Octopus Symbolism & Meaning
Trying to strengthen your memory? Are you looking to get greater control over your emotions? Octopus, as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal, can help! Octopus teaches you how to focus on what’s essential and understand your feelings. Delve deeply into Octopus symbolism and meaning to discover how this Animal Spirit Guide can support and empower you!
Octopus Table of Contents
- Octopus Symbolism & Meaning
- Spirit Animal
- Totem Animal
- Power Animal
- Octopus Spiritual Meaning
- Native American Symbolism
- Oceanic Octopus Depictions
- Octopus Meaning in Japan
- Octopus Symbolism in Buddhism
- Octopus Dreams
- Beware the Kraken
- Meaning of an Octopus Tattoo
- Octopus Trivia & Facts
- Octopus Quotes
- The Octopus Rocket
- Octopus Preservation Groups
- Back to all Fish & Crustaceans
- Back to all Spirit Animal Meanings
Octopus Symbolism & Meaning
The impressive Octopus has a variety of symbolism and meanings associated with it. On a spiritual level, Octopus represents our willpower and focus. This Animal Ally is very wise and intelligent, having the skills to get out of sticky situations. Octopus looks at circumstances, adapts, flexes, and then finds a strategic way to fix things or make them better.
To humans, Octopus Spirit may seem mysterious. As a sea creature, this Animal Spirit touches our deep emotions in unanticipated ways. It shows us our potential and supports our ability to reason things out. If Octopus walked on land, it would be a lifelong student of energetic realms and ancient mysteries. Who knows, perhaps it does so in its watery realm.
The Water Element highly influences Octopus symbolism. This brings insight, inventiveness, cleansing, and movement into the equation. The Moon likewise has energetic connections to Octopus, charging the air with psychic ability. Lightworkers consider Octopus Medicine as tied to the Sacred Feminine. Many women would love 8 tentacles, um… hands to get things done!
In nature, Octopus prefers to move along the bottom of their realm. They frequently shift with the water’s ebb and flow.. In this, Octopus teaches us how to work with whatever is “in motion” vs. fighting against it. Additionally, no matter Octopus’ magical abilities, it stays close to the ground of the watery realms for stability and safety.
The Octopus has no spinal column, making them very flexible (loose as a goose, so to speak). As a result, the Path Octopus treads is not always orthodox but productive. Expect the unexpected when this Spirit Animal enters your awareness.
As an Animal Ally, Octopus represents renewal. They can regrow their arms. So, when one door figuratively closes, it’s easy to “regenerate” and try something else. This ability, combined with the ability to detach limbs, means that Octopus can avoid problems and dangers, leaving the past behind. The Creature whispers in your ear: carry nothing that holds you back.
Octopus is a reasoning being; they have sound memories and logical aptitude. Thus, Octopus represents mastering our minds and honing our cognitive skills. Many spiritual seekers rely heavily on sensitivity vs. logic, but Octopus reminds us that both have a place on our Path. Everything is in balance, in this case, the head vs. the heart.
Additionally, Octopus is a master of camouflage. It knows when to step back from view based on the situation. It is a sound lesson. Lay low and avoid overexposure when things around you become chaotic. Stand back, watch, gather information, and return when things calm down.
The art of camouflage alludes to shape-shifting and the way in which the Universe unfolds, often in unexplainable yet beautiful ways. Octopus Spirit reminds you, you don’t have to understand EVERYTHING right NOW. Humans are an impatient lot, but you will find waiting holds special rewards.
Octopus Spirit Animal
When whole new worlds are about to open, Octopus glides smoothly into your life. It brings the gifts of wisdom, keen-mindedness, and a connection to the Path of the Mystic. Octopus will nudge you to explore your creative and intuitive self. Many people who encounter Octopus find they begin having very detailed dreams, some of which are precognitive.
Octopus loves students and frequently comes to those immersed in higher learning. It celebrates your progress and gives you hints for improvements. Keep a journal handy while working with this Animal Ally. You’ll want to come back to it again and again.
Octopus has eight legs that represent infinity. From a metaphysical standpoint, this is a message about your past lives and the lessons you learned on the Wheel of Life. Don’t be surprised if Octopus provides glimpses of the past that help with your current circumstances.
Beyond Life’s Wheel, the number 8 encourages a positive mindset, one that provides inner strength and resilience. Octopus knows your desire to help humanity and reminds you the tools for doing so are already within. Trust in yourself, and you will go very far.
Did you know numbers also have meaning? To learn more about the significance of numbers, click here!
