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


Heron symbolism is important because the heron meaning refers to tranquility and stillness for us humans. We need to understand these two elements well if we wish to recognize the opportunities in life.

The symbolism also signifies determination because we are bound to wade through marshes and ponds through life’s journey, but we must never give up.

Table of contents

Heron Symbolism and Meaning

What do herons symbolize? Like every other symbolism, the heron symbolic meaning has several facets to it. Primarily, the bird is a symbol of beauty because it prospers and flourishes in the majestic realm where the land and shore dance in a symphony. 

The result is a wondrous spectacle. The marriage of the two elegant energies of water and land is included in the meaning of herons. 

The heron shows us the abundance of life in the sea, for when we see the peace, contentment, and tranquility that the heron finds at the edge of the waters, we are assured of the plethora of life present inside the waters.


This works as a guide for those who are on a sabbatical to find healing, calmness, and stillness in their life. The heron is the guide to finding your sacred serenity.

What does a heron symbolize when he hunts? This natural characteristic of the bird also contributes a significant facet to the heron symbolism. The heron moves in the blink of an eye to spear a fish for dinner. 

To the human eye, the actual capture appears instantaneous, but in truth, the heron waits very long and in stillness before the catch. Here he teaches us the quality of patience, of observing with a keen eye and not wasting time when the opportunity arises.

Heron Native American Symbolism

Several Native American Tribes look at the heron symbol as signs of patience and good luck. This belief takes root in the Northwest Coast, where people believe that if Native American fishermen spot a heron, it means good luck is with them, and they will have a successful fishing trip. 

For most of us, it is common knowledge that fishing in many coastal areas and villages is the main source of livelihood and food.

Thus, a heron symbolizes prosperity in the lives of Native Americans. Some tribes even look upon herons as an eternal solitary creature of nature, perhaps because it stays aloof mostly except for the breeding time.

The North American Native tradition also pays close attention to the great blue heron symbolism.  The blue heron symbolism talks about self-reliance and self-determination. The blue heron, meaning Native American, focuses on the ability to evolve and progress.

The blue heron meaning, as per the Native American traditions, takes into account the long and thin legs of the creature. It shows how one does not need to rely on the support of massive pillars for stability, but rather one’s own feeble strength is also sufficient to stand firm in the journey of life. 

Those with the blue heron spirit animal in the Native American tradition possess innate wisdom and strength that helps them maneuver and co-create their own situations and achievements in life.

Heron Christianity Symbolism

When it comes to creatures of nature and especially birds, you will find a special interpretation of several in the Christian beliefs. The heron spiritual meaning has a significant place in Christianity and thus makes place for the existence of the heron symbolism Christianity.

Christianity particularly associates this bird with good luck and long life. The long-suffering and content nature of herons from a Biblical point of view is quite an inspiration for the Christian community and serves as a guide to contentment and gratefulness with one’s lot in life.

Several hymns of praise feature the Heron’s stillness and patience while in wait and how the Christian belief all centers on patience and perseverance to earn your blessings in life. 

Christianity looks upon a heron as the most content and satisfied bird. The heron bird symbol was developed when a heron with and a white stone in its beak became a symbol of wisdom that accrues to the Christian virtue of silence. 

Silence in the Christian translation relates to wisdom and patience and thus is considered a virtue. The blue heron and egret are similar in this regard too. The blue heron spiritual meaning is self-reflection and nurturing all aspects of oneself. 

What do egrets symbolize? Just like the blue heron, the egret symbolism too focuses on being at peace with oneself and the world, being in a state of balance and calmness throughout. When a person reaches this level of spirituality and peace with the creator, he becomes the most balanced and accomplished person.

Heron Celtic Symbolism

In the Celtic traditions, the heron and the egret meaning stand for autonomy, persistence, and longevity. In some Celtic lore, you will find an association of Heron with gods because of their peace-loving and calm nature.

Take Rhiannon for example, she was the epitome of protection, especially for the travelers. Her dominion encompassed all the magical waters. 

Rhiannon was the goddess of waters and lakes and as per the tales, herons are her reincarnation. This is why the Celtic Symbolism also addresses the heron as the Lady of the Lake.

