Celtic Animal Symbols

Pets By understanding the meanings in animal symbols, we can adopt their best attributes into our own lives. The Celts tapped into the spirits of the animals that provided them with insights or qualities they desired. Let’s focus first on our most reliable domestic companions – the cat and the dog.

Celtic cat
By way of the Egyptians to the Romans – and from the Romans to the Celts – the symbolism of cats has been handed down from nation to nation. Overall, the cat represents the guardian of the Otherworld (or the Underworld). Unflappable, silent and mysterious, cats make the best guardians, because they keep secrets to themselves forever, as they gaze with guile upon the Underworld – a place that doesn’t truly understand the depth of their knowledge.

Astute, crafty and clever, felines are also a link to mystical realms. When they’re called upon, they can provide a variety of insights into more esoteric, ethereal knowledge.

In the Western tradition, black cats have been associated with witchcraft, and black can represent perils that lurk in our lives, particularly at night – so the black cat in particular is associated with transformation, just as nightfall shifts our perception of reality.

In Ancient Rome, the cat was sacred to Diana, the Goddess of the Moon. The cat was also considered a guardian of homes, and a symbol of domestic purity.

Celtic dog
The dog symbol has a ubiquitous and overarching meaning – loyalty is its primary asset. The canine is man – and woman’s – best friend, and the dog represents a bond of companionship between human and animal.

The dog was traditionally considered to be good luck, and therefore the canine was often used symbolically in Celtic décor, clothing and household goods. Some say that the dog symbol portends good health, and in fact recent scientific studies show that a dog’s companionship probably did help to keep illnesses away. Current research suggests that a number of diseases may be caused by – or aggravated by – loneliness and rejection, and the petting of dogs has proven beneficial in some clinical studies.

It’s also important to note that a Celt never hunted without a hound. Dogs were necessities. Necessities were highly regarded, and of course canines provide a different sort of companionship from what cats bring to the table. Because they are less aloof, their friendship is more fulfilling to many.

Which type of attribute do you need to bring into your life? Is there an animal symbol you like to have nearby, to absorb energy from? How does it help you to find balance in your life, or achieve your goals?

5 thoughts on “Celtic Animal Symbols

  1. Selene Remington

    I Had a very vivd dream the other night concerning a Kitten. It was stuck in the train crossing grate so I ran to save it as the train was coming and the dingers were down already, I got to him in time to save him and barely save myself, but then I turned around to look at where I had thrown him and there was a little boy standing there, I asked where the kitten I saved went and he said, you didnt save a kitten, you saved me, I was astounded and turned to look back at the track where the kitten had been, I said no, the kitten was stuck there and turned to the little boy again and it was a little girl and I said where is the little boy who said I saved hem go? And she said there is no little boy just me, who you saved. THen I woke up with a start.

    I suppose this dream was telling and showing me 2 children in which I had saved somehow in this world, or a previous life? Or some that I am too save? If anyone can interpret this dream, Please let me know? Thank you!

  2. rgryphe

    My Pep (written May 2002)
    My neighbors don’t know
    that when I vacuum the fur from my welcome mat
    I smile, happy that they still have their pets
    and I miss my precious boy.
    Even yesterday, I noticed a swelling
    in my wood floor
    where his water dish used to be
    and I caressed it
    Grateful for proof that he was here.
    It’s been eight months since I had to help him leave me
    to let him slip through my hands
    when all I wanted was to hold him
    and keep him here forever.

  3. Laurie

    My loving animal friend is Friskie. She is a cream-coloured minature poodle nearly 14 years young and she helps to keep me calm. I am going through a nasty divorce right now and she is always with me when the kids are visiting their dad or away at school. Her mate died a few years ago and I still miss him daily. When he died I woke up two days later and started to cry as soon as I realized, again, that Black Angel was gone. My husband, at the time, was annoyed at me. He said he was just a stupid dog and to get over it. This man cried over his mother dying for a long time and I never said his grief was over the top or lasted too long. How to know if a person has depth of feeling is to see how they are around you when you are suffering a loss. It was similar to when my mom died suddenly also. Although I was not responsible for her care at the time so there was not the feeling of guilt as well. I have loved all the dogs in my life and just wish they could live as long as we do.

  4. shirley robinson

    my name is shirley, i am 58 years young.and divorced, my children are grown with children of their own.now i have two horses ,two dogs, i love all of them ,but my favorite is my white guffin cockatoo. her name is tiki and she is my soul mate as far a animals go. she talks to me . im mamma to her. she sleeps with me everynite right up under my neck. she is potty trained on the bed and lets me know when she has to potty, waking me up at nite. she is one of the lovingest pets i have even owned and i have owned several. she also is my alarm clock at six oclock she will be wakeing me up . that is our getting up time. she is very funny with the things she does. she has riden a motorcycle, my horse. and a convertable car with the top down. gone to the beach with me but she doesnt care for the sand.she loves to ride in my truck and go to town or anywhere. she gets all excited when the grandkids come over and talked 90 to nothing. some things i understand and some things i dont. she laughts with us at girl parties she is the life of the party.my baby tiki bird who is going on four years. i got her when she was 5 weeks old and fed her with a seringe. i never knew a bird could have so much personality. dont let any one tell you that birds are dumb , no way they are beautiful. it take time to get that close relationship with them thank God i have it and i love it.

  5. Pixie

    Wow! Jen, you hit the nail on the head with each animal.
    I am a lover of all animals but I think dogs are a true necessity in my life. I am blessed with 4 at the present time, but I morn several that have passed on. I was blessed with how they
    touched and enriched my life.
    In my 30’s I was a single mother of 3 very active children. One of our family dogs was a young black Shar-Pei. Her name was Biscuit and we called her Huggie. She love all of us so much. She would jump on the trampoline with my children, not on all fours but upright on her two hind legs. She was a legend in our small town and the local newspaper took pictures of her antics and put her on the front page. Our house was a magnet for children and they all looked up to Biscuit. One of their favorite things she would do was take her washcloth that was hanging on a low rack in the bathroom, she brought it out to the living room and would lay it down and scoot her face across it to clean her face after eating.
    Biscuit was precious in more ways than her playfulness. She saved my son Tim, who was 9 years old from drowning. Biscuit went on an outing to the lake with us but did not like the water. My son was getting out a little farther than he should have and was headed for a current that was too strong for his weight. Biscuit and I jumped in the water at the same time and of course she reached him first. She got him by the seat of his trunks and pulled him toward the shore until I was able to reach him.
    When our house caught fire in the middle of the night when everyone was sleeping, she alerted us and dragged my son from his bed. We all made it out safely but Biscuit got smoke inhalation and ended up with pneumonia. We had several good years with her afterwards. She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and starting growing tumors on her skin. She passed away after a surgical procedure of a tumor removal. We had her for 13 years. We know she is still with us in spirit and she is forever in our hearts.


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