Qualibet vulpes caudam suam laudat.
Foxes are stunning, charming and clever animals we have many opposite opinions and beliefs about.
This old Latin proverb says that ‘every fox praises its own tail’, which is an expression we have been using since antiquity until modern day to describe the idea of self-regard.
The fact that foxes’ tails are involved is even more interesting and picturesque. Foxes do have lavish, beautiful big tails that they are proud of; many worldwide known fables, such as Aesop’s tales, tell about charming foxes and their gorgeous tails.
Fox fables also tell a lot about traits we commonly use ascribe to these animals, such as cunningness, trickery, agility and intelligence.
Fox symbolism interpretation
Fox is, by all means, a beautiful creature, regardless of what we think about its character. There are different species in fox family; there are white polar foxes, black foxes, desert foxes, smaller or bigger members of the family and they are all amazing.
Red fox, Vulpes vulpes, is the most numerous wild representative of Canidae family. In central parts of Europe, it is the only fox genus member and it is simply known as just a fox, not red fox;
When we speak about foxes’ symbolism, we usually think about the stunning red fox, a wonderful creature coated with shiny and thick reddish-orange fur with remarkable white parts, with pointy snout, beautiful sparkling yellow eyes and lavish, gorgeously big and fluffy tail.
Red foxes also have long black legs that make them appear slender and elegant.
An expression of a ‘foxy’ person, usually a female, is often used to describe that person’s charm and attractiveness;
Okay, so, what do these beauties represent?
Since past, people have been associating these animals with concepts of cunningness, trickiness and false representation.
For a person who shows great cleverness and is able to manipulate others by their charm we use to say he or she is a real fox.
The fact is that foxes are indeed some of the most intelligent forest animals.
In addition to foxes’ natural intelligence, these animals are stubborn, wild and defiant, able to get of trouble by their skills and tactics;
Foxes are agile and skillful animals, both physically and mentally. It interesting that many legendary tales, in addition to moral teaching fables, often depict foxes as mysterious and magical beings that possess some extraordinary powers.
Foxes are believed to be some kind of messengers between our world and the realms of magic and mystery and sometimes they are simply the symbol of reason that rules over raw, unrestrained force.
Fox tales have a long history. Perhaps we could trace them back to ancient times, when Aesop had been collecting his fables.
Popular fox fables that illustrate this animal’s traits and character people believe it has are The Fox and the Grapes,
The Fox Without tail and many more. As an introduction to story about fox symbolism and spiritual meaning, we will share with you some inspiring fox stories.
The Fox and the Grapes
Walking through plains and woods a hungry fox was looking for something to eat. Eventually, the Fox came across a rich, ripe vine with many juicy fruits.
The Fox was so hungry that grapes appeared the most delicious thing he has ever seen.
However, grapes were too high for the hungry Fox to reach. He jumped and tried to catch it, but without any success. Once the Fox got tired, he walked away stating that the fruits are unripe anyway, meaning they are not even worth of trying.
The moral of this story says – do not objurgate what you cannot have. It is a good lesson for us, don’t you think? In addition, this popular Aesop’s fable reveals us some of foxes’ character.
We think of these beauties as proud and cunning being that are unlikely to admit defeat. There are many stories telling about foxes’ cunningness and trickery.
The Fox and the Raven
It happened that Raven found a piece of delicious cheese and carrying it in his beak he landed on a tall branch.
Hungry Fox who accidentally came across Raven’s path, had spotted him and decided to somehow get the cheese for himself.
The Fox told to Raven: ‘Beautiful raven, you are so elegant, your eyes are sparkling and your feathers are so shiny. It is a pity such a beautiful bird cannot sing!’
The Raven, provoked by Fox’s words, had opened his beak to sing and lost the cheese. Instead, the cunning Fox enjoyed its delicious taste.
We think of foxes as intelligent, but deceptive beings. In the realm of symbols, this elegant four-legged creature always stands for trickery, mischief and deceit. It is also a symbol of cleverness and tactics.
Fox in folklore and tradition
East Asian folklore features numerous stories about mythical Fox with nine tales, or simply Fox spirit.
People in this part of the world believe foxes are magical creatures and associate them with deception and mischief, but also with celestial powers.
According to their legends, foxes are able to take the shape of a beautiful woman.
Japanese folklore is particularly interesting. According to their Yōkai tradition (Yōkai are an order of spirits and demons, a class of bewitching supernatural monsters), all foxes are able to shape shift and transform into a human form.
Japanese word for fox is ‘kitsune’ and Japanese also use the expression ‘kitsunetsuki’, to describe the condition in which a person is possessed by a fox mischievous spirit;
Kitsune are depicted in a number of Japanese folktales and also featured in their traditional artworks. Kitsune often had many tails; the more tails the fox has, the stronger and more magical its powers are;
According to Japanese tradition, kitsune can appear both positive and negative Yōkai. They could be zenko, benevolent and celestial spirits, or yako, malicious and mischievous spirits.
There are also other types of fox spirits in Japan’s local tradition. The thing they all have in common is that all foxes are magical!
Chinese Nine-tailed fox
Nine-tailed fox that appears in Chinese mythology is actually the original character. This magical fox spirit can be both good and bad, depending on particular local tradition, superstitions and beliefs.
In some old Chinese compiled works, Nine-tailed fox is said to be an auspicious omen, while in other texts this mythical creature is described as a man-eater.
According to Yǒuyáng Zázǔ, a compilation of Chinese legends, there is a celestial fox that has nine tails and fur of the purest gold. This magical fox lives in Palace of Sun and Moon and masters ying and yang energies;
Fox were particularly worshiped during the Tang dynasty and there is even a text titled Fox Gods or ‘Hu Shen’ in Chinese;
Celtic mystical fox
Celts have always had a special connection with animal spirits. They admired foxes for their intelligence and wits. Ancient Celts associated fox with great wisdom and believed in this animals’ spiritual guidance.