Some tales from the Celtic history also refer to heron as Creyr. He is the god that both takes away and gives life. This is why it was no surprise back in time and even now to see symbols of heron on the shields of Celtic warriors as a sign of protection.

There is also a belief regarding the knotted herons in the Celtic traditions. The Celtic symbolism refers to knotted herons as symbols of peace and harmony, which is equal to the European Yin Yang symbol. 

In the same way, just like the Chinese culture, the Celtics also regard the double-headed heron as a symbol of prosperity. The Africans, however, refer to them as communicators with God, which too is a part of the Celtic symbolism.

Heron in Dreams

What is the heron omen about? Are herons good luck? It is a popular belief that when herons appear to you in your dreamscape, there could be several interpretations of it. 

However, most essentially, it could be a stop sign or a signal to halt if you are particularly being driven towards investing in a project you have no prior experience, knowledge, and research about. 

The appearance of heron in your dream serves as a guide to tact, self-reliance, and forethought for success. The second interpretation of a heron in your dream could be one of introspection. 


Perhaps the heron is an indication to look within yourself for answers. Here we also find similarity in the blue heron totem, which is an indication of closer intimacy and communication with your tribe.

People may have good insights for you, but that treasure is not discoverable until you do stay insular. Dreaming of a heron standing on one leg is symbolic of finding your own bliss by staying focused. 

If you dream of a flying heron, it could be a warning of an upcoming family squabble. It may be a good idea to consult the leader of your tribe for resolutions.

Heron Encounters and Omens

An encounter with the heron spirit guide could be a message of contemplation and meditation for you. It is indicative of the fact that you are right where you need to be in that moment of life.

The other interpretation of an encounter with a heron could mean that perhaps it is time for you to take a break, slow down and ponder things through. 

This interpretation is especially pertinent if you are living through a chaotic time in your life. When you cross paths with a heron, certain traits of the bird become immediately apparent. 


Those include grace, silence, patience, stillness, serenity, peace, and healing. In observing these characteristics, you often feel motivated to becoming like the heron itself, contemplative. 

Still and quiet in your ways. This is the sign of the awakening of wisdom. The Iroquois tribe particularly considered the blue heron as a great omen and a tremendously lucky sign for them. 

Some of their beliefs looked upon the heron as a greatly skilled hunter. Therefore, if any of them sighted a heron prior to a hunt, they took it as a good omen that the hunt would be successful.

Heron Mythology and Folklore

The Greek myths refer to heron as the messenger of God, so they never harmed a heron because they believed it would bring bad luck upon them. 

May stories of Athena tell us that one of her messengers was a heron. Heron is also symbolic of virtue and honor. 

If you study Greek art, you would see how the heron pays a vital role in striking a balance in the continuous struggle between evil and good. The balance herein is substantial to the significance of the heron symbolism too.


The Egyptians, too, shared a profound relationship with this beautiful bird because a God named Bennu was a large gold and red heron. Heliopolis, one of Egypt’s oldest cities, considered this bird highly sacred. 

Bennu was the creator of light, which is why the city came to be recognized as the city of the Sun. The heron also shares an association with the natural energies and encourages us to flow with them too. 

It teaches us not to struggle with nature but rather to cooperate with it and nurture it. One cannot help but feel awed at the beauty of heron and take inspiration from what the magnificent and stunning creature of nature teaches us.

Heron Spirit Animal

The heron spirit animal has a variety of messages pertaining to us humans. One message it delivers to us is independence. By nature, humans are either too social or too solitary and in a measure, the heron teaches us that we do need each other but only to a particular extent.

Consider it a human reality to depend on each other to a certain level. However, the solitary characteristic of the heron also teaches us not to be so overly social that we lose our own distinct individuality and identity in the crowd.

What does a crane symbolize? All through Asia, the meaning of cranes in the sky refers to eternal youth and happiness. The crane spiritual meaning in Japan is of a holy and mystical creature.

Along with the other lessons that the heron gives us to work in cooperation with our partners when preparing for our family. 

If you look at the heron; otherwise, it is mostly a solitary figure and prefers spending his time along. Only when it has to build a nest, it teams up with his female and works cooperatively with her to establish a solid foundation for their young ones.

