Ostrich Symbolism and Meaning (Spirit, Totem & Power Animal)

Have you ever watched an ostrich and thought, “Now there’s a bird that won’t stick its head in the sand about life’s challenges”? Well, you’re onto something! Ostriches, with their impressive size and unique lifestyle, aren’t just eye-catching creatures; they’re a treasure trove of ostrich symbolism. From symbolizing the courage to face reality head-on (contrary to popular myths) to embodying inner strength and resilience, the spiritual meanings of these fascinating birds offer rich insights for our own lives. So, let’s stretch our necks and dive into this article.

Spiritual Meanings of an Ostrich

ostrich in the wild

1. Facing Reality and Avoiding Avoidance

Despite what is commonly believed, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand as a means to escape danger. This myth likely originated from their feeding habits, where they lower their heads to the ground to nibble at grass and seeds, which from a distance, may appear as if they’re burying their heads.

In spiritual terms, this behavior is seen as a potent symbol of facing realities, rather than living in denial. This avian creature encourages us to tackle our challenges straightaway instead of evading them, upholding the belief that confronting difficulties leads to growth and maturity.

2. Symbol of Groundedness and Stability

The ostrich stands tall and firm on the Earth, embodying a sense of groundedness and stability. Its powerful legs, designed for steady yet rapid movement, serve as a metaphor for solid grounding and connection with the earth.

Symbolically, this represents being deeply rooted in one’s beliefs and values, regardless of life’s ups and downs. Such groundedness enables us to maintain our integrity in the face of adversity, reinforcing the essence of stability in our lives.

This symbolic message from the ostrich teaches us to stay balanced, connected, and grounded in our journey through life’s varied landscapes.

3. Inner Strength and Resilience

The ostrich, powerful and unyielding, is a symbolic representation of internal strength and resilience. Its robust and sturdy body, capable of enduring the harshest of environments, is a testament to its unyielding spirit.

This bird’s ability to thrive in the arid wilderness and outrun predators while carrying the weight of its massive body speaks volumes about its inherent resilience.

In spiritual symbolism, the ostrich implores us to tap into our power, to endure hardships with grace and courage, and to stand tall amidst the trials life throws at us. Just like the ostrich, we, too, possess the capacity to overcome adversity and flourish in the face of challenges.

4. Clarity and Vision

With their impressive binocular vision, ostriches represent clarity and vision. Unlike many birds, ostriches can see things far into the distance, with an understanding that surpasses even that of humans.

This visual prowess signifies the importance of foresight and a clear vision in life, as a reminder for us to look ahead, anticipate future events, and plan our actions accordingly.

Symbolically, the ostrich prompts us to take off our blinders, widen our perspectives, and embrace a holistic view of our journey, to navigate our paths with greater clarity and confidence.

5. Potential and Fertility

The egg of the ostrich, with their smooth surface and impressive size, is a potent symbol of fertility and potential. Just as the egg carries the promise of new life, it is often interpreted as a sign of new beginnings and the birth of ideas.

In essence, itrepresents the nurturing of potential. It is a symbol of the promise of what could be, and the potential we have within us that’s waiting to be discovered and nurtured.

Just like the egg, we all carry within us the seeds of amazing possibilities, and with the right nurturing and support, we can bring these possibilities to life. This aspect of ostrich symbolism invites us to tap into our inner potential and embrace the promise of new possibilities.

Ostrich Dream Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning

User sleeping woman having an ostrich dream

Dreaming about an ostrich can have significant implications for your life. An Ostrich dream symbolizes the need to pull your head out of the sand and face reality. It’s an invitation to confront the situations you’ve been avoiding and to pluck up the courage to deal with them.

Dreaming of this majestic bird can also signify a reminder to ground yourself. It nudges you to stay robust and firm in your beliefs and values, even when life flutters around you.

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Just as the ostrich stands tall amidst the desert winds, you too, are encouraged through these dreams to remain resilient during times of adversity.

Ostrich Symbolism in Literature

ostriches running out of a book

In literature, the ostrich often symbolizes a range of human behaviors and characteristics thanks to its unique physiology and behavioral traits.

For instance, in some literary works, ostriches represent those who dodge difficult realities, drawing from the incorrect but popular idiom of ‘burying one’s head in the sand’.1

Conversely, other texts celebrate this bird as a symbol of resilience and strength, much like the spiritual interpretations we’ve explored. In fables and folktales, the ostrich’s distinct characteristics – its flightlessness, speed, and large eggs – are often utilized to convey moral lessons or universal truths.

Therefore, in its literary avatars, the ostrich remains a rich source of symbolism, inviting readers to introspect and apply these lessons to their own lives.

