Heron Symbolism & Meaning
Heron symbolism and meaning calls you to reflect on stillness, patience and deep meditation.
Are you overly social to the point of exhaustion? Are you too confined and lonely? Heron, as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal, can help! Heron teaches you how to manage your social life, all while showing you how to avoid excessive isolation. Delve deeply in Heron symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit Guide can enliven, energize, and balance you!
Heron Table of Contents
- Heron Symbolism & Meaning
- Spirit Animal
- Totem Animal
- Power Animal
- Native American Symbolism
- Heron Celtic Symbolism
- Heron Christian Symbolism
- Heron African Symbolism
- Heron Dreams
- Heron Far Eastern Symbolism
- Heron Tattoo Meaning
- Heron Spiritual Meaning
- Back to all Birds
- Back to all Spirit Animal Meanings
Heron Symbolism & Meaning
“Creativity is the Blue Heron within us waiting to fly; through her imagination, all things become possible.”
― Nadia Janice Brown
In Greek myths, Heron is God’s messenger, so it was wrong to harm one in any way as it brought terrible luck. Stories of Athena speak of a Heron as one of Her messengers. Heron also represents honor and virtue. Throughout Greek Art, Heron plays a role in the on-going struggle between good and evil; the balance between these two concepts has a substantial influence on the symbolism and meaning of Heron spiritually.
In nature, Heron flies alone. The Bird is not fond of groups except during the mating season. As a result, Heron represents solitude and corresponds with The Hermit Card in the Tarot. Like The Hermit, Heron speaks of introspection, soul-searching, inner reflection, and meditation.
Another natural characteristic of Heron is his ability to Hunt. Heron moves in the blink of an eye and spears a fish for dinner. While the actual capture happens near instantaneously, the wait beforehand may be long and very still. Here Heron teaches the quality of patience – of observing and thinking before we act.
Egyptians had a profound relationship with Heron. A God, known as Bennu, is a large red and gold Heron. One of the oldest cities in Egypt, Heliopolis, held this Bird as sacred. Bennu created light, which may be why Heliopolis became known as the City of the Sun. Bennu has sometimes been related to Ra or Osiris reborn into a new life. In creation stories, it is the call of a Heron that heralded the beginning of creation. To this day, a double-headed Heron represents prosperity in Egypt.
The Heron has ties to the Water Element that encourages us to flow with the energies around us. We do not need to struggle with nature but instead cooperate with it. There is no question the Heron is lovely and graceful. It’s hard not to be inspired by such a marvelous, stunning Bird.
Other keywords and characteristics associated with Heron include Autonomy, calm, detachment, keen-mindedness, individuality, gallantry, meditation, nobility, peace, serendipity, solitude, stability, steadfastness, tact, tenacity, reclusiveness, and willpower.
Heron Spirit Animal
When Heron arrives as a Spirit Animal and guide, he bears a variety of messages. One speaks of independence. Either you are too solitary or too social. By the first measure, we still need each other. That is simply a human reality. By the second measure, we need not hide in the crowd to the point of losing identity.
The second lesson from Heron is working cooperatively with your partner when preparing for a family. Heron does not like the company of other Birds. Nonetheless, the male and female work together in making a nest. It appears to be a well-balanced partnership that provides a strong foundation for their young.
Third, Heron Spirit Animal may be calling you to a time of thinking deeply about your life and where you are going; this effort not only offers a chance to ground but increases our wisdom about our place and purpose. If you find yourself uncomfortable around someone or in a situation, ask yourself why. Sometimes it’s an instinctual warning. Other times that person or setting is challenging some of your perspectives or habits.
Once you have a good grasp of your true self, Heron challenges you to take the next step. Prepare to walk to the beat of your figurative drummer. You can love your peers and appreciate their company while also staying on track. Being a little unconventional and individualistic is ok. This personal transformation doesn’t lock people out. Your family and friends still find comfort and acceptance in your company.
Finally, Heron counsels you on an opportunity. This Spirit Animal is forbearing and persistent. You need not always wait for your ship to come in. Swim to it!
Heron Totem Animal
Those born with a Heron Totem Animal are solitary by nature. They do not like people interfering in private matters. Their circles are tiny, with at least one person being a mate. While they seem at ease in a group, after a social occasion, they retreat once more.