The heron also calls upon us to nudge us towards a time of self-reflection and to analyze deeply where we are heading in life. This gives us an opportunity to verify whether we are uncomfortable around a person or a situation. This encourages us to pay heed to an instinctual warning we may have been trying to ignore otherwise.

Heron Totem Animal

People born with the heron totem are typically solitary like the bird. Just like the heron animal totem, the people detest the interference of others in their private matters. They keep their circle quite limited with but one mate.

Initially, the people with this animal totem may look relaxed and at home in a group but waste no time in retreating once a social occasion is over.

If you belong to the heron totem, you probably are a very diverse human being. You love to learn a little about this and a tad bit of that. 


You will not be uncomfortable under any hat and be adept at each. Whether one hands you a plumbing tax or scrubbing wax out of the rugs, nothing will seem out of element for you.

However, it is often noted that those who possess the heron totem in their lives might be more emotional and may not be able to find a balance in their emotions. 

You could simultaneously take the heron as an encouragement to learn how to balance your emotional struggles so that you suffer no pain and difficult situations in life because of this problem.

Heron Power Animal

The heron characteristics allow you tremendous freedom. Like we mentioned before, you like diversity and do not really care when people fail to understand your lifestyle. 

You are far from traditional and others may view this as a disorderly and chaotic life, but for you, it is a complete pattern. Take the example of the white heron symbolism over here. It is a symbol of the wonders of nature and independence. 

The white heron shows us how it needs to be protected against the destructive forces of greed and industrialization. Look at Sylvia’s bravery when she sees the spectacular perspective of the heron from the top of the tree. 


When she experiences the wonderment first hand, she makes a decision not to let the hunter kill this magnificent bird.

People with the heron power animal do not really need many other persons in their life, nor do they fall under the compulsions of the materialistic world. 

People with this power animal will never be traditional but stand out in their uniqueness. Perhaps the blue heron medicine works here by empowering an individual with the knowledge of themselves, their gifts, and face the challenges.

Heron Tattoo Meaning

Like every other tattoo depicting creatures of nature, the heron tattoo meaning has several facets too. 

A double-headed heron has long since been a symbol of prosperity, so if you see a tattoo of this creature on a person, you could associate it with prosperity.

In China, the people wear the heron tattoo as a sign of longevity, patience, purity, and strength. 

The Africans considered the heron as a communicator with God, so a heron tattoo for them has a highly sacred meaning and depicts a profound relationship they might share with the gods.

If anyone apart from these cultures wears the heron tattoo, the most common interpretation of it would be of a statement of their intention to improve upon their plans of precision. 

People may also associate the heron tattoo as a signal to let the person wearing it remain in their state of tranquility and stillness and not to interfere too much into their quiet peace.


The heron symbolism speaks primarily of solitude and loneliness but in a positive light. It shows how individuals can suffice on their own and not complicate their lives with too much interference and involvement of other human beings. 

Only when necessary, an individual may share closeness with a mate or another person when working on important things in life, such as starting a family or a project. 


11 thoughts on “Heron Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”

  1. I lived and raised my 3 kids on beautiful Vancouver Island for 30 years.
    Once my children left the nest I decided to move back to the mainland to be closer to my family.
    The day before the big moving day a great blue heron landed on the peak of my roof and seemed quite content to perch himself there for 2 hours!
    This gave me such a sense of Peace and I was in awe….and took this “farewell” as a very good sign. I’ve been back on the mainland for 15 years now ….so far so good … Thank for triggering this beautiful memory 💙

  2. December 8th, 2021 I was on the phone with my brother G. He had been feeling sick with the flu, in the middle of our conversation he stopped, and in an excited voice, he cried oh my God an egret is walking around in my back yard!! I asked him what did it look like. He described the big white bird and said THIS KIND OF BIRD is not from this area. He was in awe of this great bird. He began coughing and was breathless. We ended our conversation. As I hung up I noticed a AAA magazine by the phone with an Egret on the cover!!! I was mystified, I would call him back later. My brother later that week got sicker I called him to beg him to go to the hospital, I did tell him I loved him. He passed the next night in the hospital. Well, I pray he is in peace I will always remember the Egret and wonder what the visit was for my brother. For me a broken heart.

