Shark Symbolism & Meaning – Power, Totem & Spirit Animal

Have you ever wondered what it might mean if you ran into a shark while swimming in the ocean? Sharks have long been feared and respected for their power and strength, so it’s no surprise that they are often seen as symbols of things like courage and tenacity. This post will explore some of the most common shark symbolism and meanings to help you better understand this intriguing creature.

What Does a Shark Symbolize?

Sharks are symbols of strength and power, often associated with qualities such as fearlessness, tenacity, and ferocity. They are an important part of the marine ecosystem and help maintain a balanced environment between predator and prey.

Symbolically speaking, their aggression and predator-like status make them an ideal representation of supremacy – especially when encountered in the wild. They are considered symbols of courage and fearlessness while also reminding us of our connection to the sea.

As majestic creatures roaming our oceans, sharks stand for determination, creativity, adaptability, and resilience, all-powerful qualities that often urge us to take action and reach greater heights. Despite our negative perceptions about them in modern times, sharks still signify triumph and greatness, which is why we hold them in such high regard.


Shark Facts

  1. Sharks have been around for over 400 million years and are some of Earth’s oldest creatures.
  2. There are more than 500 species of sharks in the world that vary greatly in size, shape, and diet preferences.
  3. The great white shark is one of the most feared predators on Earth, but only 10% of all shark species ever cause a threat to humans.
  4. Despite their reputation as man-eaters, sharks rarely attack humans; fewer than 100 unprovoked attacks by any species occur each year worldwide, and only about five fatalities result from these attacks annually.
  5. Some shark species can live up to 70 years or longer in captivity, making them among some of the longest-living fish currently known to science today!
  6. Sharks have excellent eyesight and an acute sense of smell, allowing them to detect even small traces of blood from miles away!
  7. To feed themselves, sharks rely heavily upon migratory sea life such as tuna, seals, dolphins, and other ocean dwellers – this behavior is referred to as ram feeding, where a school or group of sharks charge into their prey with tremendous force!

What Does It Mean When You See a Shark?

Seeing a shark can often be seen as a symbol of tenacity and determination.

Sharks are some of the oldest creatures on Earth and have survived millions of years through natural selection.

Moreover, in the ocean, sharks demonstrate incredible strength and agility in the face of a vast and unknown environment.

From this, we can draw spiritual insight that there is always potential for growth and opportunities to thrive when facing our challenges.

Sharks remind us that even in the depths of darkness, we can survive with strength and fierce focus.

what does it mean when you see a shark

Is Seeing a Shark a Good or Bad Omen?

Seeing a shark can mean both, depending on the cultural interpretation. However, it can be noted that seeing a shark often symbolizes keen insight and strength of character. Despite any negative connotations for some, seeing a shark provides an opportunity to appreciate one of the ocean’s apex predators and all its beauty.

Different Types of Sharks

Different species of sharks have different meanings and interpretations.

Whale Shark

A whale shark symbolizes grace and power. They are the largest species of shark but they do not pose any threat to humans, making them gentle giants of the sea. Seeing a whale shark can be interpreted as a sign of support and protection from a higher power or divine being.

Great White Shark

The great white shark is often considered a sign of strength and resilience. It is one of the most feared predators in the ocean but also a powerful symbol of dominance, courage, and resourcefulness. Seeing a great white shark in the wild could be interpreted as a reminder to remain fiercely independent and persistent.

Bull Shark

Bull sharks are often seen as a sign of strength, confidence, and tenacity. This species is known for its aggression and willingness to take risks, making it a powerful representation of determination and power. Seeing a bull shark in the wild may be interpreted as an encouragement to take a stand for what you believe in, no matter the challenges faced.

Hammerhead Shark

The hammerhead shark is often a symbol of intelligence and problem-solving abilities. This species has an exceptionally wide field of vision, allowing them to detect potential prey from miles away. Seeing a hammerhead shark could be interpreted as a reminder to observe your surroundings, take note of the details, and use your intelligence to tackle any problems.

