Penguin: Spiritual Meaning, Dream Meaning, Symbolism & More

Last Updated on September 18, 2023

The penguin is an animal that seems rife with contradictions and oddities. They’re birds, but they’re most home in the water, rather than air or even land.

They live in an environment that would kill most other animals in a heartbeat. Yet, many species have made it a home for themselves.

Even salt water, which would make other animals sick to drink, is something that Penguins can process on their own. They could turn any water from the sea into a delicious drink of clean water. Even by the animal kingdom’s weird and wonderful standards, that’s impressive!

In this guide we’re going to explore the spiritual symbolism of the penguin. How having the penguin as your spirit guide can help you navigate your life.

Penguin Symbolism & Meaning

Adaptability is the key for penguins. They can take the elements of their home that would otherwise kill them. They turn them into something that, instead, offers them an advantage.

Taking the negative aspects of their living situations, and turning them into something positive, is a trait that many of us could often use a little more in our lives.

Not the part about filtering saltwater, of course. But how we should sort through the aspects of life that give us negative discourse. Those things that ruin our own sense of self-stability. Many things and people in our lives will, with or without knowing it for themselves, bring other people’s energies.

Trying to stay afloat as we are awash with these feelings, even those that embody that penguin’s ability to adapt and filter through them, much less the rest of us.

Trying to embody that feeling of moving with the feelings, letting them run their course, as a community, is one of the most difficult things to achieve. But if a group of people can reach that goal, they’ll be very little that can ruin them. If penguins can do it, so can we.

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Penguin Spirit Animal

Penguins, as spirit animals, are often heralds of change when it comes to what they represent for us. Given how the life of a penguin is defined by the big changes it faces in its environment. Maybe that isn’t too surprising.

Whether it is dealing with the seasonal change that brings them so much challenge; Or, the changing world so many colonies are frequently forced to contend with, life never sits still for a penguin.

The spirit penguin finds us in these moments. Firstly, when we feel that change has left us powerless. Secondly, when our situation and circumstances have left us with little choice in how we conduct ourselves. Both in terms of how we present in our public and private lives in the wakeful world. Lastly, how we feel in a spiritual sense.

Remember that the penguin is forced to contend with many things outside its control in the world it inhabits.

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Being able to sift through those things that would trouble us is a key skill that the animal embodies. Not only that, but also sift through the people we are forced to deal with. Also, the environment that can often feel like it brings us down,

Being able to realize that the things that would try to ruin us are also temporary. Much like a harsh winter for a penguin never lasts forever. They will not last forever. No matter how much it might feel like that in the moments where they do turn up.

Penguin Totem Animal

As we mentioned in the last section, penguins are symbols of change. Also of how best we should try to respond to that change around us.

As totem animals, penguins are something that represents resilience and an indomitable will, as they adapt and move with change.

Having chosen some of the coldest, and most difficult places in the world to live, being both a being that can go with the flow, but also stand against the toughest of challenges their world can throw at them, is a powerful spirit to embody. Especially in a creature that is often very small, and usually dismissed as something cute and ridiculous by many.

Having the penguin totem animal enables you to stand your ground in those cases that call for it. Yeah, sure, some situations need to be adapted to or rolled with. But when it comes to the things that matter to you the most, you know where you stand.

You say what you mean. If other people have an issue with how you feel about something, then that is on them. If they want to make something simple into something complicated, they need to look somewhere else to do it.

Not only that, but a person with a penguin totem is also looking for close, intimate relationships with others. Penguins, both in the wild and in captivity, often develop lifelong bonds with other penguins. Raising young with them, and also sharing in life’s hardships as well.

For those with a spirited penguin as their totems, they shouldn’t try to fight this feeling wherever it turns up. Intimate relationships do not just mean romantic partners.

Whether it’s your family or a close friend, you hope that others can be there for you and each other when the time calls for it. Because you would like to think that you would do the same for them.

Penguin Power Animal

The penguin is something you want to draw in when you feel that your life has started to be consumed by the work around you.

We’ve talked about and will continue to talk about, how penguins are dedicated to both their closest companions and to their goals of looking after their chicks.

But also remember that for these animals, there is also a great amount of time that is spent away from these tasks. Whether it is whilst out on fishing seasons, or enjoying the brief summer months that come their way.

Remember that, if you are feeling overwhelmed in situations around work and loved ones, take some time away from it all to consult with your spirit penguin.

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The varied lifestyle of the penguin helps keep it rejuvenated for the tougher times that will come, and we should remember that things are just the same for us as well.

Also, remember that the emotional bonds between penguins are strong enough to last their entire lifetimes. If your relationships with your loved ones are strained for whatever reason, be sure to draw on your inner penguin for that strength that can bring people together.

Make sure that others are treated with thoughtfulness and with a kind heart first, and the disorder that rose will eventually fade away. Love is a greater tie to others than frustration and hate, so allow that to be your guiding principle.

Penguin Dreams

There is a whole range of things to take away from your sleeping state if a penguin appears to you in your dreams.

Their adorable appearance is almost always a great sight to see, whether awake or in your dreams. But how that penguin is acting can often tell you much about what you’re feeling. If the penguin is singing or feels excited about you, then there is something to celebrate in your life.

It could be a great occasion, like getting some kind of achievement, like passing a driving test or school exam, a new job, or a whole range of other things.

It could also mean something a little more simple or intimate like you have found a good moment in your life that makes you feel at peace or a new place of comfort for yourself. Perhaps you might want to reflect on what it is exactly, whether it’s an item, a place, or a person that is helping you feel this way.

