Dolphin Symbolism & Meaning

Dolphin symbolism and meaning reminds you to be playful, alert and to swim in joyously through the physical and spiritual realms.

Do you need to learn to love yourself? Have you forgotten how to play? Are you drowning in heavy emotions and need to come up for air? Dolphin as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal can help! Dolphin teaches you about compassion and how to navigate relationships while maintaining self-respect. Delve deeply in Dolphin symbolism and meaning to find out how this animal spirit guide can support, educate, and enlighten you.

Dolphin Table of Contents

Dolphin Symbolism & Meaning

What do Dolphins symbolize? Known for their intelligence and grace, Dolphin meaning is associated with the ability to delve deep into emotional waters and also to connect the Heavenly plane with the mundane and bring emotional healing. Their playful and joyful nature also lend to Dolphin meaning associated with youthfulness and harmony, love and the connection with our Inner Child.

Dolphin symbolism and meaning centers around:

  • Happiness
  • Playfulness
  • Willpower
  • Virtue
  • Humor
  • Wholeness
  • Teamwork
  • Mental Acuity
  • Courtesy

In watching Dolphin in nature its peaceful personality becomes obvious. There seems to be no conflict with other sea creatures, nor humans. In this regard Dolphin can be regarded as a diplomat who builds cooperative bridges between humankind and nature, and particularly the Water Element. We cannot overlook this creature’s tie to the Air element either. Dolphin illustrates the emotion of water and the intellect of air in harmony.

Because of the Dolphin’s history of saving people from drowning or shark attacks, Dolphin represents protection. Sailors considered sighting Dolphins as a positive omen. Reports from wherever Dolphin dwell recount stories of this creature helping stranded fish too.

Greek mythology tells us that Dolphin Spirit carries the spirits of the dead to the next reality. From a symbolic standpoint this gives Dolphin the additional meaning of rebirth and renewal. Many people who work with Dolphin energy find their lives transforming (where one door closes, another opens). Throughout the process of change, Dolphin provides courage, self-confidence, virtue and strength to endure tumultuous waters.

Dolphin Spirit Animal

As a Spirit Animal and guide Dolphin comes to those who need to reclaim their voice, communicating in effective, honest ways. This creature also mentors those out of touch with nature’s rhythms and messages.

Some lightworkers feel that Dolphin may, in fact, have higher intelligence and instincts than humankind. Theories exist that they were once aliens. In both cases the Dolphin teaches you the lesson of self-love.

Dolphin as a Spirit Animal often comes to people who need to connect with their inner child again. Play is healthy and laughter heals. Dolphin councils holding dear to these two things, which in turn encourages wholeness in body, mind and spirit.

As Dolphin swims into your life you will begin to notice that your head and heart seek balance. Dolphins are very smart creatures but they also have impressive intuitive aptitudes. This creates a “knowingness” and inner peace without foregoing personal power.

Dolphin energy can help you breathe, release and “BE” in order to grow spiritually. You cannot swim life’s waters and embrace true joy if your arms are filled with bad memories and feelings from the past. Dolphin has come to help you navigate those waves.

Dolphin Totem Animal

What does a Dolphin symbolize as a totem animal?

Those born with a Dolphin totem have a knack for having fun. Your happiness is contagious, and your love knows no bounds. Dolphin people protect their families, particularly the young, sick or injured. Dolphin medicine, in this respect has a selfless element that understands that “community” matters and makes us stronger than we would be alone.

Dolphin totem represents a person who is really at ease in their environment and in their own skin. You naturally reach out to others with assistance or healing, having empathy for those in need.

Your vision of the world is very global. Dolphin helps you see the binding ties in the world’s religions and philosophies and keeps you focused on what makes us all part of the greater family of humankind.

Dolphin Power Animal

What do Dolphins symbolize as a Power Animal?

When you find yourself drowning in sadness and melancholy, reach out to the Dolphin as a Power Animal. This agile mammal shows you how to leap out of the waves that threaten your spirit and take that long, deep, refreshing breath!

Another good reason to work with Dolphin medicine is for improved communication. Dolphin knows how to balance words with active listening skills, and how to express emotions effectively. By remaining attuned to those around you, you will find the right best words for a situation. Trust Dolphin’s instincts.

Dolphin Native American Symbolism

What do Dolphins symbolize in Native American culture?

The answer to this can depend to some degree on the specific culture or tribe.

