Gorilla: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

Last Updated on September 18, 2023

Gorilla is known across the world for its size strength, and potential ferocity.

The imagery of gorillas being dangerous and going… Well, ape, have been a part of people’s perceptions of them since they were first discovered by the Western World in the 19th century.

If you were to associate someone with a gorilla in some way before the second half of the 20th century, for most people, it would be something to be derided.

But as we have learned in the years, gorillas are complex beings that are capable of feeling so many things. And often, aggression is very low down on this list.

When in the wild, gorillas are practically synonymous with the term ‘gentle giant’. They spend most of their lives living, moving, and communicating with the larger gorilla troop.

In this way, gorillas can be seen as lovers of peace and tranquility and avoiding conflict whenever possible.

Like us, they are highly sociable and intelligent creatures. They are able to communicate with each other through a whole range of ways. Whether through sounds like grunts or huffs, the use of eye contact and various gestures with their hands and body.

If you couple this with their highly social nature, gorillas are definitely seen to be animals of community. More so of communicating and problem-solving with those around you.

Spirit Animal

The gorilla, as your spirit animal, is all about encouraging those instincts. Such instincts that make the great ape what it is in yourself.

One of those aspects is its comfort in its own skin. Its assured nature as a gentle giant, as we have already discussed.

Your gorilla spirit animal is there to remind you of your self-worth. Especially, if something or someone around you, like a peer, or even a friend demeaned you.

Now, whether or not you choose to act on how you feel is a different question.

You can decide to retaliate in some way if you wish, but you should also remember that it is up to you to decide if it is actually worth it.

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Your spirit gorilla is there to remind you that your reaction need not always be loud or to be full of rage, or even violence.

What others think of you does not determine your confidence and self-worth. What you think about yourself does.

As we’ve already discussed, being a source of leadership is another quality the gorilla embodies.

If you are entering a transitional period in your life where your relationship with authority is about to change, the Gorilla is there to gently guide you.

Perhaps you are growing out of your teenage years, and into early adulthood. Maybe you’ve received a promotion, and are about to be responsible for a larger group of people than you were before.

Whatever the trials you face ahead are, the gorilla is a reminder of your inner strength, and that you’re always more capable than you realize.

After all, you’ve gotten this far already. So trust your instincts that they’ll take you further!

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Totem Animal

A gorilla as a totem animal represents virtually all the aspects of gorillas that we have talked about and will continue to.

It is to be a powerful figure amongst your friends and family, someone who can protect them when they are vulnerable and need help.

By contrast, if you currently feel like you do not belong anywhere, in particular, it is the hope that someday, you hope that you will find that closely-knit family that you will be a part of.

When having a gorilla as a totem animal, it does not only mean that you protect your close loved ones. But, it also mean you are capable to lead them when they lack any direction or leadership themselves. Moreover if someone you know needs to be confronted on something that concerns them.

A leader is firm and kind, but they do ask others to try and be better as well, just as there might be tension in a gorilla troop, and a silver back’s role is to mediate it.

A totem gorilla isn’t just about being serious and dependable, though. It also means that there’s a cheekier side to you too.

Gorillas love spending time and playing with both other adults and the babies within their troop.

Having the gorilla as a totem animal probably means that, even though you might look gruff and tough on the outside, you’re still a child at heart.

Not only that, you’re ready to act like one where the situation lets you, in the best possible way. 

Power Animal

I mean, who wouldn’t want a Gorilla to be their power animal? Gorillas can often feel like a sea of tranquility, amongst a rocky and tumultuous world around them.

They feel at peace with where they are in their surroundings.

That means, as a power animal, is that you should look to a gorilla for inspiration if those around you are going through a tough time right now.

Try and be there for others if you can, be the rock that others can rest on for a short time if they need to. Drawing on that aspect of a gorilla’s strength will help give you the strength to do that.

There are also times when you might feel like you need to take charge of a situation, like when a silverback gorilla has to help decide when a group should move on from the area.

If you find yourself in a place like that, remember to be patient and kind to those you lead, whilst also staying strong and dependable.

The complex social structures like those of apes are intricate and delicate, where the leadership of a group or troop is based on trust and approval.

Remember that, if you have found yourself in a situation where you are the leader, it is because those around you have put their trust in you.

Make sure that you stay humble as you help others lead their best lives, and become the best versions of themselves

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A gorilla appearing in your dreams it can certainly be a surprise to most people!

Whether it’s a troop of these peaceful apes or just the appearance of one, it is usually a sign that you are feeling some particularly strong emotions of some kind.

Think about how you felt in the dream where the gorillas appeared. Did you feel threatened by it?

Did you feel calm? Were the other gorillas seeming to feel threatened by you, or were they relaxed?

Gorillas are sociable creatures. So, the reactions of others reflect how one is feeling.

If you were the one feeling intimidated or scared by the gorilla, then there’s a possibility that you are feeling the same way from something in the waking world.

Is it a person that has made you feel this way? Is it a situation you have found yourself in? Only you will be able to find that answer, and it may take a little introspection to get there.

Alternatively, if you were the aggressor in some way in those dreams, then the very opposite might be true.

You might have noticed some conflict in your own life. You witnessed those conflicts affect those around you.

Again, it will be up to you to figure out if it is something else harming them, or if it is something you have done.

African Mythology, Folklore & Meanings

Because Gorillas have only existed in a few regions across Tropical Central Africa, the only people who have any folklore that surrounds this amazing beast are those that lived in the lands close to them.

