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Whale Symbolism & Meaning

Whale symbolism and meaning encourages you to ride the waves or delve deeper into the subconscious and embrace healing and nurturing.

As their size suggests, Whale can prepare you for tremendous accomplishments on the path ahead and can help you break new ground.

Is it time for you to dive deeply into your own soul? Do you need help rising up and breaking through barriers holding you back? Whale, as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal, can help! Whale teaches how to begin navigating the tumultuous currents of life and how to harness the courage to sing your personal song? Delve deeply in Whale symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit Guide can support, assist, and inspire you.

Whale Table of Contents

Whale Symbolism & Meaning

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This graceful giant of the ocean has inspired awe around the world, and rightfully so. The sight of a Whale breaching the water or frolicking in the foam moves the most stoic of person to wonderment. Lightworkers tell us that Whale Spirit records the earth’s history from all corners of creation. For seekers this means that Whale energy aids in tapping our ancestral DNA and unlock the mysteries that lie there. Whale also lifts our spirits, swimming through the spheres to reach the Akashic records and open the book of self, particularly for understanding our emotions and what affects them deeply.

As Whale enters your life you’ll find self-examination becomes the “norm”. You may need to retreat and contemplate alone, honing in like Whale sonar, so you can really hear your inner voice, the Whale’s Song, the Higher Self and the Divine. Ask yourself; “Are you where you need to be? Are you in toxic waters? Is the ocean tumultuous? If so, take hold of the Whale’s Tail with confidence and let Him move you to safety. In the Biblical story of Jonah, Whale becomes a redeemer, sacred teacher and transformer. She is the instrument of Jonah’s rebirth and spiritual awakening.

Just like Jonah, Whale calls us to wake up and realize that there is more to our reality than what we know through our physical senses. Traveling with the Whale beneath the waters of our consciousness opens another world in our awareness. Psychic attentiveness bursts forth when Whale surfaces again and we take that first breath together. Angelic presences, playful Devas and doorways to other spheres become more evident. The grandness of Whale symbolism and meaning cannot be denied. As a spiritual guide there may be times when Whale’s powerful nature upsets your boat so that you can get out of a rut. This won’t be a gentle ride, but you will not go under. Whale medicine gives lessons compassionately, seeing this change as necessary for your growth and renewed creativity.

Many sages regard seeing a swimming Whale as a sign of Divine blessing and luck. In Arctic regions Whale is regarded as a “perfect creature” and one that deserves respect. Even with the amazing speed and strength of Whale Spirit, He remains sensitive to humans in distress. Whale offers us the safety of His back as a bridge between us and the animal world, particularly water-dwelling creatures. These associations may well be the reason that many ocean societies have adopted Whale Tail charms, wearing them for the Whale’s magical protection and fortune.

Whale Spirit Animal

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When Whale arrives as your Spirit Animal, it’s often during a time of emotional or physical duress in which you’ve lost your sense of self. In fact, Whale is the ideal Spirit Animal for such times. Consider how Whales withstand the pressure of the ocean, but never stays down too long. Come time to breathe, Whale bursts joyfully forth, accepting that renewing air; this is the gift Whale offers – the ability to “cope” and function in highly pressurized situations until you can come up for air and reclaim your inspiration and clarity.

Another aptitude Whale provides is an intimate sense of biorhythms on more than just a physical level. When you still yourself and listen to the beating of your heart – that life-giving rhythm is like the identifying sounds Whale uses to identify their pod in nature. Whale asks, “What does your heart tell you?”

Whale Totem Animal

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If you have Whale as a Totem Animal, you are someone who is excellent with refined communicating over long distances even as Whale does under water. Frequently this communication focuses on your inner circle because Whale has strong family ties that He honors fervently. Your friends and loved ones know they can depend on you for the truth, particularly when others are blinded by emotion or have given away their power.

The Whale Totem within provides you with intense awareness of things beyond this realm. The collective unconscious and cosmic awareness is like the Whale’s ocean. You can navigate them and become a bridge between the spheres, travelling on the Whale’s tail. The only caution is you have a natural temptation to spend more time in other worlds. Whale reminds you to return from that other-world ocean and breathe in this reality.

