Symbolic Meaning of the Koala

symbolic meaning of koala bears

Climbing Into Symbolic Meaning of Koala

Let’s get one thing clear. The symbolic meaning of koala bears is a little misleading, because they aren’t bears at all. Koalas are marsupials, which is very symbolic. Koalas are connected to family and earth. They are symbols of community, family and stability. They are also symbols of peace and tranquility.

So, just to be clear, even though this article refers to ‘koala bear‘, they are not bears. I kept the term bear in this article because koala bear is a common reference, and people find this page easier when the term bear is used. Anyway..

Back in the 1980s I worked as a fill-in medical tech at a veterinarian’s office where I made friends with zookeeper, Adam Schultz. When he invited me to experience a behind-the-scenes encounter with a koala, I jumped at the chance.

Like most folks who come in contact with this creature, I was utterly enchanted. How could I not be? Aside from being undeniably captivating (cute, cuddly, docile – the jackpot of adorableness!), the quality that struck me most enduring was the koala’s laid-back nature. The koala I held in my arms was so chill and relaxed! She seemed totally content to just hang out awhile with human pals.

I wondered if this calm contentment stemmed from domesticity. Was this koala super-chill because of her captivity? My friend Adam said no. Most koalas are pretty easy-going, even in the wild. They have underactive adrenals, and rarely get riled up. I then remembered their steady diet of eucalyptus and gum leaves and asked my friend about the validity of the claim that koalas are in a diet-induced stupor most of the time. Adam explained a koalas metabolism is quite slow compared to other marsupials. This slower metabolism combined with slow-acting adrenal glands causes mellow behavior in most koalas – even in the wild. It’s their nature to be passive, and the behavior is not necessarily caused by what they eat. To be sure, I was properly educated about the koala that day, and recent dreams of the koala prompted me to write a page on the symbolic meaning of koala bears.

“Dreams are not made to put us to sleep.

They are made to awaken us.”

~Goemans

Keywords for Symbolic Meaning of Koala

  • Trust
  • Calm
  • Magic
  • Dreams
  • Pleasure
  • Memory
  • Protection
  • Connection

As land animal totems, koalas were first primarily connected with the Mother (Earth). They were originally burrowers for the most part. We can see this in their marsupial pouch designs. Most marsupial pouches (like kangaroos and opossum) open upwards, but the opening of koala pouch is directed toward the hind quarters. This design protects the young joey from dirt burrowed by early koala mothers. Over time (and necessity with continental land masses breaking up in the last ice age) koala’s adapted to an arboreal life. What’s this got to do with connection? Plenty.

The symbolic meaning of koala bears speaks of connection, protection and memory because of their original affinity to ground dwelling life. As burrowers, koalas shared a special connection with the earth. Aboriginal wisdom recognizes this relationship. Certain Australian myths claim koalas were first earthy clumps of grey clay and slowly crawled from their clay-bound lives in order to bring sacred wisdom to humans. They were also said to teach humans how to climb trees in order to gain a broader view of the grand world in which they live. This is also symbolic of memory.

Symbolic Meaning of the Koala as a Totem Animal

Those who resonate with the koala, and share a totemic bond with this fascinating creature will share many common attributes. Koala people are naturally likeable. Friendly, amicable, and content to ‘go with the flow.’ People with koala totems are also protectors and nurturers. They look after their tribe, showing keen interest in their society, and willing to help others in need. They do this casually, with aplomb. Koala people don’t force change, they have scads of patience. Where most people try to shove reform down the throats of society, koala people introduce gentle adjustments into society and take a “wait and see” approach.

Those who share the koala as their totem have calm, contended demeanors. In fact, I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with some friends who share close connection with their koala totems, and just being in their presence has had a calming effect on me. If your totem is the koala, you likely put people at ease just by your mere presence. Observe this in your surroundings. Have you ever entered a room charged with high-energy (stress, anxiety, etc) only to experience the room settling after your arrival? That’s the effect you have on others. The down-side to this, is that others may have a tendency to suck you dry. They see you as a stabilizer, somebody who is “all together” and often people will rely too heavily on your amiable nature.

As the symbolic meaning of koala bears deals with magic, koala affiliated people come off as dreamers. This is often misconstrued as laziness.  So not true!!! Those who have the koala as their totem often live in the ‘dreamtime’ a space of contemplation, fantasy and higher mental activity. -Nothing wrong with that, I say.