A notable example of ostrich symbolism in literature can be found in the timeless children’s classic, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. In this enchanting tale, ostrich feathers play a significant role in the Caucus Race.2

This peculiar event, devoid of any rules or clear winner, employs various objects – including ostrich feathers – as symbols of the absurdity and whimsy of Wonderland.

This usage of ostrich feathers can be construed as a nod to the ostrich’s symbolic representation of uniqueness and standing out from the crowd – a theme perfectly aligned with the book’s celebration of the bizarre and nonsensical.

Ostrich Symbolism in the Bible and Christianity

The ostrich is depicted in the Old Testament, predominantly in Job’s book, highlighting its physical strength and perceived lack of wisdom or maternal instinct (Job 39:13-18)3. This interplay of attributes is often seen as a metaphor for the limitations of human understanding juxtaposed against divine wisdom.

The ostrich’s inability to fly further amplifies this symbolism, representing spiritual heaviness or grounding in worldly matters.

Moreover, this bird is seen as a reflection of the human condition—flawed yet fascinating, serving as a reminder for believers to rely more on God’s wisdom and guidance than on sheer human might or intellect.

This intricate biblical representation lends depth to the ostrich’s spiritual symbolism in Christian thought, weaving together themes of humility, strength, and the quest for divine wisdom.

Ostrich Symbolism in Islam

The Holy Quran mentions the ostrich in the context of its nesting habits and the fact that it leaves its eggs in the sand, relying on the sun’s heat for incubation. This is often seen as a metaphor for believers to rely on divine providence and guidance.

The ostrich’s capacity to endure harsh conditions is a testament to its resilience and faith, which believers are encouraged to embody. Thus, in Islamic thought, the ostrich symbolizes faith, endurance, and reliance on divine guidance.

Ostrich Spirit Animal

ostrich spirit animal

When called upon, the Ostrich Spirit Animal emerges as a powerful guide, embodying resilience, speed, and the ability to face challenging situations head-on.

Like the world’s largest bird, those who identify with the Ostrich Spirit Animal are known for their robust energy, steadfastness, and incredible inner strength. This spirit guide urges us to stand our ground, encouraging us to overcome obstacles with grace and determination.

Just like this bird doesn’t fly but runs at remarkable speeds, this spirit animal teaches us that not all paths to success look the same. It reaffirms that we can create our unique path and achieve our goals, even when they seem daunting.

The Ostrich Spirit Animal is a powerful reminder to believe in our potential and face our challenges with courage and tenacity.

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Ostrich Totem Animal

ostrich totem

The Ostrich as a totem animal emanates the energy of patience, endurance, and resilience. It is a powerful symbol of grounding and being connected to Mother Earth.

Individuals who resonate with the Ostrich Totem Animal often possess great physical and emotional strength and can stay connected to reality, even when situations become difficult.

The Animal totem teaches us the valuable lesson of keeping our head high in tough times, maintaining our calm, and facing life’s challenges with confidence and courage.

It serves as a reminder to stay grounded, to nurture our dreams and aspirations, and to always keep moving forward, no matter how tough the journey becomes.

Ostrich Power Animal

The Ostrich as a Power Animal symbolizes strength, speed, and resilience. People with the Ostrich Power Animal are typically grounded individuals who are not afraid to stand their ground in the face of adversity.

They are known to tackle challenges head-on, draw courage from within, and find unique paths to reach their goals. The Power Animal embodies the spirit of tenacity and perseverance, compelling us to remain resilient and keep moving forward despite any setbacks or obstacles.

spirit animal banner

This power animal teaches us to embrace our own strength and potential and to confront our fears with courage and determination. Embracing the Ostrich Power Animal invites us to be true to ourselves, stand tall amidst the chaos, and never lose sight of our dreams and ambitions.

Ostrich Facts

  1. Size and Speed: The Ostrich is the largest bird in the world. Despite its significant size, it can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, making it the fastest land bird.
  2. Weight and Height: An adult ostrich weighs between 140 to 320 kg and stands 1.8 to 2.7 m tall.
  3. Eye Size: The ostrich has the largest eyes of any land animal, measuring almost 5 cm in diameter.
  4. Lifespan: Ostriches have a long lifespan, with many reaching 40 to 50 years old in the wild.
  5. Egg Size: Ostrich eggs are the largest of any living bird. An egg can weigh as much as 1.4 kg, equivalent to approximately 24 chicken eggs.
  6. Diet: Ostriches are omnivores. Their diet consists primarily of plant matter, but they also consume insects, small reptiles, and rodents.
  7. Habitat: Ostriches primarily inhabit the open savannas and semi-deserts of Africa.
  8. Flightlessness: Ostriches are flightless birds. Despite having wings, their heavy body weight prevents them from flying.
  9. Leg Strength: An ostrich’s powerful, long legs can cover 10 to 16 feet in a single stride. These legs are also formidable weapons, equipped with a lethal claw on each foot.
  10. Predator Defense: When threatened, ostriches can either run away due to their high speed or drop flat on the ground to avoid detection due to their excellent camouflage.

