Doves and pigeons have been having great significance to humans since ancient times. Those delicate feathery fellows have been underestimated for long, as well.
However, they have been getting great cultural, symbolical and spiritual significance in many civilizations and traditions, since far past to modern times.
Living in a modern society, however, made us somewhat distanced from spiritual world and nature.
Now we try to reconnect with ancient concepts and find inner peace and tranquility within ourselves. Understanding spiritual meaning and symbolism of animals and applying it in our life is one of the best things to do in order to achieve harmony and tranquility.
Bird symbolism is particularly interesting to us. Birds have always been associated with ideas of freedom and transition. Specific birds’ species have even more significance. Doves and pigeons are the ones.
These birds are amazing and inspiring to many. They are very common motif in art, including literature, music and all forms of applied arts. Beautiful white dove is associated to things pure and intact and pigeons are often considered messengers of good news.
Cultural significance and symbolism of pigeon and dove
Pigeons and particularly doves have always fascinated people. They live all over the world and are probably some of the first domesticated species of birds. Their connection with humans seize back to ancient times.
These are two different, but very similar species of birds, although people often think about them as equal.
In Ancient Egypt, nearly three millennia ago, pigeons were held and bred as important symbolic and useful animals. Later, the tradition of breeding pigeons was continued in Ancient Rome and other great emperies and civilizations. In many of the world’s greatest mythologies and religious systems, pigeons have always had a special place.
This bird is linked to concepts of things pure and delicate and has a powerful symbolic meaning, such as following:
-Peace and harmony
-Love and devotion
-Beatitude and piety
Apart from those common associations, pigeons and especially doves were associated to concepts of femininity and maternity.
Some of the greatest female deities are often depicted holding a dove or a pigeon or the animal is considered one of their spiritual transformation forms. For example, depictions of the great ancient goddess Ishtar, the Mother of Sumerian people, often include a pigeon.
In Ancient Phoenician tradition, Astarte, goddess of fertility and love, was commonly associated with pigeon. In Egyptian folklore, pigeons were considered symbols of virginity.
-Femininity and maternity
In both Greek and Roman culture, pigeon was a symbol of life and renewal. Therefore, well-known goddesses Aphrodite and Venus have commonly been associated and symbolically depicted with pigeons.
Doves had particularly positive symbolic meaning in Greek tradition. This gentle bird was linked to prosperity and harmony and was always considered a good omen.
Seeing a dove, especially white one, was highly valued sign.
-Longevity and prosperity
Hindi tradition is also in favor with pigeons. Ancient beliefs tell pigeons were messengers of Yama, deity of death. According to Hindi tradition, an action of killing a pigeon or a dove brings bad luck.
For centuries, pigeons were worshiped and appreciated in China. These birds were associated with the concept of yin and yang and transformation. In China, it is believed with the beginning of spring a sparrow hawk would transform into a pigeon and vice versa, at the end of the season. Having that in mind, it is easy to conclude, a pigeon was symbolic herald of spring.
-Forgiveness and good will
-Holy spirit and mercy
Pigeons have a prominent position in Christian traditions, as well. Biblical stories tell good and positive things about pigeons and doves. In The Old Testament, there are probably some of the first mentions about pigeons as our loyal messengers.
Unlike some other birds associated with the same purpose of spreading news, pigeons are usually considered bringers of good fortune and happy news.
Pigeons as totems
Pigeons have great symbolic and spiritual importance for people. Having a pigeon as your spirit animal and guide is amazing because of strongly positive traits we ascribe to these birds. According to spiritual interpretations of pigeon symbolism, these common birds are found to be extremely resilient, loyal and intelligent.
Therefore, if you discover a pigeon is your totem animal, you will get yourself a patient and thoughtful guardian who would teach you many things.
Love and kindness – People having pigeon as their spirit animal are usually kind, perceptive and easy to get along with. They are gentle and emotional, but not easily hurt or manipulated. They tend to have a positive insight of the world they live in.
Those people are loving and devoted to their close ones, as well as to their own ideas and goals. Since they look on life with gratitude and kindness, they are able to better understand others, which makes life easier.
Sacrifice and devotion – Pigeon as a totem would help you better understand what you want in life and how to achieve that without hurting others or getting yourself harmed emotionally.
However, pigeons are associated with the concept of sacrifice, which means people with this totem would sometimes go beyond their capabilities to make their loved ones safe and secure. Your pigeon totem could lead you too far in such matters, so be careful and try to synchronize with it.
Tranquility and peace – Peace and harmony are two of the most popular concepts linked to pigeons in human civilization. Therefore, people having this amazing creature as their spirit animal are usually well aware of their own personal traits and character and tend to develop great self-understanding.
Pigeon as a totem animal brings calmness and tranquility and helps you achieve inner peace. You will be able to deal with difficult life situations and challenges with less stress and frustration than other people.
Doves as totems
Doves have similar significance to those of pigeons; only some of the aspects are accented more. In particular, doves are strongly associated with motherhood, love, peace and harmony.
If a dove is your spirit animal, you are truly lucky. This gentle and beautiful bird will teach you how to be in harmony with yourself and with others. It is especially powerful totem for women, since it is symbolically associated with fertility and motherly love.
Peace and harmony – A dove holding an olive branch is universally accepted symbol of peace and harmony. A white dove is herald of good news and bringer of good fortune. Doves represent peace, tranquility and harmony.
herefore, people who have a dove to be their spiritual guide are usually calm and generous, open-minded, friendly and kind towards others. They are not naive and easy to manipulate, because they are able to see through others’ intentions and protect themselves from bad influence. They love to share life with others and care for their loved ones.
Motherhood – Doves are symbol of motherly love and devotion, so they are especially important to women. Just as human mothers, doves are gentle and caring; these birds are very devoted parents. They have extremely strong connection to Mother Nature and they embody humans’ natural instinct of parenthood.
Doves as totems teach people to embrace their children with all the love they have for them, to raise them well and help them become good, wise and kind people.
Hope and healing – Doves as totems would help people heal their emotional wounds. These beautiful birds are associated with concepts of promise and hope. People born under this totem do not lose their hope easily. They know life could be tough, but they are prepared to face challenges of their destiny.
Dove brings inner peace and hope for good outcome, no matter the circumstances.
Pigeons and doves in dreams
Dreaming about pigeons and/or doves is usually considered a good sign. Since these birds are strongly associated to very positive concepts and ideas, dreaming of them brings a dreamer peace and tranquility.
If you see a pigeon or a dove in your dream, it is very likely you are about to receive some fortunate and good news.
If you have some issues to resolve in your waking life, a dream about pigeon could be a sign everything would turn good for you in such matters. If you dream of catching pigeons or putting them into a cage, it reflects your feeling of being caught into something or trapped in your waking life (e.g. an unhealthy relationship, bad job, bad relations with people etc.).
Seeing a flying pigeon or a dove in your dream reflects your desire to be free. It means you feel you have to let yourself go off old habits and courageously engage with new and wonderful challenges of life.
You should learn how to be independent and build up your own world, with the help of your wise and kind totem bird.