    1. I’m very sorry for your loss. I hope that the visit from the possible egret brought him some peace. I’d like to think that maybe this bird was sent to bring him peacefully into the next life and to remind you that he’ll be with you whenever you see an egret.

      I hope this helps,
      — Hailey Brophy
      Writer @ World Birds

  3. My love for the solitary fisher goes back to my childhood when I saw my first majestic Great Blue standing statue-like on the bank of the Des Plains River near where i lived. I may have been as young as six or seven. I am now seventy years old. That memory is a link in my DNA. At home, I have many images of the Buddha of Birds as I sometimes call them. They are so meditative yet so aware of their environment that I never intentionally want to disturb them.

    At times she relocates to, perhaps, a more productive fishing post. Perhaps she heard a fish splash or, even better, the kerplop of a frog. What a delicacy for lunch! To get to a better observation spot, she first jumps athletically straight toward the sky to get airborne. It works every time.
    In-flight, those long legs, beneath her strong fuselage of a body, are stretched out as far as her tail feathers. The long pointed beak tears through the air like a knife. The amazingly wide wingspan, six to seven feet of pure muscle, feathers & hollow bone, allow her to glide, as low or as high as is necessary as she had calculated the distance to her new destination. For the short trip, she need fly close above the unfettered by any force of a headwind.

    I have witnessed this scene countless times without ever tiring of its consistency & perfection. With time, I became less enchanted but I became increasingly more deeply meditative. Through the years I have metamorphosized into a less social person into an individual who is committed to a life of being content as a thinking, solitary, person whose love of life, caring, & giving to close family & few friends have proven to be philosophically sound. (Yes, I have studied, & still study the wisdom I discover by reading, practicing, & living a life concentrated in Philosophy which was my major concentration for earning my B.A. degree – magna cum laude.)

    My admiration for the Great Blue Heron had filled my existence for most of my time as a human, i.e. homo sapien. I say that, if the reader finds it odd it is because I have a soul & which transcends my corporal self & allows me to have the spiritual life that I live. I see the Great Blue Hero as an emblem of spirit. She embodies grace, persistence, solitary reliance on self, control, the essence of caution & calculation & content to be what she is, nothing less, nothing more. She, along with a plethora of wild fauna, represents the purity of spirit that holds the world within the bounds of human reason & com.ittment to care for, not to dominate, nature. For me, the Great Blue Heron shows me the path fromwhich i dare not stray. I can never replace the awesome wonder that the Great Blue Heron is, not only for me but, for all free spirits to honor with reverence & with joy.

    1. Thank you for this. I’m coming to accept a similar thread in my own life. Always loved Heron, so many times they have flown over my head when travelling, and I watch in awe. Recently seeing egrets locally.

  4. I really enjoyed reading about the beliefs around this bird. I keep seeing herons every new place I visit, and they always make me feel so peaceful, contemplative and inspired. They also make me feel protected. Like they are watching over me. The sound they make is actually quite the opposite of how they look haha. I got woken up by a heron on my 24th birthday and woke up to a majestic sunrise and a Heron already at work.

  5. My friends and I were cycling last Thursday and were visited by a Peaceful white Heron.

    I just had another visit from one at my home. It is perched on my fence. I feel at peace.

  6. I enjoyed reading the compilation of beliefs other cultures have about herons. Not too long ago, a heron landed on the rooftop of my neighbor’s home. I was getting ready for a trip to another state, walked into my backyard and saw the heron. I was stunned with the enormity and stood still. The heron was still. Then the heron calmly stood and flew away but not until we “had a moment” with one another. I felt such peace. Two days in a row after that day, I experienced sightings of a heron in two other states as if it was following me.

  7. I was standing by my house when 2 Great blue Herons flew in a circle over my house and right over me and my boyfriends head, it was amazing! This really resonated, thanks 🤩

    1. I have an idea of an illustration with white herons in it. Since for the first time in my life, I happened to see one by chance several weeks ago out of nowhere. In a place close to peoples homes and packed with people. But at the time, it’s as if I’m the only one who saw the bird. It was such a wonderful surprise. Then, I stumbled upon your writings about the bird’s meanings when researching. Each one of them really on point and strikes a chord with me, my intention, and situation right now. Thank you for existing.

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