Gliding Into the Symbolic Meaning of the Stork
From motherhood to good luck, symbolic meaning of the stork is diverse and colorful. This article explores why the stork is associated with delivering babies, why Asia views the stork as a symbol of fortune and long life – and so much more! Fly into stork meanings here!
When I was a kid, I had a run-in with a stork. I was fiercely navigating a paddleboat in the kiddie pool at a children’s zoo when I looked up and came face-to-beak with a behemoth stork.
Let me tell you, that experience completely freaked me out and left me unhinged. I still have dreams about that gigantic bird staring me down, and spreading its mammoth wings – as if to swallow me in some creepy avian embrace.
I can’t say it’s a marring memory. Yeah, it makes my hair stand on end to this day, but I wouldn’t call it a negative experience. Mostly, it is an appropriate response to a truly regal and impressive bird. At least, that’s my symbolic story about the stork, and I’m sticking to it. Lol.
In truth, the stork really is a regal creature, and has an amazing story to tell us on a symbolic level. Here’s a list of symbolic highlights the stork represents…
Highlights for Symbolic Meaning of the Stork
Meaning of the Stork and Motherhood
Let’s address the origins of the iconic stork carrying a newborn baby bundle in its beak. There are a few potential reasons for this. One is the migratory return of the stork at springtime, a time of renewal and rebirth of the earth. Our ancestors observed the stork returning at a time of earth’s resurgence, and established reasoning that the stork was also the bringer of new birth.
The meaning of the stork as a baby-bringer may also be associated to its affinity to water. Water is highly symbolic of feminine energy. It’s also symbolic of renewal, rebirth and creation. In ancient earth-worshipping wisdom, ponds and lakes were a symbolic parallel to the womb. This is a large-scale illustration of birth. European folk tales attest to seeing a ‘bird-man’ emerging from the earth’s womb to bring forth new life. A large bird, walking on two long legs – its beak full and coming forth from a symbolic, watery womb – the comparisons can be easily drawn.
Another fairytale comparison comes from old country folk beliefs that the spirit of unborn children dwelled in bodies of water where the stork was known to stalk. Waiting to be plucked by a stork passing by, these babies were then delivered to new mothers.
So we see in addition to a symbol of birth, the meaning of the stork also deals with motherhood. In fact, the Greek etymology behind the word stork is “mother-love“. This effectually continues the link between storks, babies and mothers.
There is a German fairy tale that further substantiates the stork as a mother bird. A German peasant woman found a wounded stork, and restored it to health. In gratitude, the stork returned to her and gave her a magical donnerkeil which is a stork-stone, also known as a lightning stone. In this era, lightning is a symbol of fertilization and the stone is a symbol of a seed or egg. Hence – birth and motherhood.
Stork Meaning in Myth, Legend, and Lore
Maternity issues aside, the symbolic meaning of the stork also revolves around prosperity and long life. In Chinese wisdom, the stork is a symbol of longevity due to the belief that the stork lives to a long, ripe old age.
Storks are also a symbol of good luck in Asian cultures. This is commonly attributed to the stork diving into the waters and retrieving tasty treats. This is a symbolic message of fishing for prosperity from unseen sources…searching beneath the surface of the water, to uncover hidden treasures. Storks were viewed to be incredibly lucky at fishing cool stuff from dark, watery depths.
Colonists of North America observed storks lining their nests with maple leaves. Since then, maples leaves, and the stork have been symbols of love and welcoming a new child in the home (nest).
The stork is a sacred symbol to Juno, a Roman goddess of hearth and home (Hera is her Greek counterpart). Don’t get the wrong idea about Juno…she’s not a demure homebody. What I mean by a homestead goddess is a deity that is a fierce protectress of the home. She is a warrior for safety and security of the home, and Hera (her Greek counterpart) is recognized to this day as responsible for keeping the home fires burning. In this light, we see the stork as a symbol of protection.
In reality, the stork is a steadfast protector of their own nests. Their enormity aided in protecting their nests, as the stork unfurls its (up to) 10 foot wingspan (eegads!) to scare off potential predators. I certainly wouldn’t mess around with that! Additionally, storks are predominantly monogamous, preferring one mate over its lifetime.
In Christianity, the meaning of the stork deals with purification. This idea comes from the expertise the stork has at catching (and eating) snakes. Serpents in Christian symbology are commonly thought to be in league with the devil. Hence, a snake-eating stork is akin to cleansing the world of sin and/or the devil’s influence.
Potential Messages the Stork Offers Us
When the stork emerges from the waters of our consciousness, it comes with messages like…
- This is a time of renewal and rebirth in our lives.
- Expect a new arrival or a special delivery in life.
- It may be time to reevaluate the safety of our homes, and reinforce our sense of community.
- Consider what new inventions, goals, or plans we can implement.
- It’s a sign to pay respect and homage to our elders and ancestors.
- Feeling lucky? Act on it. Start fishing for new opportunities.
When the stork appears in our lives, it represents these kinds of encouragements. There is more to the symbolic meaning of the stork, and I hope this post encourages you to do your own research about the stork as a totem and/or guide.
If you liked this article, you may also be interested in the stork’s kissing cousin… check out the symbolic meaning of the heron on my blog. Also, be sure to check out the related links at the end of this page for more totemic insights. Thanks for reading!
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Take Away Tips About Symbolic Meaning of the Stork
What’s up with the whole baby thing?
There are three prime reasons the meaning of the stork is associated with delivering babies. 1) The stork is associated with spring; this season is associated with new birth. 2) The stork is a water creature, and water is also a symbol of renewal and birth 3) Storks are REALLY awesome mothers to their own babies!
Home is where the heart is.
Stork meaning is linked to hearth, home and protection. The stork is sacred to the ancient Greek goddess Hera. She and the stork are symbols of protecting the home, families and children. In truth, storks are EXTREMELY protective of their nests and offspring.
In China, stork meaning is about good fortune and good luck. Why? Mostly because storks are super-clever and very opportunistic. They are very resourceful when it comes to getting what they want. When a stork is featured in Asian art, it is a symbol of luck in business and family – and also a reference to using unique ways to improve our lives.
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