Animals are often archetypal symbols of sorts, and they also bring up certain images in people’s minds. Therefore, they are powerful symbols that can be used for a variety of purposes.
Animal likenesses can be used in the form of statues to guard the house; on jewelry to inspire or protect; in visions or manifested as spirit helpers for those that believe in totem animals; and even as a decoration whose meaning runs deeper than the surface. Little figurines of any animal can be included in a mojo bag or charm for symbolic value. Also, the behavior of an animal can be taken as a sign of things to come or events unknown.
Another interesting way to integrate the attributes of a specific animal, or to bring their power and presence into your life is to transfer the image of the animal to a very small piece of paper, roll the paper into a small ball and swallow it.
What follows is a by no means complete list of basic lore inspired by and expanded from The Magick of Folk Wisdom, and other sources. Use these symbols in combination with each other, with the symbolism of engraved stones, with color symbolism, and with anything else that is inspiring.
Transformation, Healing, Life Energy, Rebirth, Resurrection, Initiation, Wisdom, Cunning, Reincarnation
- Alligator, Crocodile:
Maternal Protection, Connection to the Earth Mother, Protection from Manipulation, Understanding Deceit, Revenge Through Patience, Initiation, Understanding Weather, Access to Ancient Knowledge, Aggression, Survival, Adaptability
Patience, Stamina, Planning, Energy, Communal Living, Storing for the Future, Group Minded, Perseverance, Step by Step, Teamwork, Industriousness, Order and Discipline. An ant bite signifies an upcoming fight. Use as a symbol for hard working and success.
- Ape and/or Monkey:
Put an ape on an amulet of protection. Use a monkey as a symbol of benevolence. Carrying an engraved monkey stone can lend levelheadedness. Envisioning apes on guard around you can help to be freed from unjust accusations.
Keeper of Stories, Bold Self-Expression, Aggressiveness, Single-Mindedness, Passion, Cunning, Revenge, Perseverance, Control, Antidote to Passivity or Victimization, Persistence in the Service of a Mission, Groundedness, Knowledge of the Earth, Earth Magick and Wisdom, Creative Action in a Crisis, Protection of Rights and Spiritual Ideas. Staying power and determination to overcome all odds. Carrying a badgers tooth – Good luck (especially for gamblers)
Death and Rebirth, Guardian of the Night, Cleaner. Often considered a sign of upcoming death or bad omen. Images of bats can aid eyesight. Use as a symbol of longevity and joy. Popular spirit guide because of night vision ability. Inspiring animal for meditation on enhancing psychic abilities.
The bat, which sometimes chooses a human as a companion or becomes a familiar to a human, is thought to confer long life, happiness and wealth to those humans with which it lives. The bat is sacred to Persephone, and thought to be lucky as a companion animal.
Introspection, Healing, Solitude, Change, Communication with Spirit, Death and Rebirth, Transformation, Astral Travel, Creature of Dreams, Shamans and Mystics, Visionaries, Defense and Revenge, Wisdom, Thoughtfulness, Need for Retreat, Rest, Natural Strength, Primal Power, Sovereignty, Intuitions Married with Instinct, Awakening the Power of the Unconscious, Introspection, Mother, Cunning, Healer, Dreaming, Direction, Connection to Creator, Nature’s Pharmacist.
An emblem of power and protection. Bear meat is said to be a cure for insomnia and baldness. A symbol of reborn springtime, after hibernation. Guardian of the West in some cultures. Honey bears symbolize truth. A bear appearing in real life or in dreams can symbolize a resting period followed by flourishing growth.
Connection to the Goddess Diana, Understanding Female Warrior Energy, Reincarnation, Communication with the Dead, Helping Earth-Bound Spirits Move on to Their Proper Place, Concentration, Prosperity, Community, Celebration, Organization, Fertility and the Honey of Life, Sweetness of Truth. Gods’ messengers. Carriers of good souls in the next life. A swarm of bees indicates a catastrophe on its way.
Doer, Builder, Gatherer
The phrase “a little bird told me” harkens back to the time when birds were watched to divine the future. Ask a bird your question, then throw it some seed. If it eats it, the answer is ‘yes’; if it does not eat it, the answer is ‘no.’ A bird residing in your home as a companion animal will increase the memory and increase the mental powers of those with whom it connects. Birds are sacred to Mercury, their fallen feathers have many uses in spells.
Examples, of some bird feather practices include placing feathers above the doorway to prevent children from wandering out and getting lost, placing a wreath of feathers under a sick person’s pillow to speed recovery, and hanging feathers over a bed to prevent nightmares (note that feathers are also hung from dream catchers).
- Bison and Buffalo:
Popular totem animal of old. Buffalo image helps to inspire successful meditation. Earth Creativity, Feminine Courage, Abundance, Knowledge, Generosity, Hospitality, Sharing Work, Courage, Strength, Challenge, Survival, Giving for the Greater Good, Formulating Beneficial Plans, Prayer, Sacredness, Life Builder.
Enchantment, The Gateway, The Inner Call, Understanding of the Energies of Mother Nature
The Warrior Spirit, Leadership, Direction. Greek/Roman personification of victorious battle. A symbol of nature-based wealth. The boar is an inspiring symbol for success and protection, especially when the chips are down.
Clear Vision in Dark Places, Vigilance, Suspicion, Seeking Ancient Mystical Mysteries, Ability to Live in Solitude, Ability to See Through Masks
Wealth, Potency, Beneficence, Fertility
The three parts of the butterfly’s body symbolize the three phases of life. A good inspiration for transformation. A symbol of happy union when carved in jade. A group of butterflies indicates positive change on the way. Butterflies can carry the souls of the dead in some traditions.
Independence, Protection, Love, Allows us to Dream its Dreams, Assists in Meditation, Ability to Fight when Cornered, Mystery, Magic, Guardianship, Detachment, Sensuality, Aloofness, Balance, Wisdom, Recuperative Power, Reincarnation, Strong Protector, Self-Assured, Searching for Hidden Information, Seeing Spirits. Worshiped as divine in some cultures. Thought to have nine lives, so aligned with the symbolism of nine, a lucky number.
