Whale Symbolism & Meaning of Totem, Power & Spirit Animal

Whales are the gentle giants of the sea and have been a source of fascination for centuries. These mystical creatures have inspired stories, art, and even religions. But what do whales really represent? In this blog post, we’ll explore the cultural depictions, symbolism, and meaning of the whale totem, power, and spirit animal. Read on if you’re looking for personal guidance or want to learn more about these fascinating creatures!

What does a Whale Symbolize?

Whales have been seen as symbols of power and strength, representing abundance, wealth, and good fortune. They are often seen as protectors and guardians, guiding sailors to safety and providing physical assistance in times of need.

Whales symbolize many things depending on the culture, but some of the most common symbols include strength, intelligence, freedom, and compassion. In ancient cultures, whales were often seen as gods due to their size and power in the ocean. They have also been associated with navigation or providing guidance for travelers on a sea voyage.

Whale facts

  1. Whales are the largest mammals on Earth and can range from 15 to 33 meters (50-110 feet) in length.
  2. The blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever lived, growing up to 30 meters (98 feet) long and weighing over 173 tons.
  3. Most whales live for about 50–80 years, but some species can live longer than 100 years!
  4. There are two types of whales: baleen and toothed whales – both feed differently; baleen whales filter seawater for food with their comblike plates, while toothed whales hunt prey such as fish and squid using echolocation.
  5. Whales breathe air at the surface through their blowholes located near the top of their heads before diving deep underwater – they need a special valve that keeps water out when breathing at the surface!
  6. Whale calves nurse from their mothers for 1-2 years before being able to survive on their own, learning everything important during this time, including mating calls, feeding behaviors, migratory routes, etc…
  7. Whales communicate by making different sounds like clicks or whistles – these sounds can travel hundreds of miles underwater and help the whales to stay in contact with each other.
  8. Whales are highly intelligent animals, capable of complex social behaviors like cooperative feeding and mourning for deceased family members.
  9. Whale populations have declined dramatically in recent decades due to overfishing, boat noise pollution, oil spills, and other human activities – it’s important to protect these majestic creatures before their numbers dwindle too far.

What Does It Mean When You See a Whale?

Whales are creatures that have long captivated and intrigued mankind. People attribute symbolic meanings to the appearance of a whale, which can be interpreted differently depending on one’s culture.

humpback whale

In some cultures, seeing a whale can be interpreted as an omen of good luck and fortune. In other cultures, whales are seen as a sign of danger or a warning. In some parts of the world, it is believed that a whale can be an answer to a prayer or a sign of divine protection.

In many cultures, the whale is seen as an indicator of strength and power and can represent a spiritual journey or life-altering experience.

Whale Tail Symbolism

The whale tail is one of the most recognizable symbols associated with whales. In some cultures, a whale tail symbolizes protection and guidance; it is believed that it can help guide a person to safety. In other cultures, a whale tail symbolizes strength and perseverance.

It is often seen as an emblem of hope, reminding us that no matter the hardships or struggles we face, if we keep pushing forward with determination, we will eventually reach our goals.

Humpback Whale Symbolism

The humpback whale is one of the most common whales seen around the world and has been associated with many meanings. The humpback whale is often regarded as a symbol of strength, resilience, and power. It is also seen as an emblem of intelligence and freedom, representing our ability to make choices that will positively influence our lives.

Blue Whale Symbolism

The blue whale is the largest animal on earth and has been seen as a symbol of power and might. It is said to represent the limitless potential that exists within each of us and encourages us to tap into our own strength and courage. The blue whale can also be interpreted as a reminder not to get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and instead take time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

Beluga Whale Spiritual Meaning

The beluga whale is believed to have spiritual significance in some cultures, such as the Inuit. It is said to be a messenger from the spirit world and can bring messages of peace and healing. Belugas are also seen as symbols of adaptability and flexibility, encouraging us to stay open-minded and go with the flow no matter what life throws our way.

Whale Shark Spiritual Meaning

The whale shark is one of the most gentle creatures in the ocean and has been seen as a symbol of gentleness and kindness. It encourages us to be more compassionate towards others and not judge them by their appearance or beliefs. Whale sharks are also believed to bring messages of luck, joy, fortune, and abundance.