Whale Power Animal

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Andrea Taylor wrote, “Whales don’t sing because they have an answer. They sing because they have a song.” Choosing a Whale as a Power Animal means finding your celestial music, your personal song and your true voice. In this melody lies the heart of wholeness, the spirit of compassion and deep insights that previously eluded you. Call on Whale medicine and energy when tracing your family line. The natural aptitude of this Power Animal will help you make connections even over long distances, including the past.

As you make discoveries pay attention to what Whale is teaching you about time and space. Whale puts us on notice that we are all connected, not just to each other but to the natural world and through all eternity. As a Power Animal, Whale may charge you with certain tasks – particularly exploring your creativity and learning magical arts. You will not be alone in these efforts for Whale is also a teacher. Just use your song and Whale will joyfully swim right into your aura.

Native American Whale Symbolism

What do Whales symbolize in Native culture?

Among Native Americans, Whales are considered the guardian of oceans and sea travel. Nearly all coastal tribes have some type of symbolic meanings for Whale Totems and Spirit Animals. Whale symbolism includes wisdom, spiritual awareness, good luck and long lasting love as the Whale mates for life. If you are splashed by one most popular Whales, the Killer Whale, you will be blessed with joy. One story says that the first time a Killer Whale sang all of creation paused to admire its beauty.

Of course, specific tribes have depicted the important role of specific types of Whale in their rituals and cultures. People frequently see symbolic meaning within the specific traits of a particular Whale and in addition, consider the role that Whale plays in their own lifestyle and survival.

Whale was often worshiped as “Mama-Cocha” or the Mother of the Sea. Whale is seen as powerful, mystical, nurturing and their images were often placed on the crests of certain tribes.
The Salish Native People held Whale in high regard as a significant symbol. For some, the Orca, although nicknamed “Killer Whale,” is considered a beacon of peace and harmony within the community.

This Whale is sometimes considered the “Lord of the Sea” and associated with family, travel and love. This is because of this Whale’s compassion and devotion to their own family and their fiercely loyal and protective nature.

In some aspects of Native lore, it was believed that the souls of those who drown in the sea become Killer Whales. This gives the Whale a sacred Ancestral connection as well. In some variations of this belief, it is said that Killer Whales take down specific boats in order to reconnect with their beloved surviving family members.

The sighting of an Orca or “Killer Whale” from the shore was believed to be a sign that one is being visited by the spirit of a deceased leader or Ancestor. In some of the traditions of the Pacific Northwest people, the Whale is seen as extended family and there is a belief in shapeshifting that allowed people’s ancestors to have married into the Whale families.

The sight of Whales swimming side by side was reminiscent of the power of romance and marriage, thus in some cases, Whales came to symbolize the power of love and the shared journey of soulmates. It was also common for people of these tribes to hunt Whales. Whale symbolism is prevalent in the art of the Pacific Northwest Tribes as well.

Whale symbolism is also considered a talisman of protection for those who venture far from home. Whale has come to symbolize travel, protection and family, reminding us that we are never really far from the bonds of love in community and relationships.

The Ojibwe and the Native people of Nova Scotia as well as other cultures have stories of people being consumed by Whales and often are saved by the intervention of family.

Whale Celtic Symbolism

What do Whales symbolize in Celtic culture?

In Celtic stories the Whale Spirit is associated with St. Brendan, the Navigator. The story goes that he saw a vision of an island, given by an angel. During his endeavors to find this place, the waves became dangerous. A Whale offered its back as a safe haven for Easter service for him and his crew. This is another illustration of the “gentle giant” who provides compassionate service in life’s stormy seas.

Whale Spirit Animal also connects us to the sea and power of the Water and Air elements as Whale can breach the surface in order to emerge from water, but then can also delve deeper into the sea. Stories such as that of the warrior Daire who was swallowed whole by a Whale, represent the fear of being consumed by the unknown.

It is said that the swine herd Fruich was transformed into a Whale. Thus Whale and swine are connected through mythology. In Celtic culture, there are also tales of the Ceirean or Cirein-croin, which was described as a Sea Monster in Scottish lore. It was so large, that legend has it, the Ceirean could feast on a number of Whales at once.

As many creatures in Celtic lore are shape shifters, it is said that this Sea Monster could take on the appearance of a tiny silver Fish, which it would do in order to lure fishermen. But when the fishermen finally caught what they thought to be a small fish, the Ceirean would then transform to its gigantic size and devour the fisherman.

