Flamboyant, eye-catching, and unbelievably gorgeous, humans have treasured peacocks for centuries. These ornate and colorful birds are often associated with opulence, luxury, and beauty. While peacocks originate from India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and limited parts of Africa, this bird was already being imported abroad four thousand years ago. Clearly, the relationship between humans and these magnificent birds is an old and storied one. (1)
Interested in the mythology of the peacock? Curious about the symbolic meaning of peacock dreams? Read on to discover a world of meaning associated with this exceptional bird!
Table of contents
- Peacock Symbolism and meaning
- Peacock Native American Symbolism
- Peacock Christianity Symbolism
- Peacock Celtic Symbolism
- Peacock in Dreams
- Peacock Encounters and Omens
- Peacock Mythology and Folklore
- Peacock Spirit Animal
- Peacock Totem Animal
- Peacock Power Animal
- Peacock Tattoo Meaning
Peacock Symbolism and Meaning
One of the first bits of information to note when discussing peacocks is their obvious sexual dimorphism. Sexual dimorphism refers to when males and females within a species vary in physical appearance. Only adult male peacocks possess the impressive fan of tail feathers for which the peacock is so well known. Peacocks, as a matter of fact, are so sexually dimorphic that it has shaped the language we use to discuss them. Technically, the word “peacock” is only used for the males of the species. Females are called “peahens,” chicks are sometimes called “peachicks,” and birds of this species are referred to in general as “peafowl.” The sexual dimorphism of peafowl often associates these birds with masculine and feminine energies and the strengths and weaknesses that accompany them. (2)
Additionally, the showy tail feathers of the peacock symbolize glamor, confidence, and cockiness. Peacock motifs are frequently attached to ideas like luxury, vanity, and allure.
Some connect the symbolism of the peacock feather with the “evil eye.” The evil eye symbol, despite having such an intimidating name, is actually associated with protection from evil intentions and energies. The peacock’s tail feathers resembles this symbol and so they are often connected. One of the principal uses for the evil eye charm is to prevent curses or ill effects brought about by the envy of others. (3) So, the peacock and its feathers may represent protection, divination, and light magic. Some people do see the connection between the peacock’s feathers and the evil eye to spell misfortune, though. Keeping peacock feathers in the home is warned against by some superstitious types.
Finally, peacocks shed their magnificent tail feathers each year at the end of the breeding season. Once the male’s tail feathers are completely shed, he is no longer fertile and cannot continue breeding. It is only when his feathers have grown back that the next breeding season can begin. Thus, the peacock may represent life cycles, growth, change, and metamorphosis. (4)
Peacock Native American Symbolism
Peafowl are not native to the United States and could not be found in the Americas at all until long after Europeans came and settled into the land. From then on, peafowl have been gradually introduced into the United States as feral populations. Most feral populations began as escaped or released domestic birds. Despite their ornamental feathers and somewhat delicate looks, peacocks are quite hardy and adapt quickly to new surroundings. In the United States, small populations of escaped or released pets have bloomed into huge populations of feral birds. These populations are considered harmful invasive species by many ecological agencies. (5)
Attaching a Native American meaning to the peacock would be inauthentic. However one might look to these birds as a symbol of adaptability and stubbornness, thanks to their ability to carve out an existence in a foreign place.
Peacock Christianity Symbolism
Peacocks do not play a starring role in any particular Bible verses, however the peacock is present in quite a lot of biblical imagery. Early Christian art often pictured peacocks drinking from a vase or spring.
The peacock, in early Christian art, is said to represent eternal life. This is because of a Greek myth which suggested that peacock flesh would never rot. This may not be true, but it was enough to cement the peacock, in the minds of early Christian artists, as an animal which represents eternity. Artistic representations which depict a peacock drinking water represent the idea that faithful Christians drink from the water of eternity. (6)(7)
Furthermore, peacocks are so often associated with wealth and royalty that the peacock can also be connected with God as the “king of kings.” One of the only mentions of the peacock within the Bible occurs in 2 Chronicles. Referring to King Solomon, the verse states:
“For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.”– 2 Chronicles 9:21 (8)
The peacock is used to demonstrate the wealth and resources at King Solomon’s disposal.
Peacock Celtic Symbolism
Celtic bird symbolism is firmly associated with supernatural forces. The Celtic Otherworld is often connected with birds, and many different types of birds are said to be capable of passing between the material world and that of the Otherworld. (9)
With that said, peacocks are again not native to the regions in which Celtic cultures developed. Despite this, trade and domestication brought much of Europe into contact with these birds at quite an early date. Celtic cultures may not have had the same exposure to the peacock as, say, Indian cultures where the peacock is native, but the peacock is nevertheless influential.
