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

giraffe in nature

As a beautiful, wild, and exotic animal, the giraffe connotes sexuality, uniqueness, and pride. Giraffe symbolism is also used in art to represent the natural world. A giraffe can also symbolize a long distance between the head and heart. Since they stand tall, they represent looking into the future. Let us decipher the giraffe’s symbolic meaning in dreams and across different cultures.

Table of contents

Giraffe Symbolism and Meaning

The Giraffe dream can mean awakening. It means that you are about to have a spiritual awakening. 

Giraffes can also symbolize a new perspective. If you are frequently encountering a giraffe, either in your dreams or real life, then it may mean that you are at a pause but will soon get an epiphany. 

Universally and historically, giraffes have always fascinated man. They are unique in appearance and everything about them is big and unusual. 

Many artists have used giraffes symbolically too. In Piero de Cosimo’s Vulcan and Aeolus, the giraffe represents the dawn of civilization and domestication of animals. 

giraffe in nature

In the Bible, in the story of Noah’s Ark, the giraffes are an important addition. Paintings by popular Renaissance artists also depict the Biblical story with the pair of giraffes. This has led to the giraffe being considered as an important animal of the Bible. 

In 1613, a constellation was also named after the giraffe: Camelo pardalis. It is interesting to note that no artwork shows the giraffe in captivity. 

This is always a free animal and he will be depicted so in its natural habitat. Thus, giraffes have come to represent the natural habitat. To many people, giraffes are symbolic of African safaris, wildlife, and the balance of nature. (1)

Giraffe Native American Symbolism

Giraffes are not mentioned in Native American symbolism mainly because these majestic animals were not native to the areas where early Natives resided. 

Therefore, much of the modern giraffe symbolism as far as Native Americans are concerned is derived from the animal medicine of the nine main animals which the natives believed to form totem animals. Based on this, we can interpret native American giraffe symbolism as follows:

The giraffe medicine tells the man to act sensibly. It tells the man to stand tall as energy flows through the spine that is tall and erect. Good posture is necessary for good health. 

giraffe in nature

The wise giraffe knows about the cycles of life and death. That is why this fearless animal can stand calmly and proudly, even in the face of adversity. 

Medicine men strive to achieve the giraffe’s tall stature and its power. Like the giraffe, one should try and strive for the benefit of the community. Native Elders have stories of animals that depict how we should all pursue the greater good for all. 

The moral of these stories is that one should set one’s perspective high as well. Self-observation is also a part of the giraffe’s personality and so should man introspect and turn inward. (2)

Giraffe Eastern Symbolism

In China, a giraffe is considered an auspicious symbol by the followers of Confucius. (3) Later on, though, giraffe symbolism took on quite a different meaning thanks to Zheng He (the Chinese Admiral responsible for China’s status of the superpower in the East). 

On his return trip from Africa, Zheng He- brought back a giraffe. The giraffe thus became a symbol of  China’s far-reaching greatness that brought the exotic world to its feet. 

Even today, the giraffe symbol in China represents Africa and China’s long historical relationship. In the modern Japanese language, the word kirin stands for a giraffe. 

giraffe in nature

Kirin refers to real as well as supernatural entities. In Japanese Art, kirin is depicted as a deer. Sometimes, it is even shown as a dragon with a deer’s body and ox-tail. To the Japanese, the giraffe is even like the unicorn: mysterious, magical, legendary, and unique. 

The giraffe, much appreciated in princely zoological gardens, appears on the 16th – century wall of Srisailam, Andhra. Here, giraffes symbolize nobility. 

The depiction of a giraffe, purely an African animal, in the sculpture of the Sun Temple (built-in 1250), Konarak evidently proves that Kalinga The Great Ruler had traveled overseas. The appearance of a giraffe proves that trade with Africa took place during these early days. 

Giraffe Christianity symbolism

The animal which the translators of the Bible have called the chamois has been interpreted as some to be the giraffe. Giraffes were important animals on Noah’s Ark. 

After Noah insists that the giraffe find a mate to join him on the ark, the giraffe travels to the ends of the earth in search of her and hopes that he completes his task before Noah launches the ark. 

Evolutionists believe that the giraffe’s neck kept on increasing in length. 

This was to help the animal overcome starvation as food grew scarcer and scarcer in the African deserts. Because of its long neck, it is rather difficult for the giraffe to drink water. 

giraffe in nature

After all, his head would explode if the blood rushed to his heart and brain each time the animal bent its neck for drinking water. However, this does not happen. 

After all, the Creator has made the giraffe with a sponge at the base of the brain as well as valves, which prevent the blood from rushing to its brain. Any sneaky blood that rushes to the brain is absorbed by the valves. 

The Bible warns off stiff necks in Proverbs 29:1. If you become stubbornly necked instead of listening to Godly advice, things won’t end well for you. So drink up Godly advice from your elder and pastor and keep your neck flexible like the giraffe. (4)

Giraffe Celtic Symbolism

Giraffes are not prominent in the Celtic countries as they are native only to the African continent. However, we can interpret much of the Celtic giraffe symbolism based on the giraffe personality. 

