Octopus Symbolism & Meaning – Power, Totem & Spirit Animal

The octopus has been a part of traditional mythology and folklore for centuries. Not only is it an intriguing sea creature that grasps our imagination, but its symbolism is also steeped in power and mystery. This article about octopus symbolism will take you on a journey to explore the hidden meanings behind this mischievous creature’s spirit animal guidance – from longevity and strategic thinking to adaptability and creativity!

What Does an Octopus Symbolize?

The octopus is a creature often associated with intelligence, adaptability, and mystery. Its long tentacles symbolize resourcefulness, and its ability to change color and texture gives it an air of unpredictability.

At its core, an octopus symbolizes intelligence and creativity. This ancient creature can use problem-solving skills to maneuver through life’s obstacles and come up with solutions.

Its eight tentacles represent the eight knowledge directions – east, west, north, south, above, below, right, and left – and the all-encompassing spiritual awareness. This symbolizes a deep understanding of everything around us and an ability to adapt to any situation.

The octopus also symbolizes longevity due to its long lifespan in comparison with other sea creatures. Its eight legs signify the eight phases of life, which suggests that it can help guide us through the various stages of life.

The octopus is also believed to represent flexibility and resourcefulness, as it can squeeze into tight spaces and use its unique problem-solving skills to find solutions.

octopus giant squid

Octopus Facts

  1. Octopuses have three hearts.
  2. They can change color to blend into their environments.
  3. The octopus has no bones and can squeeze through small openings like a keyhole.
  4. Octopuses are incredibly fast and agile swimmers.
  5. Their tentacles are covered in hundreds of suction cups, which help them sense their environment.
  6. An octopus’s diet consists mainly of crustaceans, fish, and mollusks.
  7. Octopuses are considered intelligent creatures because they can learn from experience.
  8. Some species of octopus may live up to five years.

What Does It Mean When You See an Octopus?

Seeing an octopus in the wild can be a remarkable sight.

Octopuses are one of the most intelligent and adaptive creatures on the planet, with impressive skills.

Octopuses are also very curious and playful animals, sometimes even interacting with people in their environment.

You may see them exploring an area using their arms to climb or crawl around in the wild.

They can also be seen jetting through the water in fast spurts using contractions of their muscular bodies.

From a spiritual perspective, an octopus sighting could be interpreted as a sign of immense creativity and problem-solving skills.

octopus symbolism meaning

It could represent the need to use different approaches to reach our goals or find solutions to complex matters. Octopuses can adapt and change their environment to survive and thrive.

Different Color Meanings

When an octopus changes color, it can signify mood or emotion. For example, when the octopus turns dark, it can signify anger or aggression. When the octopus turns a pale color, it could be a sign of fear or insecurity.

The octopus also can blend into its environment and disguise itself by changing color. This could be interpreted as a sign of the need to be flexible and adaptable to survive.

White Octopus

White is often associated with purity, innocence, and cleansing. It can also symbolize death since it’s a color of mourning in many cultures. It could be seen as a sign of spiritual transformation or transition.

Orange Octopus

Orange is the color of strength, joy, and friendship. It can also suggest creativity and enthusiasm for life. When an octopus changes to this color, it could be interpreted as displaying its own inner strength, joy, and ability to make connections with others.

Blue Octopus

Blue is the color of trust, loyalty, and peace. It can also be seen as a sign of intelligence and knowledge. When an octopus changes to this color, it could be interpreted as needing to express these qualities or feeling secure enough to open up and share them.

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Purple Octopus

Purple is the color of mystery, creativity, and wisdom. When an octopus changes to this color, it could be interpreted as needing to explore its inner depths or displaying a desire for personal growth and exploration.

purple octopus

Yellow Octopus

Yellow is the color of optimism, hope, and playfulness. It can also suggest courage and enthusiasm for life. When an octopus changes to this color, it could be interpreted as needing a sense of joy or feeling confident enough to take risks.

Pink Octopus

Pink is the color of love and compassion. It can also suggest a gentle and nurturing presence. When an octopus changes to this color, it could be interpreted as wanting or needing to express its caring nature.

Black Octopus

Black is the color of power, protection, and strength. It can also signify a deep inner transformation or spiritual awakening. When an octopus changes to this color, it could be interpreted as needing to access its inner power or feeling safe enough to explore its darkness.