Many early Christian manuscripts were illuminated by Celtic monks. These manuscripts sometimes feature illustrations of peacocks utilizing much of the same peacock symbolism as previously discussed in the section on Christian peacock symbolism. In the Celtic world, too, the peacock is connected with eternity. The peacock’s ability to shed its tail feathers and grow them back as magnificent as ever is also used as an allegory for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (10)
Peacock in Dreams
Dreaming of the peacock is often a very noteworthy experience. Peacock dreams can be rich with imagery and very surreal, or they can be more subdued and mundane. In any case, the appearance of a peacock in one’s dream can provide a wealth of insights. Firstly, dreaming of a peacock may indicate a feeling that one is being watched. Peacock feathers are very often likened to eyes. Dreaming of a peacock’s fan of feathers may mean that you feel lots of eyes on you which may come with self-consciousness or a sense of pressure.
Peacock dreams may also represent a desire to make one’s fortune. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can absolutely buy lots of valuable opportunities to focus on the things that you enjoy. Peacock dreams indicate ambition and desire, but be careful not to forget what is really important.
Peacock Encounters and Omens
Encountering a peacock may be a sign to work on one’s confidence. The peacock’s famously glamorous strut is one of the things for which this bird is most known. Peacocks do not fear the envy or judgement of others. They celebrate their natural gifts without shame. A peacock encounter may be a sign to identify the things that are holding you back and confront them.
Encountering a peahen may be a reminder not to fixate on appearances. Peahens are just as valuable and beautiful as peacocks, even without that eye-catching fan of feathers. Never forget that your “feathers” don’t make you who you are. Only you can do that.
Peacock Mythology and Folklore
In Greek mythology, the peacock is associated with the goddess Hera. Hera is the queen of the Greek pantheon and the main consort of the chief god Zeus. Hera is associated with regality, fertility, marriage, and childbirth. According to Greek mythology, Hera was often jealous and vengeful on account of the many lovers that Zeus pursued. One such lover, Io, was transformed into a calf by Zeus so that he could keep her close without Hera knowing. Hera suspected that Io was not what she seemed, though. So, she ordered her servant, a monster with hundreds of eyes called “Argus Panoptes” (literally many-eyed Argus) to guard the calf. Argus was sworn to never look away from Io and was a dutiful servant. To rescue Io, Zeus slew Argus. In honor of his loyal servitude, Hera immortalized his may-eyed face in the pattern of the peacock’s tail which she took as one of her symbols. (11)
Peacocks are native to India and extremely cultural important there. The peacock is, as a matter of fact, the national bird of India. Featured in many Indian myths and folktales, one of the most important Indian cultural beliefs regarding the peacock is that this bird was made from the feathers of Garuda. Garuda is a mythical bird which is said to have been the vehicle of the god Vishnu. (12)(13)
Peacock Spirit animal
If you possess the peacock as your spirit animal then you are most likely an assertive and confident person with a taste for the finer things in life. The peacock spirit animal is unapologetically unique and proud, but inside these people tend to be their own harshest critics.
The peacock spirit animal is prone to serious perfectionism. People with the peacock as their spirit animal expect great things from themselves and are often not content to rest on the laurels of their successes. The peacock spirit animal can have a really tough time facing failures and may need extra support in order to take in failures as growth opportunities.
The peacock spirit animal is not limited to men, however it does tend to gravitate towards a more masculine energy. People with the peacock as their spirit animal are competitive, assertive, and very vocal about their wants and needs.
If the peacock is your spirit animal then you may find that you crave attention and validation from others. This is natural to an extent, but it is important that you remain aware of your core values. Validating, loving, and accepting yourself is much more important than the praise of others. Instead of looking to others to praise your natural talents and achievements, try to re-center your focus on being a kind and generous person towards whom people will naturally gravitate.
Peacock Totem Animal
The peacock totem represents healing and protective energies. Although some superstitions attach misfortune to the “eye” shape of the peacock’s feather, this “evil eye” is commonly connected with protection from curses and ill intentions.
The peacock feather is representative of the protective forces associated with this “evil eye” charm. This means that those who possess the peacock totem are naturally in tune with energies and have a special talent for repelling negativity and banishing evil from their lives.
The peacock totem is associated with empathy and emotional intelligence. People with this totem are gentle and attentive when it comes to the emotions of others, but may need to take extra care to recognize and accept their own emotional states.