These remarkable attributes contribute to the ostrich’s symbolic connotations of speed, strength, and resilience, further highlighting its spiritual significance across different cultures.

Ostrich Egg Symbolism

An ostrich egg holds profound symbolism across various cultures, representing potential, life, and large-scale possibilities. Its size, unparalleled among bird species, embodies vast potential and the promise of new life.

In many cultures, the egg symbolizes the incubation of ideas, fostering creativity, and giving birth to new projects or initiatives. Its resilience—being strong enough to withstand the weight of an adult ostrich—further strengthens its symbolism as a symbol of strength and potential.

This underscores the belief that we all carry immense untapped potential within us, and like the ostrich egg, we have the strength to withstand challenges while harboring life and possibilities.4

Symbolism of Ostrich Feathers

Ostrich feathers carry a rich symbolism across various cultures, often seen as symbols of beauty, elegance, and spiritual communication. In ancient Egypt, they were considered sacred and were associated with the goddess Ma’at, symbolizing truth, balance, and justice.5

In Victorian times, they were a sign of high social status and were often featured in elaborate fashion accessories. Among some African cultures, they represent powerful spiritual protection.

These interpretations highlight the wide-ranging cultural interpretations of ostrich feathers, reflecting human fascination with these unique and beautiful aspects of the world’s largest bird.

Ostrich Symbolism in African Cultures

african style ostriches

In African cultures, the ostrich is revered as a symbol of strength, clarity, and resilience, signifying robustness in overcoming adversity. Its formidable speed is seen as a metaphor for swift action and progress.

Furthermore, the feathers are often used in traditional rituals and ceremonies, serving as powerful amulets of protection and symbols of spiritual communication. They are sometimes incorporated into headdresses worn by tribal leaders, signifying their authority and wisdom.

Thus, the ostrich, in all its majesty and strength, stands as a potent symbol in African cultures, embodying many of their core philosophies and values.

Ostrich Symbolism in Ancient Egypt

ancient egypt style ostriches

The ancient Egyptians also revered the ostrich, often depicting it in their hieroglyphs and artwork. As mentioned before, the goddess Ma’at was associated with the ostrich feather, representing truth and justice.

In addition, the ancient Egyptians believed that ostrich feathers could ward off evil spirits and provide spiritual protection to those who carried or wore them.6

Ostrich Symbolism in Australia

While ostriches are not native to Australia, humans have introduced and managed them for various purposes. The ostrich is symbolic for the Aboriginal people, who have a deep spiritual connection with the land and its creatures.

Its impressive speed and strength are metaphors for perseverance and resilience, essential qualities in the harsh Australian outback. Also, ostrich feathers and eggs, like in other cultures, have been incorporated into art and rituals, symbolizing life, potential, and protection.

Although ostriches are not a traditional part of Australia’s wildlife, their introduction has added another layer to the rich tapestry of symbols and stories in the Australian cultural landscape.

Ostrich Tattoo Meaning and Symbolic Art

Ostrich tattoos are compelling choices for body art, embodying various symbolic meanings that resonate deeply with individuals.

The majestic bird’s unique characteristics, such as speed, strength, and resilience, can serve as a constant reminder of one’s own innate potential and ability to overcome adversity. Given the bird’s significant cultural symbolism in these regions, some might choose this tattoo as a tribute to African or Egyptian heritage.

Final Words: Embracing the Ostrich Spirit

Embracing the ostrich spirit is about recognizing and harnessing our strengths and capabilities to reach our fullest potential. It encourages us to face life’s adversities with resilience and determination, much like the indomitable ostrich.

The spirit of the ostrich, a profound example of animal symbolism, reminds us that we carry vast untapped potential and the ability to give birth to new ideas and projects despite the challenges that may come our way.

By embodying the ostrich’s strength, speed, and resilience, as highlighted in this powerful symbol from the animal kingdom, we can navigate our life’s journey with courage and conviction. This embodiment of the ostrich’s qualities demonstrates how animal symbolism can inspire and guide us in our personal growth and life choices.

  1. https://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-06640-0.html ↩︎
  2. https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rgs/alice-III.html ↩︎
  3. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job%2039%3A13-18&version=NIV ↩︎
  4. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/ostrich-eggs/ ↩︎
  5. https://www.modernghana.com/news/1266348/the-ostrich-feather-of-maat.html ↩︎
  6. http://www.egyptianmyths.net/feather.htm ↩︎

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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.

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