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Albatross Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)


If you’ve been feeling a bit off and need some emotional control, that may be the reason the albatross symbolism has come into existence in your daily life. Read on and find a way to liberate yourself from emotional attachments and regain control over your feelings.

Table of contents

Albatross Symbolism and Meaning

The famous poem “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” made the albatross known to the world, as it generally flies overseas, and it is rarely seen in everyday situations. 

But this bird is more than poetry. It has the largest wind-span and can fly high for very long distances without even flapping its wings, by using the air current. 

This makes the albatross a master of the skies, and it is strongly associated with the air element. But, at the same time, it is also linked to the water element, as it flies mostly over the seas and rarely reaches the lands.


Sailors look after the albatross while navigating, for it is a sign of good luck, finesse, and dignity. The albatross used to be a weather predictor, a magical being that warned people of storms, wind, and rain.

With the albatross, you can never get lost, because this bird is like a living compass. It always knows which way is the right path. Thus it is a great guide when you feel a bit lost.

The albatross’s symbolic meaning is freedom, good fortune, aeromancy, finding direction, emotive, introspection, travel, and weather divination. (1)

Albatross Native American Symbolism

For the Native Americans, the albatross can be a symbol of a greedy and aggressive character. Still, in other tribes, it is an emblem and even a clan animal that signifies endurance and perseverance. 

They believe this bird to have magical powers over the weather and storms. The Native American story of the albatrosses and whiskey jacks illustrates some people who moved close to water where these birds lived. 

The humans were amazed by the albatrosses’ beauty but noticed that they were loud and aggressive, while the whiskey jacks were quiet and polite. 


The people caught fish and threw pieces of liver and fish eggs to the birds. While the whiskey jacks ate quietly and left, the beautiful albatrosses fought each other for the food and were rude to the humans, until the latter stopped giving them food to stop the fights. 

This story concludes that although you may be beautiful as an albatross on the exterior, what’s inside might keep people away.

Another story depicts the albatross as a savior of baby bear cubs. It kills the monster that was chasing the little bears and takes care of them.

Albatross Eastern Symbolism

What does an albatross symbolize in eastern cultures? In Chinese, the word albatross means “believe old heaven man.”

In Japanese, the albatross meaning is of an idiot bird because of it’s defenseless nature, being easy prey. 

Albatross’s significance also comes from the fact that this bird is so large that it can’t take flight from the ground, and it needs to leap from a cliff.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, this bird’s feathers were used in making hats and clothes and was widely hunted in Japan, almost to extinction. 


Thus, there were measures taken by conservationists to reduce hunting and other life-threatening actions towards these birds. 

The short-tailed albatross has become a species protected by the government, which is also involved in breeding various albatross species around the Japanese islands.

An Ainu myth illustrates the albatross animal as an excellent physician. They view this bird as a servant of the sea gods or a demon of the land, having both positive and negative depictions. 

The Ainu use the albatross bird as a medicine as well, by boiling the beak and skull. They believe that the demon of disease doesn’t withstand the smell of this bird’s head. (2)

Albatross Christianity symbolism

The albatross metaphor is present in the Bible through Jonah’s story, in which he defies God and becomes a burden for the passenger’s ship he was on. 

He would rather sleep instead of praying along with the others and brought upon their vessel a storm that wouldn’t let them move on. 

Even so, Jonah denied the Almighty and suggested jokingly that they should throw him off the ship to progress as desired. Because the sailors didn’t find any other way to save themselves, they did as they were told and threw Jonah off-board. 


The storm disappears, and the conclusion is that you need to let go of those that keep you still, not allowing you to evolve.

The weather angels used the mariner symbol in 2002 for the severe storms in the US, as it is a divine symbol of separating waters from the sky above. 

Suppose it flies over lands, then the albatross symbol is the opposite as before. It is an emblem of union and marriage. These are Christian beliefs, even though the bird itself does not appear in the Bible. (3)

Albatross Celtic Symbolism

The ancient albatross mariner myth is present in British folklore. The albatross “Rime of the ancient mariner” is the albatross poem that gave its worldly spread significance.

So why is the albatross bad luck? It was generally considered a sign of good luck, but in the poem about albatross, the bird follows a ship, and the mariner shoots it with a crossbow, which is considered to bring a curse upon the ship, and so it does. 

The sailors suffer from great thirst and blame the mariner for shooting an albatross and bringing misfortune. 


The albatross around the neck meaning comes from the shipmates placing the albatross around the mariner’s neck as a sign of guilt for killing it. 