For those of us who pushed down our words and emotions, Octopus challenges us to look at those honestly. It is time to purge that which doesn’t celebrate your life and Spirit as it exists now. Clinging to the past with all 8 arms will only keep you stuck there. Release and go with the flow. That which seemed impossible will suddenly take on a new light.
Another message from Octopus Spirit Animal has to do with illusions. Something or someone (perhaps even you) is not what they seem. Getting to the truth is essential.
Finally, in the bedroom, Octopus encourages us to explore our sensuality and release some of the walls that keep us from our Bliss. This is not simply a pleasure for pleasure’s sake but the uniting of two souls who work on their relationship daily. Get creative and nurture your physical connection.
Octopus Totem Animal
If you are born with an Octopus Totem, you are very intelligent and love to share what you know with others. Having said that, you have a secret desire you don’t readily share until you feel perfectly at ease in your skin. On more mundane matters, you know what you want and how to get there using “street smarts” and life experience as a guide. The only caution is that you may work too hard to reach those goals and miss some important aspects of daily life.
Octopus people are a bit like Sufi Dancers who swirl into life seeking that Divine Center with all their heart and soul. To be one with the Goddess is a deep-seated yearning. You are also very sensitive to the world around you. When negativity rears its ugly head, you know how to protect yourself and those you love behind a veil of proverbial ink.
People with the Octopus Birth Animal innately know how to “fix things.” You don’t shy away from a challenge and put a little of yourself into everything you do. You’re aware of your flaws and seek ever to improve them. People appreciate your honesty and rally around you when you have an idea. Your skills of articulation are formidable.
There is an air of mystery around the Octopus-born. You can be quite enigmatic when you want to be, especially if you are unsure about someone new. Then too, you also love a good puzzle and will try to solve it with all eight arms. You are a student of the Universe who never wants to stop learning.
The flexibility of the Octopus Totem means you’ll adapt to nearly anything life throws at you and come out winning.
Octopus Power Animal
Connect with your inner Octopus during times when you need to multitask and get your tentacles into the jobs at hand. That doesn’t mean you have to be in the limelight. You can call upon this Power Animal to help you “disappear” from a situation where you feel overexposed.
During times of health struggles, Octopus energy supports renewal and regeneration, particularly emotionally. Tap into it, washing away false thoughts and granting you renewed willpower for whatever challenges you face.
Octopus Medicine resonates with the ability to keep up a hectic pace without losing balance. When you feel too drawn to distracting flights of fancy, invoke your Octopus energy.
When versatility is essential, Octopus is a go-to Power Animal. When you need to change and feel stuck in a spot, release that tentacle and the negativity it represents. Once you’re free, the flow of transformation returns.
Do you have a mystery to unravel? Dig down to your Octopus Power Animal and get some assistance. Don’t be surprised if your inner Octopus suggests an approach that’s a little out of your comfort zone.
Octopus Spiritual Meaning
While people think of octopuses as having 8 arms, they really have two legs and six arms (still pretty handy). The creature smartly uses his appendages in slightly different ways. Diversity is the name of the game, and it’s a theme in Octopus Medicine.
There are numerous natural gifts Octopuses possess, each having spiritual correlations. One is how it transforms its colors. They use hues in mating, aggression, or as a sign of danger. For camouflage, this creature mimics different plants and fish.
In humans, this would equate to your aura. The aura is like an individual’s atmosphere extending beyond the body’s surface. Today’s question from Octopus is, what “colors” are you emitting? Are they suitable for the occasion?
Octopus Spirit’s message has overtones of finding a way through what seems to be impossible situations. The creature contorts itself in a variety of forms so it can get into (or out of) remarkably tight spaces. So if you feel a little “squeezed” right now, Octopus has come to provide greater direction, especially for your protection.
Along the same lines, Octopus is a practical Animal Ally. When you think of their moves challenging the nimbleness of the best gymnast, these animals embrace change with laudable grace. This smooth evolution is a blessing from Octopus. Your metamorphosis is on the horizon. Embrace it wholeheartedly. This is not the time for superficiality. Feel your transitions down to your toes.
Exhibiting eight arms, it comes as no surprise that Octopus appreciates artists, craftspeople, healers – anyone who uses their hands for fulfilling a purpose. If you have a special project going on, and Octopus walks with you, the results are going to be phenomenal.
The Sacred Feminine plays a role in the spiritual symbolism of the Octopus. The female of the species tends her eggs. She protects them with such diligence she forgets to eat. It is her life’s mission to ensure her young hatch safely. She will inevitably die from this task. That’s a powerful emblem of female nurturing and sacrifice.
