Animal Symbolism:
Meaning of the Octopus

Animal Symbolism of the Octopus and Octopus Meanings



Octopus Meaning and Symbolism

Diverse and impressive, octopus animal symbolism requires years of exploration and demands innumerable pages of symbolic explanation.

Truth be known, I've got a soft spot for the octopus. She's come to me on several occasions, imparting much needed and (to me) sacred insight.

The following bulletpoints and paragraphs detail some of these insights on a symbolic, spiritual, energetic level. Because of her endless attributes, I've provided only a few areas of contemplation here (I was serious about the octopus deserving a book for all her implications in my blog post on the octopus here).

A quick-list of octopus animal symbolism includes attributes such as...

Symbolic Meaning of Octopus

  • Will
  • Focus
  • Magic
  • Reason
  • Illusion
  • Defense
  • Mystery
  • Strategic
  • Potential
  • Knowing
  • Diversity
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
  • Expansion
  • Complexity
  • Intelligence
  • Adaptability
  • Insatiability
  • Unpredictability

If you are drawn to the octopus, I encourage you to begin your own personal journey to tap into the secret knowledge this amazing creature provides. You can do this through research, meditation, and by directly inquiring into the energetic depths of the octopus.

You will find the more you slip into the energetic realm of the octopus, the more secrets she will offer up to your consciousness.

The octopus loves a voracious student, and will serve up profound lessons to those who seek them from her.

Even the habitat of the octopus speaks of mystery and wonder. As a creature of the water, the octopus holds animal symbolism pertaining to...

Water Symbolism of Octopus

  • Purity
  • Psyche
  • Motion
  • Emotion
  • Fluidity
  • Intuition
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
Water carries these attributes for several reasons. It is influenced by the wax and wane of the moon, and the moon is associated with psyche, intuition and emotion. The moon and water are also feminine or yin attributes.

Additionally, water takes the form in which it is held - this makes it symbolic of flexibility, adaptability and creativity.

Creation is born from a balance between expansive freedom and working within an established parameter. Water perfectly illustrates this balance.

The octopus moves skillfully in a realm that is in constant motion. Ever changing, shifting, and wafting in accordance with the pull of the moon, the octopus' depth of mystery is enhanced by it own environmental aura.

Although vastly mobile and quite the traveler, the octopus is primarily a bottom dweller. In symbolic (totem) terms this is analogous of being grounded while still having the ability to exist in the watery world of the psyche. Those with the octopus as their totem would do well to recognize this analogy. It reminds us that we may be spiritual and intuitively gifted; nonetheless we are physical beings and must temper our psychic gifts with strong foundational grounding.

We derive more animal symbolism of the octopus by observing her physically too.

From eyesight, to the ability to regenerate, the octopus' physicality is a feast for our symbolic interpretations.

Octopi are invertebrates, meaning they do not have a structured spinal column. This is symbolic of agility, grace and flexibility. She is able to slip out of the tightest places, and ambulate as if she is the embodiment of water itself. Take the time to observe the way the octopus moves - it's hypnotic. As a totem, the octopus reminds us to loosen up - relax. She reminds us that we may move towards our goals in unorthodox ways and still achieve the same (if not better) results.

The octopus can detach a limb at will to serve as a distraction against would-be predators. From a totem perspective we could translate this to mean that we ourselves have the ability to cut loose excess baggage in our lives in order to achieve our desire.

Here the octopus asks us: What can we cut loose from our lives to lighten our load? Furthermore, what part of ourselves can we leave behind in order to bring us closer to our highest good? Often these parts serve as distractions (i.e., addictions, TV, unhealthy relationships).

Added elements of symbolic diversity enter the stage when we learn the octopus can regenerate these limbs. The ability to grow back a part of the body that has been removed is symbolic of...

Regenerative Symbolism of Octopus

  • Time
  • Unity
  • Cycles
  • Evolution
  • Regeneration

This ability reminds us that our essence is never lost to us. Even the parts of ourselves we give up (such as our addictions as mentioned above) are never permanently removed. We are the sum of our parts (for better or worse) and even those parts we set aside shape our personality upon our path in life. This is a lesson in acceptance, forgiveness, diversity, and embracing all of our facets.

The octopus is extremely intelligent with the ability to reason, strategize, and recall information. The octopus reminds us to use our logic to our highest advantage. She urges us to be the master of our intelligence, not the slave. By using our reasoning skills the way the octopus does we are utilizing a tool.

Another tool worth mentioning is the octopus' use of camouflage. She is the master of disguises, further emphasizing her animal symbolism of mystery, secretiveness, and esoteric knowledge. She can disappear and reappear before our wondering eyes as is evident in this video:

Neat Octopus Video

As if this isn't impressive on its own merit, the octopus pulls a secondary veil over reality by ejecting a thick, black ink into the waters as a method of escape. Dark clouds left in her wake leave the octopus' attackers lost and confused.

This is a metaphor for illusion. The octopus reminds us that nothing is as it seems. Behind our physicality there is a vast reality imbued with subtle wonder and shimmery brilliance. By observing the mystery of the octopus, we are encouraged to peek behind this veil of reality for ourselves.

This peeking about is the opening of consciousness. This process is also seen in the animal symbolism of the octopus by her spiraling limbs. In symbolism, myth and legend the spiral is a representation of expanding consciousness and the ongoing creative process of the universe.

Take a moment to observe this spiraling motion of the octopus (you can really see this in the reverse portion of the film above). Now we see why the Celts, Minoans, Greeks and other cultures associated the evolutionary spiral symbolism with the octopus.

It should be clear the octopus has expansive worlds of knowledge, experience and vision to offer us. Indeed, those who have been touched by her wonder are left with an insatiable desire to know more - as evident in the commentary of my blog post here.

Once touched by the octopus, this awe can never be slaked, and this is a very good thing for us. This thirst predicts that we will forever be on the path of learning more about this amazing creature and ourselves, because the animal symbolism of the octopus is synonymous with “expansion.”

Connect with the octopus through conscious thought, meditation, invocation, and any other path that you deem beneficial to your growth. How do we do this? Here are some suggestions:

Connecting With Octopus Totem

  • Ask the octopus for its guidance

  • Respectfully ask to enter its immense energy system just prior to meditation

  • Make up and sing songs about the octopus

  • Write about her, with free-association writing, poems, epics, blogging - whatever - just start writing your impressions of the octopus

  • Create dance moves in her honor that mimic the octopus' movements

  • Paint her, draw her, pin up images of her on your corkboards or walls

Do whatever moves you in order to draw yourself more closely into her spiraling depths. The octopus will see your voracious tenacity to connect and she will reward your genuine intent in equal portion.

Back to Water Totems and Water Animal Symbolism

I hope you enjoyed this article on the symbolic meaning of the octopus. Be sure to check out the links at the end of this page for more animal symbolism articles.




click links below for symbolic meanings.
All Totems All Totems (full list)
Bird Totems Air Totems
Insect Totems Insect Totems
Land Totems Land Totems
Lizard Totems Lizard Totems
Water Totems Water Totems
Totem Tips Working with Totems
Misc. Totems Misc. Animal Symbolism
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