The whale is an animal that is full of mystery and beauty. It had been an important part of life for many since the beginning of time, but what does it symbolize for people around the world?
Symbolism refers to the meaning that an image, animal, or color can take on. Symbolism is used to express ideas, states of mind and emotion, but often is misunderstood.
In this article, we are going to be exploring the symbolism of the whale in the different cultures, mythologies, and beliefs around the world.
These will range from the meaning of the whale as a spirit animal, to its meaning in dreams, astrology, and tattoo meanings. If you are interested in finding out more about the whale, keep reading. Maybe it is your spirit animal.
Whale Symbolism and Meaning
Whales are regularly associated with solitude and compassion, as well as protection, wisdom, communication, magnificence, transformation, and many more things.
They have a number of meanings, depending on where you are in the world you are and what your culture is. They are creatures that line in every ocean, and so their symbolism is widespread.
Whale Spirit Animal Meaning
A spirit animal is a creature that you personally identify with. If a whale is your spirit animal, you may know that the world around you and what you understand of it is not necessarily what it actually is.
The whale as a spirit animal is the keeper of the world’s records, and it keeps our history alive. You know and understand the importance of your friends and family, as well as the surrounding community.
You are the person that those around you will come to for the truth because you are cosmically aware of the world around you.
What Does the Whale Mean as a Totem Animal?
Totem animals are animals that you may see throughout your life. They often appear to bring you a message. These are different from messengers, as you may only see a messenger once in your life. Whales as totem animals symbolize nurturing emotional creativity and depth, and well-being.
As someone with a whale totem, you will be sensitive to emotion and incredibly perceptive to the world around you, which can manifest into a crushing pressure. As a whale breathes through its blowhole and releases the pressure, so can you.
The Whale as the Power Animal
There are many whales who live in the deep of the oceans, and each of them symbolizes something different.
Your power animal may come to you in dreams and visions and have a supernatural power that is aligned with the animal’s characteristics. You can meditate and channel this power to make a change in your life.
Whales as power animals may be called upon when you feel that you or someone in your life feels in need of protection. This can be emotional or physical, and can even be extended to finances.
They can also be called upon if you wish to improve your communication and interaction with the people around you, whether it is verbal or any other form. Also, you can use the power of the whale to enhance your psychic abilities and transform an area of your life.
The Whale in Religion and Culture
Various whale species can be represented in cultures around the world. For this reason, you cannot always link cultures for the meanings – in Native American Culture they may be aware of the Orca, or Killer whale, but not others such as the sperm.
The Native American Symbolism of the Whale
Native American culture traditionally looks at the symbolism of the Orca. The killer whale symbolizes protection, harmony, travel, family, community, romance, and longevity.
When you go on a journey or travel somewhere, the orca is said to protect you, and also guide you some. The strong family ties are symbolized because the orca will live with their pod for the whole life, caring for and protecting one another.
The Celtic Meaning of the Whale
The Whale Spirit is associated with the Navigator St Brendan. According to the story, St Brendan received a vision of an island that was sent by an angel. He set off to find this place, but during his voyage, the ocean turned, and the waves became violent.
A Whale found them and offered its back as a place of safe haven for St Brendan and his crew’s Easter service, and to wait out the storm. This story shows us that the whale is the gentle giant and one who is willing to be there and provide compassion for anyone who is going through stormy seas in their life.
There are many legends of whales in Celtic lore. Fruich, a swineherd, was turned into a whale, Daire was swallowed by a whale, and Ceirean was a giant sea monster thought to be large enough to feast on many whales at the same time.
Whales symbolize the power of the water, both the good and the bad. They symbolize power, but also darkness and uncertainty. The Celts believe that the whale can help you have a deeper connection with yourself.
The Symbolism of the Whale in Christianity
The whale is thought to symbolize the gates of Hell to many. This specifically relates to the open mouth of the whale. They also represent the Devil’s cunning, as in some legends, a whale dragged mariners down into the depths of the ocean when they came too close, thinking it was an island.
Not all symbolism is negative in the Bible, though. The story of Jonah and the Whale is often related to Christ resurrecting three days after being crucified, as Jonah was disgorged three days after being swallowed.
However, it is frequently thought that in Polynesian and Christian symbolism, the descent into Hell is translated into the Jonah as he passed down and through the belly of the whale.
Most Christian symbolism in the UK and Ireland suggest that the whale signifies Satan. When we love and trust in the pleasures of the physical world and feel safe and untouchable, the Devil will appear and drag us into the dark of the oceans.
Far Eastern Whale Symbolism Meanings
The whale is important in China as the people believe that whales were the ones who brought millet seeds, which the people live off.
In Taiwan, the whale is even more sacred. They are honored in ceremonies and regarded as a spirit animal. The emperor was guided by the whale across the sea until he found Taiwan, which he became ruler of and his family ruled for generations.
