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

hawk

Hawk symbolism is different to different people because it depends upon the situation of the individual and also the context in which the hawk appears in that individual’s life. 

Perhaps you have come to this site after seeing a hawk or have been dreaming about it. Perhaps you are inquisitive about the hawk feather meaning. Whatever the case may be, this guide will help you understand different aspects of hawk symbolism.

Table of contents

Hawk symbolism and meaning

Wondering what does it mean when you see a hawk? A hawk is representative of God Horus, who happens to be the Sky God in Egyptian mythology. In The Osage and the Invisible World: From the Works of Francis la Flesche, a black hawk represents the night.

Flesche talks extensively about hawks in his poem Rattle Song. In fact, the entire work is on hawks. He talks first about the black hawks, which is greater than the red hawk and because ‘out of the night proceed the mysteries of the night.’ 

The red tail hawk symbolism, on the other hand, typifies the glorious color of a luminous day. The two hawks thus represent the force of the night and the force of the day, which are symbolic of the endless recurrent movement of life. The Rattle Song also talks about the grey hawk and the little hawk, which are also cosmic symbols.

The hawk is as courageous a bird as the eagle. Therefore, hawks represent the strength and courage of the warriors. In fact, compared to the eagle, the hawk is swifter and attacks its prey in a more decisive manner. 

In Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small by Ted Andrews, hawk and owl feathers can be used for astral projection and achieving control over the dream state. A red-tailed hawk feather is often tied between two owl feathers to consciously control one’s dream scenarios during sleep.

Hawk Native American symbolism

According to Native Americans, hawks are guardians, as well as messengers from our ancestors. (1) The Native Chiefs always relied upon hawks to protect them through trying times, mostly as messengers of warning. 

Hawks are gatekeepers of the East and they represent honesty and clear vision. Hawks are reliable warriors of truth. A hawk crying overhead may be a warning, while one dive-bombing is seen as a challenge. 

If you often see a shadow of a hawk passing you, it means you may be in danger. If the bird sits on a low branch and simply stares at you, it could mean the death of a close friend. Sometimes, a hawk may fly over your head to simply check up on you. 

As per Native American shamans, the red tailed hawk symbol with its sharp, eagle-like whistle indicates ‘that you should clear your mind.’ If you keep seeing a hawk with white feathers, something very sacred is about to take place, and the Creator is giving you a message that a miracle is on the way. 

In short: hawks are viewed as messengers by the Native Americans. They could bring messages from deities, deceased ancestors, benevolent guides, etc. Although these messages can sometimes be negative omens, hawks and their feathers deserve respect.

Hawk Christianity symbolism

The biblical meaning of hawk sightings is also a message from God. The Hebrew root word Naz for Hawk and falcons signifies rapidity and the length of flight these birds are capable of. 

Falcons and hawks are both represented by this word and the meaning for both are ‘birds of prey,’ ‘cruel in a temper’, and ‘gross in the manner.’ As a result, hawks are forbidden from being eaten. Israelites do not eat hawks and other birds of prey.

The Greeks consecrated the Hawks to Apollo, but the Egyptians held the hawks and ibis in high veneration. In Christianity, hawks are birds of passage, and in Job xxxix, hawks and other birds of passage are praised for their abilities to tell time, season, know when to fly away to another region or country, etc. 

‘Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom?’ Thus, the meaning of the passage is that: hawks migration is not conducted by the wisdom and prudence of man but by the superintending and upholding of a wise God.

On the sacred Pylon at Diospolis, there is a boy-symbol of generation, an old man as the symbol of decay, and a hawk as a symbol of God. In the procession of Gods, they carry two images: two dogs, one ibis, and a hawk. The dogs symbolize the two hemispheres, the hawk, the sun, and the ibis-the moon.

Hawk Celtic symbolism

According to Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Names for Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Druids, the word hawk is derived from heafoc or the root word hab or haf, which means ‘to seize.’ Hawk is used generically by Llewellyn to represent any bird of prey that hunts by day. In terms of symbolism among Celts and Irish, falcons and hawks are used interchangeably.

Famed for their sharp-eyesight, hawk symbolism Celtic representation is clear-sightedness and perspicacity. The sport of capturing falcons and hawks known as falconry was a pastime of the aristocracy. 

