If the Eagle has appeared to you....whether in your dreams or visions or in Nature in a profound way, and revealed itself as your totem animal, you may expect to recieve renewed strength of body, mind, and spirit. At the same time, you will find your meditations becoming more profound and your visions more prophetic in content. If you maintain a harmonious and balanced lifestyle, you will feel a stronger connection with the Great Mystery than ever before in your spiritual pilgrimage on earth.
Just as the Eagle can soar high above the earth and rise above it's companions and it's competitors, you must guard against the powerful eagle vibrations causing you to withdraw from your family and firends and grow aloof from your community. If you listen carefully to your spirit helper, it will instruct you in the sacred responsibility of sharing your prophetic insights with others and show you how to become the most effective kind of spiritual teacher and healer.
Because the Eagle could appear to fly so close to the sun, the Medicine priests of all the tribes reguarded the large bird as a very special messenger of the Great Mystery.
The origin of placing such high esteem on Eagle feathers was told in an old Native American folktale that recounts how all the birds met one day to decide once and for all which could fly the highest. Some flew up very swiftly, but soon became tired, but the Eagle flew beyond them all and was about to claim the victory when the crafty gray linnet suddenly emerged from it's hiding place on the eagles back, and fresh and rested, succeeded in flying the highest.
When the birds came back to alight on the Mother Earth, the great council of fowls still voted to award the prize to the eagle, for not only had it flown closer to the sun than the other birds, it had done so with the linnet on it's back. Hense, from that day forward, the feathers of the Eagle were esteemed the most honorable adornment for the warrior, as it is not only the bravest bird, but is also endowed with strength to soar the highest. AHO!
Symbolic Eagle Meaning
I've been seeing eagles and moles in my meditations lately. When creatures persist in my awareness, I know it's time to write a page on them. Plus, I've gotten several requests from readers of this site wanting to know more about symbolic eagle meaning, so here are a few thoughts.
I've had the luxury of observing Golden Eagles in the wild. Like our nature-inclined forebears, the sheer size of these creatures is mind-numbing.
Size does matter to the Native mind. It is the mammoth size of the eagle that, in part, wins its title as the King of the Birds in myth and lore. In spite of its enormous size, the eagle still takes flight, seemingly effortlessly. This is the first of many symbolic cues from the eagle about perception (not judging a book by its cover) and, not allowing the illusion of limitation to ground us in our flight.
What else matters when considering symbolic eagle meaning? Here are a few attributes and keywords associated with Eagle Medicine:
Native wisdom also honors the eagle for their opportunistic ways. It's not that they're skilled hunters (they are), but the go about gaining their needs in ways that are most efficient. This is a lesson for conserving resources. Work smarter, not harder.
Some Native American (plains tribes) refers to the eagle as an earthly incarnation of the great Thunderbird spirit. Legend further states that lightning bolts shoot from the eyes of the bald eagle, and with the beating of its expansive wings, rain is conjured from the skies. That's easy to envision.
Coming from the mindset that all energy is interconnected, an average wingspan of 5-7 feet (in golden's and bald's) could understandably cause some massive energetic ripples in the cosmos. Even prompt rain. I love how eagles as rain bringers segways into the cleansing theme of water.
And, we see from the Native mind that eagle feathers are tribal tools resonating patterns of healing within ritual. Do a little research into Native wisdom, and you will find the eagle is invoked for revitalization, creation and healing purposes. I like to think this deals with the eagle's connection with water.
In this vein of thought, we can contemplate the healing messages the eagle may offer us in our daily life. When the eagle soars into our psychic vision, it may be a sign of getting prepared for symbolic cleansing rains. What needs cleaning in our lives?
Of course, as rulers of the sky, eagle meaning is connected with the air element, which symbolizes communication and thought. All bird totems speak to us about higher thinking, dreams, and mental liberation. As king of the birds, the eagle's message of mental acuity is super-dominant.
