Meaning of animals as symbols
For many years I have been studying the meaning of symbols and their origin and part of this study concerns animal symbols. On the Dutch part of this website the section of symbols, meaning and origin is very large, on the English part of this website are just a few specific pages on this topic. Animals have a symbolic meaning throughout the ages, just think of the stories from the bible in which animals occur and a also have very symbolic meaning, but animals also often play an important (symbolic) role in fairy tales and folktales. The subject of animal symbols can be studies from many points of view, from ethnology, cultural science, but also from a spiritual point of view. On this page I give my own impression of the meaning and origin of animal symbols. Animal symbols are very universal and appear in mythology, legends and religious scriptures in almost every culture. Some animal symbols contain a secret code and other animal symbols are related to the properties of the animals which they represent or qualities that used to be attributed to these animals, often through superstition. Animals as symbols are also widely used in jewelry, amulets and in tattoos, often because the wearer wants to indicate that he likes these animals but also because of the special and sometimes hidden significance of the animal as a symbol. Regards, Hein Pragt.
Copyright © Hein Pragt.
The monkey as a symbol
In ancient times, monkey was a bad nickname and monkeys were the symbol of malice and ugliness. In ancient India the monkey was a sacred animal, it was the symbol of strength, loyalty and sacrifice and also in China the monkeys are surrounded with much tribute. In Christian iconography the meaning of the monkey is very negative, as a caricature of man and symbol of vices vanity (with a mirror in hand), lust and unchastity. Chained up monkeys symbolize the vanquished devil. In psychology, the monkey is seen as a sign of insecurity and self-doubt, and as a symbol of shamelessness. The statues of the three monkeys are also known that cover the mouth, the eyes and keep your ears closed. The popular statement "hear, see and be silent" is incorrect, the meaning is "see, hear and say no evil".
The eagle as a symbol
The eagle symbol is widely used on weapons, signs and flags and the eagle symbol is used in the US to seal official documents and passports. The eagle has many different symbolic meanings, the most important is as king of the birds and is therefore a symbol of power and victory. For example, it was used on banners of the Romans, but also the ancient Egyptians, the Indians and Aztecs used the eagle as a symbol. Nowadays, the Eagle is used in many flags, including those of Germany and Egypt. Using the eagle as a Symbol of power goes way back to ancient cultures several thousand years before Christ.
The antelope as a symbol
Antelopes symbolize beauty, sharp vision, gentleness, speed and innocence. In ancient Rome it was the antelope dedicated to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. In ancient Egypt, the gazelle belonged to the gods of wind and storm and in ancient Greece with the goddess Diana who was the goddess of the hunt. In many cultures it was a compliment to compare a woman to an antelope as a symbol of elegance, beauty and beautiful eyes. In ancient Persia and Arabia there is a belief that the antelope could see into the future through its sharp eyesight. Antelopes are very fast, some can reach a speed up to 100 kilometers per hour.
The bear as a symbol
The Greek goddess of the hunt, Artemis, also called Diana by the Romans, was sometimes depicted with bears and in In old Norse myths, Odin is sometimes depicted in bear outfit. Berserkers are warriors who wear bear skins and act like madmen, they were conceived as mixed beings in animal form, just like werewolves. Among the Celts the goddess Artio ruled about the wild animals and her attribute was the bear. In Christian symbolism the fable is mentioned that the female bear has shapeless young's, that she will give their final shape by licking them, just like the ignorant mankind that would only gain insight into his or her destiny trough spiritual knowledge. In heraldry, the bear is mainly found in Switzerland and in southern Germany and as a dangerous animal, the bear sometimes also symbolizes the power of the devil. There is a fight in the bible of the young David with a bear and this is considered to prefigure the victory of Christ over the Powers of the darkness. In dream meanings, the bear is seen as embodying the dangerous aspects of the unconscious. In ancient China, the bear is a male symbol that embodies strength and dreams about a bear became an prediction of the birth of a son. In Chinese fairy tales, the bear plays the role similar to our bad wolf. The teddy bear is named after US President Theodore Teddy Roosevelt whose hobby was bear hunting. In 1902 some people wanted to do the President's a favor by tying an old bear to a tree so that Roosevelt only had to pull the trigger to take home a beautiful hunting trophy. Roosevelt refused to shoot, "I wouldn't dare look my children in the eye anymore," he is said. Morris Michtom, owner of the toy store wrote a letter to the president, expressing his admiration for his actions during the hunt, and asked the president if he could call his toy bears "Teddy". The president gave his consent and the teddy bear was born.