Killer Whale Spiritual Meaning

Killer whales are apex predators that strike fear in the hearts of many. Despite their fearsome reputation, they have been seen as symbols of family protection and strength. Killer whales represent our ability to protect ourselves and our loved ones from danger while also reminding us to stay connected to our roots and never forget where we come from.

What Do Whales Symbolize in Arts and Literature?

In literature, the whale is often used as a symbol of immense power and mystery. Perhaps one of the most famous literary mentions of whales is Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”. In this novel, Captain Ahab is obsessed with hunting down the white whale Moby Dick in revenge for an injury he suffered at the whale’s hands.

The novel is a meditation on man versus nature, with Moby Dick representing the awesome and mysterious power of the natural world. Other authors have used whales to symbolize freedom and exploration.

white whale

In Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, an enormous submarine powered by electric motors takes its occupants into the depths of the ocean and beyond, away from civilization. In art, whales often appear in various forms, from realistic depictions of the creatures to more abstract representations.

Native American art often uses whale symbolism to represent strength and protection. Whales also appear in Japanese art, where they are symbolically associated with luck.

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In contemporary art, dolphins and whales have become important environmentalism and animal rights activism symbols. Artists often use their work to draw attention to the plight of these endangered species and raise awareness about the need for conservation.

Overall, whales have been used throughout history in art and literature as powerful symbols of freedom, strength, protection, exploration, mystery, and luck.

Whale Spirit Animal

The whale spirit animal symbolizes faith and strong will. It encourages us to stay committed to our goals and follow through with whatever we set out to do.

whale under water photo

When the whale spirit animal appears, it is a reminder that the universe supports us in accomplishing our ambitions. The powerful energy of the whale can help us develop greater focus and determination on our path.

The whale spirit animal can also signify joy, depth, and connection to the ocean’s vastness. It reminds us to take time for relaxation and enjoy life’s pleasures. This energy encourages us to explore our creativity and originality by allowing ourselves to be open to new experiences.

Whale Power Animal

The whale is an animal that symbolizes power and strength. It is often associated with a sense of emotional protection, intelligence, determination, and trust. In Native American cultures, whales are considered protectors of the sea, providing guidance and wisdom to those who seek it.

whale jumping out of water

The whale also has strong ties to the spiritual world and is viewed as a sign of continuity and transformation. It is believed that whales remind us to trust in ourselves and our connection to the spiritual world.

A whale spirit animal reminds us to stay strong, take action, and remain focused on our goals. Allowing this powerful energy into our lives can bring a sense of peace and understanding to difficult situations.

Whale Totem Animal

Whale totem animals are associated with power and strength, emotional protection, intelligence, determination, trust, and guidance.

They remind us to stay strong and take action while remaining focused on our goals. With an affinity for the spiritual world, whales can bring a sense of peace and understanding when life gets tough. Allowing the whale’s energy into our lives can bring us closer to our connection with the spiritual world.

Whale Dream Meanings

Whale dream meanings vary by culture and can range from negative to positive. In some cultures, whales are seen as messengers from the spiritual world who bring divine messages from the gods or warning signs of impending danger.

sleeping woman dreaming about whale

In other cultures, dreaming about whales is associated with abundance, fertility, and protection. The type of whale in your dream may also influence its interpretation.

For instance, a killer whale can represent strength, aggression, and dominance, while a humpback whale may symbolize grace, peace, and emotional intelligence. Ultimately, the meaning of your dream will depend on your personal connection to the animal and all the emotions or feelings that you associate with it.

Whale Meaning in Tarot

In the Tarot, whales symbolize emotional depths, spiritual guidance, and intuition. Whale energy has been seen as a sign of protection and security; being in deep waters is thought to be safe from harm.

image 768

This idea of safety shows up in traditional versions of several Tarot card decks featuring whale cards; for example, The Wild Unknown features a Nine of Cups card where a large whale is shown swimming in the ocean beneath an upside-down rainbow.

Whale Meaning in the Bible And Christianity

Perhaps the most well-known example is Jonah and the Whale. Jonah was a prophet sent by God to preach repentance in Nineveh, but Jonah tried to run away from his mission instead of completing it.

