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Puffin Symbolism & Meaning

Want to improve your health? Want to achieve your dreams? Puffin as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal can help! Puffin teaches how to put greater focus on self-care and how safely reach for our highest aims. Delve Deeply into Puffin symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit can illuminate, stir, and animate you!

Puffin Table of Contents

Puffin Symbolism & Meaning

Puffins bear the sweet scientific name of Fratercual, meaning “little brother;” this doesn’t have to do with a kinship with the bird (although for some readers it might resonate on that level). Instead, the designation came from the patterns of a Puffin’s feathers resembling monks’ robes.

“I love puffins. They are small, round gothic birds and their babies are called pufflings.”
– Caitlin Moran

Standing out from that stark black-and-white we have the bright flashy beak that’s nearly impossible to miss. In the summertime, the coloring becomes more intense, which helps our Puffin look more attractive during the breeding season. Think of this as Nature’s makeup for the Puffin’s date! Once the Puffin is happy with a mate, that makeup comes off, and the beak turns dull for the coming winter. Puffins stay together for life, without any pretense, which is an emblem of faithfulness.

One of the things that makes Puffin Spirit stand out in the Spirit Animal world is their commitment to family. Indeed, this is one of the central symbols for Puffin. They strive for a safe, content home; this dwelling consists of a burrow filled with grass, feathers, and bits of seaweed. Since they only lay one egg, protection for the puffling comes from both mother and father, who take equal responsibility in child rearing.

Puffin has sometimes been called the “Clown of the Sea,” alluding to its beak. Nonetheless, this can add to Puffin’s spiritual meaning in terms of having a good sense of humor. Go ahead and don that red nose, tell a joke or two and laugh.

This Spirit Animal has ties to both the Air and Water Elements. Puffin can fly upward of 55 miles per hour. That is 400 wing beats a minute (whew!). In the water, Puffin actually swims beneath the surface by flapping his wings, diving to depths of 200 feet. The Puffin’s orange feet act as a helm, steering him toward his lunch.

Physical communication is part of Puffin’s meaning and symbolism. These birds come in from the ocean to pair up. Part of this ritual includes rubbing beaks together (like rubbing noses?). If there is some reason for aggression, Puffin literally “puffs up” their body, so they look bigger followed by a petulant stomp of one foot. If things get really nasty, Puffins lock beaks, moving into a wrestling match. From a spectator’s standpoint, this battle looks a bit humorous since they may get so involved in the moment that both birds fall off the perch.

Another type of communication comes from the way Puffin walks. When they mean no trouble and simply want to get from point A to B, they move swiftly with a lowered head. Puffin colonies tend to be crowded, so this maintains a low profile for the bird. By comparison, a parent Puffin guarding the brood stands upright and aware, beak tucked to its chest.

Two species appear in the North Pacific: The Horned Puffin and the Tufted Puffin. Both look pretty much alike. They have similar feeding habits in order to get food to the brood several times daily. To recognize one from the other note that the Horned Puffin’s bill is mostly yellow, and there are small projections above the eyes looking like horns. Our Tufted Puffin friend is larger and has pale yellow feathers at the back of its crown in the summer.

Keywords and characteristics associated with Puffin Spirit include parenting skills, family, devotion, fidelity, humor, grace, thoughtfulness, communication, messages, expression, body language, longevity, and swiftness.

Puffins are not very graceful on land. They find navigation awkward much as humans sometimes can’t find their footing. To some, seeing a Puffin acts as a call to prayer.

Puffin is the official bird of Newfoundland and Labrador, and they inspired the Porgs in the Star Wars Film that was set in part on Skelling Michael, Ireland. A group of Puffins is called (among other things) an “improbability.”

Puffin Superstitions: There are some Puffin superstitions most of which seem to surround a lone Puffin (which was an unusual site). In the British Isles looking on a lone Puffin was bad luck, and you should quickly do something to ward yourself. In Scotland shooting a lone Puffin might turn the ill luck (or hitting it with a stone) because some thought them witches or messengers of witches. There are even some oral traditions that say a Puffin can tell you what you are having for dinner (details were wanting).

Puffin Spirit Animal

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Puffins are a bit of a character. Explorers observing them for the first time found them odd; this is perfectly ok, and in fact rather wonderful. There is nothing wrong with being “different” and having distinctive personality traits that make you, YOU. That is one of the Puffin Spirit Animal’s messages to you.

A second reason Puffin may swim or fly into your life has to do with your personal bonds. Puffin challenges: are you caring for your young? Are you being watchful? Are you nurturing your relationships, so they flourish? Are your relationships healthy and balanced? These are questions only you can answer, but Puffin can support you in goals that focus on overall improvements in these areas.

When it comes to communication, Puffin Spirit Guide teaches us much. We often do not realize what our body communicates to others. When your arms are closed, you “feel” likewise closed off (and indeed may be just that). When you stand tall, it indicates personal awareness and a kind of pride. So, if you’ve been talking to someone and the conversation keeps going nowhere, see if you can find physical ways to mirror your intent.

If you have felt somewhat on the defense, Puffin reminds you: PUFF UP! When you have confidence your aura actually grows stronger; this doesn’t mean you have to take antagonistic action. Rather you’re saying, “think twice” to those wishing to undermine your vision or goals.

With regard to Puffin’s clownish title, this bird often comes to those who take life far too seriously. There seems to be no room for a hint of sunlight, a sparkle of magic; this outlook kills any chance of really enjoying life to its fullest: Time for a change of attitude.
From an Elemental standpoint, Puffin alerts us to the delicate symmetry between our emotions and aspirations, between our thoughts and words. As you reach up, root downward – Remember: “As above, so below.”