The beaver as a symbol
In the US the beaver also has a sexual meaning that is not used anywhere else in the world. The general meaning of the beaver as a symbol stands for hard constructive work, perseverance and harmony. The Beaver also symbolizes family and sharing time with the family. The beaver is an official emblem of Canada and represents calm, hardworking and humble. Beavers live in colonies and build dams to create deep water around them and thus protect themselves against predators.
The bee as a symbol
The bee plays a very important role in symbolism, in Egypt bees were kept as early as 2600 BC and the bee was the symbol of royalty. Keeping bees is also very old in China, but there the bee was not so much a symbol of diligence as well as an image for the young lover who tastes the blossoms of girls. In Chinese fairy tales, bees help to find the true bride. Because the hibernation of the bees was equated with death, they were also regarded as an image of resurrection. In the Christian symbolism was the indefatigability of the bees at work for their community as an example and Saint Ambrose compared the church with a beehive. The idea that bees would live on nothing but the scent of flowers made them a symbol of purity and abstinence. In heraldry, the bee usually appears as a symbol of order and diligence.
Dove with palm branch symbol
The dove is a symbol of reconciliation and peace, the dove also refers to simplicity, innocence and purity and has its origin in the Christian faith. The Old Testament speaks of the Flood, after the Flood Noah sets out a white dove from the ark, hoping that the dove will find land. This dove returns with a palm branch in its beak, which was a sign that there was land somewhere.
The dolphin as a symbol
In general, the dolphin symbolizes communication, intelligence, playfulness and freedom. In the Greek mythology dolphins carry the gods on their backs which is symbolic of rescue and love. The intelligence of dolphins is well known and also their ability to learn sign language, communicate with their own complex language and their ability to bond strongly with people. There are stories where dolphins protect people from shark attacks or save people from drowning. The dolphin is also a symbol for Christ as the Redeemer, three dolphins are a symbol for the Trinity.
The dragon as a symbol
Dragons are often depicted as winged crocodiles or giant snakes and play a major role in the symbolism of many cultures. In creation myths, dragons are usually violent primordial creatures that must be conquered by gods. In later stories, heroes of noble lineages are assigned the role of dragon slayers. In fairy tales and sagas it is victory of a dragon often the task of the hero, he conquers a treasure or frees a captive king's daughter. The Christian Symbolism sees the dragon as the embodiment of the devil and dragons are therefore associated with the element of fire and often shown as fire-breathing animals. In Asia, the dragon is usually seen as a lucky symbol that can produce the drink of immortality. In the ancient China he represents the primordial essence yang, that is, begetting, fertility and activity. In ancient China the dragon was often used as decoration and the number of dragons on the robes of generals was strictly regulated. Only at the emperor allowed it to be nine. The dragon is also the fifth sign of the Chinese zodiac and is also the symbol of the east, the sunrise and the spring rain. The white dragon, on the other hand, rules the west and death. On the second day of the second month, dragon parties are celebrated with fireworks. Also in Japan the dragon embodies the rain god, bronze dragons therefore do in temple courts often serve as gargoyles on fountains.
The duck as a symbol
The duck symbolizes freedom because they can walk on land, fly in the air and swim in the water and even are able to dive underwater. In Chinese and Japanese culture, the duck is a symbol of good luck and loyalty. The image of the duck in Disney cartoons is usually that of the somewhat stupid, stubborn, funny, cheeky, hot-tempered duck like Donald and Daffy duck.