Leopard Shark

The leopard shark is often a symbol of balance and harmony. This species is known for its ability to adapt to different environments, making it a sign of resilience and adaptability. Seeing a leopard shark could be interpreted as a reminder to take stock of your situation and strive to balance your goals and the world around you.

What Do Sharks Symbolize in Arts and Literature?

Sharks have long been recognized in arts and literature as a powerful symbol. The mere mention of their name can evoke feelings of fear, danger, and power. This is because they are some of the most dangerous predators in the sea. They are also highly adaptable and can survive in a wide range of environments, making them symbols of strength and resilience.

shark with a book

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In literature, sharks often symbolize danger and power, as they are known to be vicious killers of the sea. They also represent aggression and ambition, as these animals relentlessly pursue their prey. In some literature, sharks symbolize a sense of mystery or foreboding. Lastly, sharks can represent fearlessness and a willingness to take risks to achieve success.

Some pieces of artwork are used to portray danger and power. They may be depicted as fierce predators or even monsters of the sea.

Shark Spirit Animal

Sharks are apex predators, which means they are at the top of the food chain and have no natural predators. They are relentless hunters who never give up, having an intense focus and dedication to their prey.

shark spirit animal

Those characteristics make shark spirit animals ideal for inspiring us and fostering our determination to reach goals and strive for success.

Shark Power Animal

The shark power animal is associated with strength, protection, longevity, and wisdom. In many cultures worldwide, sharks are seen as protectors that guard against danger and misfortune.

Additionally, they can represent the importance of family bonds and loyalty. Sharks are also thought to be messengers from the sea that bring clarity and knowledge to those who observe them.

Shark Totem Animal

The shark’s totem animal represents strength, cunning, determination, prestige, and the profound respect one must hold for nature.

shark totem animal

These traits can help guide people to be more aware of the world around them, developing a sharper intuition and calming sense of power. Sharks are also associated with transformation- teaching us to always keep moving forward and take lessons from our mistakes so as not to repeat them in life.

Shark Dream Meanings

When dreaming about sharks, it’s thought to suggest that the dreamer has neglected to protect themselves from something that could cause harm in some way.

sleeping woman dreaming about sharks

It could represent a complete lack of control as sharks are known for their strength and ferocity below sea level. Shark dreams remind you to stay cautious and aware of potential threats when navigating through life.

Shark Meaning in Tarot

A card featuring a shark often symbolizes power, determination, and ambition. Shark meaning in tarot can signify strong emotions and quick decisions as they move through life with intent and passion. Sharks represent protection, courage, and wisdom and typically suggest that the querent should stay alert and use their intuition to guide them in the right direction during challenging times.

Shark Meaning in the Bible And Christianity

The Bible itself does not reference sharks specifically. However, many animals are mentioned, including some with similar characteristics, such as dolphins and great sea monsters.

In Christian mythology, it is believed that sharks represent the division between heaven and earth. Symbolic of God’s ultimately indomitable power and might, they represent his unwavering devotion to protecting and providing for those who follow him.

Shark Mythology, Folklore, and Symbolism in Different Cultures

The presence of sharks in our oceans and seas has occupied a special place in the imaginations of many cultures since ancient times. Sharks have inspired various myths, folklore, and symbolism across various cultures. In some cases, they are seen as symbols of strength and power, while in other cases, they are seen as a source of fear and danger.


In many African societies, the shark is associated with great strength, wisdom, and agility. It is believed to symbolize success, protection, and prosperity.

In some West African countries, sharks are considered sacred animals because they are said to be the protectors of fishermen. The shark was often respected and seen as a powerful creature that could bring success to those who encountered it.

shark symbology

In Ghana, there is a popular legend about a giant shark god. According to this story, there was once an enormous shark that lived in the sea near the country’s coast and would come to shore and reward fishermen with bountiful catches to show its gratitude and appreciation.