Dolphin stories appear among Native American tribes that had a presence near the ocean.

On the West coast, the Natives tell us that Dolphins were once people who were changed and now act as guardians of the tribe, up to and including being willing to give their life. Others believed that Dolphins would save people who had fallen overboard or who were at risk of drowning.

Dolphins are often associated with reincarnation and rebirth.

What do Dolphins represent in Native legends? It’s worth noting that white settlers who interpreted Native stories often used references to Porpoise and Dolphin interchangeably. We have come to associate the meaning of Dolphin Spirit Animal with the stories of Dall’s Porpoises off the coast of Alaska. These sea mammals featured prominently in the Tinglit tribe, whose clan and totem names referred to Porpoise specifically, not what the majority culture refers to as “Dolphin.”

Though Porpoise and Dolphin are closely related to each other and in some cultures on the West Coast, especially in the California area, the two share the same name.

Many tribes forbade the consumption of Dolphin’s meat because Dolphin was considered a sacred guardian of those traveling by sea. The Chumash people believed that Dolphin would martyr themselves as a sacrifice to feed humans. This belief allows some tribes to make an exception and sustain themselves by eating Dolphin. As a tribute, people in these cultures hold ceremonial Dolphin Dances to pay homage to the creature’s sacrifices.

The Chumash also tell a story of Hutash. Hutash is the Earth Mother and through her creation of a Rainbow Bridge connecting land across the ocean. As the people crossed this bridge over the ocean, some became mesmerized by the sea below and fell to their deaths. But Hutash doesn’t want to see them perish, so she transforms them into Dolphins. Thus, Dolphin is seen as an extension of the human society.

This is easy to understand since Dolphins are very human like in their intelligence and sensitivity.

Native people in some tribes in South America hold the Boto or Pink Dolphin in reverence. This creature is both admired and feared. People in some indigenous tribes in South America saw Dolphin as tricksters who are sorcerers with the ability to change shape.

Various tribes also have specific origin and creation myths that feature stories of the origin of the Dolphin, tying this creature to the primordial origins of the world.
In Brazil, a prominent Goddess Ina is the Goddess of the Amazon River who takes the shape of a Dolphin.

Besides acting as protectors, Dolphin represents our “tribes”, our spiritual nature and the ability to act intuitively while reclaiming our happiness.

Dolphin Celtic Symbolism

What do Dolphins symbolize in Celtic culture?

In Celtic tradition Dolphin acts as the guardian of the world’s waters and all the creatures therein. The water element with the Dolphin also represents healing and a new beginning.

Dolphin is associated with rebirth and reincarnation in Celtic culture as well. Dolphin represents a person who is friendly, good natured and can even be a symbol of good luck and compassion.
The people of Ireland were no strangers to the dangers of the sea. Dolphins were no doubt a symbol of a seafaring ally who could lend luck and protection on journeys out into the ocean. As a symbol of friendship, the Dolphin serves as a protective “neighbor” who keeps watch over people during sea travel.

For Celtic people encountering Dolphins, it must have seemed as if they had made contact with an ambassador who could lead them into the depths of the waters safely. It is no wonder Dolphin came to represent good luck and safety, protection and playfulness.

Dolphin is associated with dreams, with magic and mysticism and the charming world of Spirit. Though primarily seen as benevolent and helpful guides, Dolphins are also associated with tricksters in some stories.

Even in modern times, the Irish government has declared coastal waters to be a sanctuary for Whales and Dolphins. Since then, a number of “celebrity” Dolphins have lured people from around the world in several of the coastal towns around Ireland.

In Celtic tattoos the Dolphin represents the end of one “life” and rebirth to something better.

The connection between Dolphins rescuing people and the legend of the Mermaid has led the cultures of Wales to associate Dolphin with Mermaid legends or perhaps to even form some of the early stories of Mermaids from the rescues by Dolphin.

Dolphin’s song and elaborate style of communication is also part of their symbolism. In some Celtic cultures, the song of the Dolphin is relevant and symbolizes our ability to communicate and articulate our needs.

Dolphin African Symbolism

What does a Dolphin symbolize in African culture?

Dolphin takes on significant meaning and symbolism. According to the Zulu people, a mystical race of beings helped humans populate the world before retreating into the sea. These beings were then transformed into Dolphins. Therefore, in this light we owe our protection and establishment in this world to these mentor-like beings who guided our earliest Ancestors.

