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

two dolphins in water

You might be asking why dolphin symbolism has emerged in your life. Maybe you forgot how to love yourself or how to play, or perhaps you need a breath of fresh air from your heavy, tumultuous emotions. Learn more about dolphin meaning and see what it has in store for you in the following paragraphs.

Table of contents

Dolphin Symbolism and Meaning

The spiritual meaning of dolphins is about peaceful animals and personality, thinking about those around them and sacrificing oneself for others’ well-being, never getting into any conflict with the neighboring sea creatures or humans.

This mammal is a link between humans and nature, a diplomatic balance. The dolphin is associated with both water and air elements, living in both realms, symbolizing both the emotional and intellectual traits.

The dolphin is a symbol of protection for its presence in stories about saving the drowning sailors or other humans in distress. Those that travel the seas also see them as a sign of good luck, a dolphin accompanying the ship being an excellent omen, whether it’s the weather you have in mind or a nearby shore.

dolphin in water

Greeks view this mammal as a guide for those that have left this realm and are taken to the spirit world. 

From this standpoint of view, the dolphin is a symbol of rebirth, reincarnation, and renewal. 

Those that invoke this energy find themselves having life-changing opportunities and are blessed with courage and strength.

The dolphin qualities contain happiness, willpower, playfulness, humor, virtue, mental power, courtesy, wholeness, and teamwork. (1)

Dolphin Native American Symbolism

The Native American dolphin is seen as a savior of people who drag them back to shore when about to drown or be eaten by a shark. 

Some say that these animals were humans once and transformed into dolphins to act as guardians of the tribe. 

For this reason, it is forbidden to eat them in these regions, while in others, people believe that dolphins give themselves food offerings.

In South America, the dolphin definition is of a wizard that shapeshifts into these mammals and is feared, respected, and admired.

two dolphins

A Native American legend that depicts the dolphins as human saviors is found in the Chumash culture, in which the Earth Mother Hutash creates a rainbow bridge for the people to cross over the ocean. Because some of them looked down while traveling, they got dizzy and fell into the sea.

Feeling bad for what happened and not wanting them to drown, the Earth Mother transforms the people that fell into dolphins. From there on, the Chumash tribe considers the dolphins their brothers and sisters.

Dolphin Eastern Symbolism

What do dolphins symbolize in Chinese tradition? A sign of the dolphin appears to be a message from the angels you are taken care of. 

The Chinese white dolphin tells you that the path chosen is the right one and that you are making a big difference in people’s lives; you are aligned energetically and protected. This mammal is a sign of good luck, fortune, and positive things that will occur in your life.

Chinese people also see the dolphin symbol as a savior for those traveling the oceans on ships. They protected the people, and as a sign of honor and admiration, they illustrated these mammals on their vessels.

dolphin in water

Their folklore has a story of a girl taken by her stepfather to the River Yangtze to get to the market and sell her. On the way, on the boat, the man tries to take advantage of the girl, but she jumps into the water, and a storm sinks the ship and drowns the man. 

After the river and weather settle, a beautiful dolphin is seen by the people on the shore and concludes that it’s the girl’s reincarnation. Since then, she is known as the Yangtze goddess and is a symbol of prosperity and peace. (2)

Dolphin Christianity symbolism

The dolphin meaning in Christianity is similar to the sheep symbol but more relevant for those that lived near or on seas. 

The dolphin Jesus association is born from placing dolphin illustrations on graves as a symbol of Christ accompanying the deceased in the afterlife. This mammal is often pictured on a trident or a cross as an emblem of Christ’s crucifixion. 

In architecture, it is found on the candlesticks belonging to Constantine, at Saint Peter’s church, along with a candelabra depicting twenty dolphins. In Ancient times, the dolphin animal was considered the king of fishes, being a fish itself. 

two dolphins in water

During Constantine’s time, the cross was not as standard as the fish figure, as a divine symbol. Dolphins in the Bible are depicted as pure and robust, a being that could not be manipulated but had a deep love for humankind.

It is said that these mammals accompanied the fishermen and sailors on their journey and warned them of the storms approaching, recognizing each one of the crew members.

The dolphin is strongly associated with Christ and is represented as a carrier of the holy light and humans’ savior. (3)

Dolphin Celtic Symbolism

What do dolphins symbolize in Celtic lore? Dolphins symbolism is about divinity, protectors of the waters, and all that inhabit it. The meaning of dolphins is also closely related to the water element that grants it healing powers and the chance to a new beginning.