Visually, everything about the eagle's appearance is sharp. Streamlined, sleek, chiseled. This prompts our deeper minds to hone our thoughts and skills. The eagle commands us to tailor our intelligence and talents in a form that best suits our needs. We all have inner abilities, but when the eagle shows up - it's a clear sign it's time to use these abilities in a laser-like fashion to bring about focused change in our lives.
To revisit the Thunderbird association, eagles are said to bring down lightning with the storms. This makes me think of flashes of insight, surges of power - electrifying vision.
I also like to look into the eyes of the eagle. There I see the lightning. I see the sun itself living in those all-seeing bright yellow orbs.
Do these observations this strike a chord with you? If so, take flight with the eagle meaning by experimenting with these visualizations:
These kind of powerful connections can liberate on so many levels.
But, you don't have to take my word for it. Consider our ancestors perspectives on the eagle meaning for more inspiration.
Alchemy symbolic eagle meaning:
A representation of prime matter, the start of an alchemical operation. The eagle spreads its wings over the step into creation and fans the fire, encouraging growth of new matter.
Aztec and Mayan meaning of eagle:
The eagle carries the veil of night and dark over our existence and awareness. It's affiliated with the dawning sun, and is a magnificent celestial power, able to shine light into our world.
Celtic animal symbolism of eagle:
Associated with the symbolism of water, and the intuitive oracle water serves as. Perhaps because our Celtic kin observed their magnificent ability to see into waters with miraculous clarity. Like scrying. I like to think the Celts skimmed across the waters of their existence invoked the eagle for assistance in "diving in" for treasures of wisdom.
Christian eagle meaning:
Associated with the Christ himself. Because the eagle seems to easily ascend the skies, looking into the sun with unblinking focus, we relate symbolism of Christ's unblinking faith in the Way, the Truth, and the Light. We also see themes of renewal (baptism) as the eagle plunges the soul of man into the sea, and lifts them out renewed and cleansed.
Another reference as a solar animal, the eagle is symbolic of authority, rulership and virility. It's depicted with thunderbolts in each talon. In my mind, this seems like a phallic reference would bolster sexual energy as well as warrior status (energy, thrust, courage, bravery, fearlessness). I get a confirmation of this by Zeus's strong affiliation with the eagle in myth.
I could go on forever about the symbolic meaning of the eagle. It's an inspiring creature, so it's only natural that every human eye that has witnessed it would be enraptured by its regal presence.
The eagle imparts spectacular wisdom. Take purposeful, meditative time to connect with the eagle, and discover what kind of glorious insight it can share with you.
Last word on the symbolic eagle meaning: "Fly Higher."
“And the day arrived when the security of the familiar was supplanted by a desire for change, notwithstanding the risk and fear of the unknown – and, miraculously and without effort, the bud yielded to the blossom.” -John A. Price
The Eagle as a totem is one of the most recognized images of raw power, dignity and fierceness of any animal. Eagle medicine is something that many aspire to, or are captivated by.
To understand the medicine of the Eagle Totem we want to understand the life and habits of the eagle. Eagle is a predator bird, who soars higher in the sky than any other bird, going to such heights that it will actually disappear from view. It is associated with the Sun and the heavens for this reason and thought of as a bird who can bring messages from heaven to the earth.
As a totem Eagle is associated with the awakened kundalini as well. The Eagle mates for life usually and the mating ritual is so intense and dramatic that it’s almost frightening. The mated pair will soar up into the air and then free fall toward earth during the mating process, break apart and then repeat the whole scene over and over again. Eagle totem represents the deepest and most spiritually awakened form of relationships, often requiring the complete surrender of a previously held way of life or attitude.
In essence Eagle medicine relates to RIGHT RELATIONSHIP – relationship with self, god, partners, nature, society. Eagle calls forth our integrity and requires us to live up to the highest ideals.
Eagle has incredible eyesight and can spot prey from a mile above the ground. If eagle medicine has visited you, then there is a need to look at things from the long-view and see the tiny details waaaay of on the horizon.