However, it’s important to utilize these dream-states. Koala folks can sometimes fall in the dreamtime trap – wanting to stay in their creative ruminations, and this makes it tough to get along in ‘real world.’ Koalas can actually assist humans with this.

Koala people can also climb new heights by taking their epiphanies gained through dreamtime meandering and use these insights constructively in this modern world. If you find yourself more submerged in ephemeral realms that material, call upon the strong and sturdy aspects of the koala to help you climb out of the dreamtime and use your insights in creative endeavors. The dreamy artists, poets and musicians of our time have pulled out of their reverie and shared exquisite manifestations of their dreams for the world to see. Koalas can help bring wispy concepts into concrete reality.

Symbolic meaning of koala bears offer us vast insights. Whether they be totems, or a random koala encounter, it’s important to glean their messages. When the koala visits our awareness, it carries with it invitations to relax, enjoy the moment, and go with the flow of nature. Koalas are also oracles for physical well-being, and will often come to us as a signal to get much needed rest. Koala’s are known to sleep up to 20 hours a day, and when they come to us, it may be a sign to catch up on our sleep – take a break – find an oasis of calm from the calamity of our daily lives. Koala’s also invite us to savor our down-time, enjoy our dreams, and revel in relaxation.

Take-Away Points About the Symbolic Meaning of the Koala

♦Australian aborigines consider the koala a magical creature. It is a symbol of dreams, journeying and intuition. Much of this view has to do with the koala’s high station in trees, and their lack of predators. To the wise, natural mind – the higher to the sky – the better the psychic vision. And not having many predators indicates a pureness of consciousness. This is a great reminder for us to elevate our minds, hearts and spirit. Learn from the koala by embracing every moment with innocence, higher perception and childlike wonder.

♦ Because the koala is almost exclusively up in the treetops, this represents a better perspective of their world.  The koala asks us to get a bird’s eye view of our lives.  Sometimes it takes separation and objectivity to figure out our issues.  Pulling ourselves out of the thick of the forest and climbing up on a high branch might be just the thing to gain better insight.

♦ Koalas are marsupials, and keep their newborns in a pouch located on their tummy.  When koalas give birth, their ‘joey,’ or baby, is not fully developed. The joey is just an itty bitty thing, and it’s super-vulnerable. Nevertheless, the baby must climb up to mum’s pouch in order to survive.  This is hugely symbolic. Think about what you cherish. Think about a dream, a loved one, a job, a project that you absolutely adore. Whatever it is, the koala reminds you that it needs to be protected and nurtured.  The koala joey is a reminder that our dreams are worth fighting for their survival. So give whatever you love what it needs to survive and live to its highest potential.

In conclusion, I hope these thoughts on the symbolic meaning of koala bears (which, by the way, aren’t bears at all – they’re marsupials, and close cousins to wombats) have inspired you to enter into a new kinship with the koala. Koalas are sublime teachers, and can show us how to appreciate the pleasures of our environment. They can also teach us to enjoy the present moment. Engage in devotion and meditation with the koala. Doing so will reveal these appreciative qualities. It will also enhance a sense of calm and tranquility.

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Brightly,

Avia

Take Away Tips About Symbolic Meaning of the Koala

The wonder from down under!
In their native country, Australia, the koala is a symbol of dreams, intuition and magic. They are also symbolic of innocence. As a totem, the koala reminds us to approach life with childlike wonder.

Hang out! Enjoy the view!
Koalas spend most of their time in trees. Their connection to trees is symbolic of higher vision. Because the koala is up in the treetops, they have an elevated view. As such, koalas remind us to rise above and get a better view of our situation.

If you love it, put it in your pocket.
Koalas are marsupials, which means they carry their young in a pouch on mum’s tummy. This protects their legacy. For humans, this is a reminder to cherish what is sacred to us. Protect what is valuable. Keep your dreams and what you love in the pocket of your heart.

Evolution is the solution.
Koalas started their lives on the ground. They were diggers and cave-dwellers. Over time, the koala had to move to higher places to survive. This is a lesson for us to keep evolving. Keep reaching for whatever makes you grow and improve. Seek higher ground for your best version of life.

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