Black cats can be a bad omen for some, if they cross your path. The appearance of a stray cat at your door could indicate monetary gain. Asking a question and then watching a cat walk into the room was a divination procedure; if the cat stepped first into the room with the right paw, the answer was yes. A cat is popular for amulets used to keep the wearer safe in travel.
Of all animals, cats are most sacred to witches because of their connection to the Moon. Cats were sacred to Freya, Isis, Sekhmet, Astarte and Diana, among others. Sharing your home with cats brings many blessings and much luck.
Use of Color as Camouflage, Survival, Patience, Ability to Climb to Attain Ones Goals, Using the Sun as a Source of Power. A symbol of the ever-changing future, and of inconsistency. A resurrection symbol. Its appearance could be studied for signs of rain on the way. Useful inspiration for blending in.
The chameleon as a companion animal is believed to ward off the evil eye, increase sexual appetite, ward off disease and make humans more acceptable to other humans.
Ability to Focus Intently on Something for a Short Period of Time, Swiftness, Self-Esteem, Accelerating Time, Keenness of Sight, Speed, Making Events Occur Quicker
Soul Guide, Memory of the Soul World, Transmutation of the Soul, Past Life Memories, Wisdom of the Goddess, Freedom from Religious Persecution
Using Leadership Power Wisely and Without Ego, Balancing Power, Intention, Strength, Gaining Self-Confidence, Freedom from Guilt, Cunning, Savagery, Fury, Remorseless, Hunting, Seeking of Freedom, Balancing Intention, Power, Coming into Your Own Power, Courage, Swiftness, Balance
Being Alert to Danger, Contentment, Great Mother Goddess, Love, Connection to the Grasses, Sharing through Community, Vitality, Health, Prosperity, Life of the Land, Nourishment, Motherhood. One mother goddess symbol. Sacred in India. Red cows are a symbol of hope. Inspiring symbol for nurturing efforts.
Understanding That All Things are Sacred–Yet Nothing is Sacred, Intelligence, Ability to Laugh at One’s Own Mistakes, Shape-Shifting, Teaching Balance Between Risk and Safety, Illumination, Stealth, Clowning and Humor, Wisdom of Folly, Prankster, Insight, Playful
Ability to Escape by Moving Sideways Understanding the Power of Dance, Ability to Move Through Water (Emotions), Male Aspects of Community, Protection of Home Space
Some believe crickets are reincarnated family members come to bless the home. Good luck charm. If one lives in your chimney, you are blessed; if it leaves, bad things are on the way.
Guardian of the Place Before Existence, Carrier of Souls from Darkness into Light, Working Without Fear in Darkness, Guidance While Working in Shadow, Moves Freely in the Void, Understands all Things Related to Ethics, Shapeshifter, Secret Magic of Creation, Thief, Trickery, Boldness, Skill, Cunning, Single-Mindedness, A Bringer of Knowledge, Swiftness, Eloquence
Gentleness, Healing, Connection to the Earth and the Forest, Keen Scent, Grace, Swiftness, Being Alert for Any Danger, Psychic Powers, Innocence, Love, Kindness, Sensitivity, Pride, Independence, Purification, Strength, Nobility. Deerskin has been thought to help epileptic people be cured.
Visions or dreams of deer indicate desire to find the right path. Sighting a deer, especially if it is unafraid of you, is a sign of an influential person coming into your life to teach you what you most want to learn.
Guidance, Protection, Loyalty, Faithfulness, Devotion, Trust. A dog howling at the moon is a bad omen. Dogs can supposedly sense the presence of ghosts. If a dog hides under a table, a thunderstorm is on the way. Putting a coral necklace on your pet dog will protect it from disease. A dog arriving unexpectedly at your house forecasts the arrival of a new friendship. A dog’s appearance in a vision or dream indicates loyalty, service, and trust.
Dogs have long had a magickal place in religious rites. Dogs are sacred to Hecate and because of this, it is thought that dogs can see Hecate, or danger, approaching and warn humans. Thus, they are watchers of the home, and bring not only protection, but love.
Change, Wisdom, Balance, Harmony, Communication Skills, Freedom, Trust, Water Element Magick, Life, Breath, Communion with Nature, Protection, Psychic Awareness, Eloquence, Freedom, Magick, Discovery, Truth, Kindness, Play. Dolphins are thought to carry departed souls to the next incarnation. When dolphins leap often, a storm is coming. A dolphin image signifies joyous, childlike play and helpfulness.
Placing an ailing person on a donkey’s back may bring them back from the brink of death. If the person cannot be placed to sit, passing them under the donkey’s belly three times does the trick. A donkey symbolizes fertility and easy childbirth. Donkeys are symbols of efficiency, health, well-being, and luck.
Peace, Love, Spirit messenger, Feminine Energies, Maternity, Prophesy
Ancient Powers, Intelligence, Ferocity, Elemental Magick, Extra Power, Protection, Instruction in the Spiritual. A symbol of wisdom due to long lives and potent magick. Dragon charms can bring power. Visions or dreams of dragons can symbolize a person in power. Dreaming of flying on the back of a dragon symbolizes the beginning of a new spiritual insight.
Dreams, Illusions, Understanding Dreams, Truth, Power of Light (Luminescence of Colors), Flighty, Carefree. Do not scare off a dragonfly; it brings harmony and serendipity. A symbol of dreams, luck, and ancient knowledge.
- Eagle, Golden Eagle, Sea Eagle:
Swiftness, Strength, Courage, Wisdom, Keen Sight, Illumination of Spirit, Healing, Creation, Knowledge of Magick, Ability to See Hidden Spiritual Truths, Connection to Spirit Guides and Teachers, Power, Intelligence, Renewal, Clear Vision, The Solar Bird, Spiritual Power, Carries Souls Back to the Dreamtime, Soul World Memory, Retrieves Lost Soul Parts.
