of the cassowary and its character. These personality traits are the basis of cassowary symbolism:
Cassowary Symbolism and Meaning
Real cassowaries are difficult to observe because they hide in the foliage, just like the cassowary in the Dreamtime myth hid from the other animals. Therefore, cassowaries are often associated with introverts and mystery.
This strong bird is symbolic of sticking up for yourself. Though real and mythical cassowaries will rather retreat than fight, if boundaries are crossed, they will defend themselves and those important to them.
The myth reminds us not to judge by looks. The other animals laugh at the cassowary because it cannot fly and again when it gets a piece of rock lodged in its head. But in the end, it becomes a hero through its brave actions.
You can read about the symbolism further, in an article from Birdpedia.
Cassowary encounters are rare even in the natural world because of their reclusive nature. What could it mean if you were to encounter a cassowary in nature?
Because cassowaries are considered deadly birds, an encounter with one in the wild can be terrifying.
If you encounter one of these magnificent animals in the wild, it is best to observe them from a distance. A safe meeting with a wild cassowary can be a good omen. It might signal that you are taking steps to safeguard your personal peace or that you have found the correct spiritual path.
However, a cassowary encounter can also be a warning. It can be telling you to reconsider the life path you are on. A meeting with a cassowary can also signal troubles ahead.
Regardless of where you live, you are more likely to encounter a cassowary in your dreams than in the wild:
Cassowary Dream Symbolism
A cassowary can appear in your dream when you are feeling lost and alone. It comes to you bearing a message that you don’t have to be alone. There are people in your life who love you, and it is time to claim your place in the world.
A sleeping cassowary signifies a turning point. You might be at a crossroads and unsure of which path to follow. The cassowary is telling you to step back to gain a better perspective and then you will know what to do.
Following a cassowary means that you have to focus on whatever project you are working on. However, if a cassowary is following you, it means that you need to have more self-awareness.
A cassowary attack is a sign of an impending conflict you cannot avoid. Address it or risk giving away your power. When you deal with it in the right way, it will be easier to solve than you expect.
An alert cassowary is advising you to examine your relationships with others, your work-life balance, or your spiritual growth. It is reminding you that having the right balance is healthy.
For more dream interpretations, visit the World of Birds.
Cassowaries are also important spiritually:
Cassowary Totem Animal
Some people have a cassowary birth totem. Their spirit is with you throughout your life and you may exhibit cassowary’s characteristics.
Having a cassowary role model helps people to understand the importance of protecting themselves and those important to them. When a problem arises, cassowary people will address it head-on.
Being born with a cassowary totem animal means that the person is good at keeping secrets. Because of this, they often end up in roles where trust is key.
People with a cassowary totem are prone to concealing their true emotions. This can be a strength, but it is also important to open up and express oneself. Cassowary people can feel threatened when challenged and lose sight of what is important. They need to learn which battles are worth fighting.
Because cassowary totem people are affected by its protective spirit, they can find it hard to allow friends and relatives to fight their own battles. They have a tendency to step and need to remember they don’t always have to fight on behalf of others.
Cassowary Spirit Animal
The spirit of cassowary can come into our life when we need an injection of cassowary qualities. At other times, they come as messengers of something we need to put our attention on.
A cassowary might appear in your life when you are confronted with a major obstacle. It reminds you to look for an alternative viewpoint. Ask yourself what skills will you need to overcome it and the cassowary spirit will help you.
The spirit animal can come to you to remind you of your physical abilities. You are stronger than you realize. The cassowary mindset is linked with spirituality and the balance of body, mind, and spirit. Its presence can be a reminder to defend ourselves against negative energies.
Cassowary Power Animal
When you are dealing with fear, you can call on the cassowary power animal. It will help you summon the courage you need to deal with what is causing the fear. A cassowary power animal will help you focus on your inner power.
Cassowary energies can help you when you are in a sticky situation or need to address someone over a sensitive issue. It will help you find the strength you need to solve the problem.
Calling on the cassowary power animal will also help you listen to your instinct and be a source of inspiration. It will help you use your observation skills to assess a situation and see possible solutions.
Find out more about how the cassowary spirit can guide us, here.
Cassowaries are unique creatures that have enormous strength, yet prefer to shy away from others. They can remind us we are unique and have inner strength we can tap into.
We hope to have addressed all you wanted to know about cassowary symbolism in this article. However, if there is something else you would like to ask us about cassowary symbolic meaning, write your question in the comments section.