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Manatee Symbolism & Meaning

Feeling rushed all the time? Are you living life on automatic pilot or just going through the motions but not really living? Manatee, as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal, can help! Manatee teaches you how to take a deep breath and the importance of slowing your pace for mindful living. Delve deeply in Manatee symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit Guide can illuminate, calm, and guide you.

Manatee Table of Contents

Manatee Symbolism & Meaning

“You are so lucky because you live on the West Coast of Florida, where there are lots and lots of manatees … Most of the kids in the country don’t know about manatees and how wonderful they are.”

–John Lithgow

Manatees live on seagrass and algae, which is why they appear in shallow coasts and some rivers. If you were a Manatee, you would spend about half of your day eating (up to about 1,200 pounds). Manatee doesn’t need to a reminder to eat its vegetables!

In West Africa and India, Manatees live between freshwater and salt. They’re able to do this because of how their body processes salt, so it never harms them. The symbolism and meaning here for Manatee is you can live near toxic situations and people, but you don’t have to allow that negative energy into your sphere.

Manatees prefer water sixty degrees or above. That seems surprising because they look so fat. In reality, their body is mostly stomach! Manatees are susceptible to death from cold stress. From a human perspective, this speaks to staying close to those with warm feelings towards you.

Manatees have a unique respiratory system. Humans only replace about ten percent of the oxygen in their lungs, while the Manatee replaces ninety percent. You know that phrase, “Just breathe”? It could be Manatee Spirits’ mantra.

On land, Manatee have behaviors relating them to Elephants. The two creatures are a product of evolution, originating from one Ancestor but from two different environments. Here is an interesting lesson in nature versus nurture in the wild. Both Elephants and Manatees do not worry about losing teeth. When one falls out, another grows right back! So, Manatee is not afraid to sink its teeth into anything, and steels you with the same confidence as your Animal Ally.

Manatee never seems rushed. They are slow to move, resting often while traveling. Manatee can remain slow in its movements because the creature has no enemies but for human hunters. So, another message from Manatee Spirit is to take your time—even more so with matters of import.

Christopher Columbus may have been the first person to spot a Manatee. In “The Voyages of Columbus,” there’s a quote from Columbus’ notes on January 8, 1843, where he comments on seeing three “Mermaids” rising out of the sea near the ship’s prow. He said they were beautiful but still have masculine facial traits. The mistaken identification may have occurred because of the Manatee’s smooth body. In the right lighting, it’s easy to imagine a mythical Mermaid before you; this may give Manatee some connections with shapeshifting and glamour magick.

Manatee as super-sensitive skin. Mentally, they are not as intelligent as a Dolphin but can learn basic tasks. They see in full color. Female Manatees birth one calf which stays with it. The Mother nurses the baby for two years. Thus, the Manatee symbolism and meaning offers ties to maternal instincts. And while Manatee never leaves the water, it does have to come to the surface to breathe.

One of the cute aspects of the Manatee is that sometimes you can find them playing. They come up to the surface, riding the waves and doing barrel rolls. It’s unfortunate that Manatee is a vulnerable species with numbers estimated at ten thousand globally.

Keywords and characteristics associated with Manatee Spirit Animal include vital breath (prana), water, shapeshifting, protection, and spiritual love. Manatee epitomizes generosity, compassion, curiosity, peace, and trust; the creature also symbolizes emotion, tranquility, and measured movement.

Manatee Spirit Animal

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One of the key messages of the Manatee Spirit Animal is, slow down. You are going way too fast and missing essential details. Rushing can also lead to unintended mistakes that could prove very detrimental to your current situation. So, “just breathe” and stand strong. Walk, don’t run, toward your goal.

While you are taking things at a slower pace, Manatee suggests that you also simplify your life. Get rid of the clutter. Wear a pin that says, “Stop me before I volunteer again.” As you simplify, you will find a lot of anxiety disappears. Ask yourself if you have way too many things on your proverbial dance card, then figure out what is necessary.

Manatee sometimes brings a little luck when they visit you as a Spirit Animal, along with prosperity. Often these two blessings intertwine with your relationship or new experiences. Keep your mind and heart open.

Another lesson from Manatee is whether it’s time for determining what you hunger for in your life. Everyone needs sustenance, but not just to sustain the physical body. You also have a mind and spirit to satiate. A proper “diet” something that can wait, but you should do it every day like a vitamin for wholeness. So what fills that hunger? Perhaps it’s reaching out and changing a bit of your world for the better.

Manatee’s most significant threat is humans. Here, Manatee Animal Guide tells you to be wary. There is someone who does not have your best interest in mind. They will try to tear you down to where you feel dead inside. Move away from that situation and find sanctuary.

On the upside, many Shamanic traditions reveal Manatee is a healer. Some tribal medicine people used their bones to cure disease. So, if you feel bumped, bruised, or in distress, Manatee comforts you.

Manatee Totem Animal

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If Manatee is your Totem Animal, you are a cuddler. That moment of quiet contact between you and another brings great joy and security. Here, right here, everything else fades away, replaced by peace.

If the Manatee is your Birth Totem, you have little tolerance for violence. The world you have built is loving, calm, and gentle. Peace is in the core of your soul. You cannot be your happy, giving self when you are around angry, cruel people. The problem is the same people see your distance as being smug, arrogant, and judgmental. Don’t sweat it. Maintaining a good distance from negative influences benefits your general well-being.

Walking with Manatee means people may target you for the purposes of taking advantage of your sweet disposition. You cannot always put other people’s needs before your own. Remember the value of self-care and be circumspect about who you include in your circle of friends. You do not have to give up your benevolent nature; remain alert.