The unicorn as a symbol
The unicorn is a mythical animal that has been loved since ancient times and the Middle Ages as a symbol of virginity and beauty, but also of bravery and fighting spirit. The animal occurs in many cultures and was mentioned by the ancient Greeks. But it also occurs in the Romans and in Indian and Chinese myths. His hooves are split and his tail is a lion's tail, and he also has a goatee. The unicorn became a religious symbol in medieval art. The story was that a beautiful virgin who represented the Virgin Mary managed to trap a unicorn, after which the unicorn became tame and placed its head in her lap. This story made the unicorn ultimately seen as the Christ and the death of a unicorn as the passion of Christ. Unicorns are also commonly used in heraldic symbolism, usually with a spiral horn, sometimes with a broken chain, indicating that they have freed themselves from slavery.
The squirrel as a symbol
The squirrel symbolizes suspicion but also purity, attentiveness and playfulness, ingenuity and the ability to change direction quickly. It also symbolizes people who have finished working and retired because the squirrel carefully prepares for the future or bad times by building stocks but still has time to to play. In the Germanic myths there was a squirrel running up and down the branches of the tree of life (Yggdrasil), to create twist between the eagle in the top and the dragon (Nidheggr) by the trunk, telling again and again what one had said about another.
The hedgehog as a symbol
The hedgehog is known as a symbol for self-defense and innocence, but also for anger in the form of the spines. In addition, the hedgehog is known as a childhood friend, in Celtic lore, the hedgehog is a symbol of rejuvenation and spring. The ability to turn oneself into a spiky ball is a symbol of self-preservation.
The magpie as a symbol
The magpie is considered a symbol of chatter and theft in Europe, but while the black and white bird is considered low valued by us, it is considered a good luck symbol in China. His scratching sound would announce the arriving of a good news or a welcome guests. In addition, the magpie embodied the primordial yang principle and he was lucky enough to face the raven. Pictures with magpies meant good wishes and cards with two magpies meant marital happiness.
The donkey as a symbol
The donkey is an animal with very contradictory symbolic meaning, in Greece the god Dionysus was mounted on a donkey and the Romans saw him as a symbol of the fertility god Priapus. But in tales and fables the donkey became like ridiculous creature and a Palestinian engraving also mocked the Christians as worshipers of a crucified donkey (a man with a donkey's head). In the Bible, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem riding a donkey and in the well-known Christmas scene there is an ox and an donkey by the manger of Jesus. One interpretation may be that the donkey represents the heathen and the ox the Jews. One view of the donkey is an example of humility and meekness, but he also stands for stupidity, sloth and stubbornness. The donkey also stands for unrestrained lust and the donkey and the goat are also represented as symbols of indolence and fornication. It is known from the Middle Ages that convicted adulterers were obliged to ride a donkey in public.
The goat as a symbol
The goat is a symbol for nursing but also for perseverance, flexibility and strength. But also the goat is related to the devil because the devil also occasionally appears in the form of a goat.
The deer as a symbol
Deer symbolize heavenly desire, undisciplined strength, the defeat of evil and ability to renew youth. For the Chinese, the deer is a symbol of long life, of happiness, of career and money and of immortality. With Greeks and Romans the deer is mainly associated with the gods of the hunt and to the Indians, the deer is a symbol of speed and of a sure foot that does not falter. For the Druids a deer also was related to prophecy, and visions often happened nearby deer.
The dog as a symbol
In Western society, the dog symbolizes loyalty and sacrifice. The dog was seen by the ancient Greeks as a magical animal with power over life and death. In Egypt, dogs were buried next to their masters to guide them to the afterlife. Both the Romans and Greeks also used the term dog as a derogatory term and today his dog and bitch are still offensive terms. The dog is also sometimes seen as a symbol of unbridled lust because she copulates in public. Also, the dog is the twelfth sign of the Chinese zodiac. For Muslims, the dog is unclean and in most eastern countries it's not allowed to bring dogs into the house.
The camel as a symbol
Camels symbolize humility, the willingness to serve as well as stubbornness. In the medieval art, the camel was used as a symbol of humility and willingness to bear heavy burdens, although most artists had never seen a camel before. In the Far East, camels are known for their unkindness and willfulness. For the Egyptians, camels are the symbol of complainers and those who are slow.