Strength, Agility, Freedom, Power, Nobility
Memory, Strength, Ancient Wisdom, Power
Soul Healing, Accompanying the Soul Back to the Soul World, Teaching Swiftness, Controlling Speed and Movement, Understanding Magick, Astral Travelling, Healing
Associated with messiahs and saviors. Fish symbolize good luck and prosperity. Fish that dwell in wells are thought to be water spirits. Carp are symbolic of true love and courage, because of their upstream swim to spawning ground. Used as a symbol for foresight, fortune, and miracles.
Fish kept in the home offset negative energies because they are magically ruled by the Sun. Fish are also thought to attract money, ensure fertility and strengthen relationships, especially marriages.
Shapeshifting, Cleverness, Observational Skills, Cunning, Stealth, Camouflage, Feminine Courage, Invisibility, Ability to Observe Unseen, Persistence, Gentleness, Swiftness, Diplomacy, Wildness, Adaptation, Slyness, Wisdom, Protection, Provider, Intelligence. Foxes align themselves with certain families and appear to them when danger is near. Foxes can be seen as tricksters, Shapeshifters, and possessors of great magick. Visions or dreams of a fox may indicate a need to reevaluate your position.
- Frog and Toad:
Sensitivity, Medicine, Hidden Beauty and Power, Cleansing, Healing Magicks, Faith, Miracles. A frog’s tongue was used in the Middle Ages to place over a lover’s heart and make her answer truthfully. Frogs are thought to be able to take sickness away. Frogs symbolize health, honesty, and purification.
Frogs in the home bring good luck, increase fertility and cause new friends to visit the home. A frog in the garden brings rain. A frog also is a symbol of resurrection and renewal because it is ruled by Water.
If a gazelle crosses your path left to right, it is a bad omen. Thinking of the gazelle’s image in times when you need energy can help boost your personal power. Gazelles appearing in dreams indicate a need to settle an old score.
Goat: Sure Footedness, Seeking New Heights. Goats are aligned with Pan, and thus thought to be disguised forest deities. Goat’s fur or foot is an anti-evil talisman. Goat symbols can help to achieve goals, endure criticism, and stay safe.
Vigilance, Parenthood, Productive Power, The Call of the Quest, Travels to Legendary Places, Luck, Innocence, Story Telling, Fertility, Fidelity, Symbol of 8 and Infinity
Hares hopping into a churchyard are thought to be incarnations of departed young girls who died of abandonment. A hare crossing a pregnant woman’s path was unlucky. Hares are symbolic of lunar energy and fertility. If you see a hare unexpectedly, it can mean you may be dawdling on things that matter and should pick up the pace.
Clear-Sightedness, Being Observant, Far-Memory, Messages from Spirit, Guardianship, Recalling Past Lives, Courage, Wisdom, Illumination, Seeing the Larger Picture, Creativity, Truth, Experience, Wise Use of Opportunities, Overcoming Problems, Nobility, Recollection, Cleansing, Visionary Power, Defense, New Life, Primal Life Force, Fulfillment, Messenger
Hedgehogs are thought to be able to predict changes in the direction of the wind. Using an image of hedgehogs collecting grapes with their quills can help you reap the fruits of your labors.
- Hornet, Wasp, Yellowjacket:
Use of Female Warrior Energy, Sisterhood, Understanding Female Societies, Communal Living
The Goddess, the Land, Travel, Power, Freedom, Strength, Movement, Grace, Dignity, Stamina, Endurance, Faithfulness, Journey, Swiftness, Friends, Loyalty, Astral Traveling. Representative of transportation and communication. A black horse with a white marking on its forehead is lucky. Observing a white horse could give hints about the future.
Messenger, Stopper of Time.
Seeing the Roads Within Chaos, Understanding the Patterns of Chaos, Moving Without Fear in the otherworld realms, Facilitating Soul Work, Empowering Oneself, Moving in Unknown Places, Shapeshifter, Psychic Sight, Releasing Fear. Some say shamans’ departed spirits can live on in jaguars. The jaguar is a good focus image for those wishing to begin a shaman path.
- Leopard, Snow Leopard:
Sensitivity to Touch, Stalking, Approaching Someone Unseen, Movement in Shadow Worlds, Communication with Plant Kingdom, Understanding One’s Shadow Side, Trusting One’s Inner Self, Agility, Strength
Letting Go of Stress, Strong Family Ties, Strength, Courage, Energy, Ferocity, Assertion of the Feminine and the Power of the Female Sun
Detachment from Ego, Power to Regenerate That Which is Lost, Facing Fear, Controlling Dreams, Moving in the Otherworld, Conservation, Agility. Lizards, which are ruled by Mars, keep disease from the home.
Keenness of Sight, Divination, Developing Psychic Senses, Keeper of all Secrets and Mysteries, Movement Through Time and Space, Secrets and Vision of the Hidden and Unseen
Monkeys, ruled by Mercury, bring success, health and good fortune to the home.
Headstrong, Unstoppable Longevity.
- Mountain Lion:
Using Leadership Power Wisely and Without Ego, Balancing Power, Intention, Strength, Gaining Self-Confidence, Freedom from Guilt, Cunning
Shyness, Quiet, Attention to Detail, Sneakiness
Newts, ruled by Saturn and sacred to Athena, bring intelligence and watchfulness to the home.
Joy, Playfulness, Sharing, Feminine Power, Helpfulness, Sharing, Adventure, the Magick of Joy, Youthful Exuberance, Zeal, Laughter, Curiosity, Mischievous.
Silent and Swift Movement, Seeing Behind Masks, Keen Sight, Messenger of Secrets and Omens, Shape-Shifting, Link Between the Dark, Unseen World and the World of Light, Comfort with Shadow Self, Moon Magick, Freedom, Silent Wisdom, Nocturnal Vision, Healing Powers, Magical, Detachment, Change, the Mystery of Magic, Omens, the Arts, Watchfulness, Night Magicks, Truth, Patience.