There is no praise, no opportunity to rest on the laurels. She selflessly gives herself to the future. While the Octopus Spirit would never demand this level of devotion, She challenges you to reexamine your relationships and how you tend them. Give back to the people who “show up” in your life without expectation.
In looking at the physical aspects of the Octopus, it has the largest brain-to-body ratio in the invertebrate family. It would not surprise anyone if Octopus had a motto of “use your head.” Solve that nagging question. Seek out profound data. Put the foundations of knowledge under your beliefs.
Another part of the Octopus’ body, the tentacles, have 10,000 neurons for gathering information. Whew! You can trust Octopus Medicine to help you keep your physical and spiritual eyes peeled.
Native American Octopus Symbolic Meanings
We don’t see too much in Native American stories about Octopus, except in the Pacific Northwest. Here, coastal people honor Octopus as a Spirit of healing. It might also appear as a trickster in some stories and in others as a guardian of great undersea riches. Legends among the Haida, Tlingit, and Nootka Tribes illustrate Octopus as a being with little patience for triviality. Octopus Animal Ally requests, “get to the point.”
Oceanic Octopus Depictions
People with an abiding relationship to the ocean also often have ties to Octopus. In the Gilbert Islands, there are stories of Na Kita, an Octopus Deity who helped with creation.
Hawaiians have the healing God Kanaloa, who can transform into an Octopus. The name Kanaloa translates to “great stillness,” as one feels when they are at peace with the Universe.
Octopus Meaning in Japan
Among the Ainu, and many who practice Shintoism, there are myths of a great Octopus-human called Akkorokamui. He is a great warrior because, like the Octopus, he can regenerate limbs during battle. Some make offerings to Akkorokamui when they are ill, or break a limb.
The Japanese have a red Octopus used as a lucky charm. It attracts calm and relaxation but also supports ongoing efforts for self-improvement.
Art often depicts Octopuses in a comical way. It’s regarded as the personal physician to Ryujin, the underwater sea dragon. This tale may be why Japanese doctors carried octopus amulets.
Octopus Symbolism in Buddhism
There is a connection between Buddha and Octopus, illustrated in the Tako Yakushi Temple of Kyoto. Stories have it that a temple monk’s mother was very ill. He did everything in his power to make her well.
One day, his mother craved Octopus meat. It was a special meal as a child, and she believed it would rid her of sickness. This was a hard decision for the monk, who pledged never to kill a sentient being. He struggled and thought and finally went to the market, his love for his mother winning out.
The purchased Octopus returned with the monk in a box. Before allowing matters to go further, the monk prayed along the way, wishing to find a resolution to his conflict. Upon arrival, when the monk unsealed the box, it had no Octopus but eight Sutra scrolls. These scrolls became a living Octopus who deftly jumped out and directly into the Temple gardens’ pool. There, a green light emerged. It was the Octopus transforming into Buddha. The light extended to the monk’s mother, who rose immediately from her bed, whole. From that day forward, the Tako Yakushi Temple earned the nickname of the Octopus Temple
When Octopus appears in your dreamscape, it may mean that you are too spread out (with all eight tentacles going in different directions). This causes uncertainty and leaves you frozen when you should act and move.
If the Octopus has something in all 8 tentacles, you may be holding on too tightly to something you want to control but cannot (and probably should not). It’s time to conquer fears and insecurities.
A moving Octopus in your dreams portends a time when you too, must get moving. Don’t spend too much time woolgathering. If you miss this wave of opportunity, you may never see it again.
Should the Octopus be hidden at the bottom of the ocean, the message is one of grounding. You’re getting carried away somehow. Take a step back. Think things through and activate your ideas at a realistic pace.
An Octopus escaping an enclosure or tight spot portends you will soon be free of your constraints. Stay flexible. Move through the situation quietly and leave no trace.
When Octopus leaves behind a tentacle in your dream, the council is one of swift retreat. There is no good outcome here. Withdraw to avoid as much damage as possible. Alternatively, this dream may speak of your need to detach yourself from an unhealthy person or situation.
Octopus changing colors in your dream indicates someone around you is not what they seem. If you feel that itch at the edge of your awareness, pay attention. It’s a warning of predatory practices.
If the Octopus releases a cloud of ink in your dream, whatever you’re doing now is not the time for a head-on attack. Strategy is the key to your success.
Beware the Kraken
Norse stories tell of a sea monster, the Kraken, whose image may have been inspired by an octopus or giant squid. The Kraken waited in coastal waters to sink ships and consume the sailors. A travelog in 1700, followed by a missionary’s account in 1734, described the Kraken in detail. Come 1753, Bishop Pontoppidan wrote of the Kraken as an Octopus of tremendous size, reputed to pull down ships.