It dates back to the end of the Roman period, contributing to the association of nobility/aristocracy with hawks. Since hawks also have a natural pride and aloof demeanor, the symbolism of hawk is also pride.

Hawks are considered to be cruel and ruthless, too, based on the way they capture their prey. This makes hawks become symbols of pitilessness and cruelty.

Many Celtic mythological takes and folklore mention the hawks. The hero Finn – meaning fair one- could bring down the hawk with a single shot. Some characters also get magically transformed into sparrow-hawks. 

The hero Gawain mentioned in the Legend of Arthur (whose very name contains the word gwalch that means hawk) sets off in search of the Holy Grail.

Hawk in dreams

To dream of a hawk means a sign of business losses. It also means not to speculate just now. It means a ‘get rich.

Pay close attention to your encounters with hawks in real life and in dreams. It is even more important to stay close to nature and watch out for animal and bird omens during insecure times. 

You might get several visits from hawks in dreams when you are going through terrible times. A hawk might circle your house or even fly into your windshield while driving. 

You might even see several hawks circling, meaning they are answers to the conflicts you may be facing. It certainly means a sense of blessing and affirmations. 

If you see a hawk in your dreams, it means you should think of it as a divine blessing. Invite supportive presence in your meditations and a hawk will show itself in your dreams and in real life as well.

In Arabic culture (2), dreaming of being chased by a hawk means that a brave man is angry with you. The hawk also means two things as per Islamic traditions: an honorable sultan or a stupid boy.

Hawk encounters and omens

A hawk facing you with its white breast in full view is a good omen. But, if a hawk shows you its back, it is a bad omen. Traditionally too, omens were carefully analyzed before wars. A hawk facing the opposite direction spelled sure defeat. (3)

A hawk flying symbolizes freedom. It is a divine messenger. Seeing a hawk means you are protected. Seeing hawks all the time means you are getting a flow of ideas like a hawk does while it is flying on the wind. 

A hawk is a wonderful symbol of freedom and flight. The meaning of seeing a hawk symbolizes a creative being. Encountering a hawk means you should let your creative spirit flow. It can be through music or poetry or other creative talents.

The Latin word for hawks is Accipitridae – which is to ‘seize.’ A hawk has excellent eyesight. It can see its prey from miles above, swoop down upon it, and seize it. The word hawk itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word hafoc, which means to hurry.

Hawk omen asks you to get in touch with your wild nature. It also denotes taking a broader perspective on things. It asks you to step back and not let emotions overwhelm you.

Hawks’ mythology and folklore

In Zoological Mythology or The Legends of Animals, Volume 2, Angelo De Gubernatis states that hawks are divine creatures in opposition to all that is diabolical. (4)

In Norse mythology, hawks are not only birds of prey but also the messengers of Gods. They were often kept as pets by royalty and accompanied them on hunts. 

The hawks acted as ‘sharp-eyed messengers’ and informants for Gods and also represented death. In many legends, they preceded their master’s arrival and signaled the nobleman’s family about the master’s return from hunting trips or wars. (5)

In Hindu mythology, the hawk is considered as the protector of women. In Ramayana, the story of Lord Rama, who goes to Lanka in search of his wife kidnapped by Ravana, the demon King, Jatayu hawk, plays the messenger. 

Jatayu informs Rama about his wife’s location. Ravana chops off the bird’s wing and as he lays there dying, he saves his last ounce of strength to relay the message to Lord Rama.

In Greek mythology, hawks served as Apollo’s messengers. According to the Greeks, if you have been wondering why do I always see a hawk, the answer could be that you need to remind yourself of your wilder nature. (6)

Hawk spirit animal

Spirit animal hawk means that you are focusing on too many details. It may be time to step back and get a larger perspective on the situation. It also means that you may be getting distracted by things and that you should eliminate distractions and stay as focused as possible.

Seeing a hawk meaning is to observe and study the situation. It may ask you to pay close attention to the situation as the Universe may relay an important message to you. Also, be prepared for attacks and get ready to defend yourself.

A hawk spirit guide is also telling you to stop trying to change people or situations and instead accept them as they are. You can call upon a hawk if you are feeling overwhelmed by emotions or are being criticized or physically assaulted. You can also call upon the hawk when your plans do not go as planned and you wish to raise your spirits.