They specifically admired foxes as very resourceful animals able to get out of difficult situations by their skills and cleverness.
For ancient Celts, fox was a symbol of guidance, intelligence and wisdom;
Fox symbolism and spiritual meaning
Skill, dexterity, agility and ingenuity are some of the main traits people associate with charming foxes. Although solitary by nature, foxes are tactful animals able to compose incredible strategies and cooperate with other foxes in order to have a successful hunt.
They would gather with their furry relatives in winter and organize efficient wintertime hunts. Foxes thus represent both solitude and cooperation, but self-integrity above all.
Intelligence and cunningness – Foxes have always been considered clever animals. Think of their habitat and of their appearance. They are slender, not as muscular as some other woodlands’ predators, their body built is light.
Foxes are skillful hunters, but they need wits in order to escape much stronger predators and humans.
Foxes use their brains to outsmart their enemies and to get food and water. They are able to escape all sorts of difficult situations without being caught;
Foxes risk to catch their prey, but they are not, to say, empty-headed or rushing towards danger. However, they share their living space with many other animals and they also inhabit areas close to humans.
We commonly accuse foxes for stolen chickens and broken eggs, but we must admit, they were clever to do such damage without being caught.
Agility and strategy – Foxes combine their intelligence with physical skills they posses. They are well built, light, fast and very agile. They are able to run fast and are known to perform incredible long jumps.
Foxes are skilful in avoiding all sorts of obstacles, a gift needed to escape bigger predators. They have good vision and great sense of smell, as well.
Foxes’ ability to go across thorns is often symbolically combined with its cunningness, so you get a perfect spiritual survivor-guide. As a totem animal, fox is very powerful one, a spiritual being that grants you great skills and abilities. Foxes symbolize agility and skillfulness, as some of the most positive traits.
Solitude and strategy – Foxes are solitary, independent beings. They are gifted with numerous amazing traits that help them survive on their own. They do not need much help from others, so symbolically they represent people who are self-aware, self-confident and courageous. They find strength in their solitude.
On the other hand, foxes are also great tacticians and strategists that know when the cooperation is needed. They are not exclusively solitary, although most of the time they do live and take care of their own.
These masters of escape are true symbols of self-reliance and tactics.
Mischief and defiance – As for their negative aspects, foxes are commonly blamed to be tricksters and even evil animals. They outsmart others by their wits and are often depicted as deceptive, insensitive and proud-spirited characters.
They cause much trouble to people in reality, stealing their food and killing their domesticated animals.
However, their pride and defiance of rules, symbolically, of course, could be seen as both negative and positive.
While these fox traits could represent trickery and malice, they could also be seen as a symbol of an unbreakable will and the sense of freedom.
Resourcefulness and adaptability – Even in woods and forests foxes live (red, forest foxes and their close relatives), it is not always easy to feed. Foxes need to compete with other predators for food. They use all of their skills and brain.
Other, larger animals do not see foxes as prey, but a rival not so easy to deal with, even if they are physically weaker and smaller.
There are different species of foxes, each of them highly adapted to survive almost incredible conditions. They live in cold mountains, severely hot and cold deserts, in areas where only thing you could see for miles is snow and so on;
Foxes can survive even the toughest winters and great thirsts. These incredible animals are adaptable to natural environments we cannot even think about.
They have polished senses, an incredible intuition and wits to find food and protect themselves during toughest times.
Fox totem and spirit animal
These lovely and beautiful furry tricksters could be amazing and tricky totem animals. Fox totem is powerful and magical, because so much spiritual energy is associated with foxes in numerous traditions.
They are truly believed to have some connection with the realm of the Unknown. They connect world of spirits with our real world.
Fox totem offers you a lot and you are a lucky person, indeed. Just beware of its tricky character.
- Intelligent and cunning
Fox people are intelligent and fast-minded. They do not need to think a lot about the problem in order to find a solution.
They are well organized, they are masters of planning and often prove well in planning strategies or leading big projects. They are great spokespersons and inspiring leaders.
They easily catch the spotlight without trying a lot.
- Funny and easy to talk with
- Charismatic and eye catching
These people are natural born entertainers. They have an excellent sense of humor most people find very attractive. They laugh a lot and enjoy telling stories and entertaining people.
Even if their stories are made up (which is not uncommon for tricky Fox people), they still get much praise and love from their friends.
Apart from their tendency to slightly exaggerate the subjects, they are supportive and kind towards others.
- Agile and active
These are people who never sleep. They are active most of the time and they hate being in one place. They are adventurous and they love to travel.
Fox people do take risks, but they have good intuition and a natural ability to get out of danger they (usually deliberately) find themselves in.
They are great at sports such as athletics or other individual disciplines. They are cooperative when they find it fitting.
- Troublesome and tricky
Perhaps the worst trait of Fox people is their trickster character. They seek trouble, they are rebellious and defiant. Fox people do not like rules and do not let anyone controls them.
To some point, this is a very good trait that helps Fox people not to give up their cause and defend their own.
On the other hand, they could go over the border and get themselves into trouble.
Fortunately, they also have natural luck and ability to get themselves out of troubles.
Fox people are attractive and entertaining, intelligent and very charismatic, but people sometimes find them inconsistent.
They tend to deceive others to get what they want and they are not unfamiliar with lies and trickery.
That makes them persons you might like, but would never rely on. If you are born under charming Fox totem, just do not let this gift seduces you!