Astral Travel, Guardian Energy, Symbol of the Feminine, Understanding of Death, Reclaiming Ones Power, Ability to Know the Dark, Death, Rebirth, Swiftness, Cunning, Strength, Perseverance, Boldness, Beauty,. Gaining Confidence
A parrot improves the wit of its human companions. Teaching a parrot lucky words with bring luck to you each time the parrot says the words. If a parrot whistles unexpectedly, rain is coming.
Overcoming Impossible Odds, Reincarnation, New Life/Cycles, Cleansing Energy of Fire, Rebirth, Renewal, Growth Spiritually, Strength, Energy
- Pig, Sow, Hog:
Crone Goddess, Rooting out the Truth, Deep Earth Magick, Past Life Knowledge, Intelligence, Cunning, Generosity, Nourishment, Discovery. Hogs are used as food for special occasions. Eating their meat is supposed to help the triumph over darkness. Pigs are symbolic of rebirth and rejuvenation.
- Rabbit, Hare:
Guile, Quick-Thinking, Humility, Strengthening Intuition, Releasing Fear, Overcoming the Past, Resolution to Change, Fertility, New Life, Alertness, Nurturing, Rebirth, Balance. Rabbit’s feet are lucky talismans, probably because of their swiftness.
Rabbits can be utilized in meditation by envisioning a rabbit hopping away and towing your troubles away from you. Saying “rabbit” as the last word before you sleep and “hare” as the first word when you wake up can bring a gift once a month. There are several variations on this.
Curiosity,Creativity, Dexterity, Disguise
Healing, Initiation, Protection, Magic, Shapeshifting, Creation, Help with Divination, Wisdom, Eloquence, Magick of the Crone, Trickster, Teacher, Hoarder.
Connects Earth and Water, Connection to Soul Memories, Change, Comfort in Darkness, Ability to Cloak in the Face of Adversity
Understanding Divination Messages, Rebirth of Spiritual Knowledge, Instinct, Persistence, Determination, Wisdom, Inspiration, Rejuvenation
Death, Rebirth, Transmutation, Repelling Negativity. When the sun is in the house of Scorpio, initiations can take place successfully, aligning the initiate with the fire sign. Scorpions symbolize the “fire within” that often needs careful tending.
Protection, Lucid dreaming, Creativity, Love, Longing, Dilemma, Active Imagination
Ability to Move Constantly, Remorselessness, Never Being Caught Off Guard, Ability to Defend Oneself, Hunter, Survival, Adaptability
- Sheep, Ram:
Confidence in Ones Abilities, Fertility, Courage, New beginnings, Abundance, Assurance in New Areas, Sacrifice, Breakthrough, Achievement
Sensuality, Respect, Self Esteem, Shrewdness, Transformation, Life, Death, Rebirth, Rain, Fertility, Transmutation
Elusiveness, Transmutation, Exploration of the Mysteries of Life, Primitive or Elemental Energy, Protection from Religious Persecution, Goddess Energy, Psychic Energy, Creative Power, Immortality, Rebirth, Resurrection, Initiation, Wisdom, Healing, Transformation. Snakes are aligned with healing powers, and are sometimes kept as pets for that reason.
Snakes symbolize healing, fertility, and renewal and rebirth (because of its tendency to shed its skin). Tossing a dead snake into the air can divine rain; if it lands belly-up, here comes a storm. If an adder snake appears in the home, it is said that death will strike. Dreaming of a snake can be a warning that an acquaintance is working against you.
A snake brings wisdom and good health to its home companions. Snakes also bring longevity, wisdom and intelligence.
Initiation, End of a Cycle, Element Magick, Meeting the Dark Mother
Master Weaver, Weaver of the Web of Fate, Wisdom, Creativity, Divine Inspiration, Shapeshifting, Understanding the Patterns of Illusion, Female Energy for the Creative Force of Life, Creative, Connecting the Past with the Future, Creating Possibilities, Weaver of the Primordial Alphabet. It is unlucky to kill a spider. The spider’s weaving skills make it a good inspiration for any rituals involving networking and connection to the outside world.
Never kill a spider in the home; it will bring bad luck. Spiders kept as companions bring protection and increase intelligence. A spider’s web can be used to scry in the same way as a crystal ball for those who practice divination. To the Celts, the spider’s web symbolized the web that held all life together.
Conservation, Storage, Activity, Preparedness
Sensitive, Emotional, Dreamer, Mystic, Longevity, Awakening the True Beauty of the Power of the Self, Soul, Love, Beauty, Self-Transformation, Self-Images, Intuition, Empathy, Moon Magicks, Grace, Balance, Innocence
Ability to Shed the Outer Skin (Masks) and Transform, Creativity, Spinning a Web to Entrap Enemies, Defense of Territory, Intimidation by Size, Use of Environment to Conceal Oneself
- Tasmanian Devil:
Self-Defense, Protection of Territory, Ability to Use Perseverance When Necessary, Understanding of How and When to Fight
Power, Energy, Strength and Will-Power in the Face of Adversity, Acting in a Timely Manner, Action Without Analysis, Passion, Devotion, Sensuality
Toads should not be kept in the house as they will react to psychics and to ghosts…unless, one wants to discern if there is a ghost present in the house. If there is a psychic person present, or a ghost present, a toad will act erratically. Toads found in the garden, however, bring intelligence to the gardener.
- Tortoise and Turtle:
Symbol of the Earth, Connection with the Center, Navigation Skills, Patience, Self-Boundaries, Associated with the Feminine, Power to Heal Female Diseases, Respecting the Boundaries of Others, Developing New Ideas, Self-Reliance, Tenacity, Nonviolent Defense, Motherhood, Linking Heaven to Earth, Awakening to Opportunities, Creative Source, Informed Decisions, Planning, Adaptability, Slow Progress, Retreat, Grounding, Chasity, Conservation, Mother Earth, Longevity.