The albatross in literature meaning, thus, becomes the burden that one carries as a penance. The albatross Coleridge is a symbol of evil, for it is portrayed as hung at the mariner’s neck, instead of a cross.

The albatross poem’s meaning was spread worldwide, and even though it is a rarely seen bird because it flies mostly overseas, the mariner bird is known through this poem. (4)

Albatross African Symbolism

What does the albatross symbolize in Africa? In South Africa, dead, stranded albatrosses are found in the markets as a healing product. 

People who collect these birds killed by various weather situations or other unusual motifs believe that these particular albatrosses have a magic potential in them, so they use the birds in rituals and make medicine out of them.

There is a belief in this region that if an albatross flies around the ship, bad weather and storms are about to come. This also works if the bird is headed towards land.


Birds such as albatrosses or swans were found in many Egyptian ancient burial grounds, as statues and carvings. 

They symbolize various things, such as the deceased’s wealth and a ritualistic way of carrying the afterlife’s riches. It is also an embodiment of the spirit guide that leads the dead in the Otherworld as an association to its long-distance travels.

The albatross is a rare animal in African regions and thus does not appear in their folklore very much, but instead is associated with other birds. As it flies mostly overseas, the albatross is a stranger to the desserts. (5)

Albatross in Dreams

The meaning of albatross in dreams is of fortune and success in the social and career area. If it is flying on the blue sky, then it signifies a life full of fulfillment. If it’s seated by a river or a lake, it is a sign of great luck.

A dead albatross suggests a period of emotional instability. You must pay close attention to your marriage and avoid making critical decisions regarding your relationship. 

You will have no control over things but bear in mind that all shall pass. It would be best if you were patient. The white albatross meaning is a sign of luck in love. You will find your soulmate.


If you are already in a relationship, it probably isn’t all you have dreamed of, and you will meet someone with whom you will wish to spend your whole life with.

A dream of shooting the bird is of bad luck, such as the legend of the albatross. The mariner albatross symbolism, in this case, is of you shooting down your relationship. 

Even though the person in your life loves you deeply and has done nothing wrong, you will feel the need to escape from this situation. (6)

Albatross Encounters and Omens

The albatross story of the albatross, mariner, and the havoc it brought to the ship after killing the bird has brought to life this albatross superstition that says that you should never kill this bird; otherwise, a vicious curse will be brought upon you.

A similar encounter took place in 1959 when the generator and hot water system broke down on a ship, and the crew went on a strike, thinking that the albatross they were carrying on board and died was to blame for all the misfortune they were going through.

There is also albatross luck when you see one and don’t harm it.


Sailors thought that this bird had magical powers because it rarely flapped its wings when flying. 

They even believed the albatross was the keeper of the lost sailor’s souls, and it seemed logical because it kept close to the ship on their journey, so they had a deep respect for it. 

Another lucky aspect of this is that if the albatross omen were to fly above, it would bring fair winds to the ship and protect them from dangers.

Other sailors considered the albatross bad luck if sighted because it would mean that someone would lose their lives shortly.

Albatross Mythology and Folklore

In Maori culture, the ancient albatross is highly valued, and its bones and feathers are used in ceremonies and clothing.

The story of the albatross in the Maori culture depicts this bird as a wanderer that weeps after its homeland. 

Because the albatross can extract the salt out of the seawater through its nostrils, it is associated with the bird crying.

They also have albatross myths in which the bird is a demi-God, and the Chief of the tribe is a descendant of this deity. The captain thus embodies the albatrosses qualities, such as dignity and honor.


In Hawaiian mythology, the great God Kane that led all the other gods, has an albatross that could take the form of Kanaloa, another deity that seduces Kane’s wife. 

There is a garden of Eden rendition in this region in which it is assumed that the albatross took Kane and his wife out of.

Another albatross myth speaks of a bird Awarua, that couldn’t fly properly and kept hitting the island’s rocks. 

This bird had an albatross friend named Rereroa that taught Awarua how to fly, but while doing so, the top of the isle flattened from the many attempts. (7)

Albatross Spirit Animal

What does albatross mean when it appears in your life? This spirit animal has come to be your guide when you feel that you have lost your way. 

He gives you the necessary courage to walk on the path that is unfolding before you.

The albatross is the spirit animal that will cut you loose from your bondings and help you escape from people and attachments by showing you the solutions and pushing you to trust that you will succeed in doing so.

The main problems that this bird urges you to resolve are those regarding your love life. 


