Black Panther Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)

black panther

Black Panther symbolism is inevitably linked to a protector, a guardian, or a savior. For devout Christians, the Black Panther actually is like Christ Himself. This animal offers contradictory symbolism as it is cruel on the one hand, but also has a tame disposition loved by all. Let us study the symbolic meaning of panther in detail.

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Black Panther Symbolism and Meaning

The names cougar, puma, panther, Black Panther, leopard, and mountain lion are often used interchangeably as they all belong to the class of animals grouped under the term ‘Panthera.’ 

The Black Panther is a melanistic leopard found in the moist, dense forests. He has a beautiful glowing black skin without spots or stripes. In ancient Greece, the panther was a symbol of Dionysos and their priests all wore panther skins. 

The Greek word for panther translated to ‘all-beast’ and referred to the Dionysos as ‘The All.’ Some ancient texts answer the question of what does the Black Panther symbolizes aptly. 

black panther

The Physiologus says of the panther that “here is a beast loved by all animals except the dragon. He is a quiet and most exceedingly mild animal. 

His roar does not scare other animals, but the dragon is mighty terrified of it. The moment he hears the panther’s roar, he, the dragon, coils in his cave. 

The Black Panther is a born leader and all animals follow him. His nature is considered to be ‘diverse’ and ‘uncontaminated.’ (1

Over the last few decades, the Black Panther has become the symbol of ‘guardian’ angels. The animal is particularly dear and important to African Americans owing to its color.

Black Panther Native American Symbolism

Since the Black Panther did not exist in America, we will talk in general about the panther symbolism and panther meaning in various Native American tribes. 

Certain Native Americans believed in a mystical underwater panther. They have a story about this beast where a woman from Coosa secretly marries the underwater panther and gives birth to a child with spotted skin. 

The villagers are shocked to see this strange child and debate over whether to kill it. The mother seeks protection from the panther, who then resolves to punish those villagers in favor of killing the child. 

black panther

The mother warns her supporters to leave the village and that night. The panther uses its magical powers to flood the village. 

The mother and child then go on to live with the water panther. Native tribes also believed in the Michibichi – the spirit of the panther – that had a man’s face but a body of a panther or cat. This mystical being was ‘spotted’ near spring-fed rivers and seas. 

Ojibwe fishermen would toss tobacco in the water as an offering to the Michibichi. Some experts believe there is a connection between the Michibichi and Man Cat of the Miami tribes (or Len-ni-pin-ja) and also the Plasa Bird. (2)

Black Panther Eastern Symbolism

The panther, known as bao, offers a contradictory symbolism in China. On the one hand, it is seen as a cruel beast. On the other hand, it is the emblem of bravery and martial ferocity and was formerly embroidered on the robes of military officials. 

The Egyptian Goddess Mafdel took on the appearance of a panther and is invoked even today as the destroyer of snakes and scorpions. Thus, much of the Black Panther symbolism is linked to protection and guardianship. 

Egyptian priests supposedly wore leopard and panther skins when performing funerary rites. In India, the caste system used the Black Panther Movement in America to form the Dalit Panthers – (untouchables) party. 

black panther

The Dalit Panther Manifesto wanted to eradicate old ideas and destroy age-old customs and scriptures in order to help circulate new ideas. Unfortunately, the Dalit Panthers Movement did not last owing to fragmentation. 

In this case, we can see that much of the panther symbol meaning is taken to aid a revolution, bring change, and renew old oppressive systems. The Black Panther Eastern symbolism is mainly ‘as protector of the oppressed and the weak.’ 

In other parts, wolves, lions, and panthers were all considered beasts of prey and would naturally be employed as symbols of destruction wherever they were known. (3)

Black Panther Christianity symbolism

The panther is the animal symbol of Christ. According to Physiologus, the panther slept in a cave for three days after a heavy meal. When he awoke on the third day, he roared, and his sweet breath attracted friends but dispelled enemies. (4

Just like Christ is the savior of humankind, the panther is the savior of animals. The lion, unicorn, and panther are the best-known animal symbols of Christ. 

Christ and panther traits are similar. The panther is an extremely beautiful animal, gentle like Christ. Physiologus says of it how the panther has only one enemy – the dragon.

black panther

The dragon always flees the panther. This is symbolic of the Devil fleeing Christ. The panther’s sweet breath draws other animals to him. Thus, when one accepts Christ as their savior, when He calls, we answer.

Only the dragon recoils and curls up in its cave. Just like that, when we accept Christ and hear His call, the Devil within us will flee. 

Eph 4:8 aptly sums this up: Thus, Our Lord Christ, the True Panther, descending from heavens, has delivered from the power of the Devil. 

David describes the beautiful panther traits as Christ’s traits: true, sweet, proper, kind, firm, secure, omnipotent, and all-seeing.

Black Panther Celtic Symbolism

The idea of men turning into animals-shape-shifting- has gripped the imagination of early humans-especially the Celtic warriors. Agamemnon wanted to turn into an eagle, Orpheus –a swan. 