These guardians protect the people and nature from evil and represent rebirth, reincarnation, and changing your life for the better.

If you talk about the sacred breath of life, you actually mean dolphins, for they are the balance between the water and air elements that teach you the balance between your body, mind, and spirit.

dolphin in water

The symbolism of dolphins in Celtic culture is also about friendship, intelligence, and good luck. It made the Irish contemplate the seas because they were awed by the beautiful, mysterious creatures.

In Wales, the meaning of dolphins is closely related to mermaids because people were often rescued by them and were seen as having magical powers, similar to the gods.

They took every appearance and sounds the mammal made as a sign, a message, or a warning to remain home and not travel the seas that day because a storm might be approaching. (4)

Dolphin African Symbolism

But let’s see what do dolphins mean to African people. The dolphin spiritual meaning talks about a being that accompanies the dead’s souls to the “Islands of the Blessed.”

A legend speaks of a man that seeks the help of pirates when in need of transportation. 

He finds out that the latter planned to sell him as a slave and performed magic on their ship, summoning snakes and other horrible things that scared the pirates, who jumped into the sea and were turned into dolphins. 

After this incident, dolphins became friends and protectors of humans as repentance for their ancestors, the pirates.

two dolphins in water

Harmony symbolism in these regions presents as dolphins would frequently come to shore, eat from people’s hands, and give them back rides. It’s no wonder they were viewed as animals that represent love.

Egyptians had vessels that illustrated these animals and birds on it, the dolphin symbol meaning being of freedom and letting life flow like the waters. 

The three dolphins’ meaning is found on the lower part of the jug, along with the same number of birds, and suggests the Levantine coast. (5)

Dolphin in Dreams

Dreams about dolphins, in general, suggest spiritual and intellectual guidance. It is an inspirational vision that encourages you to use your mental capabilities at the maximum level.

If you happen to have a dream of a dolphin, it is good to know that luck is on your way, and you might encounter a significant person.

The dolphin dream, meaning in which you see it underwater, is a positive sign that indicates you will make new friends and will have a perfect social life.

If you dream of dolphins dying, your subconscious reacts to your desperate feelings, probably related to losing a dear person you loved and was of great help to you.

two dolphins in water

When you have a dolphin dream of riding it or playing with it, life will bring you many positive social encounters and an excellent period.

Others say that dreaming of dolphins is associated with a tough time approaching, a trip on tumultuous waters. Beware of the dangers that lay ahead.

A dream about dolphins is also an illustration of the joy you find in life. It is a symbol of energy, vulnerability, grace, and elegance, traits of which the person dreaming is or is not in possession of.

The dolphin’s dream interpretation can either be very positive or very negative, depending on the context. (6)

Dolphin Encounters and Omens

The dolphin sign is generally viewed as a positive one because the sailors who knew the animal crossing dolphin were nearby land.

Dolphins’ signs are present in predicting the weather as well. If you happen to see them playing during good weather or near the shore, it means a storm is approaching, and traveling is not indicated. 

On the other hand, if they play in tumultuous waters or are headed north, stay without fear, for good weather is said to come. But pay attention to their direction, because if they are headed south, then bad weather will give you trouble.

two dolphins in water

The killing of a dolphin symbolism’s meaning is of terrible luck.

Encountering a pink dolphin is said to be a beautiful rare sight, but superstitions say at the same time that these mammals transform into humans at night and roam the streets in search of children to steal. Eating a river dolphin is also a bearer of terrible luck.

It is believed that nightmares will haunt you for the rest of your life if you make eye contact with the dolphin in some regions. (7)

Dolphin Mythology and Folklore

In the Amazon, there is a legend of the shapeshifting dolphin that turns into an elegant, well dressed, all in white man during the night and seduces the women of the nearby villages. 

Sometimes he attends the local parties and charms the most beautiful woman he finds, leaving her pregnant. This can happen even without her knowing anything about it.

Such a legend is of the maiden Rosita that falls in love with a fisherman, which she eventually marries. The man mysteriously disappears during the day, till one morning when Rosita finds herself sleeping next to a pink dolphin.

two dolphins in water

Shocked, she screams, and her father enters and shoots the animal. Rosita, now pregnant, dies while giving birth to a dolphin.