In parts of Nigeria, the shark is seen as a force of good luck. It is believed that if a person swims near a shark or touches one, they will be blessed with great fortune.

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In some areas, sharks are also thought to possess healing powers and have been used in traditional medicines. Using shark parts for medicinal purposes is still common in many African cultures today.

Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, sharks were seen as creatures of power and strength. They represented both protection and destruction.


The shark was seen as both a destroyer of the wicked and a protector of the innocent. It was said that the gods used sharks to punish evildoers and protect those who followed their teachings.


In Sumerian culture, the shark was seen as a bringer of destruction and justice. The god Hendursaga was said to have seven animal-like assistants, one of them being a shark. It is believed that this group represented the forces of chaos and destruction in the world and those of protection and justice.

They were seen as guardians of the underworld who would protect those who needed protection from evil forces. According to ancient texts, these Sebitti were capable of great destruction and could destroy humans and gods with their powerful jaws.


In Greek mythology, Akheilos is often seen as a symbol of vanity and hubris. As he is transformed into a shark for his arrogance, Akheilos warns humans not to let their pride get the better. It’s believed that anyone who hears or reads Akheilos’ story will be reminded of the consequences of their boastfulness and be more humble in their thoughts and actions.


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In Celtic mythology, sharks have a range of powerful symbolic meanings. They are believed to be protective guardians with the power to ward off evil forces and bring good luck.

Celtic style shark

Sharks are also associated with strength, courage, and adaptability—all qualities that ancient Celts much admired. In some tales, they even embody the spirits of warriors who have passed away.

Native American

Sharks have been a symbol of strength and power in Native American cultures for thousands of years. The shark was believed to be a powerful spirit guide that could help bring abundant luck and prosperity to those who honored its presence.

In some tribes, sharks were seen as protectors, while in others, they represented the mysterious depths of the sea.


In Hawaiian mythology, sharks are considered to be aumakua, or guardian spirits of the family. They are believed to represent power and strength and provide protection against danger.

Sharks also have a spiritual significance in Hawaiian culture and religion, often representing fertility and prosperity. In some cases, they are thought to embody ancestors who can guide and protect their descendants.

Polynesia, Maori, and New Zealand

Sharks have long held a special place in the hearts and minds of New Zealanders. To many, sharks represent strength, power, and courage; to others, they have feared predators that should be respected for their ferocity.

Maori style shark

Sharks have also been seen as guardians and protectors, with many Polynesian families having an “aumakua” or shark protector. In Māori mythology, the demi-god Māui placed Te Māngōroa (a shark) in the sky, forming the Milky Way for all to see.

In New Zealand, sharks are deeply respected in Māori and Pakeha cultures. They are significant symbols of power, strength, courage, and protection. Sharks have long been admired for their ability to survive in the harshest conditions, so they represent resilience and adaptability—two qualities that New Zealanders highly value.


In the Bahamas, sharks have long been associated with fear and reverence. Their powerful presence in the waters of these islands has captivated the human imagination for centuries.

The ancient Bahamians believed sharks had a great spiritual significance, believing them to be messengers of the gods who could bring messages from beyond. Sharks were also seen as creatures of protection, guarding islanders against danger.


Sharks have long held a special place in the mythology and symbolism of the Maldives. The Maldive shark is said to be an incarnation of the divine being, Jumhuri Kilegefaanu, who is believed to protect his people from harm.

Symbols of Maldive sharks can often be found in traditional Maldivian art, such as in Makara designs and tattoos. In addition to its protective power, the Maldive shark is said to bring luck and prosperity to those who encounter them. It’s believed that if a Maldive shark appears near a fishing boat or other vessel, it will be successful.


The different parts of a shark—teeth, fins, and flesh—were used for medical and ritual purposes in Maya culture. Teeth were believed to possess magical qualities and were often worn as amulets or incorporated into ceramic vessels.

Maya style shark

The Mayans also prized shark meat, typically dried and sometimes cooked with spices. The shark’s flesh was believed to be a powerful source of strength and courage. Fins were also used for medicinal purposes and were seen as a symbol of protection from danger and ill luck.