The cat as a symbol
In the western world it is a well-known superstition that it is bad luck when a black cat crosses your path, but in England a black cat brings good luck and a white cat brings bad luck. In China, a black cat is also a sign of bad luck, but it also a warning so you can be extra careful. For the old inhabitants of Egypt the cat was sacred, cats were embalmed and mummified to join the death in their graves and were even provided with gifts. In the past, some people believed that the cat was a symbol of evil. In the Middle Ages it was thought that devils and witches could take the form of a cat. Because witches were depicted with a black cat during the witch persecution, cats got a bad name. Also among the ancient Celts cats were animals of the devil and cats were burned as objects of worship, the look of Satan was seen in the eyes of the cat.
The frog as a symbol
The frog's metamorphosis was associated by the Christians with the resurrection of Christ. In the In Roman times a frog amulet was supposed to protect the house and its inhabitants from harm and the ancient Romans believed that wearing a frog amulet could prevent the loss of love. In the Middle Ages, the dried body of a frog was often placed in a silk bag worn around the neck as protection against epilepsy. The toad was less popular with was considered a henchman of the devil and witches. Today, people wear a small, cut-out frog as a charm on a chain around their neck, or as a brooch in the close to the heart to avoid bad feelings arise between friends. There is also a Chinese talisman, which is also in is for sale in western countries that when worn around the neck should assure the wearer of longevity and wealth.
The cow as a symbol
The Egyptian goddess of the night sky Nut was often depicted as a cow, as was the Egyptian goddess Hathor. In many cultures the cow represents the great mother goddess, the earth, love, nurturing, warmth and abundance. In Hinduism, the cow is seen as a gift from the gods. Cows are still sacred in India and the cows are free to go where they want. The cows are often decorated with flowers and colorful decorations as a sign of respect and admiration. The African Maasai consider cows also as gifts from god and according to the Scandinavian creation story the cow Adumla was the first being that came into existence and after this cow created the first human by licking it from a salt block.
Rabbit foot symbol
The rabbit's foot is used as a good luck charm almost all over the world. The popularity of the rabbit's foot was on its peak in the first half of the 20th century, especially during the First and Second World Wars, today it seems to lose interest. The most effective talisman is the left leg, and in addition, it should be cut off at full moon by someone who squints and the fur must not be dyed. In Wales it was customary to run a rabbit's foot over the rubbing the forehead of a newborn baby as a pagan baptism promising the child a happy life. The loss of a protective amulet brings bad luck, but for a rabbit's foot this applies double. Losing it was a serious, sometimes desperate case, a harbinger of disaster that would strike the owner and even death. For this reason, rabbit feet were never discarded.
The crow as a symbol
The crow is indistinguishable from the raven in symbolism, although more has been written about the raven. The crow is also said to have originally been white, in the Greek saga it is said that the god Apollo was his mistress, the king's daughter Koronis, guarded by a snow-white crow. However, this could not prevent her from getting involved with a Arcadian prince and Apollo cursed the defaulting guard and blackened her feathers, then killed the unfaithful mistress with his arrows. Blowing the crow's march means saying goodbye or dying and crows are also the gravediggers and porters and in the Middle Ages a group of circling crows was a harbinger of quarrel or war. The crow is also symbolically associated with knowledge, eloquence, prophecy, courage, skill, knowledge, cunning, cheating and theft.
The Lamb as a symbol
The lamb is a symbol of purity, gentleness and patience with suffering. This meaning is already clear in the Holy bible. Fumbling in the meadow, the lamb is a symbol of innocence and young freedom. The lamb has been the symbol for Jesus Christ for centuries the image offers powerful protection against barrenness and also enforces peace. The lamb pictured with cross and nimbus is the symbol of the sacrificial death of Christ.
The lion as a symbol
In many cultures the lion had a symbolic meaning, he was associated with both good and evil. In ancient China the lion was a symbol of bravery and in Hinduism the lion is the fourth incarnation of the god Vishnu. In Buddhism, the lion signifies the wisdom of Buddha's teachings. In Greek mythology he was a symbol of the conquered power and drew the chariots on which the gods rode. Christianity adopted the Lion of Judah, the symbol of the royal power of the tribe of Judah and transferred it to Christ. In the Middle Ages it was believed that the lion slept with open eyes and he was seen as a symbol of vigilance and he was given statues, palace and church gates and banners and shields. a talisman of the lion gives strength, courage, honor, health, wealth and success.