Cave dwellers in Germany have carved lion-headed human figures in ivory nearly 34000 years ago. Celts were not just terrified of these wild beasts like panthers; they were even transfixed by them. 

Celt warriors often found symbols in nature: thunder, storm, lightning, the sturdiness of trees, the flight of the birds, etc. 

But they liked toothed animal symbols the best probably because they could relate to them. In Africa, warriors often used symbols of lions, panthers, and other wild cats.

black panther

Since panthers did not exist in Europe during the early days, they mostly used wolves, wild boars, and eagle symbols. Medieval Irish poetry and literature abound in magical beasts and shape-shifting humans.  

A belief in feral panther-like animals has been documented in the British Isles, including Wales and Cornwall. The existence of these wild cats remains unproven and the legends may have been based on beliefs about the ferocity of the European Wild Cats. (5

Later on, Black Panther symbolism took on a rather political meaning in Germany and Ireland. In 1944, a U-boat clad in black sheeting was named the Black Panther for its combat mission from Marviken.

Black Panther African Symbolism

The Black Panther is a leopard with black skin and hidden black spots. Therefore any leopard symbolism can be linked to Black Panther Symbolism. Leopards and panthers are found in large numbers in the African continent. 

Being a threatened and endangered species, today, it is prohibited to kill them. Leopard and panther skins have been found in tombs of Tutankhamen. 

Several black leopard images are also shown with pharaohs to indicate the dead pharaoh’spharaoh’s journey through the Underworld. 

Panther skins formed an important part of funerary rites. In African Art, the leopards and panthers outshine the lion. Like the elephant, the panther is symbolic of African royal power. 

black panther

The difference here is that while the elephant is a benign creature, the panther’spanther’s power is tinged with darkness and danger. 

The God Agassu is a product of union between a panther and a Tado princess. Agassu became the founder of the royal line of Abomey. 

Panther and leopard symbolism is also found in conjunction with the rulers of Cameroon Grasslands and Kongo. In fact, one of the many symbols of the power of the ruling Obas of Benin is a leopard. 

A tree leopard dripped blood on the sleeping Oba Ewuare beneath. The angry Ewuare killed the leopard and thus began the leopard’sleopard’s yearly sacrifice to promote royal power.

Black Panther in Dreams

A hunting leopard or panther in dreams means an arrogant, stupid man. It can also mean a hunter or gainer or hunting tool, as well as a mystical man that neither shows friendship nor hostility. 

Black Panther in a dream can represent an aspect of life we are afraid of. However, the Black Panther is the ultimate symbol of guardian and protector. 

Therefore, dreams of black panthers can mean that we have a protector or a guardian angel and that we must not worry about anything. Because they aren’t seen very often in the wild, a panther in your dream may symbolize someone who isn’t seen very often. 

black panther

It can also represent passionate, erotic, and mad transformative aspects of our minds. A panther or leopard represents characteristics of the human self that are usually strongly resisted by collective life because of their intensely violent yet sensual nature. 

While the lion is regarded as the King of the Jungle, it is the leopard or panther that is the quintessential solitary power in the dark jungle. Panthers and leopards are solitary hunters. 

They stalk their prey with silent stealth and are the masters of ambush. In Greek Mythology, the God Dionysus is linked to leopards. Thus, the panther in dreams symbolizes a paradoxical convergence of death and life. (6)

Black Panther Encounters and Omens

In Egypt, all cats were considered sacred and that included panthers as well. Killing a cat, even accidentally, was considered a crime and would surely bring bad luck to the perpetrator.

 In ancient Egypt, there is a story about how a soldier killed a cat accidentally. 

The angry villagers killed the soldier. Soon the soldier’s regiment was sent to destroy the village. This angered the king, who sent his army and destroyed the regiment. The cat had her revenge!

Leopards, panthers, and other large cats are considered a good omen in African jungles. Tribes often worshipped these cats and even made masks and statues to honor them.

black panther

In Egypt, leopard and panther skins were buried along with the mummies to carry the dead through the underworld. Thus, the panther brings with it the omen of being protected. 

In jungles, seeing panthers and leopards or jaguars is considered an omen of triumph. Leopards and panthers are strong, proud, and fiercely independent, and seeing a black panther means you need to be more independent. 

It also means that victory will be yours soon, so keep the faith. There is a saying that Leopard does not change his spots. This means that things are not what they seem and it could be an omen of fraud. (7)

Black Panther Mythology and Folklore

In Dante’s Inferno, he meets three animals that represent different aspects of the self: a leopard who represents fraud, a she-wolf that represents avarice and greed, and a lion that symbolizes lust. 

It appears that a leopard-whether in the form of spotted variety or Black Panther also represents the carnal aspects of the human psyche. The leopard is usually represented by the black panther in myth and symbolism. 

