Eagle Symbolism & The Spiritual Meaning Of Seeing Eagles

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Eagles are the king of all birds, which makes eagle symbolism exciting to unpack. This bird of prey has incredible eye sight, is one of the largest birds on the planet, and can see up to two miles away!

But they're more than just an American symbol.

Eagle Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Eagles

Because the eagle flies so high in the sky, it's considered the "king of the skies" and a messenger to the highest gods.

Eagles represent new beginnings, rebirth, stamina, leadership, honesty, loyalty, hope, devotion, the Divine, and psychic awareness.

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Eagle Encounters and Omens

Because eagles live and fly so incredibly high in the sky, it's rare to see one come close to you; rather, you're more likely to spot them with a pair of binoculars. And though they are predators, their demeanor is friendly, and they are intelligent and perceptive winged creatures.

Encountering an eagle is both a gift and a good omen, a sign of overcoming your challenges and prevailing in the end, just as this majestic bird does after a hunt.

What Eagles of Different Colors Symbolize

Bald eagles, in particular, change colors as they age and mature. Juvenile eagles are brown in color until they are just about two years old, where they then develop white spots. It's not until a bald eagle is roughly five years old that they have the well-known white plumage on their face and neck.

Though eagles are brown, or a mix of brown and white, many people dream of eagles of all different colors.

White Eagle Meaning

Since white is a symbol of purity, it makes sense that seeing a white eagle is associated with the same thing. In addition, white eagles represent connecting with your spiritual side.

Black Eagle Meaning

Seeing a black eagle is associated with change of some kind, and ending one thing so something better can begin. A black eagle also symbolizes energetic protection and shadow work.

Grey Eagle Meaning

Grey eagles represent the imagination and trusting your own intuition, but also symbolize your emotional attachments in the physical world.

Golden Eagle Meaning

Though golden eagles exist in the wild, they aren't actually a golden color; rather, golden eagle feathers are brown with white features. But a golden eagle is associated with power and freedom, communication, and connection with your spirit guides.

Brown Eagle Meaning

The color brown is associated with earth and fertility; seeing or dreaming about a brown eagle might mean that you're connected to earthly wonders and nature around you, or it's a good sign that you are fertile.

Eagle Symbolism in Dreams

Dreams are your subconscious trying to tell you something, and depending on the feeling evoked during the dream, it determines the meaning behind it. Ask yourself which emotions you felt during your dream, whether it's fear or happiness, to determine the meaning.

There are also specific eagle dreams that mean something different depending on the subject matter. But overall, dreaming about an eagle has a lot to do with your personal power, courage, and change.

Dreaming of an eagle flying

It's beautiful to see a flying eagle, and if you happen to dream of one, your subconscious is telling you that you're holding yourself back from progress by focusing on the minutia. Instead, take a step back and see the situation for what it is.

Dreaming of a dead eagle

A dream of a dead eagle is associated with transformation in your life. While death has negative connotations, in this case, a dead eagle represents rebirth of some kind or a big change in the future.

Dreaming of an eagle attacking you

Being attacked by an eagle in your dream symbolizes your feelings towards a real-life situation, and the struggles you're experiencing with processing it. This is especially true in the case of a relationship, romantic or platonic.

Dreaming of feeding an eagle

A dream of feeding an eagle is associated with your work or career. No matter the type of job you have, feeding an eagle means you need to sharpen your skills to further progress.

Dreaming about killing an eagle

While killing an eagle is a brutal act, dreaming of this scenario represents your ability and eagerness to face the challenges that come your way. But be aware that having strong determination like this will come with sacrifice.

Dreaming of turning into an eagle

When you dream about turning into an eagle, you're unaware of the hidden strengths you possess that will soon come to the forefront. Turning into an eagle also represents the need to strengthen your connection to the spirit world.

Dreaming of a bald eagle

A dream of a bald eagle means you're in the process of personal growth, and allowing your goals to manifest. It's a reminder that even when things get tough, you can find success if you push through.

Dreaming of an eagle feather

In various cultures, feathers, in general, are associated with angels or spirit guides. If you dream of an eagle feather, it represents the beginning of a new project or phase in your life, and the doubt that may come with it.

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Eagle Spirit or Totem Animal

Spirit animals are a life guide that leads you in the right direction, teaching you lessons along the way. Totem animals are also spirit guides, but are invoked and called upon when we need them most. Both spirit and totem animals are meant to protect and guard, while helping us find our higher purpose.

Though you can't choose your spirit animal because they select you, you'll know if an eagle is your spirit animal if you resonate with this bird of prey somehow.

And those with an eagle spirit animal or eagle totem are lucky to have this animal spirit guide, because this is one powerful guide and messenger.

Having an eagle as your spirit animal means you're being asked to look within, discovering new opportunities and changes that will enhance your experience with your own life and the world around you. If you trust this intuition, you'll find yourself on solid ground with a chance for success.

Those with an eagle totem are being taught a lesson about the value of what is most important in life, as well as being inspired. An eagle totem represents loyalty in relationships, choosing a path wisely, sticking with something even through difficulties, and learning to find confidence from within.

The eagle is a powerful animal totem, offering lessons regarding looking closely. By examining the smallest of all details, you can receive a grander perspective.

People who are guided by the eagle animal spirit guide are grounded, resilient, and in complete harmony with their spiritual sides. Eagles see with a viewpoint that humans are unable to.

Bald Eagle Symbolism in the United States

Since 1782, the American eagle, or the bald eagle, has been the national bird of the United States. Bald eagles represent the strength and freedom of the United States. Bald eagles are not literally bald, though their white heads make them look this way.