If Heron is your Birth Totem, you like a lot of diversity. Throughout your life, you learn a bit of this and a tad of that. You can put on one of many hats and be fairly adept – from plumbing to getting wax out of rugs.
This characteristic of Heron gives them a lot of freedom. You don’t expect people to understand your lifestyle. You will never be traditional. From the outside, this lifestyle appears unstable and disorderly. To you, however, there is a pattern that you can see, adjust, and complete, sometimes while doing two other things at the same time! Better still, you have a unique knack for taking advantage of a moment that others miss completely.
Folks with this power animal do not seem to need a lot of people in their life. Nor do they feel pressured to keep up with the material world. These people also are never compelled to be traditional in their life roles. They stand out in your uniqueness, and they know how to snatch and take advantage of things and events that the average person would leave untouched. Be proud of that. Resourcefulness, thy name is Heron.
Other keywords and characteristics associated with Heron include autonomy, calm, detachment, keen-mindedness, individuality, gallantry, meditation, nobility, peace, serendipity, solitude, stability, steadfastness, tact, tenacity, reclusiveness, and willpower.
Heron Power Animal
Heron makes a perfect Power Animal for when you are working toward greater independence and responsibility or for moments when you’re trying to stand on your own two feet. The Bird’s preference for being alone gives it an energetic signature that fully supports efforts to liberate yourself and to become self-sufficient. In embracing your independence, Heron also helps you become more confident in the skills and talents you have, while simultaneously igniting within you the spirit of exploration.
As a Power Animal, Heron supports you with fresh starts, the discovery of a new path, or creating a new life. The creature’s symbolic ties to Creator Gods, give Heron symbolic links to renewal and rebirth. It is the ideal creature to invoke when you’re trying to start over again or when you’re trying to establish a new path forward in your personal or spiritual life.
Heron demonstrates tremendous patience and strength during the hunt. So, you can call on Heron as a Power Animal when you are trying to develop stamina or your resolve. At the same time, Heron is helpful when you approach a failed relationship or venture with the hope of a successful outcome.
Native American Symbolism
Native Americans have stories about the Heron that portray him as determined and clever. They respect the Heron’s curiosity and apparent good judgment. Seeing one among Northwest tribes is an omen of good luck, particularly in fishing. The Iroquois trust in this positive sign not only for fishing but also for hunting.
The Great Blue Heron comes up in tales as one who can wait forever to reach their goal. All others give up and leave the Heron to his task. Heron does not mind standing alone. Once they complete their task, they soar.
Blue Heron symbolism, then speaks to the importance of patience and watchfulness, knowing when the right opportunity arrives and not being impulsive or in a hurry to get what you really want. When you work with Blue Heron symbolism, you are calling on your ability to embrace stillness and to have faith in the process playing out without your intervention.
Some Tribes have Heron as a clan animal; this includes the Menominee and Iroquois. The Makah Indians living in the northwestern corner of Washington weave a narrative of the Two Men who Changed Things.
In the beginning, when Earth was young, there were no humans. There was a bit of grass and sand and nondescript creatures. When the brothers of the Sun and Moon came to Earth, they started adapting things for the presence of people. In the process, they called animals to their side. Some became birds, trees, small plants, and animals.
One of the undesignated creatures was a wondrous fisherman. He waited on the rocks with a spear just watching for fish. This being wore a white cape over his shoulders. That cape became the feathers on the Great Blue Heron’s neck, and the spear turned into his beak. And so, he remains to this day.
Thus, Blue Heron symbolism can also be associated with adapting to your surroundings or knowing how to blend in. Blue Heron meaning can insinuate the need to know when to be discreet and not stand out from the crowd.
Some also attribute Blue Heron meaning to independence and the ability to rely on yourself. When Blue Heron appears, it may be indicating the need to stand tall and follow your instincts. To some Native people, the Blue Heron’s meaning is associated with supporting yourself or being your own pillar of strength even if you are standing on one leg.
Heron Celtic Symbolism
Herons, sometimes called Egrets, represent longevity, persistence, and autonomy in Celtic tradition. Some Celtic lore associates Heron with the gods and portrays them as peaceful. Rhiannon was very protective and often helped lost travelers. In her dominion was all magical waters. Tales of Rhiannon, the Goddess of Lakes and Water, imply the Heron is her reincarnation and thus give Heron the title of Lady of the Lake.
