Eagles are common symbols of might, regality, and ferocity. Often thought of as the king or birds, it is not hard to imagine why eagles are the subject of so much awe. Eagles are apex predators who soar above their habitats with keen eyes, sharp talons, and powerful wings. (1)
Humanity has looked to the majesty of the eagle since time immemorial as the embodiment of the majesty of nature. Eagles are important mythological figures in cultures worldwide and continue to play a role in the spiritual lives of human beings. As a source of inspiration or a guiding force, the eagle teaches individuals about the value of the high road and the unparalleled joys of true freedom.
Table of contents
- Eagle Symbolism and meaning
- Eagle Native American Symbolism
- Eagle Christianity Symbolism
- Eagle Celtic Symbolism
- Eagle in Dreams
- Eagle Encounters and Omens
- Eagles Mythology and Folklore
- Eagle Spirit Animal
- Eagle Totem Animal
- Eagle Power Animal
- Eagle Tattoo Meaning
Eagle Symbolism and Meaning
The most obvious symbolism connected with the eagle relates to its obvious physical power. Strength, ferocity, focus, and willpower are all connected with eagles.
Additionally, eagles are often tied to the sun, the sky, and even heaven itself. Some people see eagles as signs of a bright future on the horizon.
Resilience and stamina are embodied by the eagle, whose effortless soaring reminds us to weather the storm and rise above conflicts.
Additionally, eagles can be seen as representing truth, justice, honesty, integrity, and duty. The eagle’s flight reminds us to choose the high road whenever possible. (2)
The eagle represents leadership and authority, and those who make this their spirit animal are born to be leaders and high achievers.
Finally, the eagle can be seen as representing wisdom and vision. The eagle’s eye is often used as a symbol of sharpness and accuracy. This piercing gaze sometimes represents protection and vigilance.
Eagle Native American Symbolism
Amongst Native American cultures, birds are often important symbols which represent various values, tribal roles, and clans.
Eagles are fantastic examples of this. Because eagles are often observed flying far above the other birds of the sky, they are believed to be sacred by many Native American cultures. The sky is the realm of the creator deity, and so, the eagle’s ability to soar above all of creation gives it a divine status. (3)
In fact, amongst certain tribes, the eagle represents the upward direction. The eagle spirit is a powerful leader, a messenger between earth and the heavens, and even a sacred healer. (4)
Eagle feathers are often considered to be sacred objects utilized for healing rituals and sacred ceremonies. In some instances, an eagle feather could be held to indicate that the speaker was telling the absolute truth.
Eagle Christianity Symbolism
Throughout the Bible, too, the eagle is a creature who is connected with the divine.
Moses himself states, “You have seen yourselves what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me,” and, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings.” (5) In these passages, the eagle is connected with protection, guidance, and safety. The eagle represents the strength of God’s love for His people and the protection that this love provides.
In Psalm 103 as well, the eagle is mentioned: “Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s?” In this passage, the eagle is a symbol of youth, strength, renewal, and rebirth.
Many more biblical passages use the eagle to demonstrate various virtues. Mostly, these eagle metaphors evoke the might, speed, or ferocity of the eagle.
Eagle Celtic Symbolism
In Celtic traditions, birds often represent otherworldly forces. Several Celtic deities are represented by various birds or rely on them as messengers. The eagle, specifically, is associated with focus, wisdom, and ancient knowledge.
In the Welsh tale of Culhwch and Olwen, the hero must consult the oldest and wisest animals around in order to learn how to rescue an imprisoned son of the goddess of motherhood. The two animals which provide the secret knowledge that Culhwch needs are the salmon and the eagle. (6)
Because eagles often take part in scavenging behaviors, another possible association for eagles in Celtic cultures is death and bloodshed. Mighty warriors are praised in ancient Celtic poems for the many foes they slew by saying that they “glutted” or “fed” the carrion birds of the battlefield. (7)
Finally, the eagle is known to be an excellent fisher. Many of the fiercest Celtic deities are connected to the sea. Eagles might then be associated with the ferocious sea or the occupation of the fisherman. (8)
Eagle in Dreams
Eagles are powerful symbols, so dreaming of an eagle may feel significant. Depending upon context, an eagle dream can mean many different things. Chiefly, dreaming of a soaring eagle represents courage, freedom, and perspective.
Dreaming of an eagle’s nest or “eyrie” can indicate protection or mentorship. Although eagles are apex predators, when they are young they rely on their parents for food and protection. Dreaming of eaglets may indicate potential. Although you may have incredible potential, it is important to rely on the support and experience of others as you grow.
Dreaming of becoming an eagle indicates either rebirth or escape. Look inward to determine whether you are evolving and adapting to life’s challenges or running away from them.
Finally, dreaming of an eagle on the ground may mean that you feel bored with your surroundings or that you are not challenging yourself enough. Eagles are meant to soar. If you never seek out new or difficult experiences then you’ll never discover the limits of your abilities.
Eagle Encounters and Omens
An encounter with an eagle is a moving experience which has the potential to broaden one’s mind and open the heart to new experiences. Encountering an eagle is often uplifting. Eagle encounters may occur during times when we are most in need of the eagle’s fearless majesty. Eagle encounters remind us to have faith in ourselves and to choose the righteous path.
Eagle encounters have been considered significant since ancient times. For ancient Greek augury and ornithomancy, practices which utilized the behaviors of birds to predict the future, an eagle’s flight overhead was a sign from the gods. Flying eagles often signified victory, safe return from dangerous travels, justice, and the wrath of a righteous man.