Thus, as many in Celtic cultures relied heavily on fishing, this activity has come to be steeped in lore and legend. The interactions between mankind and the wild and mysterious sea as well as the creatures who reside in the deep mysterious inner world underneath the sea, became the focus of many legends.

Whether the Ceirean was associated with Whales because of its size and residence beneath the deep waters, or because it was actually supposed to be some kind of gigantic Whale-like creature, the common association gives life to what must have been a real fear among those who ventured out to the sea in order to make their fortunes.

The potential to be consumed by a Whale, a sea monster or even the sea herself, is highly symbolic of the fear of being consumed by the unknown. What lies deeper in your emotions that you can’t easily see by skimming the surface?

Whale may call you to face your deeper need for healing without fear that your emotions will consume and overwhelm you.

Celtic people saw the giant and incredible beings that lurk beneath the layers of the sea as residents of their own mystical realms, anthropomorphized as kingdoms beneath the sea.

In some legends, the famed Irish Harp came from the bones of a Whale found washed up on the shore. As the Whale was associated with a beautiful song, the wife of a Chieftain implored her husband to help her make a harp out of the bones of the Whale. Harps, as an important symbol of the rich musical traditions of Ireland, is then intimately connected to the symbolism of the Whale.

Some say that Manannan Mac Lir or the founder of the Isle of Man, was a sea God and therefore associated with the creatures of the sea, including the Whale. While he is considered a trickster deity, he is also associated with protection.

The importance of Whale in Celtic culture is also shown in the constellation Cetus which is named for the Whale, showing the significance of this creature as a guide for those at sea, as the stars were their earliest maps. Cetus and Kyd are also names of Whales in Welsh lore.

Whale Christianity Symbolism

What does a Whale symbolize in Christianity?

The most commonly known reference to Whale in the Bible is the story of Jonah and the Whale. In this story, Jonah refuses God’s calling to be a prophet and instead goes off to sea to pursue his egoic desires. When a storm comes, he realizes this is his punishment for refusing to obey God’s will and orders his men to cast him overboard.

He is consumed by a Whale and spends three days in deep reflection, deciding to take the path God has preordained for him, the Whale then sends him back out to Ninevah to serve as a prophet.

If the details of this story sound familiar, it is for good reason. This is a Whale’s tale from the Old Testament but the idea of a reluctant prophet who then is symbolically killed and re-emerges after three days is very similar to the story of Christ’s death and reincarnation.

In fact, Jesus refers to Jonah when explaining his mission as if Jonah was a precursor to Jesus’s mission. Thus the story of Jonah and the Whale can remind us of the power to sit still within the silence of our own “entombment” be it in a study, bedroom, or meditation room, or even to draw our consciousness within.

Thus we can place ourselves in the “belly of the beast” by turning our attention to our own internal depths. If Whale is working with you, maybe it’s time to try an isolation salt-water float as a means of healing and combining air, salt and water to create your own experience of going deep into your own reflective space.

Or maybe, on a much more basic level, Whale is exposing your need to disconnect from distractions and step back from what you think you are meant to do and instead, spend more time delving deeper into your subconscious and connection to Spirit so that you can discern what your true path really is.

Like Jonah, are you resisting your true path or showing a willful refusal to accept your mission? Do you need some time alone to practice listening on a deeper level?

Perhaps Whale is asking you to sit in the belly of the beast- to sit with your own feelings- long enough to find clarity and to silence the chatter in your mind. Like Jonah, you may need to wander away from your crew and face the ramifications of what you’ve been avoiding or denying.

Also in the Old Testament, Whale is said to be one of the original creatures God places into the sea, suggesting Whale spiritual meaning is associated with primordial creation and antiquity.

Some Christians also view Whale less favorably, perhaps projecting their own fears and seeing Whale’s ominous and large mouth as a gateway into Hell. Whale, then is seen as a creature capable of dragging people down into depths that will consume and overwhelm them, or luring people off course.

Whale Dreams

What do Whales symbolize when they breach the surface of your subconscious through dreams?

Dreams about Whales often portend that a time of change ahead. Whale Spirit may shake your foundations so you can build anew. Whales in dreams also speak strongly of our unconscious self and expanding our intuition.