In some Celtic lore, tales reference the Heron as Creyr: A God that both gives and takes life. Some warriors painted Heron on their shields for protection.
Heron Spirit Animal is also sometimes associated with the both strength, protection, luck and insight that comes from stillness and deeper reflection. Their role as intermediaries with the Divine is shared in numerous other cultures as well.
Heron Christian Symbolism
Christianity associates Heron meaning with a long life and good luck. Christians (at least from a Biblical standpoint) appreciate the birds’ content, long-suffering nature. Some hymns sing of Heron’s stillness while waiting.
Though less flattering associations can also be found. For example, Heron is one of the migratory wading birds defined by the Bible as “unclean” and therefore not to be eaten.
Other references in the Bible point to the Heron as being irritable, unsocial and even voracious and greedy. Though Heron spiritual meaning can be associated with the positive aspects of this bird’s independent and stoic nature, some interpretations of this bird’s habits, in the Christian standpoint, place them in the category of being antisocial rather than deep and reflective.
So for some followers of the Christian faith, Heron is looked to as a cautionary tale. Heron’s disagreeable nature, it is believed, is the reason they find themselves alone, rather than seeing the power and stature in standing apart from the crowd.
If Heron presents to you in this way, it may be a symbol that you are projecting an irritable or uncooperative image to others.
Like an aviary Rorschach Test, much of Heron’s interpretation in Christianity may be in the eye of the beholder. Others who follow Christianity see Heron as a symbol of peace, luck and contentment. Silence is considered a key virtue in the Christian faith and so Heron can also stand out to some as emblematic of the importance of silent, meditative reflection and the importance of finding inner peace.
Heron African Symbolism
Heron symbolism in African cultures is similar to that of Greek symbolism. To some Africans, the Heron was also considered a messenger of the Divine. There are tales related to Heron.
In one of the more prominent stories, the origin of Heron’s bent neck is attributed to the cunning and vengeful Jackal who seeks revenge after Heron intervenes on behalf of Dove.
According to this story, Dove was being harassed by Jackal, who threatened to fly up and steal her babies if she did not throw one down to him as a food offering. Heron comes alone after this has taken place and informs Dove that Jackal cannot fly and she need not sacrifice any more of her young due to his empty threats. Getting wind of this, Jackal, inquires as to how Heron is able to stand so easily and balance so well. Heron replies that he moves his neck in order to maintain balance. Jackal exacts his revenge by breaking Heron’s neck.
This story can symbolize the importance of continuing to bend and adapt, as Heron is still able to balance, even with his neck being curved as it is.
When Heron appears in your dreamscape, it could have a variety of meanings. If something is tempting you to jump into a situation without much research, this would be a big stop sign. Heron encourages forethought, tact, and self-reliance for success.
A second message from the dream Heron is one of introspection. It’s time to look within for answers. If the Heron is black, this represents avoidance, particularly of an offer due to personal fears. Breathe and trust. It’s time to act.
A Blue Heron reminds us to reconnect with our intimate Tribe and communicate. Some people genuinely have good insights for you, but you will not find that treasure by staying insular. If the Heron in your dream stands on one leg, it symbolizes finding your bliss. Keep focused. Heron’s meaning can then point to going your own way and finding happiness without the influence of those around you.
A Heron in the sky warns of family squabbles. Find the “leader” of your pack for resolutions. If the Heron in your dream walks alone looking for food, it means someone is spreading gossip about you. Seek out that individual or simply ignore the unpleasantness.
Should the Heron fly toward the horizon, success is on its way, particularly in travel. If Heron keeps switching feet in your dream, it reflects your doubts about making a decision.
Some consider the sight of a Heron in your dreams to have a cautionary implication. Heron may be asking you to slow down and observe carefully before dashing out in search of what you think is the best path forward.
Heron spiritual meaning in dreams can also be a reminder to trust in your deeper intuition and not be swayed by the crowd. Heron may point to where you need to stand out and on your own two feet, or sometimes one foot.
Heron Far Eastern Symbolism
Japanese legends speak of young women yearning for love. They turn themselves into white Herons dancing in winter ponds. In another story, a Prince transformed into a Heron upon his death, giving the creature the symbolism of renewal. When the White Heron dances, it drives out sickness and attracts purity. The Japanese also associate Heron with grace, nobility, and fidelity.