If you want to get a little more abstract with your dream analysis, a penguin’s primarily black and white coloration is frequently compared to ideas of dualism, of two opposing forces being tied to one another.

If you see a penguin in your dreams, you might want to consider how you feel the balances in your life are right now. Are you balancing your home and your work life? Are you making time for your friends? Your family? Yourself?

A penguin in your dreams can mean that there may be some confusion in how you feel you should approach these issues. Perhaps they are distant from each other, and trying to commit to both is causing that difference to manifest in you.

Being able to bring those disparate pieces together, like a colony of penguins in a family huddle through a snowstorm, is the answer to your woes.

That, or you may have a hankering for fish.

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Penguin Eastern Mythology

Because of the remote nature of where many penguins have chosen to live, there are relatively few cultures that have built up much of mythology around them. Some might find that a little odd, given their enduring place in the animal kingdom, and in many people’s hearts.

Still, that doesn’t mean that this flightless bird hasn’t had much of an impact on cultures and folklore outside the Antarctic. For places that are isolated refuges for these animals, and for cultures that are known for their ability to travel great distances, penguins have found a way into their iconography.

Natives of the islands of New Zealand, the Maori people, have a tale of a Tawaki, otherwise known as the Fiordland Penguin, famous for its yellow crests of feathers above its eyes.

Maori folklore has a tale of Tawaki, who was a God in human form and lived as a peasant for many years, whilst many other people did not realize that a god walked among them. One day, the other humans saw Tawaki ascend a hill, discard his clothes, and replace them with lightning.

The subject of why a god and a penguin share a name is the subject of furious debate among scholars. Given the two bright, lightning-shaped crests on the little bird, perhaps it is a tale of not underestimating those around you that you might otherwise underestimate.

Penguin Tattoos

What a penguin means will vary from person to person, so what a tattoo specifically means will also probably fluctuate.

Given that many have compared a penguin’s feather patterns to a classic formal tuxedo, a tattoo of a penguin might mean that a person hopes to carry themselves with a level of authority like this. With species of penguins that are given titles of nobility, such as the King and Emperor penguins, this seems like a safe guess.

However, the penguin aspect also represents a level of cuteness and whimsy to it, as penguins are cherished around the world as very cute by both adults and children alike.

A penguin tattoo is just as likely to be designed for the cuteness factor, and what the tattoo wearer hopes that will imply about themselves, as it is for the majestic wildlife factor.

Given that many penguins also mate for life, a penguin tattoo can be as much a symbol of faithfulness people want on their person.

Whether that is faithfulness to a romantic partner, or their friends and family, that willingness to stick by those close to you is an admirable trait, so a penguin is considered an embodiment of that sentiment.

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Penguin Spiritual Meaning

Penguins are spirit animals that best symbolize the ideas of both orders and dedication.

Consider how large penguin colonies are when they are found in the wild and the number of individuals that make up such huge groups.

Not only do they live together well without the chaos of a bad winter destroying a colony, but they are coordinated enough to be able to come together in the worst of times, able to keep each other warm with their shared body heat.

A penguin is the spiritual embodiment of understanding that large groups need every individual to understand that they are part of something bigger, that being able to work with others is just as good for themselves as it is for a bigger group.

Not only that, but penguins are also an embodiment of dedication and persistence. Penguin eggs are often laid, incubated, and hatched, in the most difficult times of winter, where even just a few moments of open exposure to the coldest temperatures would kill the chick inside.

Once they do hatch, the adult penguin must do the same for a vulnerable chick as well. Not only that, but the parent has to carry and stand watch over this defenseless egg, without being able to feed either. In some cases, this whole process can last for over 4 months!

For this reason, the penguins embody that sense of dedication to a given goal.

When you are in a situation that seems impossible, when it feels like whatever you’re doing just doesn’t feel worth it, remember that not only is this struggle not forever, but the reward for finishing it is worth more than what it feels right then and there.

Penguin Astrology & Zodiac Signs

Those with the astrological star sign of Virgo, and those born in the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Monkey, can be considered to be born of the Penguin star sign.

Those born in this particular combination of astrological signs can be considered social by those around them, as well as very curious about the world around them, whether that’s the people in their lives or the wider world and how it works.

Given the penguin’s penchant for community and curiosity, this perhaps isn’t too surprising.

Being sociable, people of the penguin star sign are most comfortable when facing some kind of challenge or obstacle, especially if it is a shared task they must complete with others. Finishing something well is what people of this star sign live for, and sharing that with others in particular.

However, this can also mean that so much of what you do has to be seen by others. Whilst doing tasks on your own is fine for a little while, you really revel in being able to complete and do things with others, and showing others the work you have accomplished together.

Your aptitude for curiosity and problem-solving might go unnoticed sometimes, but don’t let that put you off. Your abilities, when used for the common good of yourself and others, are a boon wherever you find yourself.

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Penguin Symbolic Meanings

So, let’s cover what the penguin can mean for ourselves and others. Amongst many other traits, penguins symbolize:

  • Resilience
  • Curiosity
  • Goal-driven dedication
  • Family
  • Humor
  • Cleverness
  • Two-natures
  • Thinking about the bigger picture
  • Caring
  • Thoughtfulness


As we’ve shown, penguins are a big bundle of big energy, packaged into a little box of feathers, and that translates to what they can mean for us spiritually too.

Whether it’s moving with the times, coming together to support your family, or finding joy in the little things, we hope this guide has helped you figure out what these little guys mean for you!


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