Consider also the colors of the Whales that appear in your dream. A Blue Whale may speak to a sizable issue and also an issue related to love, emotional healing and the subconscious.

An Orca may surface in your dreams with messages about love, loyalty and protection for a journey you are about to embark on. Whale can also represent your relationship with your mother or your relationship to nurturing and maternal energy. Whale in your dreams can also indicate the need for nurturing or to improve a relationship with your mother, or that you are missing your mother or maternal Ancestors.

Learn more about Whale Spirit by reading Whale Dream Meanings on WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com!

Whale African Symbolism

What does a Whale symbolize in African cultures?

Whale Spirit Animal serves an important function in African lore. Whale symbolism and art are found in Jordan and Mesopotamia and surrounding areas. Whale and Dolphin are sometimes linked symbolically, but Whale serves an important purpose in tales from African culture.

In East Africa, the Whale features in the story of King Sulemani. This benevolent King took his responsibility of feeding all his people seriously. He was known to ensure that his crops were abundant enough so that no one in his land went hungry.

One day, he was said to ask God for the power to feed everyone around the world. In response, God sent the Whale to eat all of his crops. The insatiable Whale then turned to the King and asked how many humans in his land could feed the Whale’s hefty appetite.

The moral of the story, as King Sulemani learned at that point, was not only to be careful what you wish for, but also that it is not for man to try to take the place of God as ruler of the world.

Even if your intentions are benevolent, as was the case for King Sulemani, it is important to maintain a balance and keep your efforts, and your ego, right sized.

Whale Far Eastern Symbolism

Whale Spirit Animal is also significant in cultures of the far east. Some Middle-Eastern legends describe four Whales who hold up the world as if they were pillars.

In cultures of the east, it is believed that Whale brought the original millet seeds from which all other forms of life were able to be sustained. Thus, Whale is associated with appetite, with nurturing and with vital connection to abundance and fulfillment.

Whale Spirit Animal was important to Coxinga, an early Emperor of Taiwan. According to lore, Whale guided Coxinga further out to sea so he could eventually find Taiwan. Thus, Whale can be considered a divine guide.
Whale symbolism can also be found in Japan, though in modern times the Whale has become a symbol of efforts at wildlife conservation.

In China, Yu-Kiang was a giant Whale with human hands and feet who was ruler over the ocean. This great beast was best appeased because it was believed that to anger Yu-Kiang would result in punishment. Yu-Kiang’s wrath was attributed to the onset of storms and earthquakes.

In Vietnam, Whale is seen as a benevolent creature who brings luck, protection and prosperity. It was also believed that Whale would intentionally strive to save humans in danger at sea, a completely different contrast to cultures that view Whale as an adversary to humans traveling over the waves.

In Hindu lore, Whale is an important symbol as well. Whale was one of the guises of Lord Vishnu and was seen as a primordial power.

Whale spiritual meaning is associated with the depths, the subconscious and with generosity and abundance.

Whale Tattoo Meaning

Whale spiritual meaning may be evident when you see someone with a Whale tattoo. Yet a Whale tail meaning, when tattooed on someone’s body, can be symbolic of an important cultural belief, or an indicator that they, like Whale, love the sea.

Whale tattoos can symbolize intuition, a protective nature and someone who bridges the gap between the realms of the subconscious and emotional worlds as well as the heavens and ethereal worlds.

As a tattoo, Whale tail meaning can point toward your love of a favorite solitary vacation spot by the sea. Or the Whale tail meaning as a tattoo can signify a connection to a nurturing deity associated with the mysteries of the sea.

Sometimes, a person will get a Tattoo of a Whale inspired by specific cultural art such as the symbolism and art of the Salish tribes who valued Whale as an important creature.
A Whale tattoo representing important aspects of lore such as the story of Moby Dick and the quest to explore the sea and also the fear of being consumed by your passions or obsessions.

Whale Spiritual Meaning

Whale spiritual meaning is drawn from many of the myths and legends of Whale consuming people whole. Thus, the Whale has come to be synonymous with the body, with completion, and with entombment. Whale also represents the intersection between the Divine and Mundane planes, as Whales can emerge from the sea and then dive back down to the depths, representing emotion and the subconscious.

Specific Whales can be seen as associated with more specific messages or symbolism. For instance, many see the Humpback Whale is famous for their beautiful song and therefore is associated with peace, love and harmony.