The peacock totem animal brings healing energy into relationships. Although people with the peacock totem can be high maintenance, their ability to rejuvenate others makes them ideal partners.
Peacock Power Animal
The peacock power animal is associated with charm. People with the peacock as their power animal have a natural allure that draws others to them. The peacock power animal exudes charisma and often possesses a wide circle of friends and admirers.
People who have the peacock as their power animal are the ultimate social butterflies. They may not be everyone’s best friend, but they tend to build deep relationships with lots of different people with relative ease.
There’s no getting around it. Part of the peacock’s charm is its beautiful appearance. People who possess the power of the peacock tend to be flashy. Whether it’s eyes that catch the sunlight just right or a mouth full of dazzling pearly whites, the peacock power animal flaunts what it has and never fails to impress.
It is important that people with the peacock as their power animal make conscious efforts not to dwell too much on shallow physical traits. No matter how beautiful a person may be, an ugly personality makes for an ugly individual.
Peacock Tattoo Meaning
Peacock tattoos may be chosen as symbols of the peacock’s trademark beauty and flamboyance. Furthermore, tattoos featuring peacock feathers might represent protection from dark magic or negative energies. The peacock’s eye shaped feathers are often likened to the protective “evil eye” charm.
Peacock tattoos might represent the Christian imagery of the peacock as a symbol of eternity. This symbolism is somewhat outdated, but that hardly invalidates its meaning.
Peacock tattoos may also represent regality, royalty, or pride. Like the mighty Hera of Greek mythology, the peacock embodies majesty and elegance.
A peacock tattoo may also represent more masculine values such as competition and virility.
Finally, one might choose a peacock tattoo because of this bird’s significance in India. The peacock tattoo may be a symbol of national pride for an Indian person, or a symbol of religious significance for a practitioner of Hinduism.
It is clear just by looking at the peacock that this splendid animal is both inspirational and significant. Although the geographical areas in which peacocks are natively found are limited, this stunning bird has become a world traveler, making its mark on every culture that meets it. From the annals of Ancient Greek mythology to modern U.S. suburbs, the peacock certainly knows how to make an entrance!
9 thoughts on “Peacock Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”
Such a fantastic article, thank you so much.
What an interesting read! After my son passed on, I have been eager to find peacock symbolism and spiritual meanings. My son’s passing was unsettling to the whole family. We found it difficult to accept. We cried, prayed and tried to make sense etc. There was this special Saturday afternoon, we saw a peacock proudly walking in the verandah. We were all surprised 😮. First thing that came to our minds was, what does mean! Funny, that we all felt it has to do with my son’s spirit.
It walked around the yard, neighbors came out, surprised. We took videos and pictures. It flew onto of the house, trees until late afternoon. We all came with different interpretations along the same lines, that he’s is reassuring us that we might not see him him, but he’s with us in spirit. There was some kind of happiness and relief.
The next morning, Sunday, it was still in the verandah looking inside the house. We threw popcorn seeds, it ate them, walk around a bit and flew away! We were at a point where we wanted something, to quell our confusion. I have developed interest in trying to understand symbolism and spiritual meanings of birds . That’s what brought me here and I really enjoyed reading the above stories! Thank you.
I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. It’s wonderful how comforting nature can be during difficult times. In my own experience, peacocks are surprisingly friendly and sociable. I’m glad that this one found you. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
— Hailey Brophy
Writer @ World Birds
Wow! Thank You! I don’t know where to start🙏🏽🙏🏽- I am a 45yr old widow. My husband passed away(was murdered-assassination style) on 15th June 2014, leaving me with 2 Children, a girl aged 5& boy aged two at the time, and my stepdaughter aged 9. I am a medical doctor by profession, at the time of his death due to the nature of his passing and the circumstances surrounding his death, I could not bear to go to work in the same area where I had served the community for almost 10yrs but my husband( was a professional civil engineer) was murdered by hitmen(hired)from that same community. the police thought they knew that I tracked his phone(Via Find My iPhone) to a house nearby the clinic where I used to work, never brought back the phone to be taken in for investigation purposes; I fought for the truth and justice for his life and integrity to no avail. The newspapers, tabloids, etc wrote what they wanted the world to hear, but I knew. As I had to try and go back to work, it felt like people coming with headaches and joint pains were being petty compared to the pain I felt,& I had emotional breakdowns now and again. My time serving the same government had that could not protect me and my children but rather in a way provided a means to facilitate his death had expired. The gun that was used to kill him was reported to have been stolen from a police station 240km away,5 days before his murder but nothing was done about it, and whoever stole it is still out there.