Puffin Totem Animal

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Those born with Puffin Totem Animal are very focused on home and children no matter their age or where they currently live. The Puffin holds their child close. They also have a special place in their hearts for individuals who have suffered abandonment at young ages; this individual has a deep understanding of the parent-child relationship, even in a proverbial way. For example, for some a cherished project can be a “child” of sorts, and there is a distinct relationship with that effort.

If Puffin is your Birth Totem, you are not one to jump from relationship to relationship without thought. You are looking for THE ONE. You don’t just want a companion, but also a friend, mate, and partner. Until you find that person, your heart will have a lonely hole in it that you may try to fill with unhealthy things. Be aware of that. You need to be enough in yourself so that when the time special someone finally comes, you are a whole, healthy person.

An interesting trait among Puffin people is the fact that they live a long life. Part of this is sheer willpower and love of life. Other is simple hardiness. Either way, other than odd accidents, your Puffin totem portends longevity.

From a personal perspective, your Puffin Totem insight knows that not everything in life is as simple as black and white. Sure, your feathers express that dynamic, but orange feet! Oh my! Orange is a creative, successful, determined color filled with positive energy, pleasure, and passion. The fact that Orange is on Puffin’s feet implies all these attributes are fully grounded in the Earth and they grow from there.

It’s hard to embarrass those with a Puffin Totem. They tend to just roll with it and even laugh at themselves. Disappointments are simply a part of reality. Learn from them rather than dwell on them – that’s a Puffin lesson.

Walking with the Puffin means loving a crowd. Being alone is “ok,” but you prefer the group experience — the more, the merrier. You find yourself having greater zeal in the summer months for social outreach and may even get a little “randy.” That’s part of your Totem’s natural cycle. Just be aware that when you mate, you are hoping for something long term while others may not be that committed to the moment. Curb your expectations accordingly.

Last, but perhaps most importantly, Puffin Medicine is individualistic. You know who you are. You know where you want to go and pretty much how to get there. If you need to swim through a sea of emotions or soar toward the heavens, you will find your bliss.

Puffin Power Animal

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Call on the Puffin as a Power Animal when:

  • Working on your relationship with children.
  • Endeavoring to improve your health and focus more on self-care.
  • Looking for that one, true love.
  • You feel a little lost and uncertain in your footing.
  • Developing a stronger awareness of the Air or Water Element.
  • Reaching for the improbable, and perhaps even impossible with hope.
  • Seeking your true self.
  • Standing your ground.
  • Improving silent communication skills.
  • Protecting that which you love.

Native American Puffin Symbolic Meanings

Among Native Americans, Puffins are part of a seabird family called the Auk. Their children have various adorable designations including murres and auklets; this bird exists in Alaska and other parts of the Arctic, Maritimes, and Northwest Coast. Some stories among the Alute claim that Puffins are weather magicians, particularly over storms. They also symbolize protection since their feathers could be added to parkas keeping them water resistant.

The Tlingit legend about Puffin begins in GanAxa, a creek where people regularly went to dry their salmon and take care of other tasks. One day a few women went out gathering shellfish at low tide. They took their canoe to a known hole in the island, but their landing was unsuccessful. A huge wave came in and drown them all, save one. Apparently, this one woman loved the Puffin. As a young lady, she would admire them and wished she could sit among them. It was these very birds who saved her that day.

At first, the town people thought the woman drown. But when her father passed the place of the Puffins, they said: “look, your daughter is here.” He truly didn’t understand and sought to placate the Woman of the cliffs. Nothing seemed to work.

The Chief’s wife suggested taking her grandfather’s hair and spreading it on the canoe before taking it out again. Finally, they saw a cliff with their daughter, her hair hanging over. As they approached, birds flew in and gathered a white hair into their feathers.

The Puffin Chief thought a great deal of this gift and told the woman that she could come back to the Puffin any day. All she had to do was call his name.

Icelandic Puffin Symbolic Meanings

The Puffin has evolved into a very previous bid in Iceland even more than the duck. Considered the penguin of the North here, it may not be the most obvious choice for a symbol. But these sweet little birds breed throughout the region. Visitors have become enamored of them, and you can find Puffin images on everything from shot glasses to rich paintings.

Puffin also appears of the Reykjavik International Film Festival. Here, winning ensures you of a golden Puffin statue. Artists play around a lot with Puffin guises sometimes even depicting him as a superhero.

Puffin Dreams

If the Puffin in your dream has its back turned this represents some form of abandonment especially that of a parental figure. Someone has simply vanished out of your life, and you have no idea why or if they will ever return; this dream indicates you need to come to terms with these feelings.

A Puffing with a puffling indicates close ties with children. Your relationship may be complex at times but maintain your focus and come to truly know your child so that you can support their on-going growth.

If the landscape in your Puffin dream is dark, you are facing dark times. Remember the Puffin lesson of where there is dark; there will be light. Hang in there.

When there are two Puffins in your dream, it is an omen of a forthcoming mate becoming known to you.

Sometimes a Puffin dream is actually some type of pun, like being “puffed up” or huffing and puffing, for example.

Should the Puffin in your dream seem to be offering you something this acts as counsel to be careful about what you promise. Keep your word.

Dancing Puffins are a celebratory sign of joy and celebration on the horizon.

Learn more about Puffin Spirit by reading Dreaming About A Puffin on WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com!

Puffin Symbolic Meanings Key

  • Body language
  • Communication
  • Devotion
  • Expression
  • Family
  • Fidelity
  • Grace
  • Humor
  • Messages
  • Parenting skills
  • Thoughtfulness