In contrast, the value of the Sperm Whale makes this distinct type of Whale symbolic of our need to be resourceful and realize our own inner worth. When discerning the spiritual meaning of Whale, consider also the specific colors and details of a particular Whale.

Generally, Whale symbolism and meaning can be correlated to the universal traits of all Whales.

Whale spiritual meaning can connect us to the natural elements, even reminding us of the importance of roughing it in the rain and cold in order to reconnect with the powers of the divine all around us, as those at sea are bound to do. Whale gives us a respect for the depths of the sea and for that which we can’t immediately perceive.

Whale asks us to trust in divine guidance. Is that really the opening to a cave? Or is it the mouth of a Whale, lying in wait to drag you to the depths of the sea? Will you avoid entering into new territory out of this fear? Whale reminds you that sometimes, entering into the cave-like womb of the Whale’s mouth (or the cave or the meditation room or the sacred bath) is a needed part of our own incubation process before we are able to be reborn with new wisdom. Whale reminds us then of the importance of periods of introspection and isolation.

But Whale is not antisocial. Whale is also a spiritual symbol of connection to our ancestors, communities and families. Whale asks us to consider how we share our beautiful song and how we protect those we love, even at a distance.

Whale corresponds easily to meditation or turning attention inward. Also, Whale is associated with the Crown Chakra for the benefit of connecting us to the divine and to our higher wisdom, not our ego desires.

Whale mystifies people with the fear and fascination of being consumed by this large sea mammal. Italian lore tells of a girl who is swallowed by a Whale. Instead of destruction, she finds a beautiful garden and even other people. There are stories from Russia of Whale swallowing entire ships but then a forest growing upon the back of the Whale. The story of Pinocchio, of Jonah and stories from many cultures about Whales consuming people whole are similar to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

In this regard, Whale represents a world unto itself in which we may discover that all we thought we knew was really an illusion, or that there are worlds within worlds that we are not always privy to.

Whales also bring stories of exchange and abundance. Are you giving and taking only what you need? Or are you trying to consume all that you can? Are you letting your desires consume you? Or do you fear being consumed by emotions?

Whale Symbolic Meanings Key

  • Abrupt Change
  • Celestial-Soul Song
  • Confidence
  • Good Luck
  • Joy
  • Navigating Life
  • Psychic Senses
  • Recognition
  • Self-Discovery
  • Soul Searching

14 thoughts on “Whale Symbolism & Meaning

  1. Rana says:

    Very interesting indeed !! I need to save the page and read it again 😉 love & gratitude <3

  2. Karen says:

    Thank you so much. A beautiful interpretation of a beautiful animal and energy.

  3. Tomia says:

    This spoke to my soul ASE

  4. Whales forever says:


  5. Richard Miller says:

    So relevant and sense making. Thankyou.

  6. Thye Zhe Hui says:

    Thank you so much for keeping this beautiful site alive 🙂

  7. Jan Whalen says:

    My company name is Whalen Voices. Now I understand more fully why I chose this name (my last name is Whalen, but how fun to have voices added. Thanks so much for this information!!!

  8. AzureB says:

    Deep Thanks and Gratitude for this offering of spirit…:) Love and Light to you!

  9. Abhay says:

    Heartfelt thanks to you for sharing your time, energy, knowledge and wisdom. This means so much to me and many others. Whales come to me in dreams during the loneliest times and I am grateful to learn more about them.

  10. chris says:

    I recently had a visit with mother aya and she showed me her story and the song of sorce then gave me a blue whale pendant.
    now after reading this page so many things in my life with sea or ocean fairing affiliations make so much sense my deepest thank you for this page.

  11. Sonja says:

    My beautiful white Husky transitioned a few weeks ago. A few days after he passed I had a dream of him swimming and arriving onto another shore. Truly happy for his blissful state I reminded myself when grief would snatch me that he is out of pain and we would reconnect in another realm or this one. This morning before waking I saw him coming to me out of the ocean and looming behind him was a beautiful white whale. This interpretation of the meaning of a whale in a dream provided great clarity for me. Thank you

  12. Tobrina says:

    This has supplemented a medicine card that I pulled tonight. I drew whale. The record keeper. Im so glad I expanded my knowledge with such a diverse span of meaning.

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