In Aztec mythology, the shark was an important symbol of fertility and rebirth. The ancient Nahuas believed that when a woman died in childbirth, she was transformed into a shark.

This idea is also prevalent in Totonac mythology. Among the Maya of Yucatan, there were stories about “Shark Woman” who taught humans to make maize cultivated, weaving, and fishing.

Aztec style shark

The Aztecs also believed that sharks represented strength and courage. It was said that when the gods of war called upon the warriors to battle, they could turn into sharks to gain extra power during the fight. T


In the mythology and folklore of Australia, sharks are often associated with danger and power. Aboriginal Australians have long respected sharks for their speed, strength, and prowess in the water.

According to Dreamtime stories, sharks are powerful messengers from the spirit world who can bring either good or bad luck. In some stories, they are even associated with the creation of the landscape and its inhabitants.


Shark symbolism in Fiji is highly connected to Dakuwaqa and the reverence for this shark god. A common practice among Fijian fishermen was to offer Dakuwaqa prayers of gratitude for a safe return from their fishing trips. It was believed that Dakuwaqa could grant wishes, so the fishermen often asked him for luck in catching a good haul.


In Japanese culture, sharks have long been associated with strength and bravery. In mythology, they are seen as powerful creatures that protect people from danger and misfortune.

This is seen in the Japanese folktale “The Story of Urashima Taro,” which tells the story of a fisherman who saves a turtle from being killed by someone and is taken away to a magical underwater palace by a giant shark. In this story, the shark is seen as a symbol of strength and protection.

ancient Japanese style shark

Sharks are also seen as a symbol of luck and good fortune in Japan. The character Shachi, or the “Lucky Shark,” is a popular symbol of luck seen in art, apparel, and other products.

The character is believed to bring good “Shachi” is used in many contexts, such as saying “shachi no koe” which means “the voice of the shark”. The phrase is used to wish someone luck and good fortune.


In Chinese culture, sharks have long been seen as symbols of strength, courage, and tenacity. They are believed to bring luck and good fortune and are often used to ward off evil spirits.

Sharks can also represent protection, as their powerful jaws and sharp teeth are thought to be able to protect people from harm. In ancient Chinese folklore, sharks were seen as protectors of the sea and its inhabitants.


The shark is an important symbol in Hinduism, representing strength and fearlessness. The ancient texts of the Rig Veda describe a powerful god of the sea known as Varuna, who rode a chariot pulled by sharks. The Mahabharata describes Arjuna riding in a chariot pulled by four supernatural sharks.

In other scriptures and stories, the shark is associated with Vishnu and is said to represent His will as He takes on different forms to protect the universe.


In Buddhism, the shark represents balance due to its role as a natural apex predator. Sharks have been known to protect their young and are loyal providers for the family.

This reflects the way of the Buddha, who strives to maintain balance in nature and promote peace through non-violence. In some Buddhist folklore, shark symbols represent strength, courage, and protection from danger.


What does a shark tattoo symbolize?

Shark tattoos often represent strength, power, and resilience.

Can sharks sense your fear?

Sharks can detect electrical impulses from a moving or distressed animal, which may lead them to investigate a potential prey item. Sharks also have an acute sense of smell, which can detect blood and other chemical markers.

Final Words – Shark Symbolism

Sharks have a long and varied history of animal symbolism throughout the world. In many cultures, they are seen as powerful protectors who bring luck and good fortune to those who honor them.

They can also represent strength, courage, tenacity, balance, and resilience – all qualities we strive for. Whether it’s through tattoos or ancient folklore stories, sharks will continue to hold an important place in global culture for generations to come.

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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.

Discover simple steps to unlock inner peace and live a life aligned with your true self.
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Free Download: Tarot Card Reading & Your Destiny
Your destiny is shaped by your choices, and tarot can help you make the right ones. Get your hands on our eBook!