The association also stretches to cougars, jaguars, and pumas. All these big cats, in mythology and folklore, are symbols of warning. They ask the protagonist to become aware of any weakness in him and control the desires and urges of the psyche. 

black panther

Dante believes that black panther is a symbol of rebirth, trials, and tribulations. The force of the panther represents hidden pleasures within us. 

The black panther is more powerful, aggressive, and has stronger energy than other cats. 

Leopards and panthers are worshiped in Africa. If someone kills one accidentally, he is made to follow the body around town, smear his body in ash, and make leopard movements to appease its spirit. 

In the Iroquois mythology of North American Indians, the God of the West Wind is Dajoji – a panther or jaguar. When he snarls, even the sun hides his face. (8)

Black Panther Spirit Animal

The panther shares many traits with the jaguars and leopards, but its black color imparts its powers of the night and also femininity. 

If a panther spirit animal shows up, you are also beautiful exotic, and mysterious like your spirit. You display exceptional beauty, grace, and power. You are a lone ranger and like to do things alone. 

When something catches your eye, you can stealthily stalk it till it is yours. You can be very still and quiet. You are also determined and won’t give up. Like a panther spirit animal totem, you have powerful eyesight and can see things well in the distance.

You have the stamina, precision, and the cunning to get what you want. You never waste energy in talking. Instead, you observe, learn, and absorb and then make your move. This helps you conserve energy. 

In many mythological tales, the Black Panther is associated with rebirth, renewal, transformation, and also with magic. You can learn the secrets of life and death by being still and meditating on your spirit animal. 

Invite the panther to help you use your six senses and connect to the feminine power within you. The presence of a black panther in your life can also make you more alert and aware. (9)

Black Panther Totem Animal

Once you know that a black panther is your totem animal, you can go on a spiritual journey to ask this animal for its help and guidance. 

Having a black panther totem does not mean that you have to go and pet one. Instead, simply think of the black panther each time you feel overwhelmed, anxious, scared, or depressed. 

The black panther has selected you because its medicine resonates with the view you have of yourself. 

Black Panther totem medicine includes silent dignity, self-reliance, beauty, feminine power, grace, independence, and courage. Observe the things going on around you. Become silent like the panther. 

black panther

Meditate daily on the panther’s wisdom. This will help you focus and direct your energy. Carry the black panther medicine with you everywhere you go – it can be in the form of a necklace, amulet, or even a black panther tattoo. 

The panther will assist you and you can seek its guidance from time to time just as you seek guidance from a Higher Power. 

You can develop a deeper relationship with your totem animal. Learn about panther traits and characteristics. Having a panther totem means that you have a powerful spiritual friend and you must learn the lessons from this master. (10)

Black Panther Power Animal

Due to its black coat, the panther is symbol of death. In many legends, it is supposed to bring back lost souls of the dead on the path. 

As a power animal, the Black Panther draws your attention to your feminine power within. It helps you see your potential and proposes following a path that will make you stronger and more independent. 

As a power animal, the panther urges you to remember your magnitude and to gather your strength to meet challenges ahead. Sometimes, it might bring fear in your life, but it wants you to feel that fear and face it firmly. 

black panther

Through this fear, the panther wants you to journey into the self so that you can learn things about yourself and understand your true potential. Do not undertake this journey lightly. 

Although it will be a long one, you must keep going. This journey cannot be all comfort and ease. Look for resources within you that were previously hidden from you. 

Once you have worked out the fears, you will gain clarity and wisdom. You will open realms of sensitivity and awareness. 

A panther power animal is a loner and his approach will be silent. And just like your power animal, the fear it brings will also be a lonely place. You must brave through it alone. 

Black Panther Tattoo Meaning

A black panther tattoo can be a great reminder of this power animal’s medicine: beauty, grace, skills, independence, feminine power, intuition, and even mysticism. 

If you have your heart set on a black panther tattoo, then congratulations! It is a great choice! This mystical animal represents magic, fear, death, and also positive values like power, beauty, grace, solitude, and self-reliance. 

Panther eyes hold great secrets. They can also instill fear. Whether you have been through a great deal or wish to show the world that you have accomplished your dreams, a panther tattoo is a great idea. 

black panther illustration

People with panthers and leopards tattooed on their person often belong to gangs. However, some simply like the power and beauty that these animal tattoos exude. 

A black panther tattoo can have several meanings, like the advice to be silent, to not reveal one’s intentions, and to awaken to one’s powers and passions. 

A person who likes to be alone is usually very silent and still, and who does not like crowds and noisy environments, can also get the panther tattoo to depict these traits. You are aware not to reveal too much of yourself and the black panther tattoo is a reminder of the same.

Conclusion

Black panther symbolism is linked to grace, protection, beauty, night, magic, inner power, and even the secrets of life and death. Whether you wish to know the black panther meaning because of its constant appearance in your life, or you are keen on getting a panther or jaguar tattoo, we hope this guide helps you decipher your own panther meaning.

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