Red Octopus

Red is the color of passion, energy, and intensity. It can also signify courage and strength in times of difficulty. When an octopus changes to this color, it could be interpreted as needing to access its inner fire or feeling empowered enough to face challenges head-on.

Blue-Ringed Octopus

The blue-ringed octopus is a symbol of transformation, resilience and power. It has been around for millions of years, adapting to its environment and thriving despite its small size. The blue rings on its skin represent the cycle of death and rebirth that it experiences throughout its life: when frightened. The octopus will change color as a sign of its power to adapt and survive.

This deadly creature is also a sign of caution and warning, indicating that even the smallest things can be deadly and should be approached with care. Despite being highly venomous, it is an important reminder of our need to appreciate the beauty and power that comes in all shapes and sizes.

Occult Octopus Symbolism

In the occult world, it represents intelligence, mystery, and an emblem of power. The octopus’s eight arms are symbolic of spiritual connections with the higher realms and supernatural forces.

male octopus spewing black ink while escaping through water

It is also believed to be a messenger between the spiritual and physical worlds, allowing one to tap into the hidden knowledge of the universe. The octopus is also associated with adaptability, intelligence, and creativity – qualities necessary to successfully navigate life’s challenges and opportunities.

What Do Octopuses Symbolize in Arts and Literature?

In literature, octopuses are often viewed as mysterious creatures that hint at hidden depths and worldly knowledge. They can also symbolize unpredictability and change since an octopus can’t be predicted to act the same way twice.

Artists throughout history have used octopuses to represent chaos and destruction since the creature seems to challenge humanity’s belief in order.

In art, octopuses are often depicted as powerful and mysterious beings. They are seen as a force of nature, with their tentacles grasping the darkness and their eyes looking into the unknown. It’s also common to see octopuses depicted in sacred objects, like talismans and amulets, which symbolize protection against evil forces.

Octopus Spirit Animal

To some, the octopus is more than an intriguing sea creature; it is a spirit animal. An octopus spirit animal symbolizes intelligence and wisdom in decision-making while finding creative solutions to difficult situations.

octopus spirit animal

It is an animal of insight and intuition, helping us understand our emotions better to make informed decisions. Its unique anatomy also speaks to its ultimate adaptability to every situation, encouraging us to let go of any limiting beliefs or self-doubt that could hold us back from achieving success.

Octopus symbolism is also related to mysticism and the occult, so it can help us access deeper realms of consciousness. In some cultures, octopuses have even been considered symbols of transformation and wisdom.

The octopus spirit animal encourages us to use our intelligence and intuition to make informed decisions and create more meaningful lives. With the octopus spirit animal by your side, you can take on any challenge with an open heart and a creative solution.

So, embrace the spirit animal for its intelligence and resilience and use it to guide you through life’s challenges.

Octopus Power Animal

Octopus power animals have been thought to hold in their ever-changing arms a wealth of wisdom, such as the ability to tap into our deep inner depths and embody creativity and problem-solving.

octopus power animal

The octopus power animal symbolically teaches us to embrace our multiple roles in life with grace and fluidity – whether that be lover, parent, teacher, or healer. Symbolically, Octopuses are adaptable quiet achievers and have been known to travel between unseen worlds for spiritual awakening.

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Octopus energy can show us the magic of embodying paradoxical truths and finding harmony within them. Octopus power animals can help us look past our physical limitations and answer those calling questions that often arise on our soul’s grand journey.

Octopus Totem Animal

Many people believe that the octopus totem animal symbolizes mystery, intelligence, and determination. The octopus is often seen as a powerful spirit guide that can help its admirers access their intuition and manifest their deepest desires. Its eight long arms represent dexterity and adaptability – qualities in many cultures.

Octopus Totem Animal

For example, the Hawaiian Aumakua spirit features an octopus or ‘He’e’, while early Central American peoples believed they brought good luck.

Whether looking for spiritual guidance or just admiring this unique creature from afar, incorporating an octopus totem animal into their life can bring about wonderful energies and insights.

Octopus Dream Interpretation

Dreaming about an octopus symbolizes knowledge, transcendence, and emotional depth. Sometimes, dreaming about an octopus could suggest a deep search for knowledge or a desire to achieve wisdom.

sleeping woman with positive octopus dream

Alternatively, octopus dreams of this creature could represent the need for more emotional involvement in your life. If the octopus was wrapping its tentacles around something in your dream, it might suggest a feeling of being overwhelmed by difficult tasks or obstacles.