The Vietnamese believe whales to be creatures that bring good fortune, prosperity, and protection. They are seen to be benevolent creatures who will try to save humans who are in danger in the ocean waters, which is vastly different from how many other cultures view the creatures.
In most, if not all, Far Eastern cultures, the whale is a symbol of positivity – whether that is generosity or compassion. They are associated with the subconscious and the depths of not only the oceans but also the human mind.
What do Whales Mean in Dreams?
Whales can have a number of meanings in dreams. They may represent a change that is ahead in your life, or they might shake and destroy the foundations of your life so that you can start again.
They are strongly linked to the unconscious and subconscious self, and their appearance may mean that it is time for us to expand the intuitions we have.
The color and species of the whale have meaning, too. If a blue whale comes to you, it may symbolize a big problem in your life, possibly one that has something to do with emotional healing, love, and unconsciousness
If an Orca, or killer whale, appears to you, it will speak to the loyalty, love, and protection, perhaps for a journey, you will soon embark on.
Often, whales can symbolize the relationship you may have with your mother or even the relationship that you have with nurturing or maternal energy. They may mean that you need to improve the relationship you have with your mother, or even that you are missing her.
The Whale in Tattoos, Astrology and Spiritual Meanings
Whale tattoos are thought to symbolize a number of things. These include:
- Patience and Understanding
- Peace and Harmony
- Protection and Guidance
- The Subconscious
Orca tattoos symbolize intelligence, strength, power, and playfulness. This is because, while they are highly intelligent and powerful creatures, they can also be very playful.
Tribal whale tattoos are also important to many cultures. Most often associated with the Haida in Canada and the Maori in New Zealand, tribal tattoos are unique and culturally significant.
There are tribal tattoos with whales such as pygmy sperm whales, belugas, and humpbacks, but the orca is the most popular.
These tribal tattoos symbolize the deep connection one might have with the untamed and dangerous seas, the unbreakable spiritual bond you have with the whale, or the respect and love you may have for a specific culture.
Typically, these tribal whale tattoos are strong symbols of intuition, strength, and power.
The sign of the Whale is likely to be adventurous, proud, and optimistic. They are strong and will not be slowed down by others as they set out to achieve their goals. These people are free spirits, and will not be tethered down, instead of going where they want, much like the whale of the oceans.
People born under the whale sign may be loud and quick, but also powerful. Like the largest of whales have no natural predators, those born under this sign may not feel intimidated by the world around them and the people in it.
Even with so much power behind them, they are focused on their own journey in life and do not want to be worried about what others are doing around them. They will do the best they can at their pace, and be at peace with that.
These people are proud and unique, and will not let anyone get in their way when they make up their minds. Being born under the whale sign means you are powerful and strong on your own, but you are not without luck.
Their journey in life may lead them down many roads and experience many things, but they will not be bored. They might be stubborn and head-headed at times, or perhaps overly confident and not look before they leap, but they will forever move forward in life.
Sometimes, these people may not have the patience to deal with things and might do anything they can to get what is it they want.
Traits and Characteristics of someone born under the whale sign might include:
- Aggressive wanderers
- Cannot handle boredom
- Free spirited
- Good sense of humor about themselves
Those born under the Whale might have a hard time finding the right career path for them. They want to experience all life has to offer and never be bored, so choosing their career can be very difficult.
Ultimately, however, what they do will not be as important as they why. They need adventure and excitement in their lives, but they also need power and respect.
Even if they do not have a reason to push themselves for something, they will do it simply to see if they can – always bettering themselves. The Whale sign is synonymous with following your heart, and if you are born under it, following your heart will lead you to all the right places.
If you are born under the whale sign and do not know what direction to take in your life, consider careers such as journalism, law, or even advertising. These careers are not one road street – they are exciting and will allow you to do many things at once, so you will never be bored.
The whale can represent or symbolize many things. They are elegant creatures of the sea but are also powerful and intelligent. They are most often associated with solitude and compassion, as well as knowledge of life and death.
Unbridled creativity can be unleashed like the exhalation of a whale’s blowhole, which will release the creativity you have built up inside you.
An important part of understanding the whale, and all it symbolizes, is knowing yourself. You must be aware of who you are and what you are like, as well as what you may lack. If you know this, then you can accurately know what a whale may mean to you spiritually.
An Overview of the Whale’s Symbolic Meanings
Whales have many meanings. These meanings include:
- Emotional Rebirth
- Importance of family and community
- Keeper of history
- Patience and Understanding
- Peace and Harmony
- Peaceful Strength
- Physical and emotional healing
- Protection and Guidance
- The Subconscious
- Wisdom Holder
The whale is a deeply spiritual and emotional creature. It can mean any number of things, so long as you know who you are and what you may need in life.
There are many things you can learn from the whale, and many traits you can channel to help you through the labyrinth of life.
If you think that the whale is your spirit animal, or that any of these topics apply to you, do your own research and learn all you can. The whale may find its way to you to help you through life.
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