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Monkey Spiritual Symbolism & What It Means To Dream Of Monkeys

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monkey symbolism

Some of the closest relatives to humans, primates have existed on earth for almost 85 million years. Broadly divided into Old World species and New World species, there are 334 different species between the two.

While some may think that monkeys are apes, like gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees, these creatures don't have tails, making them apes! Monkeys are tailed primates, have flat and short faces, have hands and feet, a big toe or big thumb, move using all four limbs, and live in family groups.

But monkeys are so much more than creatures that hang out in the trees; they are social, quick-witted, and intelligent.

Monkey Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Monkeys

Monkeys represent loyalty, intelligence, and community and family. Monkeys also symbolize mischief, playfulness, courage, innocence, and generosity.

Known for their playful nature, mischief, practical jokes and good hearted trickery, monkeys like to have fun. Just like humans want to add a little humor to their lives, so too do these primates.

Highly sociable creatures, family is of the utmost importance to monkeys. They live in social circles and groups, where they communicate, interact, groom one another, and form strong bonds.

Not only is community essential to protecting themselves against predators, but proves just how affectionate and loyal monkeys are.

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Monkey Encounters and Omens

While coming into contact with or seeing a monkey can depend on the specific culture, there are both positive and negative meanings behind an encounter like this.

On one hand, this can determine impending danger, while on the other hand, it indicates protection. Additionally, monkey encounters can mean good luck and success, or can be a reminder to be more selfless, cautious, and think carefully.

What Different Color Monkeys Symbolize

White Monkey Symbolism

The color white represents purity, perfection, clarity, renewal, appreciation, and distance. While extremely rare to see one, a white monkey symbolizes wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.

Black Monkey Symbolism

The color black symbolizes a variety of things, including power, control, emptiness, the unconscious mind, all that is hidden, death and rebirth, and evil. But a black monkey can represent friendship, splendor, and devotion.

Golden Monkey Symbolism

In the Chinese Zodiac, people born in the year of the monkey with a gold element are confident, intelligent, and stubborn. But spiritually, a golden monkey symbolizes loyalty, both romantically and platonically, as well as happiness.

Monkey Symbolism in Dreams

Monkey dreams have their own specific meanings, so be sure to pay close attention to the specifics of the dream, as well as the emotions that dream evokes.

Dreaming of a monkey chasing you

If you dream of a monkey chasing you, this indicates you have shady friendships in the waking world, and will soon determine which ones are actually loyal. This dream can also mean that people aren't taking you seriously, so be sure to evaluate the way you communicate with others.

Dreaming of a monkey attacking you

When a monkey attacks you in a dream, it's a warning to be aware of those who have ill intent towards you. These individuals will do anything to stop you from succeeding, so steer clear of people who don't have your best interests at heart.

Dreaming of feeding a monkey

Feeding a monkey in your dream means you are thinking positively and are making connections with others. This dream calls attention to your good-hearted nature; however, it can also indicate that people in your social circle will try to take advantage of your generosity.

Dreaming of a monkey biting you

If a monkey bites you in your dream, one interpretation says that your unfair deeds in the waking world are coming back to "bite" you now. However, another meaning relates to your personal life; this dream indicates that you will form a new relationship with someone you've liked for quite some time.

Dreaming of playing with monkeys

If a monkey plays with you in your dream, it could mean that you will find success in your professional life or romantic life. Consider this a great sign!

Dreaming of a screaming monkey

Dreaming of a screaming monkey indicates that a relationship in the waking world, whether romantic or otherwise, is extremely toxic and that it's time to let go of it. Because if you don't, you'll become just as toxic as that person.

Dreaming of monkeys fighting

To dream of monkeys fighting means your inner mind is "fighting" to have you express yourself. Be sure to think before you speak, but stay true to how you really feel.

Dreaming of killing a monkey

While this may be an unpleasant dream to have, it is a good omen. This dream means that you will soon overcome difficulties or people who try to put you down. Another interpretation is that you may be too short and critical with those you love.