A tortoise shell can be used in divination. Considered an inspiring symbol of the ocean gods. Turtles and tortoises symbolize persistence and wise choices.
Turtles are ruled by Venus and bring love, longevity and fertility. Patting a turtle on its shell with bring you good luck.
Spirit of Purity, Innocence, Childhood
Record Keeper for all Eternity, All Knowledge Associated with Voice, Psychic and Telepathic Abilities, All Aspects of the Sea, Beauty of Movement, Creation, Power of Song, Awakening Inner Depths, Ancient Knowledge, Sound Awareness. Some say whales have the power to cause earthquakes. Whales appearing in visions or dreams mean to concentrate on harnessing your own magick and aligning with the water element.
Facing the End of One’s Cycle with Dignity and Courage, Death and Rebirth, Spirit Teaching, Instinct Linked with Intelligence, Social and Family Values, Outwitting Enemies, Steadfastness, Skill in Protection of Self and Family, Taking Advantage of Change, Intuition, Learning, the Shadow, Guardianship, Ritual, Loyalty, Spirit, a Pathfinder, Psychic Energy, Inner Divinity, Teaching, Careful Study, Cunning, Escaping Hunters, Ability to Pass by Dangers Invisibly
An Astral Wolf Could Lead You to a Spiritual Teacher, Strong Protection, Spiritual Guidance in Dreams and Meditations, the Teacher, Success, Perseverance, Stability, Thought
Revenge, Understanding Aggression, Protection Against Attackers, Multilevel Protection, Standing your Ground, Fierceness
Revenge, Retribution, Creating Protective Barriers of Fear as a Defense
The unicorn is one of the most famous and endearing of mystical creatures associated with fantasy, mythology, and magic. Images of the unicorn have fascinated people all over the world for centuries. Such a powerful and easily recognized symbol can have an important place in magical practice.
Symbols are integral to our lives, especially for magic and visualization. Often the success of a spell relies heavily on the symbolism that is chosen and how deeply it affects the user. Many people are drawn to magical creatures and have an affinity for certain ones, collecting various images of that particular creature. Since unicorns are among the most popular, here are some ways you can incorporate unicorn symbolism into magical practice.
Even if you have never been particularly fascinated with magical creatures, getting to know them by investigating their characteristics can add a new dimension to your personal power.
First, consider what the creature symbolizes to you. Unicorns have many standard associations, but we can build on this by adding our own personal characteristics or feelings.
For example, I first fell in love with unicorns as a child, so to me they represent not merely innocence, but a playfulness and lightness of spirit, a carefree time. As I grew older, that sense of joy and happiness was tinged with the melancholy moments of adolescence and the unicorn matured with me to become an escape from the sometimes painful events of growing up. But more than anything else, I associate the unicorn with imagination and purity—and the beautiful free spirit we need to recapture to avoid becoming jaded by the sometimes harsh realities of life. In short, the unicorn is hope and possibility.
But you may have different associations and feelings when you look at an image of the unicorn. That’s fine—the point is to use the symbolism for something meaningful to you and to focus on these feelings in your magical practice. Unicorn imagery can be used in spells for healing, peace, comfort, and inspiration. Still others may associate the unicorn with love, or to some they may represent bravery or strength. Choose what the unicorn means to you and incorporate that image into your spells and meditations.
Begin by collecting a variety of images. Or, if you already have a substantial collection, take inventory to see what you have and think of ways you can use them. These items may be statues, drawings, jewelry, clothing, or anything else you can find.
The most basic way to get started is to place a unicorn statue or other type of image on your altar or use it to represent deity. Unicorns have a long history of being associated with spirituality. And of course, statues and images can be placed in other special places in your living and working environment. Wear unicorn jewelry when you need to get in touch with the qualities the unicorn possesses. Place drawings where they can remind you of your goal.
You can anoint statues for special purposes to be placed around your home, in various rooms or outside. This would be ideal for a protection spell. I have a unicorn in almost every room of my house. They’re usually tucked away in a subtle location, but they’re present to remind me of my goal of keeping a youthful spirit and remembering the time when I felt that first touch of magic.
There are other countless ways to incorporate unicorn imagery into your magical practice. Because of the healing associations with the horn, a unicorn image would be excellent in a healing spell or one simply for general health and well-being. Unicorns are often symbols of vitality and strength.
You can also create a unicorn altar with different styles of statues to represent each element. Imagine different encounters with the unicorn for whatever needs you have. If you feel the need for comfort or healing, visualize yourself being healed by the unicorn. Create a detailed scene in your mind and make it as vivid as possible. For strength and confidence, visualize yourself as a unicorn or try a visualization of yourself riding a unicorn to create a feeling of freedom or to relieve stress.
Read about unicorns—history, legends and stories for inspiration. Create unicorn art; even if you don’t have a talent for drawing or painting you can create collages of unicorn images or try sculpting with clay. Write some unicorns stories and poems of your own—create your own myths. If you have children, ask for their help and create a story together.
Cultures all over the world have claimed unicorn stories and legends of some kind. This creature is popular for a reason—it speaks to us on a symbolic level that can be very powerful. Tap into that power by discovering, or rediscovering, what the unicorn means to you.
In the hoodoo tradition, the reference to Bats or Bull bats refer to the following:
- Leatherwing Bats ~ night-flying insectivorous mammals.
- Bullbats ~ night-flying insectivourous birds, aka Goatsuckers, Nighthawks, or Whippoorwills.
Bats are under devastating ecological pressure from human beings who destroy their habitats, so no reputable spiritual supply house will carry Bat body parts, but Devil Pods (Bat Nuts) can be substituted. Bat’s Blood ink, used in pact-making, was once truly the blood of a Bat, but since the 1920’s, it has been a mere brand name for red ink scented with herbal essences. A recipe for Bat’s Blood Ink can be found here: Magickal Apothecary.
