Hummingbirds are the jewel-colored flowers of the kingdom of birds. Whizzing through the sky with frenzied energy, these birds are a perennial favorite visitor to gardens and feeders. The hummingbird, though, is much more than its looks. They are unique, feisty, and adaptable birds.
Tiny yet mighty, these birds are important figures in culture and folklore. The unique characteristics of the hummingbird make them an important spiritual symbol. Read on to discover the meaning of the hummingbird in mythology, dreams, and as a spirit animal. Who knows what wisdom the hummingbird has in store for you!
Table of contents
- Hummingbird Symbolism and meaning
- Hummingbird Native American Symbolism
- Hummingbird Eastern Symbolism
- Hummingbird Christianity Symbolism
- Hummingbird Celtic Symbolism
- Hummingbird African Symbolism
- Hummingbird in Dreams
- Hummingbird Encounters and Omens
- Hummingbird Mythology and Folklore
- Hummingbird Spirit Animal
- Hummingbird Totem Animal
- Hummingbird Power Animal
- Hummingbird Tattoo Meaning
Hummingbird Symbolism and Meaning
Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world and have been the subject of fascination since ancient times. (1) The hummingbird’s interesting characteristics have always attracted people’s attention and have earned this bird its position as a powerful symbol.
To understand what does a hummingbird symbolizes, we first must learn about the hummingbird’s traits.
Hummingbirds are the only birds with the ability to fly upside down and backwards. (2) Their wings can beat up to 80 times per second, and create a distinctive insect-like sound. This buzzing is a familiar sound wherever flowers are near, and can act as a reminder of the beauty and importance of appreciating the small things in life.
Hummingbirds are potent reminders to stop and smell the flowers, and that the greatest gifts in life are usually the ones freely given to us by nature.
Like the tiny hummingbird which darts from flower to flower in search of nectar, we should spend our energy looking for the beauty in life. The hummingbird is capable of flying long distances to reach its destination, so it can also remind us to persevere. According to the hummingbird’s wisdom, the journey is just as important as the destination.
This is why the hummingbird symbol is associated with endurance and grit. The flight of the hummingbird reminds us to be resilient, adaptable, and to take changes into stride.
The symbolism of the hummingbird is also linked to the idea of eternity and infinity. The hummingbird’s unique ability to hover, fly backwards, and even fly upside down, is due to the unusual anatomy of the hummingbird’s wings. Hummingbird wings rotate both forwards and backwards in a “figure eight” pattern which is unique among birds and gives the hummingbird incredible agility in the air. (3)
So what does is the overall meaning of the hummingbird? Symbolically, the hummingbird is a beacon of positivity. Hummingbirds instruct us to must expect love, joy, and good luck.
Hummingbird Native American Symbolism
Hummingbirds are potent cultural symbols for many Native American tribes as well as certain South American populations.
Hummingbird myths often depict the tiny bird as a healer or a spirit sent to help people. In some legends, the hummingbird is also associated with fire or credited with bringing fire to mankind. (4)
The Native American tribes of the Coastal Northwest even have hummingbird clans. These clans are represented by the hummingbird, and as the clan animal, the hummingbird is carved onto a totem pole and proudly displayed.
A beautiful Cherokee legend tells a story about the hummingbird retrieving the tobacco plant from the evil goose Dagul’ku. In this story, an older woman was dying without tobacco, and the animals all endeavored to retrieve it and save her. All of the animals who tried to retrieve the tobaccos failed to do so. The animals doubted that the pint-sized hummingbird would fare any better, but hummingbird was able to succeed because of its superior speed. The hummingbird saved the woman’s life by bringing back the plant. (5)
In some Native American cultures, it was believed that the hummingbird was created from flowers. Those who believed this, thought that the hummingbird returns every spring to show its gratitude to flowers from which it came.
Hopi tribes have a hummingbird kachina, Tocha kachina. The Hopi hummingbird legend tells how the tiny bird asked the God of fertility to restore the land. The Hopi hummingbird was also credited with helping lost children. (6)
Mojave folklore includes stories about the first people living underground in darkness until the hummingbird found a path to the upper world.
Overall, in Native American stories, the hummingbird is associated with healing, wisdom, endurance. This little bird is also very often seen as a messenger sent from heaven.
Hummingbird Eastern Symbolism
Hummingbirds are not indigenous to Asia, so any Asian myths related to these birds are relatively new and borrowed.
Like other birds’ symbolism, hummingbirds are associated with joy, freedom, prosperity, and good luck.