Dreaming of a wounded monkey

A wounded monkey in your dream indicates that someone from your past is going to reappear because they are in need of help. But because this person hurt you, you'll have to do some inner searching to determine the extent of how much you want to help.

Dreaming of a dead monkey

A dream of a dead monkey means you're currently experiencing issues in your romantic relationship. A dream of dead monkeys reminds you to pay attention to the way you communicate with your loved one. A dead monkey can also symbolize people having ill intent towards you.

Dreaming of a baby monkey

A dream of baby monkeys is the nudge you need to spend more time with your loved ones, as they may be feeling neglected. But this dream can also represent embracing your inner child, or be a warning that there is uncertainty in your waking life.

Dreaming of a monkey in a cage

To dream of a monkey in a cage means you may be suffering the consequences of your actions. Consider this dream a wake-up call to mind your business when necessary.

Dreaming of a monkey jumping

If you dream of a monkey jumping, it means you have instability in your relationship, and your partner may be wishy-washy with the way they show affection. So, be sure to reevaluate your relationship and focus on being independent instead.

Dreaming of a talking monkey

If you've had a dream about a talking monkey, try to remember the tone of voice. If the monkey was poking fun at you, someone in the waking world is tired of you making jokes at their expense. If the monkey is being rude, it's a warning to be considerate of how you talk to others.

Dreaming of eating a monkey

To eat a monkey in your dream means you will soon face challenges and may even struggle with sadness or depression. If you have this dream, be sure to take the appropriate steps to addressing any issues in the waking world.

Dreaming of acting like a monkey

If you act like a monkey in your dream, it indicates that even if you've offered advice and support to loved ones, they must go it alone. You've invested a lot of time, so if they don't want to take what you have to say into consideration, you can't spend anymore of your energy on them.

Monkey Spirit or Totem Animal

Spirit animals are our spirit guides who help us stay on the right path in life, while teaching us lessons along the way. Similarly, totem animals are also spirit guides, but we invoke them when we need assistance.

While you cannot choose your spirit animal, you'll know if you have a monkey as a spirit animal if you resonate with them in some way or have had a profound experience with one.

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Those with a monkey spirit animal are known to be clever, playful, social, compassionate, humorous, and fun. But though they are a bit light-hearted in nature, they are excellent at problem-solving, and their unending curiosity means they constantly seek out knowledge.

But a monkey spirit animal totem must learn that discipline and maturity are needed sometimes, as their playful disposition may hurt the feelings of others. When you need to call on your monkey spirit animal, you will be reminded that your curiosity is a gift, but that you must also nurture your relationships with family and friends, as those are the most important bonds you'll form.

A monkey totem animal is called upon when you need courage, adventure, and strength. Having a monkey totem means finding joy in exploring the unknown, understanding that there is a time and place for jokes, and to be optimistic with each passing day.

With a monkey totem, you are intent on making those around you laugh, but face your challenges head-on. This totem animal is a reminder to stand up to those who try to bring you down, trust yourself, and find a little adventure in everyday life.

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Spiritual Meaning of Monkeys in Christianity and the Bible

Monkeys are not mentioned explicitly in the Bible, but apes are referenced twice:

1 Kings 10:22: "For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks."

Genesis 1:30: "And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so."

In instances where monkeys or apes are mentioned, they represent the dark side of humanity, as well as greed, malice, lust, and even the devil.

Spiritual Meaning of Monkeys in Hinduism

In Hinduism, the Hindu monkey god Hanuman plays heavily into the "Ramayana" Sanskrit epic. A divine companion of the god Roma, he is the son of Vayu, the wind god. He received his name after he reached up to grab the sun and Indra, king of the gods, struck him in the jaw (hanu) with a thunderbolt.