Old time gambling charms:
A bat heart, a whole dried bat, a bat wing, the wing-feathers of a Bullbat, or a drop of Bat blood kept in a vial of perfume are all considered lucky for gambling, especially when wrapped in red flannel or red silk and tied to the upper arm, or carried in a mojo in the arm-pit.
Omens and Signs:
The Bullbat is said by some to portend death if it flies into a house, but folks of European descent say that of all birds, not just Bullbats. Omens and signs associated with bats can be found here: Bat Symbolism, Mythology, and Lore. For information on Bats as an Animal Totem or Spirit Helper can be found here: The Bat.
The Four Bats of Happiness:
In China, the Bat is lucky because the Chinese word for Bat (“Fu”) sounds like the word for “Happiness.” Fortunate is the family that plays host to the four bats of long life, health, children, and wealth. Bat Nuts symbolize happy Bats in China.
Bat Wing Magick:
Bat wing is also the nickname for holly leaves, a plant of good fortune, doubly enhanced by its resemblance to the flying mammal’s wings. And even if the spell calls for an actual bat wing, holly leaves can be effectively substituted.
- Here is how to make a lucky conjure bag using “bat wings.”
Place a pair of bat wings (holly leaves) in a red conjure bag together with a High John the Conqueror root and a matched pair of lodestones. Sprinkle with lily pollen, if possible, and/or magnetic sand periodically for enhanced power.
In both ancient Greece and Rome, it was thought that sleep could be prevented either by placing the engraved figure of a bat under the pillow, or by tying the head of a bat in a black bag and keeping it near to the left arm. In Hesse, he who wears the heart of a bat bound to his arm with red thread will always be lucky at cards.
Many other beliefs suggest that bats have the power to make people invisible. In Trinidad there is an old belief that if you drank the blood of a bat, you would become invisible. Tyrolean gypsies have a similar belief, claiming that carrying the left eye of a bat will accomplish the feat. In Oklahoma carrying the right eye of a bat pierced with a brass pin will have the same effect, while in Brazil a person carrying the hearts of a bat, a frog, and a black hen will become invisible.
Bat magic can also be an antidote to sleepiness. In both ancient Greece and Rome, it was believed that you could prevent sleep either if you placed the engraved figure of a bat under your pillow, or if you tied the head of a bat in a black bag and laid it near your left arm. In many parts of Europe, a practice said to ensure not only wakefulness, but also to protect livestock and prevent misfortune is to nail live bats head down above doorways. Not for the faint of heart, this practice was reported as recently as 1922 in Sussex, England and may indeed continue today.
Canadian Indians relate that bat “medicine” can also bring about the opposite effect of staying awake; traditions claim that placing the head or dried intestines of a bat in an infant’s cradle will cause the baby to sleep all day. In a similar vein, Mescalero Apaches believe that the skin of a bat attached to the head of a cradle will protect a baby from becoming frightened.
Bats have also been said to induce love or desire. In Roman antiquity, Pliny maintained that a man could stimulate a woman’s desire by placing a clot of bat blood under her pillow. In Texas, one lovesick suitor was told to place a bat on an anthill until all its flesh was removed, wear its “wishbone” around his neck, pulverize the remaining bones, mix them with vodka, and give the drink to his beloved. A similar love potion from Europe recommends mixing dried, powdered bat in the woman’s beer.
Bat hearts or bones are often carried as good luck charms. Variations on a belief that apparently began in Germany, and have been repeated in the United States, predict that bats bring good luck at cards or lotteries. The prescription is to wrap a bat’s heart in a silk handkerchief or red ribbon and keep it in a wallet or pocket, or tie it to the hand used for dealing cards. Some also believe that tying a silk string around a bat’s heart will bring money.
Another superstition from Germany relates that bullets from a gun swabbed with a bat’s heart will always hit their target. According to the Egyptian Secrets, attributed to Albertus Magnus in the 13th century, mixing lead shot with the heart or liver of a bat will have the same result. Some American Ozark pioneers had another variation of this belief: they carried the dried, powdered hearts of bats to protect them from being shot and to keep wounded men from bleeding to death.
- Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic
- Sigils Symbols and Signs
Animal magic is use of an animal for its symbolism and energies. Animals can also be animal spirit guides. Similar to spirit guides, they are used for their strengths, skills, and guidance. Using animal symbols in your spell work can be very effective. They can be used to represent persons or situations, and/or to add strength and ability to what it is you are working to achieve.
Here is a listing of many common animals and the general properties associated with them. You can also use this list as an aid when deciphering dreams, omens, shapes in tea leaves, etc.
