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Whip-poor-will Symbolism & Meaning

Native to North and Central America, the Whip-poor-will eludes human sight mostly because of a nocturnal feeding pattern. Whip-poor-wills have the semblance of a miniature Owl. Why the name? It is an onomatopoeic version of their call. The sound the bird makes is unmistakable as if singing its name to the world, so all know and remember it. Find your sacred name and vocalize it too!

Whip-poor-will Table of Contents

Whip-poor-will Symbolism & Meaning

While as a bird, the Whip-poor-will has a prominent association with the Air Element, by day they roost on the ground, connecting them to the Earth Mother. The backdrop covers them nearly completely. You only know you’ve stumbled into their territory by their haunting melody.

As you get closer in proximity, the Whip-poor-will’s music grows unmistakable. They can produce over 1,000 calls in succession. Should they spot human presence, the air becomes startlingly silent. It is not you they seek, but a mate.

Courting begins at sunset in Spring and Summer. Once the male’s serenade attracts a female, he struts, puffs, and does anything else hoping to win her desire. Afterward, they retreat into privacy. In the Whip-poor-will world, they share the moment between their two souls without prying eyes.

Whip-poor-will parents love the Full Moon. After their eggs hatch in about three weeks, the parents go out hunting under the Lunar sphere in all its glory. Can you imagine the radiant energy the fledglings get from the food? The Moon is after all, romantic and inspiring-two attributes true to the Whip-poor-will Spirit.

Besides feeding, the Whip-poor-will parents are protective. If they detect a predator, they move their young into a hidden space, such as a pile of leaves. They then pretend to have a broken wing and move away from the nest. Such behavior represents the ultimate sacrifice (although one would hope the ruse works and they fly freely away).
After eight days, the male Whip-poor-will becomes a fantastic symbol for the Sacred Male and fatherhood. While the female goes to lay more eggs, dad remains. He continues caring for the offspring until they can safely leave the nest.

Whip-poor-will Spirit Animal

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You do not so much as “see” the Whip-poor-will Spirit Animal when it arrives. It beacons to your auditory awareness. It asks, during meditation, what do you hear within and without. Do you experience Clairaudience, and if not, Whip-poor-will can teach you. As distinct as the creature’s call, you will discover what faint sounds resonating through your spirit indicate.

Another message from the Whip-poor-will Spirit Animal focuses on cycles. The bird follows the daily round from sunrise to sunset and the Moon’s transitions. Have you been attentive to each part of your day or Lunar cycles in terms of how they affect your daily life? Every person has a rhythm, and your Animal Helper is here so you can find yours.

Consider around the world every day people follow rituals. They worship the sunrise, create sacred space at dusk, dance in the moonlight-it is the same rhythm Whip-poor-will celebrates, along with much of nature. The Wheel of Time is vast and continues with or without your awareness. Let the Whip-poor-will Spirit Animal keep you connected.

A vital part of the Whip-poor-will’s Spirit Animal’s job is turning your focus to relationships. People need people. You can manifest your wish for a soul mate when you know the right words and the right music. When you work with Whip-poor-will, you tell the world in no uncertain terms who you are, and what you most desire in a partner. Your beacon call is not random, and it will not move outside the natural order. It may take time, but you cannot rush an honest connection. Give your song time to take hold.

Whip-poor-will Totem Animal

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Those born with the Whip-poor-will Totem prefer using their “voice” in the background instead of being in the limelight. Being a background resource suits them just fine. In the long haul, these people know their input will have an impact. They will not keep making noise until it does.

If Whip-poor-will is your Birth Totem, you have strong ties to the places where you feel safe and can be yourself, even if there have been issues in the past. You are anything BUT the silent type. Making sure people hear and understand you is part of your personality, and it is powerful.

Walking with Whip-poor-will means you love the night. When the dusk comes, your energy amps up geometrically. You love to go out and watch all the activities where no one notices your presence. If it’s a moonlit night, all the better.

