Hawk Symbolism & The Spiritual Meanings Of Seeing A Hawk

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harris hawk bird of prey

When you spot something unusual in a dream or in real life, it's hard not to realize that something spiritual is occurring. Whenever we encounter an odd figure or sign, we don't usually think too deep about what these things could mean.

If you have ever dreamt of a hawk or even seen one in person, it can mean a variety of things. But what is special about hawks and hawk symbolism?

An incredibly powerful bird, hawks are known for their aggression and how well they hunt their prey. All birds are considered messengers, but hawks are the most resourceful of them all.

With sharp vision, beaks designed for tearing flesh, a wingspan that allows them to soar towering heights, and the ability to fly over 120 MPH when diving, hawks are equipped with near-perfect advantages over their prey.

Hawk Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Hawks

Hawks symbolize intelligence, spiritual awareness, creativity, independence, versatility, and messages. This bird of prey is also associated with wisdom, strength, power, positivity, bravery, clarity, leadership, protection, intuition, and healing.

Many myths about hawks and god-like connections were correlated to eagles as well, and, in mythology, were associated with victory, divine power, and association with sky gods.

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Hawk Encounters and Omens

There are many differing opinions about hawks. Some say they are symbolic of aggression, while others say hawks are messengers who send us information to uncover something about ourselves.

But this is nothing to worry about, as hawks send messages to help us see things more clearly. In addition to being a spiritual messenger, hawks also symbolize an opportunity for spiritual growth.

So, encountering one is a good omen.

What Hawks of Different Colors Symbolize

In the wild, hawks come in a variety of colors, including brown, spotted white, spotted brown, gray, and even blueish-gray. But to encounter a hawk that is white, black or red-tailed holds a different meaning.

White Hawk Meaning

Seeing or dreaming of a white hawk means you are in the process of achieving higher consciousness and spirituality; white hawks also symbolize clairvoyance and the divine.

Black Hawk Meaning

Black hawks aren't just helicopters — in fact, a black hawk actually represents a message to look into your subconscious, resulting in dreams that guide you toward a higher purpose.

Red Hawk Meaning

Red-tailed hawks, specifically, are the most common bird in North America. Dreaming of a red-tailed hawk, or seeing one in the waking world, represents wisdom, strength, and leadership.

Hawk Symbolism in Dreams

You can determine the symbolic meaning of a hawk in your dreams depending on their appearance. While some people dream of hawks flying, others dream of hawks wounded or flying among other birds.

Dreaming of a flying hawk

Seeing a hawk flying or circling up above in your dream signifies a threat. Be cautious in your life, and consider keeping a close eye on a particular situation or person.

Dreaming of a wounded hawk

Dreaming of a hawk that is wounded or injured, though not because of you, means two things. It means you need to think about negative emotions weighing you down before jumping into new opportunities, but it also signifies low self-esteem.

Dreaming of killing a hawk

If you dream about killing a hawk, it means you’re about to embark on a journey that may seem tough, but you will get through it. It can also signify removing an enemy or negative presence in your life that is holding you back from reaching your goals, or that you need to be more open-minded.

Dreaming of a dead hawk

Dreaming of a dead hawk has various meanings: it signifies the unexpected ruining your goals or plans; you're thinking of a big change in your life, specifically relating to your career; you will defeat the negative presences in your life; you need to trust your intuition to rise above; someone in your life hasn’t revealed the truth to you regarding a situation that involves you.

Dreaming of a hawk carrying prey

If you dream of a hawk carrying its prey in its talons, you will have financial success in an endeavor. It means victory on your part, and new opportunities that will end on a positive note.

Dreaming of a white hawk

A white hawk is a symbol of peace and harmony, so seeing one in your dreams is a positive omen. It can also mean a connection to another worldly realm, and the need to trust your instincts.

Dreaming of a hawk hunting

If you dream of a hawk hunting, it represents a situation in life where you're the aggressor against someone else. You want to be the leader and set an example in life instead.

