Shepherd Symbolism & Meaning (Leadership & Faith)

A shepherd has deep symbolism in literature and Christianity. In the Old Testament, God is portrayed as the shepherd of Israel (e.g. Isaiah 40:11; Psalms 79:13; Ezekiel 34:11-24).

shepherd symbolism

A shepherd is the one that takes care of the sheep. He guards them, provides them with food, and makes sure that they stay together. So, a shepherd symbolizes a leader who can make important decisions for a group. For religious people, following their shepherd is an act of faith and love for him.

What Do Shepherds Symbolize in Christianity?

shepherd symbolism in christianity

The word “Shepherd” has deep symbolism in Christianity. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the word shepherd is used for God (e.g. Psalm 23, Ezekiel 34). In Christianity, Jesus also calls himself a “Good Shepherd”. 

The religious symbolism of shepherd is deep in Christianity because, in ancient times, most of the people were pastorals, especially the Israelites.

As many people were shepherds so the metaphor was fitting for the times. The bible uses the term ‘shepherd’ to refer to the leadership and guidance of God as well as the importance of having faith and trust to follow him.

What Do Shepherds Symbolize in Literature?

shepherd meaning in literature

Because the job of a shepherd is so noble, it has been constantly used in literature for symbolic and metaphorical references. In the Gospels, Jesus describes himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’ who cares for his sheep.

Even the Greek mythologies have been using shepherds in their literary work. Along with that, you will also find shepherds to be the main attraction in pastoral literature and art.

Shepherd Dream Meanings

Shepherd Dream Meanings

1. Sorrow (Dreaming of Shepherd in General)

If you see a shepherd in dreams, it may have the following two meanings.

  •  It may symbolize the feeling of sorrow.
  • It may also mean that you are on the right track towards your goals.

The first point above, which is the feeling of sorrow, is quite negative but it might be because a person you love is leaving you for a while. That could make you unhappy. One constructive thing you can do is express how much you love and care for this person.

The other interpretation is a positive one and you can use it as a motivation that you are on the right track. You just have to keep working hard and stay true to your goals.

2. Like Being in the Company of Successful People (Dreaming of Talking to a Shepherd)

Dreaming about talking to a shepherd can mean that you like to be in the company of people who are rich and successful.

That is not a bad thing because being in the company of a successful person makes you work even harder.

But always remember that you will only be valued in the company of the rich and powerful when you yourself have something valuable to share.

3. Stop Interfering in The Matters of Others (Dreaming of Arguing with a Shepherd)

Seeing yourself arguing with a shepherd in your dreams can be a warning to stay away from the matters that don’t concern you.

It is not a good idea at all to interfere in someone else’s matters. The common rule is to not give any suggestions until someone asks you.

Often, we don’t know the story of both sides and we just jump with poor data and opinions. That could lead to conflict and won’t resolve anything. 

4. Stay Focused on Your Goals (Dreaming of Fighting with a Shepherd)

To fight with a shepherd in your dreams can be viewed as a wake-up call to finally work towards your goals.

Try to distance yourself from unnecessary things that distract you. Have a healthy routine and make sure that you do everything to achieve your goals.

You can achieve happiness and stability in your life when you work towards the things that matter to you the most.

5. Feeling Restless (Dreaming of Hiding Yourself from a Shepherd)

If you see yourself hiding from a shepherd in dreams then it might be possible that you are feeling restless lately.

It can be due to something you said or did that hurt a close person.

The feeling of restlessness in itself is not good and the possible reason that is a close person got hurt from your actions can make you stressed.

One thing you can do is go to the person you hurt and apologize to them with a genuine heart. Make a note in the future to not act out in anger and say things that can hurt people close to you.

6. Big Changes (Dreaming of Buying a Sheep from a Shepherd)

Buying a sheep from a shepherd could symbolize the big changes that might be coming your way.

It might be moving to a college or university which is a big step, a new job, or a change of profession.

Whatever it is, just make sure that you are fully ready for these changes as they might ruin or make your career.

Shepherd Symbolism – Table Summary

Shepherds have deep symbolism in ancient literature and the term is used for symbolic and metaphorical references in Christianity. 

Seeing a shepherd in your dream can have a lot of different meanings and interpretations based on the type of dream. 

Here are a few examples of possible interpretations (remembering none of them might be the right one!):

Shepherd SymbolismPotential Meaning or Interpretation
1.Seeing a ShepherdThis can mean that you are having a feeling of sorrow because someone close to you left you for some reason. It can also mean that you are on the right path to success.
2.Talking to a ShepherdThis could hint that you like to be in the company of people who are rich and successful.
3.Arguing With a ShepherdYou may consider it as a warning to stop interfering in matters that do not concern you.
4.Fighting With a ShepherdIt can be viewed as a warning to stay sharp and focused on your goals.
5.Hiding from a ShepherdYou might be feeling a little restless lately and that is because you have done something that might have hurt a close one.
6.Buying a Sheep from a ShepherdYou may expect some big positive changes in your life.

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Conclusion

Throughout history, the term shepherd has been used in literature for metaphorical references. It also has symbolic meaning in Christianity. Seeing a shepherd in your dreams can also have a lot of different meanings and symbols. It is up to you how you interpret and act on them.

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