In response, God sent a great storm that caused Jonah to be swallowed by a whale. Jonah emerged from the whale’s belly alive and went on to preach in Nineveh as God had commanded him. Jonah’s story is traditionally seen as a lesson of obedience and repentance.

Other passages in the Bible also use whales as symbolic figures. In Job 7:12, for example, Job says: “Am I a sea, or a whale, that Thou settest a watch over me?” This suggests that God’s power and authority is so vast it extends even to the depths of the ocean.

Whales also have spiritual significance in Christianity, where they can be seen as symbols of power and protection or even messengers from God.

whale painting

In the book of Genesis, it is said that whales were created on the fifth day of creation alongside other creatures of the sea. This could symbolize that God’s love and protection extend to even the most remote creatures on the earth.

Some Christian traditions associate whales with Christ himself, seeing them as powerful symbols of his divine power and authority. This interpretation is seen in Matthew 12:40, which states: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” This passage suggests that Jesus’s power is like that of a whale — all-encompassing and indestructible.

The symbolic meaning of whales in the Bible and Christianity can thus be seen as a powerful reminder of God’s power, protection, and love.

Whale Meaning in the Quran

Whales are an important symbol of power and protection in the Quran. According to Islamic belief, Allah (God) sent the whale, named ‘Khunnas’, to protect Prophet Yunus (Jonah) as he was being swallowed by a great fish.

The whale also represents hope and mercy from Allah in the Quran. When Prophet Yunus was in distress after being swallowed by the great fish, he prayed to Allah and was immediately answered.

Allah sent a whale to carry him safely back to land, showing that no matter how desperate things become, Allah will always be there in times of need.

Whale Meaning in Judaism

In Judaism, whales symbolize the divine presence and protection of God. They are seen as a representation of strength and power in spirituality, often used to represent courage and guidance for those facing difficult times.

The whale is also known for its ability to navigate great depths, which conveys a spiritual connection between the physical and metaphysical planes. Jews have long used the whale as a symbol of spiritual guidance and protection, believing that it can help them on their path to holiness.

Whales are also seen as a reminder that no matter how deep and dark our struggles may be, God is always there to guide us back to the surface and into the light.

Whale Mythology, Folklore, and Symbolism in Different Cultures


In African cultures, the whale has strong symbolism in mythology and folklore. The whale is often thought to represent the cycle of life and death as it passes through the water and rises from its depths only to dive again. It is also seen as a sign of strength in some cultures because of its size and ability to survive even under extreme conditions.

Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, whales held a special place in the hearts of their people. They were revered as symbols of strength and power, often referred to as the ‘Lord of the Sea’.

Ancient Egypt whale hieroglyphs

The Egyptians believed that whales offered protection against danger at sea, ensuring safe passage for sailors who made offerings to them. Whales were also seen as symbols of fertility and abundance, with their size representing the potential for a bountiful harvest or successful voyage.

Whales were believed to be an embodiment of Sobek, the crocodile-headed god who was worshipped as a protector. Sobek was associated with strength and ferocity, and it is said that whales were seen as extensions of the god himself, offering divine protection for those at sea.


In Ancient Greek, whales were believed to represent the power of nature in its most dangerous form. The ocean was often seen as a wild and unpredictable place, and the whale was symbolic of this chaotic element. Because of their size and strength, they were thought to be capable of destroying ships and devouring sailors who ventured too close.

Greek whale painting

In some stories, they were even thought to have the power to sink entire islands. Whales were also seen as messengers between gods and mortals, as well as a symbol of strength and protection for those who ventured out into the unknown depths of the ocean.

The Ancient Greeks believed that if one was lucky enough to spot a whale from shore, good luck and fortune were soon to come. Whales were also a symbol of power, wisdom, and mysterious knowledge that could only be acquired through mastering the secrets of the deep.


In mythology, the whale was associated with the god Neptune, who was believed to be the ruler of the sea. Folklore also attributed many stories to whales. One popular story was about how a group of sailors was rescued by a whale when their ship foundered in a storm. This tale was often used to explain why whales were so gentle and helpful toward humans.

Whale symbolism in Roman culture could also be seen in art and literature, with a whale being commonly depicted as a symbol of strength and courage.