In the epic poems of Homer, eagles appear as emblems of heroes and as prophetic messengers of victory. In the Iliad, a Golden Eagle signifies the impending downfall of Troy and the triumph of the Greek armies. In the Odyssey, the hero Odysseus is represented by an eagle several times. (9)
Eagle Mythology and Folklore
Although the roles that eagles play vary, eagles are widespread throughout the mythological and cultural traditions of human societies across the globe. Usually connected with royalty, might, wisdom, or justice, eagles are almost universally virtuous in myths, however the specific content of these stories varies greatly.
As previously stated, Welsh mythology acknowledges the eagle as one of the earth’s most ancient and wise animals. It is through the eagle’s shrewd advice that the hero Culhwch is able to accomplish his task, free Mabon the son of the mother goddess Modron, and claim the hand of the maiden Olwen whom he dearly loves.
In Greek mythology, the eagle is the symbol of the god Zeus and one of the forms that Zeus chooses to appear in on earth. Additionally, it was believed that eagles bore Zeus’s mighty thunderbolts down from the heavens. An eagle, known as the “Caucasian Eagle” was sent by Zeus to punish the rebellious god Prometheus for bringing fire to mankind against Zeus’s wishes. This eagle devours Prometheus’s liver each day, only for Prometheus to regenerate and suffer anew the following day. (10)
In the mythology of Japan, eagles appear through the powerful spirits known as “Tengu.” Tengu are monstrous “Yokai” who are characterized by red skin, long noses, powerful wings, and bird-like features such as talons. In early depictions, Tengu were dog-like, but they gradually began to look like eagles. Now, the Tengu looks much like a humanoid, but the ferocity and mysterious magical quality of the eagle persists. Tengu are somewhere in between war gods and nature spirits and can be motivated by benevolence, mischief, or evil. Tengu are said to have some control over the weather, and may bring storms. (11)
In Native American cultures, too, eagles are connected to storms via the mythological Thunderbird. The Thunderbird in Native American myth is an enormous bird of prey resembling a hawk, falcon, or more likely an eagle. This gigantic beast is revered and feared for its ability to bring torrential downpours and violent storms. In some traditions, Thunderbirds were thought to guide great leaders. (12)
Eagle Spirit Animal
The eagle spirit animal is associated with ambition, duty, fortitude, and willpower. People who have the eagle as their spirit animal are unperturbed by life’s many obstacles. They strive to achieve great heights and are rarely satisfied with anything less than the best that life has to offer.
People with the eagle as their spirit animal are quintessential type “A” personalities. They have a keen sense of vision and when they set their sights on a goal, they strike out towards it with intense focus and accuracy.
Like the symbolic Bald Eagle which represents the land of the free, people with the eagle as their spirit animal are happiest when they feel unencumbered and free to soar to their hearts’ contents. People with this spirit animal may struggle with team work and cooperation as a result of this. They often feel threatened by things like authority and conformity.
People with the eagle as their spirit animal may be a bit rebellious, but they are bound by their personal moral codes. This spirit animal comes with an inarguable sense of personal integrity and accountability. Individuals with the eagle as their spirit animal are always fighting to improve their skills and forge new paths towards a better future.
Eagle Totem Animal
The eagle totem animal is emotional and intense. People who have the eagle as their totem animal are passionate and fiery. This trait can lead to incredible careers, artistic genius, empowering leadership, and deep intimate relationships. The intensity with which the eagle totem lives, however, presents many challenges both interpersonal and professional.
People with the eagle as their totem animal can struggle to stay grounded. When they lack passion for an undertaking, they often lose interest and move on. Without a clear sense of passion or direction, individuals with this totem can stagnate.
Additionally, this totem animal can be quick to anger, competitive, and may experience a range of emotions that can only be described as “too much too fast.” When the eagle totem has yet to find their soul mate, they may rush into relationships headlong and find themselves in a pressure cooker of emotions.
When someone with the eagle totem finds a way to ground theirself, their focus and passion can be indispensable assets. In relationships that are healthy and fulfilling, the eagle totem is loving and attentive and always puts their family first.
Eagle Power Animal
The power of the eagle is vision, perspective, and healing. The eagle is an excellent example of the “bird’s eye view.” From high above, eagles keenly observe the earth below. When we struggle to see outside of our own perspectives, the eagle’s power can teach us that our field of view is narrow.
With the vision and perspective that the eagle’s keen eye provides, we gain the ability to make fair and logical decisions. Additionally, perspective is an excellent tool for empathy. Understanding the struggle’s of others allows us to heal our peers and ourselves.
The eagle’s vision is a profound tool for enlightenment and vision. When in doubt, the eagle power animal can be called upon to discover hidden truths. Eagles rise above pettiness and see things for what they are without judgement or bias.
Eagle Tattoo Meaning
Primarily, the eagle serves as the national bird of the USA and the emblem on the Great Seal of America; hence it is an extremely popular tattoo within the United States. The Bald Eagle is symbolic of power, strength, courage, and focus.
Not only was it the choice of the Founding Fathers of the U.S., but you will also find a great many mentions of the eagle in fables, parables, and idioms. An eagle tattoo, then, can have as many symbolic meanings as eagles themselves can.
Apart from being an impactful representation of power, eagles can represent knowledge, beauty, nature, sharpness, or majesty.
Because of the many significant roles that eagles play in Native American cultures, eagles are popular choices for tattoos which invoke Native American heritage.
The king of birds which surveys the earth from the heavens, eagles are revered worldwide. Many nations, political bodies, and ideologies have adopted eagles as mascots or emblems. In the United States, the Bald Eagle is the embodiment of freedom itself.
It is not hard to imagine why that is. Is their any sensation more tantalizing or inspiring than sheer unbridled power and freedom that these incredible raptors must feel as they glide along air currents high above all of earth’s petty conflicts? As humans we can only wonder what that feeling is like. Certainly, though, the eagle’s majesty radiates a regal beauty which simply cannot be put into words.