Fox Symbolism & Meaning: What It Means When You See A Fox

Photo: Ondrej Prosicky / Shutterstock
fox in the woods

The fox is known for being the trickster of all animals, however, it has more to its symbolism than that, as the fox can be seen in our dreams, our literary, cultures, and religions.

If you have ever crossed paths with a fox in your life, it's probably for a reason.

Foxes are known for their cleverness, slyness, and trickery.

Foxes are also symbols of spirituality, creation, omens of good luck, and the afterlife, hence why they are popular spirit animals

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Fox Spirit Animal

Fox spirit animals are associated with people who relate to these characteristics: 

1. Creativity

2. Passion

3. Wisdom

4. Charm

5. Cleverness

6. Nobility

7. Protection

8. Guidance. 

A fox is an omen of protection.

These spirit animals offer wisdom and guidance, and an omen of protection, nobility, and good luck.

The fox spirit animal encourages you to take quick and swift moves when making taking action. In this way, you can let the red fox show you your adaptability and how to avoid obstacles and resistance quickly.

The fox also encourages you and gives you the strength to sharpen your physical alertness and responsiveness. They also help you when you need more protection in life.

Fox Power Animal and Totem

A power animal is an animal that will be able to inspire and guide you from its list of dynamic traits.

The fox power animal will help you in situations including: 

1. When are in a challenging situation and need to choose what is the most efficient and best way to handle it or in other cases how to overcome an obstacle.

2. When you feel that you might need more physical, emotional, financial, or psychic protection in your life.

3. When you need support feeling beautiful inside and out.

4. When you are in need of some fun and affection in your life.

5. When you're in need of some good luck.

The fox totem animal is all about representing the fox's protective powers and therefore it's a helpful symbol when you want to manifest good luck, protection, fun, or beauty in your life.

Fox animal totems can guide you in the right direction when strategizing so you can reach your fullest potential.

If you harness the power of the fox totem animal you will be unstoppable, always on your toes and knowing when and how to make the right decisions. You'll be able to avoid problems and trust the gnosis of your fox totem. 

Fox Symbolism by Color

There are three different colors of the fox that you will see including red, white, and gray.

A red fox is a symbol of the fire element.

Connected to solar energy and the sun, red fox energy will ignite your creativity, passion, and deep emotions, as well as bring radiance and motivation into your life. 

The white fox, also known as the arctic fox is a symbol of purity, clarity, and divinity.

Also known as an arctic fox, a white fox symbolizes a need for clarity and connection to the divine in your life. 

The gray fox, or silver fox, is a symbol of neutrality.

Therefore, if you're put into a situation where you have to choose sides, the gray fox will encourage you to stay somewhere in the middle. It's also a positive symbol of maturity and a negative symbol of sadness and indecisiveness.

Foxes in Mythology and Folklore

In ancient Mesopotamia mythology and folklore, the fox was a sacred being. It served as a messenger for the ancient Earth and fertility goddess, Ninhursag.

In what is now modern-day Peru, lived the Moche People from the 1st to 8th century who thought of the fox also as a sacred animal. They depicted the fox in artwork as a warrior who only used his mind to fight battles and would never actually engage in physical warfare.

In Aesop’s fables, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Shakespeare, the term “outfoxing our opponents” was very popular and the cunningness of the fox was a similar theme in all stories.

In old fables and mythologies, the fox represents the villain, however, it can also be seen to offer wisdom, advice, and powerful messages. Foxes are popular animals that are often found in the theater, books, songs, and legends.

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Native American Fox Symbolism

Foxes are very sacred animals to the Native American people. One thing all Native American tribes have in common is that they all have reverence for animals and the natural world.

In many tribes, the fox was a clan animal, and members of the clan would wear fox skins as spiritual regalia used in dances and ceremonies. Some tribes saw the fox as a spirit that was powerful and known for being a god that brought wisdom and benevolence to his people.

Warrior tribes used fox skins and bones as a way to show that they were part of the Kit Fox Society or Swift Fox Warriors. In order to join this society or group you had to prove you could be brave and of good repute.

However, not all tribes saw the fox as a godly figure as some saw it as a thief or scoundrel. They thought the fox was a bad omen.

In many of the legends, the fox and the coyote share a connection or can be seen as interchangeable.

Fox Symbolism and Meanings in Asian Cultures

In Asian culture, the fox was also revered and seen as a powerful symbol and figure that possessed mystical powers but was also a mischievous trickster.

In both Japanese and Chinese cultures, the fox is a powerful ally that helps drive demons and other evils spirits away. The Japanese view of the fox is that it has supernatural powers like shapeshifting from fox to human. Its name is Kitsune in legends and with age, the fox gains more supernatural powers including creating fire, lightning, entering dreams, and bending time and space.

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The Chinese view of the fox was seen as more of a trickster. The fox in folklore could shapeshift as a female temptress that would entice men to have extramarital affairs.

Greek Myths About Foxes

Aesop, a popular figure and slave in ancient Greece in the 7th century, was known for his fables about animals had numerous stories depicting foxes.

The Fox and the Grapes fable was one that tells the story of a fox who tries to steal grapes hanging beyond his reach, and no matter how high he tries, he can't get them. After giving up, the fox says "They’re probably sour anyway," which is most likely where the phrase “sour grapes” comes from, regarding how people can be envious of something they can’t have.

In another Greek myth about the Teumessian Fox, the fox is an oversized beast sent by the god Dionysus to eat the children of Thebes as punishment for the people of Thebe's wrongs.

Creon, the head regent of Thebes, then sends Laelaps, a magical dog, after the fox, but is stopped by Zeus as he turns both beasts into stone, throwing them into the sky — hence where the constellations Canis Major (the dog) and Canis Minor (the fox) come from. 

The Meaning of Foxes in Celtic Mythology

According to Scottish and Irish folklore, the fox was seen in the story of Dia Griene.

Dia was the daughter of the Sun, who was captured by the god of the underworld, and she begged for release for so long that she was let go, however, not without a catch as she could only return to Earth as a fox.

The fox was also seen in paganism in the Celtic world but as Christianity took over, it was increasingly seen as a more sinister figure.

The Meaning of Foxes in Norse Mythology

In Nordic mythology, the fox is one of the many animal spirits called a "fylgjur," and they would accompany people as a guide. 

Fox Symbolism in Christianity and the Bible

In Christianity and in the Bible, foxes are often negative metaphors or have negative connotations like wolves.

They encourage mistrust, abuse, and exploitation.

In the bible verse Song of Solomon 2:15, it talks about catching foxes for ruining vineyards that are in bloom. In that same verse, the foxes are interpreted as sins of the spirit, including pride, jealousy, and gossip.

Fox Dream Meanings

If you dream of a fox chasing you or being hunted that means you have fears and anxieties in a certain situation in your life that you are ignoring or not addressing.

However, if it's a more pleasant dream then that means you're comfortable with who you are and where you are in your life.

If a fox crossed your path in your dreams, that means all your problems will be solved soon and that you shouldn't worry that much.

Fox Tattoo Meanings

A fox tattoo is a perfect tattoo if you want a positive symbol on your body that represents you know how to use your wits and be a confident person.

A fox tattoo shows other people and yourself that you're the type of person who lets their inner radiance and beauty shine and that you love and know how to have fun but also mischievous. 

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Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers pop culture, love and relationships, and self-care.