Another legend speaks of the manatees, which are hard to find because they are hard to notice underwater and are also on the extinction branch. If you want to see one, you must first have permission from their guardians, the pink dolphins.

In Cambodia, there is a legend of a girl with a fish body that was obliged to marry a python. To escape, she attempts suicide by jumping in the river. Instead of dying, she transforms into a dolphin that is highly admired even to this day. (8)

Dolphin Spirit Animal

The dolphin spirit animal is an aid to those who need better communications in their lives, whether it’s a skill they lack or confidence. This mammal also helps you reconnect to nature to an intimate level, allowing you to hear its messages and align with its flow.

If you find yourself asking, “are dolphins mean?” you couldn’t be more wrong, for these animals that represent peace are also a symbol of love. Some suggest that they could have been aliens in other times and are far more intelligent than humans.

The spirit animal dolphin makes its presence felt to those who need to find their inner child once more and learn how to play and laugh. 

These two things are essential to your body, mind, and spirit’s health. The dolphin spirit is a symbol of balance between the mind and soul because of its extraordinary intelligence and intuitive aptitudes. 

The dolphin guide has come to teach you this balance. The dolphin spirit animal meaning is of breathing and being in the present moment, living life in total awareness. 

The dolphin spirit guide has come to help you free your arms of the emotional burdens you keep carrying so that you can swim freely through life. (9)

Dolphin Totem Animal

Dolphin’s personality is about enjoying life, happiness, and having fun. If you have the dolphin totem, then the love for your close ones, especially for your family, has no boundaries. 

You are very empathetic and care for the weaker people. Your dolphin traits make you a selfless person, ready to sacrifice yourself for others for the greater good.

If you have the dolphin totem pole, you are a natural person without inhibiting or limiting worries. You feel good in your own skin and are always there for those in need of assistance.

Dolphin’s personality traits are all about self-sacrifice and thinking about making the world a better place. 

dolphin in water

The dolphin animal totem gives you a comprehensive view of humankind’s philosophies and focuses your ideals on the greater good.

The dolphin necklace, meaning as a totem, is worn by those that captures everybody’s attention when walking into a room with their grace and pleasant presence. Those that have dolphin totem poles are great companions that never have impulsive reactions and are always harmful.

Even so innocent and lovely, the dolphin totem meaning is of a strong-willed person and can accomplish anything they put their mind to. (10)

Dolphin Power Animal

The dolphin power animal is to be invoked when you lack the happiness this energy brings. If you are sad and can’t get yourself out of this emotional state, dolphin meditation can be of much help. 

This animal will guide you through your emotional waves and help you get the breath of fresh air that you so desperately need.

Dolphin medicine is also helpful when you feel you have lost your voice and words. Invoking the dolphin Patronus’ meaning is about improving your communication skills and helping you release your feelings expressively and healthily. 

dolphin in water

Trust in this energy and feel how the words will naturally come to you. The dolphin medicine cards speak of the necessity of breathing, as humans can live without food or water for several days, but oxygen is an essential source of life. 

By changing your breathing rhythm, you can access different levels of consciousness and experience other dimensions.

The higher one dolphin card teaches you how to obtain total relaxation through breathing and releasing the emotional burdens. This technique can revitalize every portion of your body and provide healing. (11)

Dolphin Tattoo Meaning

If you ask, “what does a dolphin tattoo mean?” then find out that people love their playful nature and like picturing them on their skin as a companion that puts a smile on their faces in dark times.

The dolphin tattoo meaning is friendship, protecting your loved ones, and having someone beside you to chase away loneliness.

The meaning of dolphin tattoo can also be of motherhood because of how these animals protect the pregnant females between them, even with the cost of their own lives.

The double dolphin’s meaning is of duality, balance, and companionship. 

These mammals feel and know their comrade’s emotions and thoughts and thus are a symbol of empathy. The Celtic blue dolphin, tattooed on your skin, symbolizes your bond to nature, having pagan connotations.

The butterfly dolphin tattoo meaning is a combination of two elements, air and water. It symbolizes those with a free spirit, independent and cannot be chained to someone or something. 

These people are very expensive and have many interests. The dolphin tail tattoo or yin-yang tattoo symbolizes harmony, of the world’s creation and duality.


Dolphin symbolism is one of the most critical philosophies amongst spirit animals. Apply its teachings into your life and witness how it will enrich your existence and create new, exciting opportunities for you. These are the most intelligent beings on Earth, so listen closely to any message they have to offer.


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