The Eagle, along with a few other raptors goes through an amazing transformation when they reach about the age of 40. By this age, their talons, feathers and beak have become so heavy and long that they literally cannot hunt anymore. So the Eagle will go off to a cave or safe area and rip out all of it’s feathers, rip off it’s own talons and smash it’s beak down to a small nub. Then the eagle lives off of insects and other small prey that it can easily catch on the ground until a new set of feathers and claws has grown in.
This is why eagle medicine is considered to be SO very powerful. It represents nothing less that the complete transformation of the life force. When I was 41, Eagle flew into my life through a conscious connection and then literally, in the form of Challenger – the Eagle pictured above. At that time I left a 7 year relationship because it wasn’t going anywhere and I wanted to have children.
Within 6 months of this, I was pregnant with my Son. And within 2 years my entire life had changed dramatically. I moved across the country, to a place steeped in nature, changed my work and career completely and awakened a deeper sense of love and fulfillment in everything that I do. I let go of an old identity – one that had kept me limited, and embraced a new and exciting life that allowed me to fully express the shamanic side of my nature – my full power.
I definitely went through an Eagle initiation during those two years, but I came out the other side in a deep and profound connection to nature, spirit, my son and the meaning in my life. And everything was different. If Eagle Medicine is calling you, then it is quite likely that you are also ready to experience the profound and far reaching changes that call you home to the highest ideals of your soul.
Eagle Medicine as an Animal Totem sends you a message that no matter how much your life changes, how difficult the transition you find yourself in, that there WILL be regrowth and a new beginning. The dignity that the Animal Medicine of the Eagle Totem comes, not from pride or arrogance but rather from overcoming and rising above challenges. This is what Eagle Medicine and Eagle Totem teaches.
The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small
From Ted Andrews: Animal - Speak
KEYNOTE: Illumination of Spirit, Healing, and Creation
CYCLE OF POWER: All Seasons and during Daylight
The eagle is one of the greatest and most admired birds of prey. It has served as inspiration to many societies. Their ability to soar and hunt amazes and thrills those who are witness. Eagles, in fact are so good at getting food they spend very little time hunting. The fact that they are good at feeding themselves from the land and still soar to great heights in the sky reflects much about the hidden significance of the eagle who comes as a totem. They will teach a balance of being of the Earth but not in it.
Every society which has had contact with eagles has developed a mythology and /or mysticism about them. In the ancient Aztec tradition, the chief god told the people to settle at a place where they find an eagle perched on a cactus eating a snake. This place would become Mexico City.
The eagle was sacred to Zeus, who often changed into the form of an eagle to help himself control thunder and lightning. The Sumerians worshiped an eagle god, and the Hittites used a double headed eagle as a symbolic emblem so they would never be surprised. The eagle has also been associated with Jupiter, and it was a strong emblem for the Roman Empire. In Egyptian hieroglyphics, the eagle is a symbol for the vowel “A”; and also a symbol for the soul, the spirit, and the warmth of life. In early Cristian mysticism, the eagle was a symbol of resurrection.
The Thunderbird, to the Native Americans, is most often depicted in the form of an eagle. This was the great spirit who controlled lightning and rain, punishment and reward. To the Plains Cree all eagles had mystical power, and these powers could be shared by anyone who possessed part of the bird.
To the Pueblo Indians the eagle was a bird of the sky with the ability to spiral upward until it passed through a hole in the sky to the home of the sun. It was associated with all the energies of the sun – physical and spiritual. The Pueblo Indians honored six directions – north, south, east, west, zenith (above), and nadir (below). The eagle was the symbol of the zenith because of its ability to soar to great heights. From these heights is could survey all four directions. They became symbols of greater sight and perception.
To the Hopis, the golden and the bald eagles were the greatest of all the birds of the sky, but these are the only two eagles that live upon the US continent. Some groups of the Hopis also included the red-tailed hawk as an eagle, referring to it as the Red Eagle.