It was also thought that the whale brought good luck to those who encountered it. This belief was especially prevalent among sailors, who often saw the whale as a protector of their vessels and the journey ahead.


In Celtic mythology, the whale was believed to be a powerful creature that could bring good fortune and protection to its people. The whale’s size, strength, and freedom of movement across the seas were seen as a reflection of the power and majesty of the gods.

Celtic style whale drawing

In some Celtic cultures, the whale was seen as a symbol of rebirth and transformation, representing endurance and transformation in life’s journey. In other cultures, the whale was seen as a symbol of wisdom and intelligence.


In ancient stories, they were seen as a symbol of strength and protection. They were said to be the chief of all sea creatures, able to overpower any other creature that swam in their path. In Norse mythology, they were associated with the god Aegir and his wife Ran.

They were worshiped by sailors who believed that whales could bring them good luck and protect them from danger at sea. Whales also represented wealth and abundance in Norse cultures as a symbol of plentiful catch for fishermen.

Additionally, whale bones were often used in rituals as a representation of strength and courage. In some cases, whale bones were also used in funeral rituals, where they symbolized the power of transition and rebirth.

Native American

The whale has a special place in the mythology and folklore of Native American cultures. It is believed that whales have strong spiritual powers, able to bring good luck, healing, and protection.

In some Native American cultures, whales are seen as teachers or wise elders who can help people find the answers to their questions.

Native American style whale painting

Whales may be associated with strength, wisdom, courage, and a spiritual world connection. They also have strong ties to family and community, symbolizing unity and harmony in relationships.


Inuit culture has a long and varied history of whale meaning, mythology, folklore, and symbolism. Whales have been an integral part of Inuit life for thousands of years.

They were seen as physical representations of the spirit world and held deep spiritual connections with all aspects of life. This makes them one of the most important animals in Inuit culture.

Whales were seen as powerful, wise, and protective animals that had the ability to bring balance to any situation. It was believed that whales could communicate with humans through their song and spirit guides. Whales were also thought to be able to provide guidance in times of crisis.

Meso and South American

Whales are an important symbol to many of the Indigenous tribes in Meso and South America, who have a long-standing relationship with these majestic animals. In some cultures, whales are regarded as powerful spiritual figures or ancestral protectors.

incan style whale painting

To the Incas of Peru, whales were thought to be the guardians of their gods in the sea; the Amazonian tribes of Brazil saw them as the embodiment of their ancestors and as protectors of their livelihoods.

In addition to being spiritual symbols, whales were also associated with fertility in many Meso and South American cultures. The Guarani tribes believed that whales gave birth to stars, while some coastal peoples used whale bones for arts and crafts, believing them to be powerful talismans that promoted fertility. In some cultures, whales were also symbols of strength and prosperity, representing abundance and success in life.


In Oceania, whales have been seen as symbols of strength, power, and protection. In some cultures, they were said to be the messengers of the gods, while in others, they were believed to be shape-shifters who could take on human form.


In Maori culture, whales are seen as symbols of strength, prosperity, and fertility. Whales were believed to be protectors of the land and seas and were thought to be able to bring good luck to those who encountered them.

In some legends, whales were even seen as the ancestors of humanity, providing guidance and support. Whales were also believed to be a source of wisdom, with their songs imparting knowledge and understanding to those who heard them.

Maori style whale drawing

The whale tooth was seen as an important symbol in Maori culture, representing strength, power and courage. Whale teeth were often given as tokens of respect or tokens of love between two people. They were also given as gifts to welcome guests and as symbols of good luck.

In many Maori legends, whales are seen as vessels for the spirits of ancestors, coming back to protect their descendants and provide them with guidance and wisdom. Whales often appear in Maori artwork, representing strength and power while also being a reminder of the importance of respecting and protecting the environment.


Aboriginal culture also has a strong connection to whales. It is believed that whales were one of the first creatures that emerged from the Dreamtime, and they are seen as powerful symbols of knowledge, wisdom, courage, and a spiritual world connection.

In many Aboriginal stories, whales are seen as the bringers of life, bringing abundance and protection to those who encounter them. They are also seen as a sign of good luck, with many Aboriginal people believing that whales bring luck when they come close to shore.