Dreaming of a hawk and other birds

If you dream of a hawk and different birds flying in the sky, this can mean that you’re worried about where your life is headed. You need to refocus your vision on what is truly important, and not allow bad thoughts to creep into your mind.

Dreaming of being attacked by a hawk

To dream of a hawk attacking you means you need to make different choices in achieving your goals. To be successful, you must climb the social ladder, so to speak, and possibly even go against your personal beliefs to get there.

Dreaming of being a hawk

When you dream about yourself being a hawk, you're at a crossroads in your life where you must make an important decision to guide you in the right direction. To gain the stable life you want, you need to push yourself forward.

Dreaming of a flock of hawks

Unfortunately, dreaming of a flock of hawks is a bad omen. You’re unable to deal with pressure and urgency, particularly in the workplace. It’s a warning to not procrastinate or take on more than you can handle.

Hawk Spirit or Totem Animal

Spirit animals serve as spiritual guides meant to direct us on the right life path and teach us lessons. A totem animal is your main guide who stays with you throughout your life, calling upon them when you need direction, and is also said to be who you are at your core.

Though you cannot choose a hawk as your spirit animal, you'll know if you have a hawk spirit animal if you resonate with this bird of prey somehow, or have had a profound experience that changed you.

If a hawk is your spirit animal, it means several things. Not only is following your intuition important, but hawk animal spirit guides influence you to increase your spiritual awareness, see your situation in a much clearer light, and move forward in a leadership position.

Having a hawk as your animal totem makes you incredibly lucky because of their clear vision and incredible intuition. A hawk represents important factors in your life that need to be accounted for, and helps you master the power of focus, especially when it comes to your goals.

Because a hawk flies so incredibly high in the sky, they also represent seeing things from a higher perspective. Always follow your instincts and allow your guide to help you get through life's toughest obstacles.

Photo: Ghulam Rasool GR / Shutterstock

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Spiritual Meaning of Hawks in Christianity and the Bible

The Bible refers to the hawk in many sections. For example, the Old Testament warns that hawks are not to be eaten because they are unclean animals, but in Job 39:26, hawks are seen as a creation of God: "Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?"

Many believe that wild hawks are symbolic of an untamed soul, but if the bird is domesticated, they are a symbol of a cleansed soul who has turned their life to God.

In addition, seeing hawks represents a message from God, or having immense love and dedication to someone.

Spiritual Meaning of Hawks in Hinduism

In the Vedas, old sacred texts, there is a story of a divine messenger who is also a hawk, named Shyena, who is also associated with Agni, a Hindu fire god. As the story goes, Shyena returns to earth from heaven, bringing with her nectar that will rejuvenate all life.

Spiritual Meaning of Hawks in Buddhism

Buddhist teachings include a story about a quail and a hawk, meant to represent evil seeping into our thoughts, and how we are all vulnerable to allowing those forces or energies into our minds and souls.

In the story, the quail attempts to hide from the hawk, who catches her; the quail then says she shouldn't have wandered away, while the hawk reminds the quail that she would have been caught no matter what.

Despite this, the quail convinces the hawk to put her under bushes and try to catch her again. This time, when the hawk dives to catch the quail, she lands in the bushes instead.

Spiritual Meaning of Hawks in Islam

In Islam, hawks are viewed as powerful, heroic and righteous. In some Arabic cultures, being chased by a hawk in your dream is a sign that someone powerful in your life may be angry with you.

The desert hawk, specifically, is associated with the Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh People. The Hawk of Quraish is also displayed on emblems associated with the Arab League.

Hawk Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Along with eagles, falcons, and similar birds of prey, hawks have appeared in mythology and folklore for centuries.

Native American Hawk Symbolism

In Native American cultures, the hawk is a messenger who delivers good news or lets you know there is a great opportunity headed your way. They are also a symbol of power, strength, courage, and honesty.