Octopus Meaning in Tarot

The octopus has a long-standing association with the supernatural and the mystical, appearing in high-stakes interpretations of the tarot cards. Its meaning can symbolize mystery and power, especially when it appears as a card in the major arcana.

octopus tentacles tarot card

This could be interpreted as an ability to navigate the depths of our existence by establishing a connection between worlds believed to exist but remain beyond physical reach.

In all instances, an octopus appearing in tarot readings represents our ability to flow through life, free from the constraints of structure imposed upon us by society and other forces.

Octopus Meaning in the Bible And Christianity

In Christianity, the octopus can often be seen as an illustrative symbol of deterrence to evil. All of its moving arms that look like tentacles are said to remind Christians to keep away from anything considered sin.

An early Christian legend calls it a “bait for the devil,” meant to lure him into doing something wrong and teaching how to put up a barrier against evil forces. Furthermore, Octopuses were said to have Biblical significance in ancient Israel, with observations indicating they represent darkness and confusion – traits not welcomed by God.

It indicates that evils must be avoided if one wishes to stay true to their faith.

Octopus Mythology, Folklore, and Symbolism in Different Cultures


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In many African cultures, the octopus symbolizes fertility and abundance. It is associated with both positive and negative connotations, depending on the context in which it is used.

The most common belief is that an octopus will bring good luck to those who can capture it or its eggs. In some areas, an octopus is believed to bring wealth, while in others, it is thought to bring bad luck.

It is also seen as a protector of the dead, with stories of its tentacles gently taking care of those who have passed away.


In Norse culture, the Kraken is a legendary sea monster of giant proportions that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. Kraken sightings were reported as early as the 12th century.

Norse style kraken

It was described by Erik Pontoppidan, Bishop of Bergen in 1752, in his Natural History of Norway, as “the largest monster that lives in the sea, which is so vast and frightful that no one would believe it if they had not seen it with their own eyes.”

Similarly to the Kraken, octopuses have also been associated with Norse folklore. According to some tales, an octopus was said to be a godless creature, referred to as the “drowned God”, that lived in the deep sea and could cause storms if not respected.

It is said to be a creature of ill-omen that should be avoided at all costs since it can bring destruction wherever it goes.


In Greek mythology, the octopus was believed to be a symbol of intelligence and divine power. The ancient Greeks saw these creatures as symbols of creation and fertility. They associated them with Poseidon, god of the sea, often depicted with an octopus near him.

The Minoan culture also saw the octopus as a powerful symbol and a source of life. They used it to represent protection, wealth, and sustenance. Furthermore, they believed that the octopus was an expression of their worship for the sea and its many resources.

The octopus was used as a decoration in many settings, from jewelry to frescos. Its movements were seen as a representation of the movement in nature, which was believed to bring about creation and fertility.


In Roman culture, octopuses were viewed with fear and awe. They were seen as dangerous creatures that could bring bad luck and misfortune. Octopus symbolism was used to represent chaos and unpredictable events.

In Latin, the word for octopus translates as “eight feet”, which was seen as an ominous sign that no one could control. Ancient Romans believed that octopuses could bring storms and shipwrecks and were sometimes thought to be associated with evil spirits.

In some instances, it was even feared that the creature’s tentacles could reach out from the sea and harm people on land.


In Celtic mythology, octopuses are usually seen as a sign of insanity. They were traditionally thought to be the personification of chaos and destruction, especially in relation to storms at sea.

celtic style octopus

Octopuses were also seen as symbols of untamed power, which could be both good and evil, depending on the situation. In some stories, they bring good luck and fortune to those who seek it, while others are seen as symbols of destruction and death.

Native American

In Native American tribes, octopuses have a variety of roles and meanings. The creature is often seen as a symbol of transformation and reincarnation. It is believed that the ability to shape-shift makes it a powerful totem animal that can bring about positive change in one’s life.

The Kwakwaka’wakw of the pacific northwest revere octopuses as servants of the sea god Kumugwe’, and believe they bring wealth and abundance. In this culture, eight is considered a magical and auspicious number, which adds to the power of the octopus symbol.


The blue-ringed octopus is one of Australian waters’ most iconic and mysterious creatures. It has been a source of fascination for many across the continent, with its bright blue rings and fierce reputation as a predator.

octopus power animal

In Australian folklore, it is often seen as a symbol of strength, resilience, and power.