Maneki neko symbol
The beckoning cat is a very popular symbol in Japan. There are small ones to wear on the body and much larger to sometimes very large for in vehicles or buildings. When the cat beckons with its left paw, it invites people, when he beckons with his right paw, he invites wealth into the house. The white cat invites happiness and the golden cat prosperity. When carried on the body, the cat brings good luck to its owner.
The ant as a symbol
' Ants symbolize great labor, wisdom, they are diligent, work well together in a group and form a close community. The strength of ants in relation to their size is also extraordinary and legendary. Ants make big colonies where each ant has a specific role for the well-being and survival of the group as a whole. In many cultures they are used as food as well as for medication.
The moth as a symbol
The moth stands as a symbol for dreams, the otherworld and consciousness. The moth also symbolizes the desire for the divine and being consumed by love, because a moth has an irresistible urge to go to the flame of the candle where it burns its wings. In this regard, the moth also represents frivolity and stupidity. A well-known Eastern text is "People approach their fate like moths flying to their death in the flame of a candle."
Elephant as a symbol
The elephant has positive symbolic power, a white elephant announced the birth of Buddha. The Hindu god Ganesha, who stands for wisdom and writing skills, wears the head of an elephant with one tooth. Because elephants can grow old, they are also the symbol of overcoming death. The amulet of the elephant as charms was very popular in the period between the world wars. The figurines were made of silver, jade, ivory and ebony and to please the wearer he had to be depicted upright, in a moving pose. His trunk should be curled up and back and be touch forehead. The elephant was not only worn on the body as an amulet, it was also a guardian of home and hearth. Little black and white figures carved from ebony wood were placed in the house to ward off disaster and to bring good luck to the residents and for best performance, the elephant had to be placed with its snout toward the front door. Ganesha (in his original form like an elephant-headed human figure) is still particularly popular with Hindus in India. He was also adopted by Buddhists and is often worn around the neck in the form of a small protective amulet.
The stork symbol was considered to be a lucky symbol almost everywhere. The stork represents happiness, prosperity and many children. The animal is also popular because it exterminates snakes. In northern countries the stork always came back from southern regions during the spring and that is why the stork was seen as a fertility symbol because of the connection between the revival of nature and the arrival of the stork. In our time the stork still lives on as a bringer of little children. The small red spots on newborn babies are also referred to as stork bites. The stork was seen also as a soul bird that has contact with the waters of creation, from which all fertility also comes. Because he can stand motionless on one leg for a long time, he makes a thoughtful, stately and watchful impression, which sometimes makes it also a symbol for meditation.
The ox as a symbol
The ox is a symbol that stands for work ethic, patience and strength and as a former trade object it also stood for wealth. In Christianity the ox is a symbol of the prophets and saints martyrs and the ox was also at the cradle of Jesus Christ. In Chinese astrology, the ox is steadfast and a reliable leader with an innate ability to achieve great things.
The horse as a symbol
The horse symbolizes strength, vitality, pride and intelligence, willingness to work and independence. The horse is a noble animal, but sometimes it also symbolizes pride and madness. In many cultures, the horse is also associated with death in the form that it brought the dead to the other side of life. Horses have been used by humans since 4000 years before Christ.
The raven as a symbol
The raven is symbolically equivalent to other corvids such as the rook and the crow and it is a bird that is usually has an evil cry, but is sometimes prized for his wisdom. In the Bible, the prophet Elijah receives bread from the ravens in the desert. The raven plays a negative role in ancient mythology, as an indiscreet babbler, who is therefore could no longer be the companion of the goddess Athena, after which she chose an owl in his place. The story also goes that the raven originally had white feathers, but that Apollo vilified them as punishment for his chatter. In early Christianity, the raven was accused of ignoring Noah of the end of the flood, and thus he became a symbol of the slave of worldly lusts, who tarries with his conversion, he cries after all "eras, eras" (Lat. tomorrow, tomorrow). Also the fact that he lives on carrion and seems to neglect his young (raven parents state for degenerate parents) makes him a bird of misfortune, announcing sickness, war, and death and feeding on gallows. In Native American Myths the ravens were supernaturally creating beings. In heraldry, the raven has appeared in family coats of arms since the Middle Ages, but in popular speech the raven is considered a thief.