Our custom/culture is that you have a grieving period of 6months if it’s unnatural death after which there’s a ceremony held to officially close the period and you’re supposed to be allowed to go back & resume normal duties and start/continue with your life. This ceremony involves both families, mine(surviving spouse)& my husband’s. Under normal circumstances, there’s usually a cleansing ceremony that comes afterward or could be done the same day; the cleansing ceremony is meant to cleanse away the bad luck, brought about by the dark spirits of death that make it difficult for you to live freely, establish and succeed in anything be it finances, business, work, relationships (of all kinds) ; in other words, you are doomed!
As I am writing here, I don’t know who needs to know nor hear this-but I hope that it will help someone in a way.
The traditions of each family differ in some areas, but as a widow, you have no right to question anything; you’re told what to do and mostly what not to do! For me, the grieving process was extended to about 2yrs-
during that 2yrs I resigned from the government clinic and thought it better to open my own private practice where I was helping victims/and rather survivors of Road Car Accidents to make claims from the Road Accident Fund(a special but government entity to support families that have lost loved ones or lost work or normal functional abilities due to accidents)
At least I felt I found a new purpose, but then the spirit of doom started playing-They(RAF) stopped paying me on time for months and I ended up falling back on paying bills (my bills and the ones that were also my husband’s-the estate took 3yrs to be paid out)-
To add salt to the wound (rather a hole-a void) his family pushed me and my children away-a a new war had begun: His family wanted his money, possessions (house, cars, etc that we had build together-Why?did I not die with him; I had become a suspect in his murder according to them, hence the prolonging of the grieving process-the mafia that killed him would have gotten me by then-But God said no!
I asked my family(my mother) about the cleansing ceremony as I was struggling to make sense of why everyone turned their back on me, days became darker and darker-I was told the cleansing was not known as it was the first time the family faced this type of death… Doomsday’s became Doomed years..7 full years! In 2018 I found myself at an aesthetic conference, I was excited and knew I had found my niche- Establishing a medical aesthetic & wellness clinic; to be a holistic doctor and healer, providing what came out of my heart to the hopeless, depressed, overweight, etc. I found that we are all unwell though the stethoscope can’t detect the type of illness- I was happier as long as I made 1-2 people find a reason to live a purposeful life, get back the self-esteem, confidence and walk tall again for whatever reason- I know I didn’t make a mistake, God didn’t make me lose myself for a reason, my pain was for me to give hope to other’s-it became my healing as well. Still, the struggles were there, the medical aids stopped paying for the services I had rendered to their clients, I lost so much money I can’t even put it down, I felt I was failing my children & my husband(note that I still call him as if he’s alive-to me)… I would fast and pray for his legacy (the company he left)and my business to grow, as his children and I (I think)? wanted his name to live on..but doomed years the movie was still playing- until 4 weeks ago-
A friend came by my house for dinner, she’s an attorney but in her journey she had become a sangoma- (I can’t define it properly now.)she called me aside and told me my husband is very jealous and probably doesn’t want any man coming on to me,and is angry- I didn’t get it until she came back the following day when there was no one else but me alone-(there other guests previous night) – I had only met her once,as I was a isolated,even shy to be on social media fearing judgements and rejection— DoomedYears brought these
[I have a gift I call it for now-I dream and I know that my dreams have a meaning;but no one bothered to hear them ever since my hubby passed;they’d just tell me to pray,maybe I am just seeing things-so I prayed not to see them(Yes I did)]
She told me how as a sangoma (she’s a medium of some sort-but deeper) how my husband appeared to her and asked her to help me;infact was a bit forceful about it that she could not sleep well without finding out what is it that he’s probably talking about- I was supposed to have a cleansing ceremony done within the 1st 6months of his passing but his family
had performed some ritual in his grave to invoke his spirit to become a dark angel(opposite of guardian angel) that will torment me to the point that I would give up on life.my clinic would make money but still I’d not see where it went,his civil engineering company had jobs done but they haven’t paid us for more than 6months now,instead they froze the projects..