For example, many tribes across West Africa, including the Boulou people that originally hailed from South East Cameroon, viewed the Gorilla as a symbol of great intelligence, alongside the Chimpanzee.

Considering the emotional range and intelligence these great apes show for one another, as well as their ability to observe, craft, and use tools from their environment, it’s not hard to see why.

Not only that but given that the Boulou people viewed gorillas as their ancestors, a belief that isn’t too far off the money given our shared evolutionary and genetic history, that they are looked to as a source of wisdom.

All this is to say that they have a deep respect for these primates that they share a home with.

For another tribe based in Cameroon, the Kwele, have their own beliefs surrounding the gorillas in their area.

There are stories told of Gorillas who reincarnate from people, with the body of a gorilla, and the soul of a human.

Because of this, it is a cultural taboo for anyone within their community to try and hunt and kill gorillas. 

As you can see, there is a close relationship between the people, their traditions, and the gorillas they live close to.

It makes sense why, when Europeans first came to the region, the warnings they gave to the newcomers may be misinterpreted as somewhat more malicious than intended.

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European Mythology, Folklore & Meanings

On the topic of Europe and Gorillas, tend don’t tend to appear in European folklore all that much, for pretty obvious reasons.

Knowing if an animal exists in the first place tends to help when you want to study and try and theorize about it!

The first time many were introduced to this magnificent beast, is when explorers encountered them on their quests of colonialism in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There were some that even believed that, before their existence was proved to the wider scientific community, they are a story told to ward away explorers from navigating the jungles of central West and East Africa.

With that point, it, unfortunately, means for many Victorian Europeans, they were symbols of an untamed world that was dangerous and needed to be tamed, or kept away from them.

These deeply problematic perceptions aren’t really reflective of gorillas as they are, but do say a lot more about what the people of the day viewed them as, along with the rest of a vast continent they had just started exploring.

Tattoo Meaning

Tattoos that feature gorillas are as complex as the animals themselves. Many are drawn to having them placed on their body for the sheer power and ferocity they can wield when in a frenzy.

And that isn’t wrong in some respects. Gorillas are creatures that should be respected as much for their power, as for their intelligence.

By having a tattoo of one on your person, the hope is that it will convey that same ferocity and strength to others around you, that they should cross you at their own risk.

But on that subject, there are as many tattoos of them that show them in contemplative poses, that show their more intelligent side.

If you look at the face of a gorilla whilst it is resting, you see that sense of peacefulness that they often enjoy when in their natural habitat.

If you see a tattoo of a gorilla’s resting face, it is to represent that calmness and peace, in a hope of perhaps being able to reach that level of zen someday. 

Alternatively, it isn’t uncommon to see tattoos of gorillas with babies.

Given how closely knit a gorilla family typically is in the wild, this is a great way of symbolizing that parental instinct they show their young, whether they are nurturing and caring to the young, or aggressive and hostile to those that would intrude on their home.

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Spiritual Meaning

The gorilla, and the troop that makes up its family unit, is a very tightly-knit community.

When a new baby gorilla is born, many of the other members of the group will show interest in helping to raise it. Truly, no gorilla is an island for a troop.

This is perhaps one of the most remarkable things about the spirit of the gorilla.

Their ability to openly help their loved ones, to show them how they are feeling, to show interest in what each of them is doing, is perhaps one of the most touching aspects about them as a species.

Gorillas are some of the most sensitive primates out there. They love, they laugh, and they play.

The astuteness that gorillas show for their loved ones and their troop is something few other in the animal kingdom seem to have.

The spirit that fills gorilla communities reminds us to share the love we have for those we care about around us. It is to notice when loved ones are unwell or hurt, and to help them out however we can.

That our social circles, especially the smaller ones with our close family, are important not just to us, but to those others within them.

Gorilla In Astrology & Zodiac Signs

Those born during the Chinese zodiac year of the monkey, and the yearly sign of Aries, might find themselves as part of the primal zodiac of the Gorilla.

They are often full of energy, ready to share it with those around them in whatever way they can. They are also intelligent, just like their spiritual side would suggest.

However, there is also a side to those with this sign that might be a little more difficult to swallow, in that those with this star sign might also have a bit of an ego.

Now, having a bit of pride is one thing. Needing to be the center of attention at all times, in whatever way you can find, is something else.

Keeping yourself humble, as the mountain gorilla would, is crucial to tempering the more self-centered aspects you might have.

However, as we also talked about before, gorilla primal star signs are also very open about their emotions, like the spirit counterparts we’ve already discussed.

They wear their emotions on their sleeves, and for others to see, which is surprisingly appropriate, given what we just discussed.

However, those negative feelings you might have, like fear, anger, and frustration, are also visible for all to see, so be careful who you want to see this side of you.

Symbolic Meanings

From what we’ve talked about, Gorillas clearly mean so much, depending on who you talk to and ask.

Considering all the topics we have covered so far, here are some of the main things we have learned about the spirit of the gorilla:

  • Family
  • Wisdom
  • Peace & Tranquility
  • Sensitive
  • Loving
  • Dignified leadership
  • Curiosity
  • Emotional
  • Intelligent
  • Loyal friends and family
  • Powerful
  • Ferocious when provoked

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So, it is clear that Gorillas are as fascinating and complex as some misunderstood them.

They are amongst the most impressive of primates, and a good reminder for ourselves to be able to live and learn with others, as well as to know ourselves and what we are worth.

Make sure that you support any organizations that help these beautiful disappearing creatures.

We hope that this guide has given you the tools to learn more about this animal, and yourself as well!


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