- Alligator : aggression, survival, adaptability
- Ant : team player, worker
- Armadillo : active, nocturnal, protection
- Bat : guardian of the night, cleaner
- Bear : power, adaptability
- Bear Paw : strength, mobility
- Beaver : builder, gatherer
- Bobcat : fierce, loner, intensity
- Buffalo : sacredness, life builder
- Bull : strength, warning
- Butterfly : metamorphosis, carefree, transformer
- Camel : weary, enduring
- Cat : independence, grace, healing
- Cougar : leadership, courage
- Cow : patience, stoicism
- Coyote : prankster, insight, playful
- Crane : solitude, independence
- Deer : love, gentleness, kindness
- Dog : loyalty, protection
- Dolphin : kindness, play, bridge man to ocean
- Dragonfly : flighty, carefree
- Eagle : divine spirit, connection to creator
- Elephant : long life, self : preservation
- Elk : strength, agility, freedom
- Fox : cunning, provider, intelligence
- Frog : connection with water element
- Giraffe : watchfulness, mobility
- Goat : stubborn, omnivorous
- Gorilla : brute strength, adaptibility
- Goose : faithful, communicative, traveler
- Grizzly Bear : hunter, nature’s pharmacist
- Hawk : messenger, stopper of time
- Hippo : linking water and earth, survival
- Horse : stamina, mobility, strength
- Hummingbird : messenger, stopper of time
- Kangaroo : feisty, funloving
- Lion : power, strength, respect
- Lizard : conservation, agility
- Loon : solitude, song, romance
- Manatee : peaceable, unassuming
- Monkey : playfulness, agility
- Moose : headstrong, unstoppable, longevity
- Mouse : timid, secretive, sneaky
- Orca : focus, power
- Ostrich : fickle, fast moving
- Otter : laughter, curiosity, truth, patience
- Owl : wisdom, perseverance
- Panda : playful, kindness
- Pelican : ever watchful, grace
- Penguin : playful, loving
- Pheasant : confidence, attraction, perseverance
- Pig : intelligence, hunger
- Polar Bear : fearlessness, power
- Quail : sacred spiral, ceremonial, Holy
- Rabbit : alertness, resourceful
- Raccoon : bandit, shy, determination
- Ram : new beginning, teacher, hoarder
- Raven : trickster, mischievous
- Rhino : durability, strength
- Road Runner : speed, agility, cleverness
- Salmon : instinct, persistence, determination
- Seahorse : confidence, grace
- Shark : hunter, survival
- Skunk : wary, conspicuous, intense
- Snake : shrewdness, transformation
- Spider : creative, pattern of life
- Squirrel : trusting, innocence
- Swan : grace, balance, festive
- Turkey : smart, elusive
- Turtle : self : contained creative source
- Water Buffalo : enormous strength, hard working
- Whale : wisdom, power, cleanser
- Wolf : loyalty, success, perseverance
- Wolf Paw : freedom, success, guidance
- Zebra : family : oriented, alert
Egyptian priests believed that cats carried the magnetic forces of nature and so close proximity to the creatures enabled them to access these powers.
- Ruler: Bastet and/or Freya
- Type: Animal
- Magickal Form: Alive, whiskers, hair
- Qualities: Magick, Mystery, Independence
This animal is the most common of the witches’ familiars. They are very sensitive to occult workings and wise in the ways of the goddess. In order to make the cat a familiar, it must taste the blood of the witch.
The correct way to do this is to let the cat become your familiar in his or her own time. You will know when this occurs, as he or she will take a good hard bite out of your hand, cheek, or leg and draw blood. Voila! You are now bonded for eternal life.
Cat’s are excellent weather forecasters, and can be used in various methods of divination. More info can be found here: Cats
When a cat drops a whisker, place it on the altar for good luck. It is very bad luck to cut or pluck a whisker from a cat. Cat hair may be obtained by rubbing the back against the grain. Add the hairs to gamblers’ luck potions to increase your chances of winning.
- Black cats are very lucky indeed and you will be blessed when one crosses your path.
- Red cats and calico cats bring money.
- A Gray cat will protect you.
- A Siamese cat will bring laughter into your life.
A Magickal Invitation
Here’s a nice little invocation to bring some “cat magick” into your life, you can use it to speak to your own cat, or you can invoke the energy through the use of pictures, or whatever else has meaning for you personally.
Littlest lion, panther in miniature,
Help me in a my magical endeavors,
Teach me to see my path through dark places,
Help me to sift the necessary from the unnecessary
And to relax and enjoy life.
Strengthened my magic and carry it to its destination.
Witches and Cats
“All cats are grey at night.”
~Old French Proverb
No other animal is more frequently linked with Witches and the Craft than the cat, and in particular the black cat.
This is not just part of the mythology of the Craft, as many Witches live with cats. Notice I say “live with” not “own.” No one who knows cats will ever consider that you can have possession of one! Having said that, there is no reason why you have to live with a cat to be a Witch.
There is an enormous body of folklore surrounding the cat. A cat washing behind it’s ears is said to forecast rain; stroking an affected eye with a cat’s tail was thought to cure a stye, and so forth. Whatever you feel about such sayings there is no doubt that the cat is a very magical animal. One of mine, now sadly dead, could tell the difference between a true Witch and a pretender. Certainly both my current cats pay great attention whenever I am practicing the Craft, and can distinguish between a candle lit for magic and one lit for ambiance.
Another way in which cats and Witches are linked is that cats are probably the best domestic animal for borrowing. That is when you transfer a part of your mind into the body of the animal so that you can travel in it’s shape and experience the things it sees and does. Indeed; it is thought that the saying that a cat has nine lives is an indication of the number of times a Witch can ride with a cat in this way.
For Your Cat
Catnip has an aromatic odor, similar in scent to both Pennyroyal and Mint. Because of its powerful and unusual smell, catnip has a strange fascination for cats, who will destroy any plant of it that may happen to be bruised. According to Maud Grieve’s A Modern Herbal, there is a saying about catnip:
If you set it, the cats will eat it,
If you sow it, the cats don’t know it.
If you give your feline a bit of catnip, it will help strengthen the psychic bond between you, in addition to getting your cat as high as a kite. Although typically used in pet-related workings, catnip is also an herb of love, and can be included in sachets or incense.
The “Familiar” Cat
A cat totem encourages agility in both body and mind. You will be challenged with new ideas and places. The cat gives you clearer perception. This spirit helper is resourceful, strong and fearless. It will give you courage and confidence.
Examine the colors, character and behaviors of your Cat. Everything about it will reflect in your own life. When a Cat becomes predominant in your life, magic and mystery come alive.
Associated with the Norse Goddess of Fertility Freyja and the Hindu Goddess of Childbirth, Shasthi and of course, the Egyptian Goddess Bastet who takes the form of a cat.
Petitioning Freya With Cat Magick
Freya, “She Who Shines Over the Sea,” has associations with cats as powerful as Bastet. The old Norse tradition of paying tribute to Freya and seeking her aid or guidance involved feeding milk to cats.
Put out milk for stray cats. If you don’t live in an area with stray cats, bring contributions to a shelter or adopt a gray stray cat.
The feeding isn’t done by rote but as a conscious offering. Speak with Freya simultaneously, explain your needs, desires, and broken heart and request assistance.
Pay attention; her response may come through the cats themselves.