If hawk spirit animal shows up, then you are a strong person, a leader, and a visionary who does not get easily affected. You are also very good at protecting your family and loved ones. Your insightful nature wins you many friends and followers. (7)

Hawk totem animal

Totem animals communicate to you Nature’s powerful messages. If a hawk is one of your totems, you must learn to watch out for these birds, for they may give you important messages from the Universe. If you are traveling, ask for hawk’s protection and vision to guide and assist you on the trip. The hawk will not fail you and you will need several as you travel along.

Hawk totem people also initiate and lead. But they are also known to be impulsive. A hawk totem person has important gifts to share with the world and one of them is the vision of a better and brighter future. If you are a hawk spirit animal yourself, you may want to seek out other visionaries to support you. (8)

Hawk totems can also send you other animal totems for helping you out. For example, hawks do not fly at night. So, if you are traveling at night, the hawk may send other totem animals like owls, deer, etc. to guide you. (9)

As a hawk totem, you may have to play the role of messenger. Sometimes, those messages may not be what other people wish to hear, but you have to nevertheless say those things and relay them, no matter what the consequences. This can be a challenge faced by hawk totems.

Hawk power animal

If a hawk turns up as your power animal, it has the following message for you: “You need a perspective. Don’t try to change people or situations. Fly away for a while and take a break. 

Take some time to just be. Sit up high on a rock or walk through the mountains- do whatever you can to maintain your spiritual perspective. That is when you are at your best”.

Call upon the hawk when emotions like anger, despair, hurt, etc. overwhelm you. Any situation wherein you feel that you have misplaced your faith and your perspective, the hawk can guide you.  

You can also call the hawk when you have intense mental activity, educational pursuit, or training where you need to maintain your vigil.

A person who has hawk as their power animal has heightened spiritual awareness. They are sensitive to emotional currents that are the ebb and flow of the human-kind. But these people can easily glide through these emotional currents. 

Hawk power animal means that one can see the bigger picture and has a broad perspective. They also have a keen ability to zero in on details. A person who expresses their power animal spirit can truly soar like the hawk. (10)

Hawk tattoo meaning

Hawk tattoos are very popular. Their popularity increased after movies like ‘Now You See Me,’ which depicts the Eye of the Horus since the hawk is representative of the Eye of Horus. (11

It is not uncommon in tattoo art to show a hawk perched on a glove or in the process of hunting.

Each tattoo has distinctive and evocative qualities that stimulate our imagination. A hawk tattoo is no different in that; it can mean different things to different people.

A hawk always observes before swooping down to take action or killing its prey. So a hawk tattoo is a reminder to think before you leap. Hawks also represent intelligence, prowess, and honor.

A hawk tattoo is trendy and timeless; it is representative of awakening one’s powers of mystical awareness. But its meaning can change from culture to culture, and also based on its style and colors used. 

For example, in some cultures, a hawk may represent balance, patience, and wisdom. In other cultures, it may represent evil and dangerous creature that preys upon the weaker animals or birds. 

So make sure you discuss your vision with your tattoo artist. Do your research and fully understand the hawk meaning and what exactly it represents.

Conclusion

What does it mean when a hawk crosses your path? A hawk has different spiritual meanings. It mainly means the Eye of Horus or a messenger from God or from our ancestors. Ancient tribes used this bird as a warning or omen for knowing the outcome of a situation, especially during wars. If you have seen a hawk, we hope this guide on hawk symbolism helps you gain clarity about its meaning.

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21 thoughts on “Hawk Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”

  1. I’m suz, Birds has bring out the best in me and makes me to realize that am spiritual, I felt it in me because i have a Hawk always flying around me and its makes me feel safe.. the most important part of it Hawk send different bird to me for gaudiness and perfective,.. sometimes i go in spirit and i communicate with birds and i don’t know how its comes.. but the problem am having is that when they come around i always want to communicate.. so all this got a lot of people looking at me like am mad man or so i don’t care because i know the Joy they giving me because birds are the only creatures that can make you seen an amazing thing that gonna make you feel like ontop the world… they always make me happy giving me different skills as they fly.. i just want to thank God that he has giving the grace to know what to do to draw their attention close when they know am on it.. but i was suprise when i was communicating with one bird i didnt see the bird but as she was talking to me i dont know how its comes i was in the same tone with the bird.. so someone was looking at me through window.. then i ask the bird peeple looking at me now will think running mad, we where talking and am hearing your voice very loud and she told me that nobody is hearing her voice that am the only one so that scared me and i don’t want to hide this i want the world to know about this because i do have the spirit of Hawk,..