In the Cheyenne tribe, hawks symbolize protection from enemies, and dreaming about one can mean danger is ahead. The red-tailed hawk, in particular, is important with Native American shamans, who say this is a symbol of needing clarity in your life.

In some Native American traditions, hawk feathers are used in smudging ceremonies and symbolize guardianship.

Celtic Hawk Symbolism

The Celts had a very strong connection to nature. Hawks — and birds, in general — are associated with delivering spiritual messages, and in Celtic symbolism, hawks delivered messages from other spirit worlds.

Hawks represent something coming to fruition and the need to look at your life in a deeper way. Specifically, seeing a hawk circling above meant death and victory; this ties into its symbolism, which warned people to be aware and stay alert.

In Celtic animal astrology, hawks are associated with those born between March 28 and April 14. Hawks are messengers, yes, but they are messengers from other worlds and dimensions.

Hawks in Celtic astrology mean these individuals need to stay aware of their surroundings, trust their intuition, and let go of toxic parts of life that don’t allow them to move forward.

East Asian Hawk Symbolism

In Far East Asian — an area that includes East Asia, Southeast Asia, Eastern Russia, and sometimes South Asia — hawks are symbols of strength and are mighty warriors who are unforgiving and ruthless. Hawks also serve as symbols of military skill and were thought to be symbols of victory in war.

In Japanese culture, hawks symbolize good luck, love, strength, and represent a warrior. These birds are said to bring good fortune and luck due to their clever nature, and the strength and grip of their claws.

Hawks as a symbol of luck date back to the 13th century, where art and paintings depicted these powerful birds, along with eagles. In addition, in the 17th century Edo period in Japan, hawks were symbols of status. Samurai were said to commission these paintings and hunted these birds of prey.

Ancient Greek Hawk Symbolism

In Greek mythology, hawks are associated with Hermes, the ruler of animal husbandry and guide of souls on their way to the underworld, as are snakes.

Hawks are also associated with Apollo, the god of the sun, prophecy, and poetry. In the story of Daedalion, gods like Hermes and Apollo fawned over Chione, Daedalion's daughter. Chione became so confident in her appearance that she said she was more beautiful than the goddess Artemis.

Artemis punished Chione by shooting her with a bow and arrow, killing her. Daedalion, stricken with grief, ran to the top of Mount Parnassus and threw himself off the mountain; at the last second, however, Apollo turned Daedalion into a hawk.

Ancient Egyptian Hawk Symbolism

Hawk symbolism dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt, where Egyptians believed a hawk was the part of a person’s soul who would fly off their mummified remains to exist among the living. Hawks also had a strong connection to Sun gods.

Horus, god of the sky, was represented by this bird and was known as the protector of Egyptian royalty, said to bring good luck during battle. Certain gods were also depicted as having hawk-heads, such as Khensu, Ra, Rehu, Sokar, Mentu, and Ptah.

Horus is depicted as a hawk wearing a crown, while Ra is shown to have a hawk head on a man's body.

Nordic Mythology Hawk Symbolism

In Nordic mythology, hawks are associated with the goddess Freyja, who wore a cloak made of hawk feathers. When she wore it, she was able to fly and transformed into a giant hawk.

To the Vikings, hawks were also seen as highly intelligent and wise. While an eagle is depicted on top of the World Tree Yggdrasil, in between the eagle's eyes is a hawk named Veðrfölnir.

African Hawk Symbolism

In African culture, specifically southern Africa, hawks are viewed as symbols of faith and courage. To dream of one meant that a life-changing decision was in your future.

Hawk Tattoo Meaning

Tattoos are meant for artistic freedom and self-expression, and getting a hawk tattoo is no exception. Getting a hawk tattoo indicates that you may be a highly independent individual who values freedom, or that you have a strong connection to spirituality.

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Destiny Duprey is a writer who covers spirituality, astrology, and love and relationships.