So why are hummingbirds good luck signs? This tiny bird is a natural spectacle. Displaying a multitude of colors and hovering over flowers, the hummingbird is a tireless life force.
The hummingbirds’ characteristics made it a feng shui symbol used to attract the beneficial chi force and, subsequently, good luck.
The ancient art of Feng Shui teaches us to hang hummingbirds’ pictures in nurseries to attract good luck and purity.
In China, birds are associated with good news, and the hummingbird is no different. According to Feng Shui, hanging hummingbird charms in your home or office brings you success.
The images or bird charms must be displayed in the southwestern corners of your house.
As stated previously, the hummingbirds are not native to Asia. But this fact did not stop the Asian artists to depict the tiny bird in their creations.
Usually painted or drawn next to flowers, the hummingbird meaning refers to small things that can bring joy and happiness. We should only pay more attention.
Hummingbird Christianity symbolism
The biblical meaning of hummingbird relates to the bird’s ability to spread joy and playfulness. According to the Bible, every creature is a gift from the Almighty. The Holy Book features many stories where God’s creatures carry essential symbolism and wisdom.
There is no bible verse which refers to the hummingbird by name; however, many Christian sayings can be interpreted according to the hummingbird’s traits.
Using biblical symbolism to interpret the hummingbird associates this creature with death. Although this may sound bleak, the hummingbird’s meaning is actually quite hopeful and positive. This tiny bird can be seen as a messenger from the other side, bringing love and good news from heaven from loved ones who have passed.
The hummingbird as a sign from heaven appears to those in grief and mourning, as well as those who feel lost. A hummingbird in this context means that the one who has departed is happy now, and wants to comfort you and bring you happiness too.
Another possible interpretation of the hummingbird is the importance of living life in the present. Regrets only add bitterness to one’s life. To achieve true happiness we must appreciate the present and the blessings that surround us therein.
Hummingbirds give us the strength and insight to move past our negative experiences. The biblical symbolism of the hummingbird reminds us to balance a mature mind with a youthful heart and an appreciation for life’s many wonders.
Hummingbird Celtic Symbolism
Birds of all kinds are important symbols in ancient Celtic mythology and folklore. However, hummingbirds are not indigenous to Northern Europe, where Celtic populations lived. (7) Regardless, as birds, hummingbirds can still be interpreted as having plenty of meaning as Celtic symbols.
Ancient Celts believed that birds are messengers between mortals and the gods. The feathered creatures were though to deliver prophecies and guidance from the divine and to bridge the gap between our world and the afterlife. In some traditions, druids were believed to be capable of shapeshifting into birds and ascending into the sky.
The Celtic role of birds as messengers between life and death aligns with the healing power of hummingbirds in Native American traditions.
Additionally, birds are connected to the air element which is associated with wisdom and deep thinking. This fits well with the meaning of the hummingbird in Central American culture.
Like the ancient Celts revered birds for their courage, the Native American tribes appreciate the hummingbird for its bravery and endurance.
The hummingbird, though obviously absent from ancient Celtic traditions, is present in new neopagan religions which are inspired by the old Celtic traditions. Although the tiny bird is not present in Northern Europe, the hummingbird’s spiritual meaning is universal.
Hummingbird African Symbolism
Africa is another region where hummingbirds are not present. There are no mentions of these magnificent birds in African folklore and mythology.
However, this does not prevent us from deriving the hummingbird’s meaning nor its role as a spiritual guide.
The symbolism of hummingbirds in Africa can be connected to fertility, prosperity, renewal, and fattening. This is because the migrating birds arrive during the rainy seasons and so can be thought to signal the return of fertility to the land.
Another common belief among African cultures is that birds represent the highest state of perfection. The human soul, in many traditions, is thought to become a bird once it reaches its highest form. (8)
The hummingbird’s spiritual significance in the Americas is similar to the birds’ symbolism in Africa.
Furthermore, the African continent has a unique bunch of birds which are close in appearance and behavior to hummingbirds. Sunbirds are passerines, and as such, are not closely related to hummingbirds. Despite this, sunbirds are remarkably similar to hummingbirds both in appearance and in their nectar-based diets. (9)
Killing a sunbird is a highly condemned act in Africa, indicating that hummingbirds would probably be considered sacred. Although we cannot say for sure what the hummingbird’s significance would be for ancient African cultures, it can be estimated that they would be important symbols.
As an emblem of freedom and bringer of good luck the hummingbird is a potent spiritual guide for many people worldwide. Connecting the material and spiritual worlds, the hummingbird is a messenger that brings joy and healing.