Each phase of the Moon offers you something special. The early stages open your spirit to something new and wonderful. By Full Moon, you are ready for an adventure of epic proportions. As the Waning Moon arrives, your focus turns to the unconscious self, the subconscious, and your dreams. Keep a journal about your experiences and re-read it a few times a year. You will always find surprising insights there left unrecognized when first penned.

Whip-poor-will Power Animal

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For people shy about speaking their minds, the Whip-poor-will’s energies make incredible changes. Look deep within yourself for your inner Power Animal. It is there, just waiting for your call. Once awakened, begin expressing yourself confidently, balancing what you say with wisdom. The Whip-poor-will Power Animal is not indiscriminate about using its voice. Each call has a plan and purpose. You can do likewise.

If you have been thinking about finding a life partner and/or starting a family, the Whip-poor-will Power Animal makes a sound ally. Invoke it before you start dating someone new. Or embrace it when you and your partner are ready for children.

Native American Whip-poor-will Symbolic Meanings

In Native American traditions, the cry of most nightbirds like the Whip-poor-will portends misfortune or death. The Mohegan Tribe felt differently. The Whip-poor-will’s song is really the sound of Little People who are nature spirits. The name for them is Makiawisug, which is a derivative of Whip-poor-will in their language.

Lore says the Makiawisug are about two feet tall, and kindly. They have magical powers, including invisibility. You know the Little People were in an area if you find a rock with what appears to be a carving.

The Hopi assign Whip-poor-will as the guardian of the underworld. Among the Iroquois, hearing the Whip-poor-will’s cry meant an enemy was nearby. Should a battle erupt, it is the Whip-poor-will who catches a warrior’s soul as it leaves the body and escorts it to safety.

Among the Utes, Whip-poor-will was a Deity. It was a God of the night with impressive powers. The Whip-poor-will could transform a Frog into the Moon. The Omaha say if the Whip-poor-will Spirit sends you an invitation and keeps singing, you will have a long life.

In Iroquois beliefs, Whip-poor-will shoes became moccasin flowers.

Whip-poor-will as an Animal Symbol in Superstition

There are several tidbits of superstition you can consider in understanding the meaning and symbolism of the Whip-poor-will. For example, should a woman hear the Whip-poor-will in spring call twice, she will find her beloved in one year. It is as if the Whip-poor-will invokes love interest.

If you make a wish when you hear the first call of a Whip-poor-will, keep it secret. The desire will manifest, particularly if it has to do with relationships. But you must tell no one or the magic dissipates.

A person with a backache should do somersaults, timing them to the Whip-poor-will’s call. Somehow contrary to logic, but the act of “turning” is significant. It represents transformation, moving forward, and a return to wholeness.

If you garden, once you hear the Whip-poor-will sing, the land is safe from frost. Such superstitions reflect the Whip-poor-will’s powers as a weather prophet who ushers in Spring.

Whip-poor-will Dreams

When the Whip-poor-will appears in your dream, it portends a time when you need to step back from the limelight. Your senses heighten by having distance and perspective. Take care. Do not move back into the foreground until you have all the information necessary.

A Whip-poor-will singing on a moonlit night in your dream suggests taking time to work with lunar magic. Pay particular attention to the Moon’s cycles and how they make you feel. Create a list of spells or rituals for each phase of the Moon and try them. Whip-poor-will offers adaptation to all the Moon’s changes.

If you see the Whip-poor-will singing directly at you in the dream, there is something in your subconscious needs to come out. Meditate and isolate the feeling or memory itching in the background of your thoughts.

Whip-poor-will & Night Hawk Symbolic Meanings Key

  • Clairaudience
  • Concealment
  • Confidence
  • Love
  • Family & Relationships
  • Parenting & Fatherhood
  • Rhythms & Cycles
  • Sacred Names
  • Night Magic
  • Weather Working