By far, however, we have the French novelists Victor Hugo and Jules Vern to thank for popularizing the Kraken legend. Whether it was a Squid or Octopus remains to be seen.
Meaning of an Octopus Tattoo
One cannot overlook the humor in having an Octopus tattoo “inked” on a person’s body. All joking aside, the Octopus makes for an incredible visual in tattoo art. A person might choose this to symbolize a cause to which they are fully dedicated. Or, perhaps it’s an emblem focused on positive, healthy changes.
Other meanings for an Octopus tattoo include having the strength to overcome all odds, resolving fears, and spontaneous thinking.
Octopus Trivia & Facts
Long before there was life on land, the Octopus was established in the ancient seas. They have witnessed much of history, and the information we have gathered about them gives us insight into Octopus Spirit’s messages.
Did you know, for example, that an Octopus’ arms do not need mental input to work? They can touch and taste on their own accord, using some 2000 individually moving suction cups. Talk about independence. Octopus gives the term “multitasking” a whole new dimension.
Within the Octopus beats three hearts. Two direct blood to the gills, and their third keeps the circulatory process going. However, that third heart stops when the Octopus swims. So, Octopus uses energy wisely, sticking to a crawl unless otherwise necessary. The question posed here: Are you moving too fast in a relationship where you could strangle the spark out?
For a long time, people believed Octopuses to be solitary creatures. However, it gave way to the discovery of underwater “cities” where Octopuses lived together, communicated, and tossed unwanted company out of town. The second city, off the coast of Australia, was named Octlantis. What are we to think of this? Perhaps we do not know as much as we think about our Animal Ken, let alone the humans orbiting our circles. Don’t assume, and don’t judge until you have all the information.
“We split from our common ancestor with the octopus half a billion years ago. And yet, you can make friends with an octopus.” – Sy Montgomery
“Exaggeration is the octopus of the English language.” – Matthew Pearl
“Dressing a baby is like putting an octopus into a string bag, making sure none of the arms hang out.” – Chris Evans
“And I wonder if, in the dark night of the sea, there, deep within its own sphere of instinct, the octopus dreams of me.” – N. Scott Momaday
“I believe that the totemic image for the future is the octopus. This is because the squids and octopi have perfected a form of communication that is both psychedelic and telepathic; a model for the human communications of the future.” – Terence McKenna
“I’d like to be, Under the sea, In an octopus’s garden, In the shade.” – The Beatles
The Octopus Rocket
The American reconnaissance satellite US-24 received high levels of press coverage thanks to its “mascot” and message. The Mission’s logo was an Octopus on the globe with the words, “nothing is beyond our reach.” We think Octopus Spirit Animal would approve.
Octopus Protection Programs
Commercial fishing, pollutants, and rising temperatures put Octopuses under threat. Thankfully there are some dedicated organizations stepping in to aid their cause.
American Oceans strives to educate the public on the world’s largest ecosystem, 7,500 miles of water and the marine life therein. By understanding the dangers, people can have a greater impact on conservation efforts.
The focus of Endangered Species International is reversing the trend of species extinction caused by humans, saving endangered creatures, and preserving the wild. In addition, they look to create and successfully manage protected marine regions. Future projects include reducing overfishing, creating conservation and research programs (Turtles), and continuing to stress the importance of biodiversity.
The MarineBio Conservation Society is an educational group focused on ocean life, and specifically marine conservation. They create educational material for people of all ages, informing them about the importance of marine environments. Additionally, there’s an ongoing effort to provide tools for those in the Marine Sciences, including an online scientific library. Besides this, MarineBio provides a forum for professional communication so scientists can share their ideas and discoveries with each other.
The Marine Conservation Society is located in the UK. They fight for an ocean that’s cleaner and better protected, using science and influential people who can defend habitats and species. Additionally, they endeavor to work together with communities, businesses and governments who can further this goal.
This foundation leads the way in being a watchdog for U.S.-protected waters. The goal is to expand those spaces, providing a healthy ocean for all its species.
OctoNation teaches the world about Octopuses and in turn, inspires conservation. They partner with everyone from artists and educators to scientists for a global alliance.
There are many others.
Adopt an Octopus
Something fun and functional is that many organizations now have an “adopt an Octopus” program. The World Wildlife fund, for example, has 1 million members in the US. You can virtually adopt an Octopus or opt to receive an adoption certificate. Similar programs include Oceana, Living Planet Aquarium, and the National Wildlife Federation.
Octopus Symbolic Meanings Key
- Psychic Abilities
- Sacred Feminine