There are 59 species of eagle, and they are often divided into one of four categories:
1. Fish & Sea eagles – Those who live primarily upon a diet from the sea (fish, etc.). Upon the North American continent, the bald eagle is part of this category. Those who have a bald eagle as a totem need to look at the symbolic association of water. Water and fish are often symbolic of the psychic aspects of life and the creative energies. Water is also an area that separates land from the heavens. Thus a bird of the water, such as a fish or sea eagle, reflects and awakening ability or need to learn to walk between worlds.
Water is the creative source of life, and living near natural water sources may be important to the health of those who have bald eagle as a totem. Eagles hunting in the waters must be able to penetrate the waters, grasp what it requires and then rise out of them. All this reflects increased ability and need to learn to work with emotions, psychism, and all aspects of spirituality with greater control. It reflects teachings about true mediatorship being able to enter and exit the more ethereal realms at will.
2. Snake eagles – These eagles often have crests of feathers upon their head. Their toes are short and strong to enable them to grasp and hold onto wiggling snakes. Those who have a snake eagle as a totem would do well to study on snakes also. Snake eagles swallow the snakes whole, reflecting the swallowing and digesting of higher wisdom—serpent knowledge.
3. Harpy or Giant Forested eagles – Harpy eagles are the largest and most powerful. None of these are found in the US. They have huge claws that can be used for grabbing larger prey, including deer. An examination of the particular food preference of the individual harpy eagle will provide further insight.
4. Booted eagles – Golden eagles which are found on the US continent are part of this group. In general they usually have a majestic mantle of feathers on their head and neck and their legs have a heavy covering also so they look as if they are wearing boots.
There is always a great deal of variety within these four groups. When it comes to coloring and feather patterns, every eagle is unique and beautiful in its own way. The two most important to those upon the US continent are the bald and the golden. The bald is larger than the golden but it cannot fly as high nor is it considered as graceful. The bald eagle is often a symbol of the feminine while the golden symbolizes the masculine. The white feathers of the bald eagle especially are often treasured as they are links to Grandmother Medicine (tremendous wisdom, healing and creation).
The feathers of eagles are sacred to the Native Americans and since the eagle is protected by the US government, it is a felony for anyone to possess such who is not of Native American blood. The feathers are used in powerful healing ceremonies (cleansing the aura) and even for shapeshifting. White and black tipped feathers were often used on the masks of the Pueblo Indians to give the appearance of white and black clouds. Again we see the ancient connection to the mysteries of the sky and all of its phenomena.
Both bald and golden eagles have come to symbolize heroic nobility and divine spirit. These eagles are the messengers from heaven and are the embodiment of the spirit of the sun.
They are also symbols of the rediscovery of the inner child. There once was a belief that as old age approached, the eagle’s eye would grow dim, and the eagle would then fly so near the sun that it would become scorched. It would then seek out a pure water source and dip itself three times into the clear water and it’s youth would be destroyed.
This reflects much from a mystical point of view. It hints of resurrection, but it also hints of alchemy. The fire of the sun and the clear water are opposite elements brought into harmony in a manner that elicits a change. It reflects several needs for those with an eagle totem:
1. There must be involvement with creativity. Three is the number fo new birth and creativity.
2. A willingness to experience extremes in a controlled condition and thus facilitate the alchemical process within your life.
3. A willingness to use your passions to purify (flying into the sun) and to use your abilities even if it means being scorched a little.
4. A willingness to seek out the true emotional aspects of oneself and immerse yourself within them, and by doing so rediscover the lost child and awaken a higher sense of purity, passion, creativity, healing and spirituality.
An examination of the individual characteristics and behaviors of the eagle will reveal even more of the medicine and power attunement will bring to you.
The feet of the eagle have four toes. Four is a traditional symbol for keeping oneself grounded and laying a solid foundation for oneself. Even with the eagle’s magnificent ability to fly, it stays connected to the earth. The talons of the eagle are meant to grasp and to hurt. This reflects the need to stay connected to grasp and utilize the things of the earth. Without and ability to grasp powerfully and utilize what it grasps, it will not survive.