  2. Trevina Bazil

    My name is Trevina Bazil. I live in Hamilton New Zealand.Today on the 15-05-2022 my Mum daughter&i we’re on our way to visit my stepdad at the cemetery, which is a hour and a half away from his home in Papamoa east NZ.We lost him on the 09-05-2022 two days before his 76th Birthday.Dementia took my poor Dads life.We had his funeral on the 13-05-2022.On our travels to Dad I spotted 12hawks that flew over us,either side of us,high and low.What a beautiful sight. I couldn’t believe how many I kept seeing,it was an unbelievable feeling.Then the last one I saw was when we were at the cemetery flying by.13hawks in one day omfg 🙀 never ever have I seen that many in one day.I’m truly grateful thankful blessed for seeing this beautiful creation. I will never ever forget this day. Thank you 🙏 Lord Thank you 😊 Jesus Amen. I had to share this one.🪶

  3. I recently had a hawk drop a rabbit next to me while I was walking my dog. It was fairly warm and windy that day, and the hawk hovered above me for a while after dropping the rabbit. I moved away in case the hawk wanted to retrieve the rabbit, but I did express gratitude as best I could. Wondering what that could mean?

  4. On Friday morning, I put my parakeets outside on my back deck to bask in the sun. As I was just about to walk over the threshold back into my house there was a small earthquake. A few hours later, I was ending an interview when I hear my birds screaming like I have never heard before. I look over and one of my birds was being attacked either by a hawk or falcon. I excused myself from the interview to go rescue my birds. Wondering what this might symbolize.

  5. Elizabeth Rodarte

    Thank you Garth, for this very detailed explanation. I have always seen hawks, throughout the various stages of my life. Today I saw 4! For a special treat, I saw a male hawk mate. I always feel protected when I see them. I greet them and ask them, What message do you have for me today?
    I always seem to get the answer.

  6. Robbin Dillon

    My name Robbin and I helped a baby red tail hawk last spring that flew into our hallway.
    It has stayed around and I see it has 2 smaller retails it flies with.
    It acts like it recognizes me. I believe it is an omen. It stares at me as if watching over me and knows I helped it. I have beautiful photos and videos. Can I somehow share with you?

  7. Geraldine Stanek

    For the last two days I’ve had a red tailed hawk AND a blackbird sitting next to each other-one day in a tree next day on fence. I do have a bird feeder and grey squirrels come and go as well as other birds. I just feel that it’s odd that these two sitting together like without a care in the world is odd.

    1. Smaller birds often “mob” larger ones by pressing in close and making noise. They do this to drive predators away from them. It’s not too unusual to see them near each other but it’s definitely strange to see them perched and seemingly relaxed. Believe it or not, mobbing is relatively safe for the small birds because they’re usually more agile and maneuverable.
      I hope this helps!

      — Hailey Brophy
      Writer @ World Birds

  8. Thank you for the information! Today, as I was heading into a local library… I heard a shriek and fluttering in a nearby oak tree. I saw a hawk land with its prey in the snow at the base of the tree. It turned out to be a Sharp-Shinned Hawk and possibly a sparrow for prey. At first, I thought a squirrel, but the aftermath was a circle of plucked feathers and bones. I live in a small North-Eastern city in the Adirondacks. What I found amazing was that no one noticed, stopped, or even flinched by the sight and sound of the capture. All were focused on themselves and phones, leaving me in a Natural Moment!

  9. I was sitting on my porch a hawk flew down to attack a bird that’s what got my attention. The bird flew away but the hawk landed on the post he was facing my neighbor’s but turned it’s head and watch me for awhile before it flew off.

  10. 0n 01/23/21 my wife and I returned from walking our dog mid-day and a beautiful red hawk was on our roof, staring at us sideways. It was odd because we never saw a hawk in our small yard in four years living there. It reminded me that I still had a red solar bird under the Christmas tree that my wife gave me, so I stuck it in the garden. That evening, we learned that our 30 year old son, who was a beautiful redhead, has died unexpectedly in his apartment, about 1,000 miles away. Our lives have been upended, of course, ever since. I often think back on that sad day and wondered if the hawk was a sign. The comments here have been interesting and helpful. I always loved birds and felt that the red hawk we saw was a sign that something awful has happened.