This bird of prey lives in North America, with its name derived from an older meaning of the phrase “white-headed.” Currently, bald eagles are protected under the National Emblem Act of 1940.

Spiritual Meaning of Eagles in Christianity and the Bible

In Christianity, biblical scholars theorize that a bald eagle is a metaphor for Jesus’ enlightenment. An eagle flies higher than all other creatures. Perhaps, this is why the eagle is often symbolic of a higher perspective.

Early Christianity depicted the eagle as a symbol of strength, salvation, and spiritual inspiration, as well as a metaphor for the omnipresent nature of God Himself.

Eagles appear in the book of Revelation, the Bible, and especially in the Old Testament; specifically as it relates to Moses freeing his people from Egypt.

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Eagle Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Because eagles are found all over the world, it's no wonder various cultures and countries have their own mythology and folklore associated with this majestic bird.

Native American Eagle Symbolism

Bald and golden eagles are highly revered in Native American traditions and are symbols of sacredness. The phrase “eagle eye,” for example, is used to describe someone who is astute and has a powerful vision.

In Native American culture, feathers are considered to be sacred. An eagle feather found on the ground is thought to be a gift from the sky and the earth.

One Comanche legend tells of a chief’s young son who died. Devastated, the chief prays to the Great Spirit, asking to restore his son to life. The Great Spirit answers the prayer by turning his son into a magnificent bird, which, according to legend, is how the first eagle was created.

Celtic Eagle Symbolism

Celts believe the eagle to be one of the oldest Earth-creatures, a symbol of leadership, intelligence, and strength. Celts believed this animal to be associated with a higher level of thinking and solving problems in a quick manner.

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In Celtic mythology, there is a legend about the goddess of betrayal, Blodeuwedd, created by Gwydion as a gift for Prince Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Blodeuwedd teamed up with her lover to kill the prince. When he was murdered, he became an eagle and was eventually restored to human form by Gwydion.

Roman and Greek Mythology Eagle Symbolism

The eagle was special to the Roman god, Jupiter. Romans believed eagles to be storm birds that could create violent winds by flapping their wings. A symbol of the Roman empire, eagles were also associated with war.

The Greeks also saw eagles as a powerful symbol, a message from the gods. In fact, an eagle was Zeus' creature, and Zeus himself was said to transform into the bird.

Eastern Eagle Symbolism

In Chinese culture, the combination of an eagle and a bear are symbolic of strength. Eagle feathers are also thought to have powerful qualities. In addition, Lei Gong, the Daoist god of thunder, is half-man, half-eagle.

In Japanese culture, Amaterasu is the celestial Sun goddess who possesses superhuman strength, vitality, stamina, and resistance to injury. She hides in a cave, casting the world into complete darkness.

In an attempt to lure her out of the cave, Amenohiwashi-no-kami, a diety, plays a musical instrument. As this occurs, an eagle flies over to him and sits on the edge of the instrument. The eagle sitting on the instrument brings light to the world again.

Hindu Eagle Symbolism

In Hinduism, Garuda (or Garutman), the King of Birds, is a divine eagle-esque sunbird that is symbolic of courage. Garuda is described to be a fast shapeshifter that can take on any form and enter anywhere. His wing-flapping can even stop the spinning of heaven, earth, and hell.

Garuda is also located on the faces of several early Hindu kingdom coins as a single-headed or three-headed eagle that watches all sides.

The Rigveda, an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns, describes a Garutman as a celestial deva with wings. Garutman is defined as the same as Garuda in the Mahabharata.

Buddhist Eagle Symbolism

Garuda, also known as Garula, are golden-winged birds found in Buddhist texts. They are sometimes depicted holding a serpent between their claws.

In Buddhism, the Garuda are giant predatory birds with a wingspan of 330 yojanas. A symbol of supreme intelligence and social organization, some of them also have the magical power to change into human form.

Taiwanese Eagle Symbolism

To Indigenous Paiwan People of Taiwan, the mountain-hawk eagle is a sacred bird. It symbolizes beauty, bravery, and the sacredness of ancestral spirits.

The Taiwanese believe in four states of the afterlife — a person’s soul transforms from viper to mountain eagle to water, and then the soul is free.

Nordic Eagle Symbolism

In Nordic mythology, the World Tree Yggdrasill was a magical tree that connected the world of humans to the world of gods. A hawk named Veðrfölnir sits between the eyes of an eagle and the World Tree Yggdrasill.

The eagle is unnamed. Historians suspect that the hawk and eagle are one.

Arabic Eagle Symbolism

In Arabic mythology and folklore, legends tell of a creature that resembled an eagle, known as a roc. A roc possesses so much strength that he can lift and carry an elephant in his talons.

Ancient Egypt Eagle Symbolism

Egyptians viewed the eagle as a symbol of protection. Nekhbet, the Egyptian vulture goddess, is shown as an eagle, frequently depicted as spreading her wings over the pharaoh while holding the cartouche symbol in her claw.

Aztec and Mexican Eagle Symbolism

According to Aztec legends, Huitzilopochtli, the patron god of sun and war, is represented by an eagle. Aztecs believed that eagles helped lead the sun across the sky. The eagle is also the symbol of Mexico and is shown on the Mexican flag.

Eagle Tattoo Meaning

There’s no better way to demonstrate your devotion to your partner or freedom than with an eagle tattoo. An eagle tattoo can also signify your connection to your higher power, a symbol of your personal strength, the loyalty you have to friends and family, and the new beginnings that lay ahead.

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Izzy Casey is a writer who covers pop culture, entertainment, and news for YourTango.