I connected my dreams with what this white lady(sangomas are referred to as white or traditional healers) and she referred me to her senior(reffered to as mother) to guide me on what to do and how-
>>2 weeks ago I took a journey of about 350km for the thorough cleansing ceremony of emergency-where I experienced the coldest night of my life!( I had been to Sweden on a University Christian Students exchange programme just a year or so after our 1st Democratic Elections-NRM🙏🏽)- I was taken to a free flowing river with the most beautiful waterfalls where my bad luck had heated(through steaming hot water under a the heaviest blanket ever(traditional sauna)& buried as it was washed away by the waters-of the Magwa Falls in Pondoland,by default or something more closer to where my own mother was also born (_but she doesn’t know I have done this🤐)
After the ceremony,we drove back-I had never felt such a heavy loadshedding from my heart,my shame washed away finally;I felt alive and free & visible for the 1st time in so many years;I am human,I did not ask for what happened to me and my Siti and would have given and done anything to have my soulmate back again-no amount of money could pay for his physical presence to me;but I suffered so much that I know death stripped both of us-
All I wanted was to have him to rest in eternal peace now,and become the true guardian angel we knew him to be; not a manipulated spirit that’s sent to destroy-he was a beautiful ,peaceful,humble,caring,loving sweetheart-almost too sweet for this earth I believe now-He needed to be Home where he belonged,smiling down at us,seated at the right hand of His father who knows what truly transpired that night,and said “it’s ok” –
After the cleansing ceremony I knew I had another job to do so that he’d be at peace too- I had to find a way -pray,cry,fast,plead,beg and do anything that God willed me to do for his spirit to be freed from the evil chains.. Monday morning:!I asked for only one thing- “Lord just give me a sign that you’ve heard me,and let him come home and rest with you, end the 7years of doom/drought to 70yrs of peace restore me and my family and let us move forward,by your will and open new doors,show me the way,and expand my territory-make me ready to step up-and show me how” —
Thursday 09/09/2021- 3pm I had a feeling that I must just praise and I praised in all ways for exactly 60min.. I was kneeling down,and opened my eyes,I had a smile 😊 for some reason-I went and opened the curtains to let the Sunshine ☀️in (my name and my Clinic’s name Dr Sunshine Medical Aesthetics and Wellness Clinic)-and there I saw a beautiful big bird that I didn’t even know it can fly ,on the rooftop of my house,through the window looking at me-I walked towards it slowly incase, I scare it and it disappears,it was a beautiful green,blue and yellow,grey;what a beautiful creature,it just walked off slowly with a head held high, so chilled,stopped stared back at me,I went to it,pictures videos of it on the roof,then it disappeared for a few minutes,my son(now 10yrs old) came running upstairs to me -“Mama the peacock is walking on the lawn next to the driveway “- we just knew it was *The* *Sign* our lives will never be the same again in a positive spirit- I Believe,I have faith and I am humbled and grateful for He knew my heart,and heard my plea-Signs and wonders—
Anyone out there -The universe is all for us,no matter how things look now,it will get better,it has to be better; even if it takes umpteen years but it will;it’s the patience,the faith&the love that we shared with our dearly departed that spurs us on to seek Divine Intervention and God never fails-There is a Higher Being in control.. I am not going to fail-I believe it’s time!!
Blessings to you! Also out the blue, I have a beautiful peacock striding through my garden this morning! Also believe it is to bring good news and prosperity! Take care!
This is incredible, thank you for sharing.
I am so sorry for your untimely and tragic loss of your husband. Thank you for sharing your story. Your truth.
My only child, my son Gage 12 yrs. old was on a camping trip with his Boy Scout troop in 2018. He had dug a large hole into the side of a sand dune. The sand collapsed onto him burying his head and torso. Unfortunately Gage could not be saved. He died in my arms at the hospital that evening.
Gage is and was my favorite person who ever was. Going on after a great loss like this has been difficult for me . I view life differently now. Though I am thankful for the 12 years we had together. Gage was my pleasure and he made motherhood a joy.
I speak the following words (out loud) often:
I REFUSE TO ALLOW MY GRIEF TO OVER SHADOW THE SHER BEAUTY OF WITCH HE LIVED HIS DAYS.
I WILL HANDLE ALL HIS REMAINING AFFAIRS WITH A HEART FULL OF LOVE.
I am a believer in God the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I look to ROMANS 12:19 for perspective.
Gage told me that my Animal Spirit was A Peacock. His was an Eagle and his dads was a Wolf.
May our Lord be close with you in times of need and watch over you and your loved ones.
I’m curious about your comment. It’s short but, insight sees, with crystal clarity, that the levels of gratitude and serenity that are it’s catalyst are (to put it lightly) off the map. You’re the only commenter here and you just so happened to comment–depending on geographical location–i’m certain down to the very hour & minute, exactly 24 hrs prior to the sequence of events that caused me to come to this page today. So if you don’t mind me asking, what omenous things brought you here? I’m an avid “believer” (Knower actually but I digress) in synchronicities and I’m anxious to see how related our stories may be.