Dolphins are considered the original teachers who helped humans connect with higher wisdom and express creativity.

Some believe Dolphin accompanied the souls of the departed to their final resting place, known as the Island of the Blessed.

The idea that Dolphins are sacred protectors of humans who travel by sea is reiterated in African legends. This is true as well in the myth of Pirates whose ship is hijacked and who flee by jumping into the ocean. They are transformed into Dolphins and as their lives were spared by this transformation, they then continue to watch over the waters and rescue humans in need.

In Egypt, art has been found containing the images of both Dolphin and also Birds, this can be seen as a representation of Dolphin being associated with freedom.

Dolphin Christianity Symbolism

What do Dolphins represent in Christian symbolism?

Many people attribute Dolphin’s meaning to someone who is Christlike. A person who embodies Dolphin energy may also be seen as compassionate, gentle and caring, protective and loving in the same way that Christ embodies these traits.

Dolphin symbolism is often found in art in prominent settings associated with the Christian church, such as the candelabra at St. Peter’s Church. Some people also associate Dolphin with Christ because of depictions of Dolphin helping Souls transition to the afterlife in the same way Christ is said to do.

Thus Dolphin symbolism and meaning is associated with life, rebirth and reincarnation and even Christ’s own process of being reborn and resurrected. Dolphin symbolism is often associated with vitality and purity in Christian culture.

In some variations on the story of St. Martin, when this Saint was being tempted by a woman, he threw himself into the sea and was carried to a remote island on the back of a Dolphin.
Interestingly, there are also a number of stories we’ll examine in which women escape unwanted advances in the same manner and are turned into Dolphins as a matter of protection and Divine intervention.

Dolphin Dreams

Dreaming of Dolphins represents the emotional self, sometimes at war with your intellect. You need to reign in those feelings and keep them on an even keel with logic and clear thinking.

Dolphin is considered a protective symbol and may caution about what lies ahead or things which we must prepare for.

Pay attention to the setting in your dream as well. Are you encountering Dolphin on the surface of the water or in the depths? To dream of a dead Dolphin may represent an opportunity lost or fear of losing someone. Dolphin symbols in dreams can represent guidance along your voyage and protection as you delve into uncharted waters.

You may need to be mindful of communication patterns when you dream of Dolphin. When a Dolphin appears in your dreams, it can also portend love or challenges that will lead you to transform yourself in some powerful way.

What lies in store for you may require you to extend your feelings of love and compassion beyond boundaries and practice unconditional love and mercy. Dolphin’s association with being a protector and savior may indicate the need to intervene on behalf of others or the need for others to intervene to lend a hand, or fin, in your near future.

Are you making your song heard? Dolphin may dive into a dream to help you express yourself or convey your love, mercy and compassion in ways that others will clearly understand.

Learn more about Dolphin Spirit by reading Dolphin Dreams Interpretation on WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com!

Dolphin Far Eastern Symbolism

What do Dolphins represent in the cultures of the East?

As with other parts of the world, Chinese myths tell of Dolphins who rescue ships or sailors in times of peril. Seeing Dolphins portended fair weather and safe harbors. It was considered very bad luck to harm a Dolphin in any way.

The Chinese believe the White Dolphin is an omen that you are following your intuition and are on the right path. Often, it is believed Dolphin is a positive message from your Ancestors and loved ones in the spiritual realms.

Dolphins are honorable and a sign of purity and protection, as they are seen as saviors of those who may have otherwise drowned.

There is a legend of a man who tries to sell his step-daughter at a market. He puts her into a boat and sails on the Yangtze River. But she jumps overboard to escape and as a matter of Divine Intervention, his boat is sunk in a storm.

Further down river, a beautiful Dolphin appears, assumed to the girl, transformed. This Dolphin continues to be regarded as a protective spirit who watches over the river.

This theme of girls or women escaping danger by turning to the sea or to water is also found in a story in Cambodia. In this story, a woman is supposed to marry against her will, a creature that is part python. To escape, she jumps into the sea and is transformed into a Dolphin.

Dolphin Tattoo Meaning

As mentioned above, a Celtic Dolphin tattoo is a sign associated with rebirth. But what else can a Dolphin tattoo connote?

Someone who bears a Dolphin symbol on their skin may feel quite at home in the water. They may be naturally connected to the sea by culture or intuition or both.

This person may also have a high intelligence level but also great compassion for others and a gigantic heart. If you are considering a Dolphin Tattoo, you may be drawn to this symbol because of your intuitive nature.