The ram as a symbol
The ram (the male sheep) symbolizes decisiveness and carelessness, unpredictability but also authority and leadership. In ancient times, the ram was also the symbol of masculinity and violence and was an attribute from Mars. The ram's aggressiveness is traditionally depicted as two rams colliding. Rams and sheep are used as sacrificial animals by many religions around the world in ancient times.
The rat as a symbol
Like the mouse, the rat usually has a negative symbolic meaning, but can also be a soul animal. The famous Pied Piper of Hamelin is often seen as a symbol of the soul-catcher and deceitful seducer. Because he was stockpiling and epidemics spread, the rat was associated with the devil. He would serve the witches to harm unsuspecting people. In India the rat was locally kept in their own temples and the rat is also used as a mount for the elephant-headed Ganesha, the god of shrewdness, presented. In Japan and China, the absence of rats in the house and yard was a bad sign and if the rat nibbled then he counted his money and our money wolf is called money rat in China. In the Chinese zodiac, the rat is the first animal symbol. A "rat king" is a litter of young rats with intertwined tails and in a metaphorical sense a mess, "as bald as a rat" is very poor and an "old rat" (or: rotten) is a very experienced or cunning fellow.
The scarab is the sacred beetle from ancient Egypt, it is still popular today as a good luck charm as pendant, earrings or brooch. The scarab was associated by the ancient Egyptians with reproduction, potency, wisdom, renewal, resurrection and immortality.
Sheep as a symbol
The female of the sheep, the ewe, symbolizes helplessness, innocence and charity meekness, holiness and devoted followers. In early antiquity, the sheep had a different meaning in the form of stupidity, blind submission and helplessness. With the advent of Christianity, the sheep symbol became better because of the association with Christ as the holy lamb and the apostles as the sheep around the good shepherd.
The turtle as a symbol
According to the legends, the turtle is a symbol of eternal life, carrying the whole world on its back. This turtle became a symbol of longevity, wisdom, strength, reliability, determination, benevolence, generosity, kindness and patience. It was worn against sudden death, ignorance, rash decisions and other weaknesses. A tortoiseshell amulet of gold would also protect against loss of creativity and compassion. Cups made of the shield of a turtle would protect against poisoning.
The bull as a symbol
The bull symbolizes male energy, aggression and violence, fighting ability, courage and male fertility. Bulls are also used as sacrificial animals in many religious rituals. Though his strength as wildness impresses, the blunt brutality of his attacks also fears people. Bull fights are probably also a derivative form of the sacrifice of bulls as a formidable representative of the untamed forces of nature.
The snake as a symbol
The snake is the animal whose symbolism shows many contradictions, in many cultures it is referred to as symbol of the underworld and the realm of the dead, presumably because he lives in secret and hides in caves. But it also sometimes stands for the symbol of eternal life because the animal seems to be rejuvenating through shedding. Death and life are symbolically united in this animal in such a unique way that there are hardly any cultures where the snake is not used as symbol. The snake is also the international symbol for medicine, this concerns the aesculapian symbol of the snake coiling around a staff. This symbol is often on a doctor's car or on the window of a pharmacy. the aesculapian symbol originates from the ancient Greek culture where the god of medicine Asclepius was depicted with a serpent staff. The snake that bites its own tail (ouroboros) originates from ancient Greece and Egypt, this symbol is a combination of the circle and the serpent and it is the equivalent of the phoenix.
The spider as a symbol
In England, a little spider that comes into the house is often called a money spinner or a money maker and it would bring bad luck to kill such a spider. A spider amulet carries the same message and such amulets, made of gold or silver, were common in ancient Rome, where they were worn to enforce commercial success. In parts of the United States it is believed that it is bad luck if a spider is killed and that you will suffer from bad weather. Believe in many countries it is said that sharing the room with a large house spider will bring prosperity and happiness. Among various tribes of American Indians hang a fake spider web over a baby's crib to catch and dispel his bad dreams, this are the dream catchers.
