Symbolic Meaning of the Dolphin
This page on the dolphin meaning comes in response to an overwhelming series of impressions I’ve gotten from the dolphin. They’re everywhere!
From earrings, to movies. Wallpaper to conversations. Dolphins keep swimming in my awareness at every turn. That means it’s time to swim along!
Considered the “king of fish” by many ancient cultures, dolphin meaning is closely associated with kingly qualities. Not the dominating kind. Observe the dolphin for any length of time and you know if dolphins ruled the world they would be gracious in their reign.
And that is the core theme to dolphin meanings. Grace.
A quick-list of symbolic dolphin meaning includes…
Quick-List of Symbolic Dolphin Meanings
Christian symbolism conveys the dolphin as an aspect of Christ. Dolphins seen in Christian art are symbolic of resurrection. Some artists utilize the protective, stabilizing, compassionate demeanor of the dolphin as a message of wellbeing to the pure of heart. Some artistic renditions speak of dolphins transporting the spirits of the faithful to Christ’s side upon leaving their physical bodies.
This dolphin meaning is mimicked in ancient Greece where legend tells us the dolphin was responsible for carrying the souls of the dead to the Islands of the Blessed.
Also in Greece, the dolphin is a compatriot of both the god Apollo (sun) and the goddess Aphrodite (moon). Both lunar symbolism and solar symbolism are represented in the dolphin.
Luminary Dolphin Meaning
- Sun Dolphin Meanings:
Active, Life, Vibrant, Health, Renewal, Intelligence
- Moon Dolphin Meaning:
Hidden power, Intuition, Dreams, Conception, Feminine
This is a key understanding because the dolphin meaning is connected with themes of duality. It has to do with the dolphin being both fish and mammal. It is both of the water, and an air breather. Ergo, dolphin symbolism talks to us about “being in two worlds at once.” Indeed, the dolphin is a great conveyor of the concept of yin and yang.
Along with the divine Apollo sun and Aphrodite moon associations, other deities associated with the dolphin include:
Dolphin Deity Associations
- Poseidon (Greek), Neptune (Roman):
Themes of kingship, rulership, authority, strength, dominion, freedom, intelligence, compassion and fatherly protection over the entire kingdom (sea).
- Eros (Greek), Cupid (Roman):
These gods contribute dolphin meaning of: Love, friendliness, playfulness, sensuality, desire, exploration, curiosity, attraction and joy.
- Dionysus (Greek), Bacchus (Roman):
These deities underscore the dolphins ability to uplift, and carries themes of joviality, freedom, wildness, abandon, creative self-expression.
Greek myth indicates Dionysus was known to turn himself into a dolphin and transported the shrine at Delphi where the cult of dolphin worshippers convened.
The term delphi is noteworthy as the Greek word for dolphin is delphis and its derivative, delphys means womb. This incorporates more lunar and feminine attributes to the dolphin scene.
In Celtic animal symbolism, the dolphin as a highly honored creature as it was seen as the protector of sacred wells and sacred water. The dolphin, to the Celtic mind, is the watcher of the waters, and the guardians of all things water-associated.
Pirate lore also hails the dolphin as a symbol of protection. Indeed, legend admits dolphin sightings were often exaggerated into incredibly fantasies of mermaids. Sailors often understood the spirit of mermaids lived in the heart of the dolphin, and ancient stories of the sea refer to dolphins metamorphosing into beautify sea maidens (and mermaids) if seen under just the right conditions.
Whether this is true or not remains to be confirmed. What is true is countless tales of dolphins interacting with humans in friendly, even protective ways. This colors the dolphin meaning in hues of compassion, caring, community and generous spirit in reaching out to connect with another species.
I hope you have enjoyed these thoughts on dolphin meaning and dolphin symbolism.
Get more information about Dolphin meaning on my Dolphin Meaning for Tattoos here.
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What’s cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, “Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder.”
Having said that, it’s in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I’ve got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It’s a language that is universal and everywhere. It’s super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!