Animals are and have always been fascinating to the Celts. The giraffe is no different. This gentle giant has a long neck, unlike any other beast. 

Watching the giraffe can be fascinating and awe-inspiring.

Its unique size and shape make it the most easy-to-recognize animal on the planet. Since the Celts believed all animals to be messengers of the Gods, they believed the same of giraffes.

giraffe in nature

The giraffe can easily access the tender and juicy leaves on the tops of the tallest trees. Within minutes, the animal can wipe off a branch clean. 

Their long height enables them to see far and wide. This ability is symbolic of seeing into the future. A giraffe mother takes care of her young. 

She watches out for predators to keep the calf safe. 

This is symbolic of mother and guardian angels. Giraffes stay in groups and family is very important to them. This is symbolic of a loving heart and fostering good relationships.

Giraffe African Symbolism

African shamans believe giraffes to be messengers of Gods. They believe that giraffes remind mankind of opening our hearts and seeing the bigger picture. As giraffes symbolize the natural world, their message is to restore balance and harmony to the world. 

Giraffe’s message is that -with grace and beauty, we can bring Mother Earth back to her healthier state. The many diverse tribal peoples living on the continent of Africa have traditions and art forms spanning thousands of years. 

These early works typically showed large animals, including elephants, hippos, and giraffes. Because of its long neck and’ head in the clouds,’ the giraffe may be seen as the link between the sky and the earth. 

giraffe in nature

On the basis of this, in Southern Africa, the giraffe was seen as a symbol of rain and fertility. The okapi is an animal similar to the giraffe. It is also found on the African continent and has the body of a zebra and the head and neck of a giraffe. 

Due to their rarity, the Okapi symbolism is linked to magic. Okapi and giraffes are also powerful symbols of hybridity. 

A female suckling young is the oldest symbol of fertility, pertaining to agriculture as well. But the giraffe suckling young is something different: it symbolizes the daily birth of the sun. 

Giraffe in Dreams

To dream of a giraffe is to dream of gentleness, but with strength and power. The totem of the giraffe is a very spiritual one. In Arab cultures, the graceful and beautiful giraffe symbolizes a woman. 

So, dreaming of one means that a beautiful woman is about to come into your life. To the African bushmen, dreaming of giraffes means supernatural powers. 

Roy Campbell, the poet, expresses the otherworldly ‘head-in-the-clouds’ symbolism of giraffes in his poem Dreaming Spires. 

Here he describes the literal and symbolic distances between the giraffe’s head and its hooves touching the ground.  Among land animals, the giraffe’s ability to see far and wide is unique. 

giraffe in nature

This symbolizes a new perspective or thinking differently. It also symbolizes the future or keeping a futuristic viewpoint. So, seeing a giraffe could symbolize that you should plan better for the future or try and change your perspective or see the bigger picture. 

Since the giraffe also has a rare quality of being in touch with heaven and earth, a giraffe dream can signify spiritual awakening. It can mean that you must reflect on whatever you are doing in your waking life. 

The giraffe dream might also bring more balance and goal-orientation to your life. Because of its powerful defensive kick, the giraffe in dreams may convey a necessary, albeit harsh self-protective attitude. (6)

Giraffe Encounters and Omens

In 1600, many giraffes were shipped to China, where they were much appreciated, being considered as auspicious omens that promised good government, rich harvests, and a peaceful reign.

Author C. A Spinage described the giraffe as a symbol of benefaction like no other. As a result, it occupied a special position in King Axum’s court. 

In Chinese courts where they were gifted by barbarians from Bengal, giraffes were considered to be kilims or unicorns and considered omens of peace and portents signifying Heaven’s Favor. Today, tour companies plan African jungle safaris where one gets to see giraffes in their natural habitats.

giraffe pattern

It is altogether a different experience having this majestic beast come up to your car for some food. Feeding a giraffe in African hotels where giraffes come right up to your dining area through the window is a wonderful experience. 

Feeling the giraffe’s sandpaper-textured tongue is something one should experience if they have the opportunity. The giraffe can bring beauty, love, peace, and joy to your life. 

Dreaming of riding a giraffe is a sign that promises much honor and wealth. In short: the giraffe is a fabulous creature of good omen and the symbol of longevity, grandeur, felicity, and illustriousness. (7)

Giraffe Mythology and Folklore

The word for “giraffe” in the Somali language is “grin,” which is very similar to “k’ i-lin” in Chinese. 

“K’i-lin” happens to be an animal in Chinese mythology that appears only during times of peace and harmony. 

It symbolizes peace and a good harvest. Therefore, in Chinese mythology, the giraffe has come to symbolize heaven’s favor on the virtue of the Emperor, the rule of the entire universe. 

It is a coincidence that the description of a K’i-lin also happens to be similar to a giraffe: the body of a deer and tail of an ox. (8)

giraffe in nature

In Japanese myths, the unicorn, sometimes identified with a giraffe – an animal god who punishes the wicked with its single horn, protect the just, and grants them good luck. 