Tooth in pendant symbol
Although not really an animal symbol, the tooth does come from an animal. A sharp tooth or claw of an animal is a valuable amulet, as it is said to possess the power of the previous owner. It also gives the wearer extra physical strength and is a symbol of strength and courage.
The owl as a symbol
In various Mediterranean areas a small owl is seen as a pendant with very large eyes, it could be that this eyes must defy the Evil Eye. In other places the meaning of the owl is not so positive, in many cultures as in ancient Rome, this bird was considered a demon of the night. Because he could not be seen during the day, he was therefore associated with witchcraft and the devil. The owl's features give it an intelligent expression and make it an ideal symbol for wisdom, but he can also fly without making a sound, has a ghostly sounding call and is a nocturnal animal so all traits to make him a symbol of witchcraft as well. The owl is also the symbol of the Roman goddess Minerva (the Greek Athena) and this goddess represents wisdom, intellect and ingenuity. (The owl of Minerva).
Fish or ichthus sign symbol
The origin of the fish as a symbol dates back to the time when the first Christians were persecuted. They used this sign to see if someone else was also a Christian. ICHTHUS literally means 'fish'. The I stands for Jesus, the CH for Christ, the T for THeou, the U for Uios, the S for Soter. This is a rough translation for Jesus Christ God's Son Redeemer. Nowadays you often see the symbol on the back of a car to indicate that the owner is a Christian.
The bat as a symbol
The bat symbolizes the night, evil and death, but also intuition, illusion, insight and virtue. In ancient China, the bat was a symbol of good luck. Five bats are the symbol for the five earthly bliss, long life, wealth, health, virtue and natural death. With the Navajo Indians the bat is the symbolic link between God and man, guide and rebirth.
The fly as a symbol
In mythology, flies represent evil, death and decay. They also appear in the bible as the fourth of the ten plagues of Egypt. Flies were already seen in ancient times as a nuisance to both humans and gods and so was known in the mythology the god Myiagros who had to chase away the flies during animal sacrifices. In many fables flies have a nuisance role. In the ancient Hebrew texts, "lord of the flies" is even a Biblical mocking name for Beelzebub (the devil). However at the Navajo Indians, "big fly" is an important spirit that acts as a mentor and advisor especially to men. So flies have a completely contradictory meaning in different cultures.
The butterfly as a symbol
The butterfly appears as a symbol in many cultures, sometimes as a symbol of metamorphosis and beauty, but also as a symbol of the transience. The miracle of passing from the ugly slow caterpillar in an even duller cocoon to the wonderfully delicate butterfly, has stirred man for centuries. Because it was thought that the butterfly could rise to the light of eternal skies, the butterfly also ancient symbol of death. The butterfly, like the bird, is seen as a soul animal, and many fantasy creatures such as elves and erotes (love gods) are often represented with butterfly wings. In Japan, the butterfly is a symbol of the young woman, and two butterflies dancing around each other are a symbol of marital happiness. In China, the butterfly is a symbol of the enamored young man, who sucks on the (female) flowers. In ancient Mexico, the butterfly belongs to the attributes of the vegetation god Xochipilli. The only negative meaning of the butterfly we find with the Canadian Indians who saw the butterfly as a symbol for an impostor, because the flight of the butterfly is so unpredictable.
The fox as a symbol
The fox symbolizes cleverness, cunning, evasion, deceit and invisibility, but despite this, the general image of the fox is yet sympathetic and the fox is also a symbol of sex appeal. (foxy) The fox's ability to look out for itself (sometimes at the expense of others) has led to the expression "sly as a fox".
Wild boar symbol
The wild boar symbolizes fearless courage, connection with the earth, fierce battles and fight to the death. The tusks are very dangerous weapons. The boar is also a symbol of luck and with the Germans it was considered a sacred animal and warriors and even princes were called 'evers' and the gods even would ride them. With the Celts it was also a sacred animal, the head of the boar symbolized health and protection against danger. In Japan, the boar is also associated with courage, successful aggressiveness and all qualities of a good warrior. With the Jews the boar is the symbol of the enemy of the people. Partly because of that the boar was so popular with the Germans during the second world war because it was known as an unclean animal from the Jewish culture. To the Christians the boar was a symbol of the devil.
Last update: 20-08-2021