One folktale tells us about the Heron Maiden. It begins with a young man coming across a wounded Heron. It gently gathers it up and brings it back to health. When strong enough, the young man releases the Heron to the winds.
After some time, a young woman comes his way, who captures his heart. They marry and live happily. The wife makes a silk brocade that merchants desire; this gives them enough money to live comfortably.
The wife, however, has made the young man make a specific promise. He must never see her weaving. Now, we all know when the story says, “Never,” that it’s going to happen. So, he peeks. What he sees is a Heron at the loom, who slowly shape-shifts back into his wife.
Because the man broke his promise, their life together must end. The wife says goodbye gently then flies away as a Heron once more.
The Chinese associations have some commonalities with those in Japan. It represents purity, longevity, and luck. Further, because the word for Heron sounds much like the Chinese word for “path,” Heron earns the secondary symbolism of wishing for a clear path or spiritual progress. The term Heron has similarities to another word meaning “salary, so people consider Heron an omen of wealth.
Legends in China tell us that Heron guides souls to heaven safely. The Blue Heron represents a journey toward inner stillness and a greater sense of duty. When the White Heron and Crow fly together, they are emblems on the Sun and the Moon working together.
Heron in Indonesia: There once was an impoverished village just outside a very wealthy town. People could not understand why abundance never came their way. True, the roads were poor and the village somewhat isolated. Even so, people wearied of their fate and decided to take action.
On October 25th, they gathered for a ceremony known as Ngusa Benining. The goal was purifying everyone in the village so evil would flee replaced by prosperity. They took special offerings to the temple of rice, eggs, coconut leaves, and animals. They also ritually cleansed the land; they believed this would restore harmony and abundance.
During the preparations, a Heron sat in a tree outside the priest’s home; this was very unusual. The Heron never nested in their region.
Many years later, Herons came to their village. At first, only a few, but then in great numbers. Every tree had a nested Heron. The people believed Heron was god’s gift, so they determined to safeguard the Heron in their village. The Heron was not to be disturbed because so doing would bring contention, and they now had peace.
Heron Tattoo Meaning
Heron tattoos can have multiple different meanings depending on the person bearing this symbol. Those who delve deep into Heron spiritual meaning may opt to get a Heron tattoo as a reminder of the importance of silence, stillness and patience.
Those who get a Heron Tattoo connected to their spiritual beliefs may also make a connection with Celtic mythology and the Lady of the Lake. Heron can be seen as a sign of good luck and so some who love the water and fishing may adorn their bodies with a Heron tattoo to pay homage to this creature and for luck while fishing.
Peace, longevity, harmony are just a few of the associations with a Heron Tattoo. You can also remember the need to remain tranquil regardless of challenges and chaotic circumstances by adorning your body with a Heron tattoo.
Heron is also associated with evolution and self-improvement. When a person has a Heron tattoo, they may be devoted to connecting with the Water Element and their own healing and emotional nature, or they may also be dedicated to evolving and developing their personal strengths.
Heron Spiritual Meaning
Heron spiritual meaning is associated with meditation and transcending obstacles by maintaining a stoic nature and inner tranquility. Heron can be connected to the Crown Chakra as this chakra connects the individual with the Divine.
Since Heron exists at the water’s edge, you can also link Heron spiritual meaning with the transitory times of dawn and dusk, the transitory seasons of spring and fall, and the times of transition within the life cycle. Growth, initiation and change that requires you to stand on the edge of two worlds can also relate to Heron.
Heron helps you navigate the realms of the spiritual and emotional while also maintaining a firm grasp of practical reality, or keeping one foot on solid ground while delving into the water.
In addition to Hermit, mentioned earlier, the Tarot suit of Cups and the cards associated with emotions, relationships and healing, are also associated with Heron. Though Heron is often portrayed as independent and solitary, they too seek companionship at times. Heron may have important lessons about establishing your independence in relationships and knowing how to maintain your boundaries.
Often depicted as mystical, silent and reflective, Heron can also symbolize the importance of stillness and trusting your intuition, even if this sets you apart from the crowd.
Heron Symbolic Meanings Key