These nine animals symbolize hope: doves, fauns, cranes, seagulls, chickens, butterflies, fireflies, rescue dogs, and scorpions. This symbolism comes from various religions and cultures from around the world (such as Japanese, Christian and Ancient Egyptian cultures).
Some ways these animals symbolize hope are:
- Cranes – Cranes symbolize hope in Japanese culture, particularly folded origami cranes.
- Doves – Doves represent hope to Christians and Jews due to the story of Noah’s Ark in the Old Testament.
- Seagulls – Seagulls are a symbol of hope to sailors who know they’re close to land if they see one in the sky.
- Scorpions – Ancient Egyptians used to pray to a scorpion Goddess.
- Fauns – Baby animals represent hope due to their innocence and potential.
Animals that Symbolize Hope
Doves have been symbols of hope ever since Old Testament days. Noah (of Noah’s ark) would send out a dove to find dry land as a sign that the great flood has ended.
The story of the Ark ended when the dove returned to the Ark with an olive branch, showing Noah that there was dry land nearby for the animals to disembark.
Here, the Dove was the symbol of hope for the end of the floods.
Furthermore, doves – as with the symbolism of birds in general – symbolize hope because they have wings. They can fly over walls and away from tough situations. It’s not hard to visualize ourselves on the backs of a bird which will carry us away to a happier place.
Today, we continue to use doves as symbols of hope. We will release white doves on wedding days and baptisms, for examples, as celebrations of something good and positivity for the years to come.
2. Baby Deer (Fawn)
A fawn symbolizes hope because of its fragility and innocence. The fawn is right at the beginning of its life, and is a representation of the very beginning of life itself.
During this period, we are incredibly optimistic and hopeful for the youth to have a good, healthy life. They are not yet tainted by the world or its sins. And they are still innocent themselves, representing a generation that could bring forth a brighter more positive future.
Without newborns, there would be very little hope for the future.
Newborns give us hope because we can see our lineage and culture being carried forward by them. And without them there is no future for our values, cultures, and lifestyles.
Cranes are a symbol of hope in Japanese culture. There is a belief that if you fold 1000 origami paper cranes you will have a wish come true.
There is a very sad story of a young girl (Sadako Sasaki) who had leukaemia following the nuclear bombing of Japan in WWII. She tried to fold 1000 paper cranes in order to have her wish to live through the leukaemia to come true.
She died before reaching 1000 cranes.
Her classmates folded the rest of the cranes and laid a wreath of cranes at her funeral.
Origami cranes are strung together and given as gifts of hope, goodwill, and peace in Japan.
Sailors saw seagulls as animals that symbolize hope because they were a sign that the shore was nearby.
Seagulls don’t stray too far from land. So, if you’re sailing at sea and looking for land, seeing a seagull is a very hopeful sign. It means you might be able to find solid land soon.
Other birds that like to stay close to land and therefore signify to sailors that land is close include: gulls, ducks, pelicans, sparrows, geese, vultures, eagles, raptors, heron, and egret.
By contrast, birds like albatross, barn swallows, and arctic terns will happily fly across entire oceans. So, sailors really need to know their birds in order to know if there’s any hope of finding shore any time soon!
5. Chickens (Eggs – Easter)
Easter (a time of hope) has become associated with eggs, rabbits, and chickens.
For Christians, Easter is the time when Jesus has given them hope for eternal life by dying for their sins.
Conveniently, Easter is scheduled for the beginning of Spring – also a time of hope and rebirth. It’s a time when hens lay eggs and hatch chickens. This symbolism of new life and joy fits perfectly with Easter’s message.
Over time, we’ve begun to give chocolate eggs and paint chicken eggs at Easter time. We see chickens and chicks as symbols of the hope that Christians feel when Easter comes around and they celebrate the hope Jesus gave them.
Butterflies are believed to grant wishes in some Native American cultures. They are said to carry your wishes to God.
If you capture a butterfly in your hands, you can whisper your wishes into your hand and release the butterfly. It is believed the butterfly will carry the wish with it as it flies into the air. It will carry this wish all the way to the spirits in the sky who will grant the wish.
7. Rescue Dogs
We often see orphaned and displaced dogs as signs of hope. They are visualized as innocent and unloved creatures, often in cages, sitting and waiting for a new owner to take them home.
When someone walks into the pound, the dog might come to the front of their cage and whimper, looking up with their loving eyes, hoping for someone to take them home and care for them.
There is symbolism here of second chances, hope for the hopeless, and care for innocence. People who rescue dogs carry with them this sense that they are there providing second hope for these beautiful creatures.
The Totem Animal that most commonly symbolizes hope is the firefly. The dancing lights of fireflies give us a sense that there is magic in the air. Anything can happen – even things you hope and pray for, but know are unlikely to happen.
Fireflies also represent wonderment, nostalgia, and the sense you’re in a dreamland. All of these symbols point toward the concept of fireflies as magical creatures. It’s little wonder, then, that they are creatures that inspire us to believe in the impossible. In other words, they inspire us to hope.
In Ancient Egypt, there is evidence people would pray to the scorpion goddess Serqet. She was often depicted wearing scorpions on her head. People would pray to her to help heal stings, wounds and poisons.
Today, this hope symbolism is no longer linked to the scorpion except for people who believe in totem and spirit animals or dream meanings. However, for them, a dream of a scorpion may mean that you should keep hope through good and bad times.
Symbolism of animals comes from history, culture, and religion. Japanese culture uses cranes as a symbol of hope, while Ancient Egyptians looked to scorpions. In Christianity, doves and chickens tend to be the key animals that symbolize hope.
One common thread through several of these symbols is that bird symbolism is often associated with hope partially for the fact they can fly – and therefore escape being trapped into sad circumstances. We could imagine them picking us up and flying us away from our circumstances.
Another common thread is that young animals like fawns or chicks also symbolize hope because the symbolism youth and hopefulness are intertwined.
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.