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the symbolism behind popular animal motifs

Throughout history many civilizations have coexisted with, identified with, and even worshipped various animals.  We’ve revered them as deities, building statues in their honor, and assigned them both heavenly and earthy powers.  We’ve sought after them, sacrificed them, ate them, or domesticated them.  So why do Earth’s fuzzy and feathery creatures still fill us with a widening sense of awe and wonder?  Maybe it’s because of what they symbolize, even now.

The Wolf

The wolf has long been a sacred animal to many disparate tribes of native peoples across the globe.  As a hunter and nocturnal being in general, the wolf symbolizes an air of ancient mystery and power, ruling in the darkness as an agile and shadowy king.  It isn’t hard to see why these beautiful, graceful animals have long been connected to magic and the realm of spirit.  They represent faith, nobility, a quiet understanding, and a deeply rooted and inextricable connection to the earth.  Those born under the moon sign of the wolf  are loyal, well spoken, and very expressive.

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The Owl

The owl can trace its reverence all the way back to the ancient world, and its countenance is often met with a mix of both wonder and fear.  Thought by many bygone civilizations to be the harbinger of ill omens and the messenger of death, this solitary creature lives in a mystical and hidden world.  Often heard before it is seen, the cry of the owl carries a heavy significance as well.  In the modern world, these elegant avian aerialists are symbolic of wisdom, truth, and the ability to pass freely between the worlds of the living, and the dead.

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The Snake

The snake is an animal possessed of a dualistic nature, emblematic of the cyclical rhythms that govern us all.  Representing the hidden and mystical knowledge that lies at the root of the natural world, the snake has been both revered, and feared, by countless civilizations across the ages.  Often associated with the balance between opposing forces, the snake appears in several symbols that we still use today, such as the caduceus and the infinity coil.  More often than not, this lithe and cunning creature is assigned a feminine energy in mythology, embodying the qualities of fertility, healing, intuition, and nurturing.

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