Dolphins never really sleep. They keep one eye open and one part of their brain alert, alternating with other spheres. This way, they can rise to the surface for air without drowning.

Thus, a Dolphin tattoo can also be a reminder that you need to exist on more than one plane at the same time. You may need balance and harmony, alternating your attention between the logical and emotional aspects of your nature.

Dolphin tattoo can represent the importance of balance, harmony and communication. Dolphins are frequently portrayed in pairs on a tattoo representing love, commitment and partnership as well.
Often a symbol used in weddings or in other romantic settings, Dolphin’s loyalty, playfulness and ability to cross barriers and connect with humans and other species represents the power of love to conquer any obstacles.

Dolphin Spiritual Meaning

Dolphin’s spiritual meaning implies the need to balance between the emotional and rational, the intuitive and practical. Dolphin symbolizes the aspect of our nature that is pure, unconditional love.

Dolphin reminds us to be playful and friendly and to not keep our guard up but to use our skills to be protective of those who need it.

Though Dolphin can be associated with symbols of luck, their spiritual meaning implies so much more than this alone.

Dolphin represents communication and the ability to advance to supernatural levels. Dolphin is often seen as a mystical creature that was either of an ancient and incredibly advanced group of beings or even a messenger of the Gods and spiritual realms. Some considered Dolphin to be the messengers of Poseidon and therefore reinforce the idea of Dolphin as Divine Messengers.

In this regard, Dolphin bears a similar role as that of the Angels and other forms of Divine Messengers. Dolphin can remind us of our need to recreate ourselves and to not take life too seriously.

As Shapeshifters and tricksters, Dolphin can help us remember to be resourceful and flexible, shifting to meet our needs no matter what emerges on our path.

Is Dolphin really a sign of luck? Or does Dolphin remind us to create our own luck by making the most of circumstances we are in?

As messengers, Dolphin can correspond to the suit of Swords in the Tarot or to the Tarot Knights who are all Messengers to some degree. As beings of the Water Element, Dolphin correlates to the suit of Cups and realms of emotions.

Dolphin also corresponds to the Throat Chakra, for communication and vision, and also to the Third Eye Chakra for intuition and spiritual connection.

Their grace, beauty and symbolism associated with harmony also makes Dolphin correspond to love, romance and even unconditional, spiritual love in the broader sense. In this way, Dolphin can also relate to the Tarot card The Lovers. In addition, as Dolphin brings harmony between two worlds, the connection to the Lovers and the need to blend opposing forces to create harmony is also represented.

Do you need to remember that your Ancestors and Spirit Guides are always working with you? Could your communication both with other people and with the Higher Realms use some fine tuning?

Dolphin may splash into your life to lead you back to the sea and to the deep, emotional and healing aspects of yourself so that you can find transformation and rebirth.

The power of love is represented by Dolphin who is often portrayed as compassionate and kind toward humans with no regard for whether humans will return their kindness. By drawing on Dolphin symbolism, we can relax our own defense mechanisms and strive to see others as connected to us and not our adversaries.

7 thoughts on “Dolphin Symbolism & Meaning

  1. Veronica Jassman says:

    This resonated so much with me. Thank you

  2. Ann says:

    Yes, this felt like a real fit with me! Thank you

  3. Hannah says:

    As a cancer sun and libra moon and rising, dolphin energy really does resonate, the balance of the heart and mind, intellect and emotion, play and self reflection. I love this

  4. Nita says:

    Yes, it feels like I really need dolphin energy to tide through life. This site is really helpful and accurate in guiding us to get in touch with our spirit animals. Thank you.

  5. Megh says:

    This resonated with my feelings too.thank you so much for the interpretation.out of blue today I happened to wear a dolphin pendant.i had a strong feeling that the nature is connecting to me and finding the pendant
    was not a mere coincidence

  6. David Jennings says:

    thank you. this deeply resonated with me. as I was working thtough a lot of deeper stuff that I ahd been suppressing and it was a clear sighn that I need to have more fun and emabrace my childlike spirit.

  7. Charmaine MacDonald says:

    Yes, I have always felt an affinity with dolphins and had the opportunity to swim with them once in Eilat, Israel and once in Australia when the dolphins of the wild come up to the people at Monkey Mia, so very special occassions. Some real treasures of information that I can relate to and feel connected to. Awesome, thanks for sharing.

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