In Polynesian cultures, whales are seen as messengers of the gods and a reminder of their ancestors. They often feature in traditional myths and stories and carry a deep spiritual significance for many Polynesians.

Polynesian style whale drawing

Whales have been known to bring good fortune and luck to individuals or communities in need. They are seen as symbols of strength, wisdom, and abundance. They are often associated with the journey to find new life and hope and a reminder of the importance of family and community.


In Japan, whales have long been celebrated for their majestic beauty and abundance in the oceans. The mythology of whales often portrays them as powerful sea creatures that protect sailors and bring good fortune to those who encounter them.

Whales also have a place in Japanese folklore, where they are believed to be symbols of good luck, strength, and protection. Whales are also thought to represent long life and wisdom due to their lifespan and size. In Japan, it is said that when a whale appears in the ocean, it is a sign of impending rainbows and plentiful fish.

Whale symbols can be found in many artifacts throughout Japanese culture. The whale is often depicted as a powerful water deity, and its image can be seen on coins, jewelry, and other objects.

Whales are also frequently used in traditional artwork, such as woodblock prints and scrolls. The whale symbolizes strength and intelligence, encouraging people to take the right path.


In Chinese mythology, whales are believed to be one of the four creature gods known as “Shen”. They are said to possess immense wisdom and power, capable of controlling both the weather and the sea.

Chinese style whale

In traditional stories, whales often appear in tales of miracles where they help fishermen or travelers who are lost at sea. This symbolism is reflected in the Chinese proverb, “When a whale appears, the ocean will calm”.

In addition to representing power and wisdom, whales also play an important role in Feng Shui. According to Chinese belief, it is believed that if a person places a whale figurine or artwork in their home, they can attract good luck and positive energy. Additionally, the whale is often seen as a sign of fertility, wealth, and abundance due to its large size.


Vietnam also has a long history of whale worship. It is believed that whales were once seen as gods, and whale-shaped masks or statues are used in traditional ceremonies to bring good fortune and luck to the community. In Vietnam, whale symbols are also associated with fertility, abundance, and wealth.

Whales are believed to bring the rains, which are necessary for a successful harvest. They are also seen as symbols of strength and courage, being a reminder of the power of nature and the courage to overcome challenges.


In Hindu mythology, whales are considered to be extremely powerful creatures associated with Vishnu, the Preserver. As one of the most important gods in Hinduism, Vishnu is seen as the embodiment of protection and strength.

Hindu temple whale decoration

Whales are believed to be his powerful messengers that can easily traverse oceans and seas – a symbolic representation of the divine power of Vishnu. In Hindu folklore, whales are often depicted as protectors or guardians who can watch over sailors from afar and guide them to safety.

Whales also have a notable role in Hindu astrology, where they are seen as symbols of good fortune and success. They are believed to bring wealth and prosperity to those who encounter them and can help guide ships safely through raging seas. In some stories, whales even rescue people from danger or provide physical assistance when needed.


In Buddhism, whales have been associated with the teachings of Buddha. They are seen as symbols of compassion and wisdom. Buddhists often use images of whales to represent the compassionate and wise teachings of Buddha.

The whale is also seen as a symbol of freedom, as whales can cross vast distances without any boundaries and limitations.

Whales are also seen as symbols of strength and resilience due to their ability to survive in the depths of the ocean. Buddhists often use images of whales to represent the strength and resilience that can be found in life, despite facing difficult challenges.


What is the meaning of a white whale?

A white whale is often seen as an omen of good luck and fortune, representing purity, strength, and power.

Is it a good omen to see a whale?

Yes, in many cultures and religions, whales are seen as symbols of good luck and fortune, representing power and strength.

What is the meaning of flying whales in the sky?

Flying whales in the sky can represent freedom and courage, reminding us of the power of nature and our ability to overcome challenges.

Final Words – Whale Symbolism 

Whales have been a source of inspiration for many cultures and religions throughout history. From representing power, strength, resilience, freedom, wealth, and abundance to being seen as protectors or guardians who bring good fortune and luck – the symbolism associated with whales is quite diverse.

Whales will continue to be symbols of hope and courage that remind us of our own inner strength. So next time you see a whale out at sea or in the artwork on your wall – take some time to reflect on its meaning and appreciate its significance within different cultures across the globe.

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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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