Manatee Medicine has a solitary aspect to it. You dislike enormous groups and need time alone to get your thoughts in order. Stick with a small group of people who show themselves to be real friends and nurture that connection.

Speaking of friends, making them isn’t easy for you. Manatee is an enormous creature, meaning your aura is very substantive. People feel you coming long before you go through a door. The intense energy can frighten people until they see your easy-going demeanor. Your compassion breaks through any fears, and your new friend sees the authentic you. You let them know you love them, and they are important. Being a superb listener doesn’t hurt either!

Manatee Power Animal

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Manatee offers many positive attributes on which you might call for aid. Call on Manatee to restore peace in your life. Your Animal Ally comes to support you in seeing things through a lens of positivity. The creature also appears to those people who find themselves in abusive relationships. Part of Manatee Medicine involves learning how to protect oneself from the pains of emotional abuse and negativity.

Invoke Manatee when you want to make steady progress handling through a big problem or work project. Making slow but steady progress: Manatee Medicine helps here if you get out of a rut. You can’t go from zero to 60 right now. Just put one foot in front of the other.

Call on Manatee when you want to be accepting of the unchangeable. Accept the things you cannot change—Find serenity with that awareness.

Manatee is the ideal Power Animal when you want to change your pace and work smarter, not harder. Slowing down: This isn’t a swimming race. Move through life’s waters more mindfully. Relax and play.

Invoke Manatee as your Power Animal when you want to have more trust and clarity. Be it self-trust, the trust of others or trust of a situation, Manatee, provides greater insight. Trust your gut more. Don’t just brush off those sensations.

Manatee is the perfect Animal Ally when working with the Water Element or Air Element. Manatee lives with both, staying in the water but needing to surface for air. With water, you’re dealing with emotions. When working with the Air Element, Manatee supports you in developing excellent communication.

Manatee as an Animal Symbol Around the World

The South Pacific nation of Palau has many stories of the Sea Cow. Sometimes women transform into them, and sometimes they help lost fishermen at sea. They believe that the Sea Cow was once human. People of the region also feel that if this creature becomes extinct that their connection with their traditions and nature would, likewise, be lost.

West African stories mirror those of Palau, saying that Manatee was once human. It was a punishable crime to kill one, similar to the fate of someone who kills another human. One story here speaks of the Lady of the Sea, who is a Water Spirit with healing powers who offers aid with fertility. Mami Wata (the Lady/Manatee) was once an innocent girl bathing near a river. A stranger snuck up and took all her clothing, running away. So, Mami Wata dove into the water and grabbed a palm leaf to hide her body. She decides to use the leaf as a paddle, and in so doing, turns into a Manatee.

A 3,000-year-old cave in Malaysia features Dugongs’ drawings (a close relative to Manatee) and titles it “Lady of the Sea.” Costa Rica declared the Manatee a national symbol. The Papuan People of New Guinea say that Manatee is an emblem of strength.

Assyrian stories repeat this theme. One story begins with the Goddess Atargatis falling in love with a simple, sweet shepherd. She accidentally killed him, not realizing how Her power would affect a mortal. Atargatis was devastated and jumped into nearby waters, turning into a woman with a Fish body.

There’s a children’s’ book entitled,“Monty the Manatee,” by Natalie Pritchard. It is a rhyming tale about bullying and how to handle it with strength. It also reflects the idea that kindness is contagious.

From the 1600s to the 1800s, there were sightings of the St. Helena Manatee on the island of St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean. The creature is described as being ten feet long with bushy whiskers.

Manatee Dreams

Manatee appearing in your dreams might mean it’s time to reexamine your emotions. Your dream is urging you to ask yourself, Are you bottling up your feelings or emoting too much? Blocking your emotions only makes for an inner volcano just wanting to erupt: Likewise, always showing too much emotion is off-putting, and people ignore it. Consider the way and how often you express how you feel and why.

If you are swimming with the Manatee in your dreams, it means you have many of the creature’s characteristics. You are gentle, kind, warm, and easy-going. A baby Manatee in your dream has two meanings; the first is nurturing and motherhood. For a woman, this could portend a pregnancy coming soon. The second is a message about self-care. Work on loving yourself more so others can move into your life more intimately.

When Manatees is slow to move through the water in your dreams, it means either you need to slow down (workaholics), or maybe your ambition has waned, and you need to pick up some speed. If Manatee is moving faster than normal, it’s a message you need to become more aggressive. Assert your truth—don’t back down.

Manatee looking at you in your dream speaks of trust issues. Do you have trouble trusting people? You may have issues from the past that influence you now. It’s time to let go of those unhealthy feelings and hit the reset button.

Far Eastern Manatee Symbolic Meanings

In Okinawa, people regard the Manatee and Dugong as messengers from the sea. One story claims it was Manatee that teaches humans how to mate. In Southern China, the Manatee is a miraculous Fish, and it is bad luck to catch them.

Sadly, in Tokyo, they are tossing concrete slabs into the bay, destroying much of the area where Sea Cows graze. There are some areas in southern China, where people have created seagrass sanctuaries for endangered marine animals like the Dugong. There is also one site in both Vietnam and Cambodia. In this region, they have a special festival every year, while hoping to raise awareness of the danger to the Manatee.

Manatee Symbolic Meanings Key

  • Breathing
  • Compassion
  • Curiosity
  • Generosity
  • Peace
  • Shapeshifting
  • Spiritual Love
  • Tranquility
  • Trust
  • Water

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