People of many cultures have noticed that giraffes have spots like a leopard as well as a long neck and two-toed hooves like a camel. An African myth says that God decided to make one last animal. 

He started with some leftover parts from the leopard and the camel. Then he stretched the animal’s neck and called him a giraffe. In ancient Rome, people called the giraffe the leopard camel, thinking that it was the cross between the two animals.

Giraffe Spirit Animal

If my spirit animal is a giraffe, how will I get messages from him? After all, he does not live nearby! This is a valid question, but you need not worry. The giraffe spirit animal will find a way to come to you. 

Besides appearing physically, there are ways you can meet the giraffe. You might see one on the TV, or it could appear in your dreams. You might even see it in a book. 

If you meditate, then you might get some messages and visions during your meditation. The first and most striking characteristic of the giraffe is its lofty stature, which means that you must always stand tall and not slouch. 

Your spine has all your energy chakras or energy centers. So keeping it straight and tall like the giraffe will bring good health. The giraffe is also a gentle creature. It spends its time with its family, chewing leaves on tall trees. 

The mothers nurture their young. Thus, the family is vital to your spirit. Take care of your loved ones and nurture your young. 

Giraffe medicine also is to get the bigger picture from a higher vantage point. Try and look ahead instead of dwelling in the past. Seek ways to secure your future from potential threats and hazards. (9)

Giraffe Totem Animal

The giraffe totem animal is asking you to stretch your neck high and see from a higher vantage point. This gentle creature urges you to seek balance. 

Take adequate rest, nourish your health with good foods, and meditate. Set your eyes on the future, but also enjoy the present moment to the fullest. 

The keywords associated with the giraffe totem are: race, standing tall, letting go, communication, clairvoyance Giraffe is a beautiful, peaceful animal who stands tall and with grace. 

Giraffe highlights communication and clairvoyant abilities. Giraffe also teaches you to move beyond small things and seek the bigger picture.

giraffe in nature

With his tall neck, the giraffe is a link between heaven and the worldly plains. So you are indeed blessed to have this majestic beast as your totem. Although his head is high, it is not in the clouds. 

And his feet are firmly planted on the ground. This means that no matter how much education, knowledge, or experience you may have, you must always remain firmly grounded. The giraffe is a balanced animal – he can work alone but also in groups. 

This is a message for you to be social, love your family and friends, but also love yourself and spend time getting to know yourself. Meditate daily to improve your clairvoyance abilities like the beautiful giraffe. (10)

Giraffe Power Animal

If the giraffe is your power animal, then you are blessed. The giraffe brings medicine and the ability to view a problem from all angles. Your ‘tall stature’ gives you a better vantage point, so you are a just, kind, and gentle person. 

People will look up to you and you are willing to help. The giraffe has a large heart and that is why you are also full of love. 

Every problem can be solved with love and understanding and that is giraffe power animal medicine for you and your personal situation. A giraffe has no problem reaching up, but he suffers when he has to bend his long neck for a drink.

giraffe in nature

That is when he is most vulnerable as he loses sight of the horizon. Here the giraffe’s message is that it is nice to keep looking ahead with your head held high, but every once in a while, bow your head down. 

Like your giraffe power animal, you form friendships for life. You have your head in the heavens but your feet firmly on the ground and that gives you a balance between spiritual and material life. 

Ask for the giraffe’s help when you are facing a tough situation in your life or when you feel tensed and uptight and wish to relax. (11)

Giraffe Tattoo Meaning

A giraffe tattoo means that you are reaching for the heavens but also wish to remain grounded. You have clairvoyant abilities and the tattoo is a reminder of that. The giraffe tattoo can also mean a gentle, kind, and loving heart. 

If your spirit or power animal is a giraffe, then you may want to get this tattoo as a reminder that this spiritual messenger is watching over you. A giraffe tattoo also symbolizes clairvoyance, futuristic vision, and foresight. 

You have these traits in you and are able to plan ahead. Get a giraffe tattoo if you want the reminder to always stand tall. Communicate clearly to your friends and family about your true nature and no need to be ashamed of it. 

The giraffe powers you on through the ups and downs of life. Giraffe tattoos in Japan and China are symbols of good luck. In China, they symbolize blessings from the heavens. 

In Japan, giraffe tattoos are symbols of magic and similar to the unicorn. In Africa, giraffe tattoos mean wildlife, peace, and balance in nature. 

If you are an animal lover, get the giraffe tattoo in support of wildlife causes. If you are passionate about preserving the environment, the giraffe tattoo is a great representation of that passion.


Giraffe symbolism is linked to the balance between the head and the heart. It is also a symbolic representation of spiritual and worldly matters. Giraffes are thus considered spiritual or divine messengers. Giraffe in dreams are generally good omens of good luck and fortune. Whether you wish to get a giraffe tattoo or have been visited by one in the dreams, we hope this guide helps you find your own giraffe meaning.


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