    1. Randy and Sally

      Yes Marty that was a sign, see our late post on our son’s passing in February 2021 at 37. A hawk came to set right outside his room on the fence for all to see, never before. It will get a bit better with time.. And watch and ask for the signs of him to return to say that I am ok.
      R and S

  11. My father just passed a few months ago and it’s been very emotional. My thoughts are always that he knows how much we miss his presence and I’m constantly asking God to let him know. Yesterday we came home to find a Hawk inside our home. We were shocked that he somehow flew inside our home. We were not home but my youngest son was but did not realize that the Hawk was inside. He flew in our front door. We’ve lived in this house for 5 years and always have the front door open and have never had this happen. We also have small palm trees covering our front door entrance so it’s not easily seen so to have this happen was a surprise to us. I instantly became connected to the Hawk as we got a hold of him and set him free outside. It was a beautiful encounter and I know there was a deeper meaning to it.

  12. Hi, I’ve had a Hawk that’s been with me for about 7years. The first time I saw her she was flying upriver over the shoals. She told me her name was Sunday. Blew my mind. She’s been with me ever since. She comes close sometimes especially when I’m in danger. She’ll squawk her head off if there’s something bad around me. I’m very grateful she is part of my life. Love and light to all. Namaste!

  13. Catherine L Bodine

    Hello,
    I’ve always considered seeing a Hawk as a good sign. thanks have been a part of my life for many years, always showing up when I need guidance, or to brighten my day. So much so that I now seek them out, to confirm that I’m on the right path.
    Lately I’ve been seeing multiple Hawks & yesterday during a much needed healing I saw 2 very large Hawks.
    I also didn’t know that the Hawk represents the eye of Horus, this is a symbol that I have always been drawn to.
    Thank you for all your help and insight. peace, love & happiness

  14. Hi-
    I wanted to share the following. I have had red tail hawk as a guide for twenty some years- he guides me for a time then withdraws for someone who has a lesson for me to come to the fore. He returns when I need to refresh his lessons. I was driving a few weeks ago and saw a red tail hawk on a electric pole. This time was so different though. This hawk had melanin issues- he was entirely white except for some of the wing feathers.
    After the incredible difficulties of the past year and half- I burst into tears of joy – first time of being joyful in a very very long time.
    I have caught up with him four more times and cherish each contact.
    Thanks for all the info!
    Randy and Sally- so sorry for your loss- I’m sure your son was letting you know he was good. It is little gifts like this that get us through. Take care

  15. I see a hawk above me as I go outside or lay down and look out the window they circle and then fly away , I feel comfortable around hawks the beauty and calming of nature is wonderful . Thank you broken feather

  16. Randy and Sally

    Thanks Garth, this is hard to write but so very moving. We lost our son at our house in February 17 2021 in the afternoon. The next morning as family were gathering we had a visitor on the fence just outside his room. The young hawk sat there for a long …. Long time with its white chest toward us. He chirped and flew away in a bit later. We have a few pictures.

    1. Dear Randy and Sally
      My name is Maria and I ended up in this page trying to find the spiritual meaning of an hawk.
      I am a very sensitive person and to read you sharing your story about your son is touching me emotionally.
      Your boy send you that hawk to tell you that he is well and that he just departed for a long trip . He used his totem animal to keep transmitting his energy . We are all energy and his for sure was so good one here on earth that it was allowed to come to you that day not to say bye but to let you know that he is with you , watching you and I believe if you concentrate on the hawk spiritual meaning you will still have meetings with him and share his energy.
      Keep telling your story as you will find people in life that will need some comfort, hope or guidance and your son is living forever this way .
      I am a completely stranger to you both but I am sending my sincerely love. You all are nice and you have been blessed with love I can feel it
      Thank you for sharing your story it has seed in me faith
      Love
      Maria

      1. Thank you Maria. It has been a year now, still hard but we can see forward now. Many hawks have visited with low eye level passes by our view windows. That makes our day. R and S

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