It is also venomous and dangerous, inspiring fear and respect in equal measure. In some Aboriginal Australian cultures, the octopus is a powerful symbol of protection and transformation that has been celebrated for centuries.

Dreaming stories tell of how the octopus can travel from one place to another through its tentacles’ incredible ability to change shape and blend into the ocean floor.


In Polynesian folklore, the octopus is a symbol of creation and has long been used to represent the bond between all members of the Polynesian archipelago.

polynesian style octopus

Not only is the octopus symbolic of this connection, but its skin also stands for strength and protection. The Polynesian people believed that by adorning their canoes with the octopus, they would receive guidance and protection on their sea voyages.

As a further honor to the octopus, many Polynesians have named their canoes after this creature as a sign of respect.


Kanaloa is seen as a highly important deity in Hawaiian mythology, symbolized by the octopus, and is often regarded as one of the four major gods.

It’s thought that Kanaloa was an intermediary between humans and other gods, with many prayers and reverence given to him by ancient Hawaiians. In some cultures, Kanaloa’s power was so great that he was believed to be able to control the ocean level and influence the weather.

The octopus or squid is a powerful symbol, representing Kanaloa’s ability to move through water with ease and agility.


In Japan, the octopus red is seen as a lucky charm associated with grace, agility, and relaxation. The Japanese word for octopus can be translated to “eight feet,” which is seen as an ominous sign that no one can control. As such, it has come to symbolize luck, fortune, prosperity, and abundance.

japanese style octopus

The indigenous Ainu people of Hokkaido believe that the Akkorokamui, a giant octopus-like monster, lurks in Uchiura Bay. The monster is believed to bring good luck and fortune to those who seek it, while others fear its power and destruction potential.

In Shinto faith, octopuses can bring rain in drought and bestow fertility upon couples. They have also represented healing, protection, and guidance on sea voyages.


In Chinese mythology, the octopus is seen as a symbol of luck and good fortune. Octopuses are believed to be wise creatures able to predict future events through their movements and are often seen as symbols of protection.

Here, the octopus is often depicted with eight tentacles, each representing one of the eight blessings in traditional Chinese culture: long life, prosperity, good luck, wealth, health and longevity, joy, and peace.

Indian & Hinduism

In India and Hinduism, the octopus is seen as a powerful creature capable of both destruction and healing.

hinduism style octopus

Octopuses are said to be associated with fertility and have long been used in fertility rituals due to their power over the waters and their ability to create new life. The octagon shape is also seen here as a representation of abundance, with the eight sides symbolizing the eight directions of the universe.


In Buddhism, the octopus is seen as an auspicious symbol representing abundance, fertility, and renewal. It has long been used as a lucky charm for travelers embarking on sea voyages, protecting them from evil spirits and ensuring a safe journey.

The octopus is also seen as the Mother Teresa of the sea, who embodies selflessness and generosity. By embodying these qualities, the octopus teaches us to put our selfish desires aside for a greater cause.

Octopus Tattoo Meaning

The octopus tattoo is a powerful symbol that can represent many different meanings. It could represent anything from magical knowledge, to on-the-spot thinking and multitasking, to the ability to overcome fears.

octopus tattoo template

It also has a spiritual meaning, representing the divine feminine. The octopus can also be seen as an animal spirit guide to help us navigate difficult times. It is often associated with protection and resilience, making it a popular choice for those looking for strength and guidance.

Final Words – Octopus Symbolism

The octopus is a powerful animal representing many meanings, from magical knowledge and resilience to divine femininity. Its spiritual power has been recognized across cultures for centuries, with the animal’s eight tentacles often representing abundance, fertility, and renewal.

Whether you’re looking for strength or guidance in difficult times, an octopus tattoo could be just what you need – offering protection and luck along your journey through life. Animal symbols are everywhere if we take the time to look for them – so keep an eye out for signs of inspiration from this fascinating creature!

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Christina Johnson

About the Author

My name is Christina, and I am the founder of centerspirited. Being a physiotherapist for several years I have found that many people, including myself, don’t achieve well-being only from a physical point of view. I’ve always viewed a person’s body, soul, and emotions as a whole construct of beauty. Always being a yoga enthusiast, I finally became an instructor myself. On a secret mission to capture spirituality in all of her beautiful shapes, I found myself being guided on a way through ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle. Through this platform, I will hopefully be able to help other beautiful souls out there find their inner peace and bond with their spiritual selves.