Freedom and Dignity
The eagle has long been a symbol of dominance, freedom, and dignity. Catching sight of one of these majestic birds is always a special treat. It may also have a deeper meaning for you. Learn more about how you can understand your encounters with eagles.
What are Eagles?
Eagles are raptors, also known as “birds of prey.” This means that the eagle hunts animals that are close to its own size. The eagle is willing to take on the challenge of these hunts because of its ability to fly, hone in on prey, and grasping it with its talons before finishing it off with its sharp beak.
There are many different species of eagle and four of them, including the bald eagle and the golden eagle, are native to North America. The bald eagle is the official bird of the United States.
Our Connection to the Great Spirit
In some Native American cultures, the eagle is the King of the Sky. He travels effortlessly between land and sky, soaring high above the clouds. He creates a seamless and direct pathway between us in the physical world and the Great Spirit (God, the Universe, or Source). So what does it mean when you see an eagle in the sky? Let’s dive deep into eagle symbolism!
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Symbolically, the eagle rides on the winds of change, telling us that it’s time to gather all of our strength, courage, patience, and wisdom in preparation for life changes and transformations. He tells us to be courageous and to reach beyond previous limits. He challenges us to match his great vision (the eagle eye) and see objectives clearly from all sides. And, he reminds us that when change is imminent there are only two choices: to be the eagle or become its prey. In other words, adapt to change or let it consume you.
The eagle is a messenger, delivering messages to and from Spirit. So while an eagle sighting may be a message to you, it may also be an affirmation. Do you ever ask for a sign that your prayers and wishes have been heard? An eagle sighting is a confirmation that they have. If you have asked for spiritual guidance, the eagle is your direct connection to the powers that be. The eagle comes with a very clear message that things are indeed about to change and the time to be ready is now.
Vision, Strength, and Fearlessness
To connect with true change and transformation, we must adopt the eagle’s qualities of incredible vision, strength, and fearlessness. He is instinctive and alert. At a moment’s notice, he is ready to spread his wings and take flight. From his vantage point in the sky, he has a unique perspective, yet he also has the ability to remain grounded. These are only some of the qualities that certainly make him a unique symbol of change and adaptability.
Eagle as Spirit Animal
All animals (land, sea, and air) have profound meanings and messages to give us. Of those, no other animal in religion, history, mythology, and shamanism has symbolized power and/or a connection to Spirit more than the eagle.
Dreams and Higher Consciousness
Birds as air totems relate to our dreams and our higher consciousness—to think and imagine beyond constraints. The meanings in the messages we receive from animals can come in part from our individual connections with those animals, our personal beliefs, the animal’s physical attributes and behaviors, and even a bit of ancient history and lore. What they mean to each of us is quite personal. Therefore, when it comes to eagle symbolism, it’s up to each of us to translate the message and apply it to our own life if and as we choose.
Eagle Symbolism in Culture and Religion
The eagle’s impressive qualities such as courage, vision, focus, and fierce determination, not to mention his physical attributes are likely what put him at the forefront of so many cultures and religious beliefs throughout time. The eagle is an important symbol in history. His likeness has adorned flags and statuary dating back to ancient Babylon, Rome, Greece, the Aztecs, and the Mayans, along with many other cultures. In the United States, the bald eagle symbolizes freedom.
The eagle is part of many spiritual beliefs, and holds many different meanings among varying Native American tribes. Preparing for battle often included the adorning of headdresses with eagle feathers. Eagle feathers were often as valuable as the eagle itself. They were usually worn by chiefs, extraordinary warriors, and shamans, imbuing the wearer with eagle qualities.
In many cultures, the eagle has been associated with the sun, the sun bird, also known as the Phoenix, and even a Persian sun god. In astrology, the sign of Scorpio has been a scorpion, a phoenix, and an eagle; Scorpios are known for their piercing eyes. Many of the creation stories and tales from history also connect the eagle to water. With his connection to Water, Fire, Air and spiritual Source, it’s as though the eagle represents all of the elements of a well-balanced life.
While many traditions depict the eagle’s energy as masculine, there are also many that place a distinct feminine power upon the eagle. Most of these traditions represent the balance of energies between the earth and sky, life and the afterlife, day and night, and of course, masculine and feminine qualities.
In Norse mythology, there is an eagle perched on the top of the world tree, Yggdrasil. A squirrel, named Ratatoskr carries messages between this eagle and the serpent-dragon who lives at the bottom of this tree. An eagle sighting may point you towards the need to “get on top of things,” keeping an eye out for trouble or opportunity while also communicating with others who are in different positions and who have different perspectives.
The Eagle as a Symbol of Balance
If you have an eagle sighting, Spirit may be calling upon you to take the peace and balance you seek in life and find it first and foremost within yourself. And if you ever ask for guidance, an eagle sighting is your confirmation that Spirit is listening. It’s also the reassurance that you’re never alone. Spirit is always guiding you.
If you’re interested in our other animal sighting articles, you can find them here.
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