Celtic Cat Lore
Many Celtic legends pictured the Cat as a ferocious and evil creature. However, that may have been because Cats were untamed during the time of the Druids. It was a potent totem animal of several clans and Caithness, named after the Clan of the Catti, is one example.
In Irish lore, Finn mac Cumhail was said to have fought a clan of “cat-headed” people…most probably Celts who wore cat skins on their helmets. The Cat was thought to be a strong protector, especially when facing a confrontational situation.
As well as giving structure to the body; bones survive for a long time after death, and so are imbued with magickal properties. Both human and animal bones could be, and were employed in spells and healing charms, and also in divination.
Bones are a type of fetish. A fetish is “an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency (source)”. The word fetish originates from the French fétiche which stems from the Portuguese word feitiço meaning “charm” or “sorcery”. Feathers, bones, crystals, and stones are all types of fetishes. Skulls and bones have an appeal to witches who perform spirit work and are a necessary and simple way to connect with spirits of the dead and of animals.
Working with bones is not just for necromancers and black magicians. Practitioners who work with bones are a wide range of healers, diviners, shapeshifters, rootworkers, witches, shamans, druids, and pagans.
Over two thousand year ago, in China, bones were heated up and the resulting cracks interpreted as indicating a prediction. Bones as predictive devices were used in other ways, too. For example, bones of small animals were collected in a ritual way, and thrown upon the ground in the act of “casting the bones,” a term reference still in use for other divinatory methods, such as rune stones.
In Britain, divination by the blade-bone of a sheep was formerly well known. In Africa, thieves were detected, lost goods found, and problems solved by the ceremony of “Throwing The Bones.” Different kinds, usually those of domestic or wild animals, are used to represent individuals, or spirits, or the forces of nature, and are thrown like dice. The answers to the question being read from how and where they fall.
- You can read more about various methods of bone divination here: Throwing The Bones
Animal bones are used in witchcraft and folk magic to commune and work with animal spirits as familiar, guides, and protectors. Like human bones, the bones of animals can be also be used to ground a spirit animal in this realm. Bones act as a spirit vessel for animal familiars to dwell in when you work with them. This doesn’t mean that the spirit lives in the bone(s) all the time, but instead it is their home when you call upon them.
Animal bones and skulls can be placed on an altar or carried in a medicine or crane bag to work with them outdoors or on the move. Animal bones can be used to call upon mythological creatures as well. To do this you need only to combine bones from the different animals that make up the creatures. For example, bind together parts from an eagle and lion to summon a griffon or combine snake, lizard, and the bones or feathers of a bird of prey to summon a dragon.
Animal bones can be incorporated into ritual jewelry for direct contact and easier communion with the spirits the bones belong to. Ritual jewelry using bones is the most practical and direct way of bringing your animal familiars into rituals and spellwork.
If you only have very small bones or a delicate insect to work with than you can place the parts in a glass vial and either use it as a vessel on your altar or attach a chain or leather thong to it to wear around your neck. By wearing animal bones you can take on the attributes and powers of the animal they belong to such as fox teeth for cunning, owl bones for seeing in the dark, or snake bones for the ability to renew and change your life.
Bones can also confer an animal’s magical abilities. Many animals are “shamanic” in nature enabling the practitioner to whom they are familiar to adopt their ability to travel between worlds. Such creatures known to travel between the realms of earth, sea, and sky or have extraordinary powers of transformation include frogs, toads, snakes, all birds (especially water fowl), alligators, crocodiles, turtles, beavers, otters, dragonflies, spiders, beetles, butterflies, cicadas, and more.
Animal bones can be used to craft ritual tools. Many traditional rattles are made using skulls, turtle shells, or little bones tied closely together for the sound of their rattling against one another. Bones can also be tied to staffs or stangs, wands, or even sewn onto ritual robes.
Animal bones, especially chicken and other bird bones, are used for traditional divination methods in many cultures. This can also be incorporated into European practice by carving Futhark or Ogham runes onto animal bones or using slices of deer antler instead of the usual materials of wood and stone.
Among the Australian aborigines, death spells are cast by “singing magic” into a bone and pointing it in the direction of the victim, who then pines away and dies.
A charm against cramping was to carry a knucklebone, or the patella of a man or a sheep.
Those afflicted with headaches could find relief by driving a nail into a dead man’s skull, or by drying and powdering the moss found upon it and using it as snuff.
Bones, like blood and some of the organs of the body, were once thought to be centers of psychic power, and to be the vehicle or dwelling-place of the soul. Life and consciousness remained in them after the death of the original owner, and it was therefore very dangerous to disturb them when they lay in the tomb.
Misfortune, or even death, inevitably followed such an act, which was forbidden alike by reverence for the dead and superstitious fears of their vengeance. Nevertheless, this widespread and strongly held belief did not prevent the quite frequent theft of bones from churchyards and prehistoric burial grounds for use in magick and witchcraft.
Symbolically, bones carry the essence of the creature that they were once a part of, and there’s a curious but relatively common belief that somehow or other an intact set of bones can be remade into a live body This idea is seen in fairy tales, myths, and traditions from all over the world.
An example of this is the Lapp belief that the bones of a bear, if carefully preserved, will come back to life and the animal will allow itself to be hunted once again. Bear “burial” places have been found where the bones of the bear have been carefully reconstructed. These sites also show evidence of respectful funerary rites.
In a similar practice, the Plains Indians would bury the bones of the buffalo with due care and attention so that the animal would be able to come back to life.
Due to its size, the bone is one of the very last in the body to rot, along with the skull. For this reason – its longevity – the bone was used as a vessel during religious and magickal rites and rituals.
Because bones are such an important part of the body and because they are believed to hold the essence of their owner, the bones of saints are considered holy relics, imbued with magickal powers, and kept locked away in churches. They were believed to be so holy that devils and demons would keep well away, and if the bones were dipped into wine or water, the resulting liquid would be infused with mysterious powers including the ability to cure various ailments.
Information collected from various sources