Hummingbird in Dreams
Have you been dreaming of hummingbirds? A hummingbird dream is a deeply meaningful experience with the potential to impart lots of positive meaning. Seeing a hummingbird in a dream is often a sign that good luck is approaching. The good luck of the hummingbird might affect your love life, career, or even spiritual life.
Seeing hummingbirds feeding in your dreams may be a reminder that you should start enjoying life and stop worrying about little things.
Dreaming of hummingbirds in flight might indicate that you are struggling to commit to a relationship. Such a dream can indicate that you should slow down and enjoy where you are in life.
A hummingbird dream can also indicate that you love your freedom, and that boundaries make you feel uneasy. A hummingbird dream might bring to your attention a project that you started and that you haven’t yet finished.
If you dream of a hummingbird sitting on your palm, it might mean that you have some new interests or desires that you’re close to accomplishing. Perhaps if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, you will see the answer.
Dreaming of a yellow hummingbird means that you will soon have the opportunity to achieve recognition and success.
To summarize, hummingbird dreams generally have positive meanings. The energy of the hummingbird enters our dreams to give us the boost we need to fight for success.
Hummingbird Encounters and Omens
As we have seen so far, the hummingbird usually symbolizes positive things. Encountering the hummingbird omen foretells good news and positive changes.
So what does it mean when a hummingbird visits you? An encounter with a hummingbird most often brings good news. If you have recently struggled, a hummingbird may appear to congratulate you for enduring and to tell you that the hard times are behind you.
Also, if a hummingbird visits you after someone’s death, it means that you will heal. Often, a hummingbird encounter is a sign that your departed loved one is watching over you. The hummingbird represents a reminder to follow your dreams without letting sorrow or grief slow your progress.
The hovering of the hummingbird is associated with patience. If a hummingbird hovers before you, it can mean that you are struggling to muster the patience that you need. The hummingbird tells you to trust your abilities and not to give up.
Eye contact with a hummingbird is a sign that of trust that should fill you with optimism. Many people who have looked at a hummingbird in its eyes have reported a sudden feeling of contentment and joy.
Meeting a hummingbird should be an occasion that brings great happiness and wisdom into your life. Although these birds are quite small, the wisdom that they can impart upon us is immeasurable.
Hummingbird Mythology and Folklore
As we have previously seen, the hummingbird is an important figure in the mythologies of various early American cultures. We have already summarized the hummingbird’s meaning within the Native American tribes from the Northern half of the continent. Next, we’ll learn what a hummingbird represents for the ancient civilizations of Central America.
The Mayans believed that the sun took a hummingbird’s shape when he pursued a beautiful woman that was the moon. For this reason, the hummingbird was associated with the sun, light, warmth, and passion.
Mayan names for birds often connect to the sounds made by their feathers. Amongst the Mayans, as well as an array of other cultures, it was believed that hummingbird feathers had magic powers. Because of this, the Gods strictly forbade humans to kill hummingbirds.
We cannot discuss the role of the hummingbird in Central American mythology without talking about the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli. Huitzilopochtli was depicted as a half-man half hummingbird creature, the powerful God of the sun, war, and human sacrifice. (10)
In Inca traditions, the hummingbird was connected with the heavens.
The Colibri bird is the hummingbird symbol which is extremely significant for the Taino population in Puerto Rico. Similar to the Aztec hummingbird, the Colibri is a sacred symbol for the Taino people.
One Indigenous story featuring the hummingbird describes the forbidden love between two young people from rival tribes. The two young lovers escape the tribes’ judgment by becoming a hummingbird and a red flower. In these forms, they are able to dote on one another forever more.
To the Chaima Indians from Trinidad, hummingbirds are believed to be dead ancestors, so harming these birds is considered taboo.
Hummingbird Spirit Animal
The hummingbird spirit animal appears to those who are in need of a change. This spirit animal is a source of guidance. The hummingbird spirit guide appears as a reminder to appreciate life and its little pleasures.
The spirit of the hummingbird encourages you to open up your soul and let your loved ones see your true feelings. The symbolic meaning of a hummingbird reminds us to let love and light into our lives.
If you have the hummingbird as your spirit animal, it is important that you trust your inborn abilities. Allow your creativity to blossom. Seeing a hummingbird can also mean that you must be more flexible and adaptable.
Some people believe that hummingbirds carry messages from the angels. Similar to the Central American beliefs, some Christians see these tiny birds as heralds from heaven.
