Mouse Meaning and Symbolism
For such a tiny creature, there is a profusion of symbolic mouse meaning available throughout history. For example, did you know the mouse is one of several sacred creatures to the god Apollo? Yep. In fact, in early Greece, Apollo was sometimes referred to as Apollo-Smintheus, which means Mouse-Apollo. Interesting, eh? This connection could be from several origins. In those days, snakes were super-sacred to the gods (with associations of transformation, healing, and mysterious power), and mice were fed to snakes who were catered to in ancient temples of Greece and Rome. Another correlation between mice and Apollo could be due to their mass numbers. Mice are prolific, always have been, and so, there abundance is akin to Apollo's omnipresence. This thought is similar to the same thought-process applied to certain insects, especially flies sacred to Zeus. Because flies are everywhere, they are akin to the always-present-everywhere presence of Zeus. Same concept for mice and Apollo.
Another interesting symbolic mouse meaning deals with their preferred home environment. Mice love to burrow. Our ancient ancestors observed their affinity for ground-burrowing, and likened this to mice being 'one with the Mother' (Mother Earth, that is). This ground-loving behavior was also seen as a connection to the Underworlds (or Otherworlds, depending upon your source of reference). This kind of connection makes the mouse a kind of mediator between physical life and recycling life (spirit energies in transition).
This Earth and Underworld connection continues in western, medieval Europe, where folk superstitions tell of mice possessing the ability to carry souls of humans who have passed from this physical life. Some tales take this soul-carrying a step further and describe mice eking out from the mouths of the deceased, scampering away with the living soul, leaving behind the corporeal remains. I think this last observation might be a reference to the plague, in which rats and mice ruled more prominently that kings and queens of the day (vermin being the number one enemy of the times due to their tendency to carry and spread the deadly plague).
Under the pall of the plague, symbolic mouse meaning has taken on some rather dark tones. Christian symbology identifies the mouse as a creature of destruction, hypocrisy and cowardliness. Now, those of you who read my symbolic interpretations with any regularity know that I'm not too keen on negative views or nay-saying about our planet's critters. After all, it's not their fault of the rat or the mouse that caused the pandemic outbreak of the black plague in the 14th century. Humans (as is often the case) hold the bag of responsibility for that. Lack of personal and social hygiene, caravans and transportation routes carrying stow-away vermin caused much of the spread too. Mostly, human ignorance is to blame, not mice or rats.
But I digress. Some suggested key words for symbolic mouse meaning include...
Cleanliness? After all that talk earlier about the plague, and common misconception about mice, how could I possibly add 'cleanliness' to this symbolic mouse meaning list? Well, it's a little known fact that many kinds of mice (deer mice, certain field mice and voles) keep themselves extremely clean and are constantly grooming themselves. See what I mean about falling into the trap of misjudging creatures by misguided rumors and superstition?
This idea of cleanliness is a symbolic trigger for me when mice come into my awareness. When I'm paid a visit by the mouse, I take a look at what needs to be cleaned, groomed or ordered within my own or my client's life, depending for whom I'm getting the mouse-message. This is not only a tip from the squeaky-clean mouse habits, but by paradox, other types of mice (some kinds of house mice, tree mice, certain field and harvest mice) prefer a less cleanly environment. These latter types of scruffy mice remind me that clutter (both within the home, the body and the mind) is often a gateway for infiltrators. Whichever angle you look (whether they be 'clean' mice or dirty-rascal mice), mice are messengers for tidiness. Keep that in mind the next time the mouse comes pitter-pattering in your own awareness, and ask yourself if it's time to clear out, clean up, and establish order in your realms.
Mice are also consummate conservers. They are one of the most ingenious and industrious hoarders of the mammal realms. This adds to the symbolic mouse meaning, because it reminds us to conserve our own resources and energy. The mouse is often a message for us to review our resources (of all kinds, energetic, financial, emotional, physical) and be a little more conscious of how we spend or distribute these resources. Interestingly, mice also have voracious appetites, and will nibble through almost anything. This may seem like a contradiction from conservation, but really, it's about balance. When the mice pays you a visit, it's a clear sign to take a look at what you're consuming, how you're consuming it, and begin paying conscious attention about resources and the idea of conservation.
We all know mice can be timid, appearing to be shy and nervous at the slightest twitch in their surroundings. This is symbolic of the antithesis of bravado, egotism and arrogance. When the mouse pays me a visit, it's often a message for me to take a look at my behavior. Am I being too aggressive? Boastful? Mice always prompt me to become more soft and contemplative in my mannerisms. I discuss this kind of metamorphosis of perspective in my Tamed by the Gentle and the Small blog post, if you're interested.
I'm not the only one who observed this. In Native North American Indian symbolism, tribes such as the Navajo established the mouse having governance over the southern quadrant of their medicine wheel, which represents a macrocosmic view of life. The southern quadrant of the medicine wheel holds sacred tenets such as new beginnings, connection with the Mother (Nature/Earth). It also represents youthfulness and innocence. Because the mouse is quite modest, and connected so closely with the Mother Earth, it has gained grained prominence in this and other branches of Native wisdom. I talk more about the mouse identity in the Native American Medicine wheel on my blog here.
Mice are incredibly prolific, as mentioned earlier, and can bear up to a dozen pups every four to six weeks. That's a lotta mice. This is symbolic of fertility, abundance, and expansion. Do I mean that literally? No, not necessarily. For example, a mouse in your awareness could be symbolic of your ability to mass-produce new births in the form of new ideas, development, creativity, social connections - any number of opportunities are available for us to give birth often and abundantly, the mouse is a reminder of that.
These are just a few ideas about symbolic mouse meaning; there's plenty more symbolic fodder about the mouse, and I trust you'll continue your research independently. I also hope these thoughts offer you a broader view of the mouse, and the symbolic portent it may hold for you. Mostly, I hope this page offers you inspiration when interpreting your own mouse messages if or when this fascinating creature comes to call on your awareness.
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happing to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive it! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!