Hanuman eventually led the monkeys to help Rama recover his wife, Sita, from Ravana, a demon; he also returned from the Himalayas with medicinal herbs to heal Rama's army. Hanuman is revered for his loyalty, courage, and quick wit.

Monkey Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Native American Monkey Symbolism

In Native American culture, monkeys feature heavily in Central and South American mythology and folklore. They are known to be cunning, intelligent, and tricksters, but are also loyal; some cultures portray monkeys as greedy or lazy.

Monkeys are also clan animals in some cultures; the Chibchan tribes of Central America use spider monkey clans, while the Yagua and Guajiro tribes of South America have howler monkey clans.

There are also numerous folklore tales that involve monkeys, including Fox and Monkey, which tells of a monkey tricking his fox rival; The Lost Timber Spirits, a tale about ghost monkeys that came to be due to improper burial; and the Acawai Flood myth, a legend about a monkey's greed causing a worldwide flood.

Native American tribes also had monkey gods, including Iwarrika and Tcetin. Iwarrika was an intelligent trickster who was lazy, greedy, and curious. He was known to cause a world floor by being curious about a dam built by demigod Sigu. Tcetin, or Monkey People, were said to be humanoid creatures who lived in caves and trees, and were enemies of humans.

African Monkey Symbolism

In African culture, monkeys are associated with wisdom and intelligence. Monkeys have been used in sculptures and art, specifically Ghekre, a Baule monkey guardian and judge of the souls of the dead. For the Dogon people, Monkeys have also been portrayed on masks and used in dancing rituals.

African cultures have created numerous folktales, including the Monkey and the Shark, and the story of the Signifying Monkey; this tale is about a monkey outsmarting a lion and an elephant with his intelligence.

Ancient Egyptians also had monkey folklore and mythology. The Egyptian god A'ani, the god of equilibrium, is depicted as a monkey and is shown on top of the scales of Ma'at. Additional Egyptian monkey gods included Thoth, Hapi, Babi, as well as dozens of others!

Far Eastern Monkey Symbolism

The Chinese Zodiac features an animal for each zodiac sign. Those born during the year of the monkey are known to be fun, intelligent and clever.

In the 16th century novel "Journey to the West," the main character is the Monkey King, known as Sun Wukong. In the novel, Sun Wukong is born from stone and possesses magical powers, great strength, incredible speed, and can transform.

He is imprisoned by Buddha and put under a mountain after rebelling against heaven, and 500 years later, goes with Tang Sanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras.

There are also stories about the Bukit Timah Monkey Man, or BTMM, a creature said to live in Singapore in the forest. He is a hominid/primate who is immortal and is similar in its mythology to Bigfoot.

In Japan, there is an ancient Japanese proverb many people are familiar with: “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” This is known as the three wise monkeys: Mizaru, who sees no evil and covers his eyes; Kikazaru, who hears no evil and covers his ears; and Iwazaru, who speaks no evil and covers his mouth.

As such, Shintoism worships monkeys as guardians who protect against evil, and bring abundance and harmony. Shinto tradition also mentions a god-like monkey called Sarutahiko Okami, believed to be a guardian of the crossroads between earth and heaven.

There are also numerous folktales about monkeys, including "Momotaro" and "Saru Kani Gassan."

Monkey Tattoo Meaning

While people get tattoos for a variety of reasons, monkeys represent all different things to different people. Someone may get a monkey inked on them if they have this primate as their spirit animal, or because they have a monkey zodiac sign. But there are other meanings associated with monkeys.

Generally, monkeys are associated with curiosity, family and community, mischief, intelligence, loyalty and courage. Specific monkey tattoos mean different things, however.

For example, people may get tattoos of specific monkey characters from television or film, including Abu from "Aladdin," Chim Chim from "Speed Racer," Curious George, Mr. Teeny from "The Simpsons," Rafiki from "The Lion King," or the flying monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz."

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who has written hundreds of articles about relationships, trending news and entertainment, numerology and astrology. Follow her on Twitter for more.

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