In these cases, the hummingbird angel sign delivers an important message. This is that we must learn from past mistakes, and forgive ourselves, in order to grow.
Hummingbird sightings can be considered messages from your spirit animal. They can be reminders to refocus your energy away from the material side of life and onto spiritual matters.
The hummingbird’s spiritual meaning can also be associated with freedom. If the hummingbird is your spirit animal, you should make an effort to appreciate your liberty. Understanding the meaning of the hummingbird can be a very helpful tool towards personal growth and improvement.
Hummingbird Totem Animal
Hummingbirds have been totem animals since ancient times. Their beautiful and magical appearance inspires people and draws their attention towards the hummingbird’s meaning.
The hummingbird animal totem belongs to those who embody the greatest qualities of the hummingbird. Just like the hummingbird, people who have this totem are courageous, determined, and loyal.
The hummingbird totem allows its bearer to accomplish the impossible and have fun doing so. The hummingbird totem’s spiritual connection to medicine supports and heals individuals with this totem throughout their journeys.
People who are blessed with the hummingbird totem animal are also very colorful and exuberant. They bring light into the lives of others and often find themselves at the center of attention. These people love to socialize and love people. Their gifts for entertainment as well as empathy make them treasured friends to all.
Like all personality types, people with the hummingbird totem have traits that may cause them to struggle as well. The hummingbird personality can be connected to emotional instability. People with this totem are prone to mood swings and passionate emotional outbursts.
The hummingbird consumes a ton of energy while it flies. It is important that people with this totem learn to manage their energy. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually, energy is something that can only be renewed with rest.
Individuals with the hummingbird as their totem animal may also have difficulties following through on ideas or activities. It is important that they do not allow all of the dazzling ideas in their minds to distract them from achieving their potential.
Hummingbird Power Animal
The hummingbird power animal should be summoned when we lose our focus. Life has a special way of testing us, but with the hummingbird’s unique strengths on our side, we can rise to meet any challenge.
Call the hummingbird spirit whenever you feel unable to control your emotions. Peace and healing a3re some of the most potent blessings that the hummingbird can bestow upon you. Use the hummingbird’s sacred medicine to heal your soul and find the right direction.
The hummingbird represents joy, excitement, and vibrancy. When life begins to feel dull, routine, or melancholy, remembering the hummingbird’s virtue is a surefire way to bring some spontaneity back into the mix.
People who feel connected to the hummingbird are often optimistic personalities. However, negativity can cloud the sunny outlook of even the most cheerful individual. In these cases, the hummingbird’s soothing positive energy can alleviate the influence of negative energy.
The tiny yet powerful hummingbird is an inspiration for many people. Flying tirelessly and for long distances, despite its miniscule body, the hummingbird is an example of endurance and determination. If you feel tired and lack energy, hummingbird medicine will show you how to preserve your stamina. With the help of this power animal, you can accomplish great and unexpected things!
Hummingbird Tattoo Meaning
A hummingbird tattoo’s meaning differs from one person to another. Generally, the placement of a hummingbird on one’s skin symbolizes speed, agility, flexibility, femininity, or healing.
However, for people from Central America, the hummingbird is a powerful symbol of rebirth. Associating the hummingbird’s image with a flower means that we should see ourselves as part of nature.
Numerous tattoo designs look amazing anywhere on the body. However, for small hummingbird tattoos, the most suitable places would be behind the ear, on your arm, or the wrist.
One of the most meaningful placements of a hummingbird tattoo is behind the ear as it seems the bird is listening to what you say.
Some of the most interesting tattoo designs are watercolor hummingbird tattoos. This technique will add a vibrant feel to your tattoo and will bring colors to your life.
Another trendy design is a tribal hummingbird. This tattoo is the perfect choice if you want something bold and reminiscent of the hummingbird’s role within many Native American tribes. Although the hummingbird is known as a bringer of color, the tribal tattoos look better in monochrome shades
Regardless of design or size, make sure the hummingbird tattoo is meaningful to you. Learn about the hummingbird symbolism before getting inked.
The hummingbird represents an ancient symbol of joy and happiness. Its colorful appearance brings good luck and positive energy to our lives. The cheerful chirrup of the hummingbird is a fond and familiar sound in many gardens which connects us to the natural world and acts as a reminder of the beauty of life’s little treasures.
No matter what your challenges are, the hummingbird’s indomitable spirit is there to help and guide you. All you have to do is to summon the little feathered jewel.