Symbolic Pelican Meaning

Symbolic Pelican meaning. Photo by Avia.



Symbolic Pelican Meaning

It was clear to me last year while vacationing in Florida, that the symbolic pelican meaning should absolutely include as aspect of opportunism. These birds hovered en mass around a local fisherman, perched on the outboard motor of his fishing boat (see image at end of this page). They were nonplussed by the fisherman, but intensely focused on his catch. Are you intent upon a goal, or some treasure you desire? Do like the pelican does. Perch yourself in an advantageous position, and observe the resources that come your way.

Also, take time to forge healthy relationships with people in your community with a goal to establish co-operative benefits for the group. This is what the pelican does, or at least the White American pelican. These birds are group fishers. They come together as a group and hunt their food together by beating their wings on the surface of the water, moving the fish to surface waters on the other side where another group of pelicans lays in wait to scoop up the fish in their pouches. To be sure, the pelican is symbolic of group-efforts made in order to identify and capture resources.

The elegant pelican soars into our awareness with heavy messages of sacrifice, resurrection and nourishment. A common pelican-fable observed the pelican piercing her breast with her beak , causing blood to flow. The fable describes a noble, self-sacrifice of the pelican to provide for her babies by feeding them the blood of her own body. These observations that worked themselves into folklore, and so, the pelican (even to this day) is a symbol of self-sacrifice. So much so, the pelican is likened to Christ's sacrifice and self-offering in Christian traditions. In reality, the pelican is regurgitating food for her offspring, and in doing so, blood from macerated fish is spotting her snowy white breast.

Some keywords to consider in relation to symbolic pelican meaning...

Symbolic Pelican Meanings

  • Magic
  • Focus
  • Wisdom
  • Safety
  • Humility
  • Charity
  • Nurturing
  • Direction
  • Teamwork
  • Resources
  • Generosity
  • Camaraderie
  • Friendliness
  • Self-Sacrifice
  • Responsibilities

Ancient alchemy linked pelican symbolism to the legendary Philosopher's Stone. This famed stone is said to turn other elements to gold, lending magical and transformative powers to the bird. This ideal is about revolution and the stages of transformation are related to specific colors. The red stage is the feeding stage and the predecessor to rebirth and associated with the majestic pelican.

The pronounced bill of the pelican contains a pouch used for fishing and drinking. Bills, and particularly large bills, represent self-indulgence, holding, and the capacity to take in a great deal. Pouches speak of containment, security, and transportation. If the pelican is your animal totem, it's highly likely you have an impressive ability to take in a lot of information at once and digest it all with relative ease. Pelican people are expert travelers too, able to travel light, and you're likely to have the travel bug in that you'll fly at the mere whisper of adventures ahead. Pelican people may also hold many thoughts to themselves, reluctant to be outspoken about their opinions. If this sounds like you, the pelican can help you digest all this information you're taking in, and also facilitate ways for you to "spit out" the great ideas you have and speak your mind with confidence.

The graceful swoop of the pelican as she over-fills her bill with water and spray reminds us to reconnect with our emotional sea and receive its sustenance. Because pelicans are both air and water creatures, there is an interesting symbolic-dynamic of thought and emotion. If the pelican flies into your awareness, it's a good time to contemplate variables between your heart and mind. So often understand situations intellectually, but lack emotive understanding (or vice versa). When meditating upon the pelican, one can be assisted in reaching a balance between thought and emotion. Pelicans also dive impressively into deep waters to capture fish. This is symbolic of ourselves taking a bold nose-dive into our own emotional waters to seek value.

Symbolic Pelican meaning


The pelican is a larger bird with a ten foot wing-span and lots of feathers. They are striking to behold, magnificent. The pelican symbolizes preparation and constancy. The formation of pelican flight is a beautiful and stunning display. Often a V-shape and often in a straight line, pelicans are about intimate, shared journeys. Pelicans enjoy long, uninterrupted expeditions and this speaks to a contemplative state of mind. Travel is about moving, fear, adapting, and overcoming. Pelicans are about calm, controlled movement. They represent confidence and safety in numbers.

The cormorant is closely associated with the pelican and their symbology as animal totems is quite similar. The diving motion of these birds represents plunging into our emotional depths and digging deep to bring understanding to the surface of our awareness. In order to dive underwater, the cormorant must swallow small stones. This holds powerful symbolism for us. We must be willing to accept new ideas, attitudes, and ways of living to truly know ourselves.

Cormorants lack the oil found on most bird-wings and must therefore dry their feathers often. When swimming and diving, their feathers become water-logged and they could sink. Can't our emotional nature behave in the same way? We must lift ourselves from the stress and tension we can sometimes experience with our emotions.

Symbolic cormorant meaning includes attributes such as...

Symbolic Cormorant Meanings

  • Bounty
  • Caution
  • Nobility
  • Indulgence
  • Discernment

The pelican and the cormorant are impressive and glorious animal totems and encourage involvement, sharing, and communication. Remember these ancient birds fly in the air of the intellect but are always plunging into the sea of sentiment. They carry insight and great truth.

I hope you have enjoyed these insights into the symbolic pelican meaning as well as symbolic cormorant meanings. See the end of this page for more links to related information on symbolic meanings.




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