Animal Symbolism

For many years I’ve  been fascinated by dream interpretation and symbolism. I’ve always felt as if there were important lessons to be gained from our subconscious mind processing our day’s happenings. One perspective I came across a few years back was looking closer at animal symbolism and interpretation. I’m a huge fan of Carl Jung and his work on archetypes and dreams and I find his style of symbolism to be intriguing and useful.

This could be a huge post, hundreds of pages long if I weren’t careful so I’m keeping it focused on animal symbolism. One very useful book I like to reference is called Animal Speak by Ted Andrews. He draws upon a very spiritual look on how animal symbolism had played out in North American history and how it can still be relevant today.

One technique I like to use is to read about the animal symbols and how they were interpreted by medicine men and shamans. His book will talk about animal behaviors as well as traditional history and interpretations of animal symbolism. Then it wraps up with possible interpretations of animal symbolism and what it might mean in the reader’s life. Here are a few examples:


Associated with Visionary Power and Guardianship as well as higher levels of consciousness. How would you feel that vision and soaring to new heights is relevant to your world right now?


Associated with Wisdom and Folly, sometimes coyotes are incredibly wise and understanding creatures but if those around you don’t understand, you may need to simplify things in order to communicate that perspective. They also hunt in packs by coordinating and cooperating. Is cooperation an aspect of one’s life that needs work?


Associated with transformation. Since frogs start off as tadpoles in water, and then eventually grow legs to navigate on land, there is a tremendous amount of adaptation and trasformation in this symbol. Are there aspects of life which need transformation in order to move forward? Since frogs start off in water and then land, how do the elements of Earth and Water become relevant?

Sometimes these animal symbols won’t make sense when you first think about dreams and what plays out. But in the context of a deeper wisdom it may illuminate a much needed perspective on what is going on in one’s life. But if a bizarre dream of your parents sitting in water holding a frog doesn’t make sense, try thinking of the wisdom of the symbols and consider if a moving beyond old family patterns and transforming the self to something beyond that would be a benefit.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a reference book that will give meaning/interpretation to cover all situations but consider what animal symbolism could teach you. One must make their own assessments and interpretations based on situational and personal relevance. Are there animals you seem to be naturally drawn to? Have there been odd symbols that didn’t make sense but could have a deeper meaning? Feel free to share some things that stand out or seem like they would be worth exploring, I’m curious.

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