The sharp beak is designed to cut, tear and crush. Eagle has strong jaw muscles. The jaw is important to digestion and speech with humans, but there is a difference with eagles. Although vocally the eagle is weak, its jaws are one of its most powerful muscles. For those with eagle totems, it will be important to know when to speak, how much, and how strongly. It will be important to remember that unless this is controlled, it will be very easy to inadvertently hurt someone with words (cutting, tearing and crushing).
For those with eagle totems, new vision will open. This vision will be far reaching to the past, within the present and to the future as well. The eyes of the eagle are set closer to the front of the head, and they have a 3-D or binocular vision, just like humans. They can see forward and sideways, and their vision is eight times greater than humans. Meditation on the number 8, especially its figure (or the symbol of infinity) will reveal much about the kind of vision that eagle can awaken.
The ears of the eagle are not visible, but it hears very well. It can hunt as much by ear as by sight. To those to whom eagle comes, the ability to hear—spiritually and physically—will also increase.
Many eagles mate for life. The male will collect the material for the nests, but the female will be the architect. These roles should be considered by anyone working with eagle medicine. The nests are always large and built high up for safety. Although the roles in the construction of the nests are separate, the task of feeding the young is shared by both, teaching the lesson of cooperative responsibility.
The mating ritual of the bald eagle is one of its most mystical and intriguing aspects. A powerful form of sky dancing occurs. The birds soar, loop and plunge into deep dives. At a certain point, they grab each other’s feet and lock talons, rolling and falling until the mating is completed. Then they separate and soar upwards to repeat the process over and over again. This reflects some of the mystical joy, danger, excitement and power of the sexual energy experienced by those with eagle medicine. It can open them to new heights and thrills.
The eagle is a true predator, and as with all predators, it helps to keep the world in balance. Predators capture the weak and the sick, helping to keep the natural world healthy by preventing the spread of disease. This healing role is one that will awaken in many forms for those working with eagle totems.
They have a powerful sense of energy conservation in their hunting. They will often perch and wait, biding their time through joyful soaring and aerial acrobatics—all the time using their great vision to let them know when to take flight and capture their prey. This sense of confident energy conservation will be necessary for those with eagle medicine to develop. They also are opportunists and they will let other birds do the hunting for them, often stealing the food from other birds or predators. Whenever eagle flies into one’s life, opportunities (even those thought long lost) always arise. Those with eagle totems must learn to see their opportunities and snatch them as they arise.
Eagles don’t always swoop down to kill. They have tremendous control over their powerful wings and they can glide slowly and silently down so that the prey does not hear them coming. They are also known to be able to stop their movement and just hover in the air for brief moments to make the strike more accurate. A new sense of timing and movement will begin to develop with those of eagle totems. You will learn to swoop, to soar, to dive, and to hover—to use the winds within your life and your own developing wings to ride them to your own benefit.
Large eagles don’t just kill with their beaks or talons. Some can hit their prey with great force—this alone being enough to stun or kill their prey. A bald eagle can strike with twice the force of a rifle bullet.* This reflects the primal force inherent and easily awakened in those with eagle medicine.
Eagles are symbols of great power, a power that goes beyond their actual size. An average bald eagle will weigh 8-10 pounds, about two pounds less than the average house cat.
To align oneself with eagle medicine is to take on the responsibility and the power of becoming so much more than you now appear to be. From a karmic aspect, it reflects that the events will now fly faster, and the repercussions for everything you think, do or say (or fail to think, do or say)—positive and negative—will be both stronger and quicker. To accept the eagle as a totem is to accept a powerful new dimension to life, and a heightened responsibility for your spiritual growth. But only through doing so do you learn how to move between worlds, touch all life with healing, and become the mediator and the bearer of new creative force within the world.
*Wexo, John Bonnett. Eagles—Zoo Books (San Diego: Wildlife Education, Ltd., 1988), p. 12.
The word “Medicine” used here represents what the being teaches from all directions. Native Americans and Shamans call it medicine as it truly is!
Red Hawk an EAGLE ... and a snake eater ... WOW!!! Now that makes sense to me :-)