You must distance yourself, get perspective, and analyze closely if you and your significant other still have the same hopes, dreams, and goals in life and if you can find your common path once more. All is not lost if you find this common ground.

The albatross will force you to speak about your feelings and authentic self, even if you tend to hide your emotional life.

If you enjoy traveling and this spirit animal is present, then expect wonders and extraordinary experiences on your way.

This spirit can also take the form of a person who guides you in your daily life and has a big heart. He will be a role model and uncover new paths for you. (8)

Albatross Totem Animal

The albatross totem makes you an independent, free spirit that can’t be controlled in any way. Liberty is a necessity for you. If this animal governs you, you need a serious relationship, infidelity being out of the question. You need to feel safe with your loved one and communicate sincerely.

As an albatross, you need to feel the rhythm of life and tune into it to find your way. If you are aware of the cycles in life, you will succeed in all your endeavors.

If you need to hear the message more clearly in your consciousness and align yourself with the animal’s spirit, try taking a long bath and let the albatross guide you through the water’s energy.

As the albatross flies high and long journeys, so will you have the ability to become God’s messenger and have prophetic dreams. 

It is a gift that this spirit animal gives you at birth, and it can be overwhelming. You might notice in time and through practice that even the wind and clouds speak to you.

You have a personal view over religion, dogma being avoided, and discussions in general with friends on this topic.

Albatross Power Animal

What is the meaning of albatross as a power animal? Reach for this bird when you require better communication, or your life has become too dull, and some fresh air should refresh your existence. 

It is also a friend that will heal your wounds and broken heart and bring true love to fill your life.

If you need some perspective, call on the albatross power animal to help you objectively see the big picture. 

He will boost confidence that you may need and bring change and new horizons before you. Troubles may decenter you occasionally, but the albatross will redirect you on the right path.


Invoke the albatross power animal when you feel that no one understands you and let it help and stimulate you to grow and make the contribution you were meant to humankind. 

Do not let the great resources that fill your mind and heart go to waste. Find people who will listen and think similar to offer the precious knowledge you have. 

This power animal’s energy will give you the courage to transform your limitations and access your full potential.

Albatross Tattoo Meaning

The albatross tattoo is a burden that the one that has it pictured carries. It’s a mark of guilt or grief that weighs heavily in someone’s heart.

On the other hand, the albatross tattoo meaning can be of the lofty goals you have in life, as the albatross flies high. 

It is also a reminder to take control over your emotional experience, but at the same time, to let yourself “go with the flow,” trust the wind to lead you on the right path to fulfill your destiny.

The tattoo can act as an albatross good luck charm, as it is a symbol of fortune if the bird accompanies a ship in its flight over the seas.

The eye of the albatross tattoo illustrates someone’s grief, longing for past times, or homeland. 

It is an expression of sadness for losing your roots, maybe your grievance over your deceased parents, or something from the past that you may never recover.

The flying albatross tattoo can be a sign of a free, independent soul that will never be put down by anyone, a sort of vagabond through life, whom you can’t point down.


If you find yourself having this spirit animal present in your life, then don’t waste away. Let the albatross guide you, fulfill your great destiny, offer your knowledge, and make the world a better place. Fly freely and don’t let anyone drag you down, for you are a great soul born in this ordinary Earth.


4 thoughts on “Albatross Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”

  1. Avatar

    I watched a documentary and the Albatross was featured in its habits with its baby. There was such tenderness between the parent and child. As the parent left the child to get food they kept touching beaks. The climate change has caused larger storms and so the waiting babies are sometimes killed or blown from their nest. One was followed and on the return of the parent the baby was on the ground below the nest. The parent apparently does not know the baby outside of its nest. The baby struggled the parent ignored it. The baby tapped the parents beak to no avail. But because life is, the baby fought and won the battle to get back into its nest. As it did the parent instantly knew its baby and sheltered it, Whether this is true I can only go by the programme but it was so touching a story yet one of upset that the parent only knows it’s baby by the nest. Not having studied other birds as such maybe this case is often the way. But it brought my attention to the Albatross and to your site for more information on them. Even watching the parent, the beauty in its plumage, the finesse, the look of grace and power.
    I searched the bible as I was sure they were somehow in there but not named as such.
    Wonderful reading thank you.

    1. Avatar

      How fascinating! Parenthood in birds is such an interesting subject. I’m glad that your research brought you to our site and that you enjoyed the article!

      — Hailey Brophy
      Writer @ World Birds

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