Hawk Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)

Hawk symbolism is different to different people because it depends upon the situation of the individual and also the context in which the hawk appears in that individual’s life. 

Perhaps you have come to this site after seeing a hawk or have been dreaming about it. Perhaps you are inquisitive about the hawk feather meaning. Whatever the case may be, this guide will help you understand different aspects of hawk symbolism.

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Hawk symbolism and meaning

Wondering what does it mean when you see a hawk? A hawk is representative of God Horus, who happens to be the Sky God in Egyptian mythology. In The Osage and the Invisible World: From the Works of Francis la Flesche, a black hawk represents the night.

Flesche talks extensively about hawks in his poem Rattle Song. In fact, the entire work is on hawks. He talks first about the black hawks, which is greater than the red hawk and because ‘out of the night proceed the mysteries of the night.’ 

The red tail hawk symbolism, on the other hand, typifies the glorious color of a luminous day. The two hawks thus represent the force of the night and the force of the day, which are symbolic of the endless recurrent movement of life. The Rattle Song also talks about the grey hawk and the little hawk, which are also cosmic symbols.

The hawk is as courageous a bird as the eagle. Therefore, hawks represent the strength and courage of the warriors. In fact, compared to the eagle, the hawk is swifter and attacks its prey in a more decisive manner. 

In Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small by Ted Andrews, hawk and owl feathers can be used for astral projection and achieving control over the dream state. A red-tailed hawk feather is often tied between two owl feathers to consciously control one’s dream scenarios during sleep.

Hawk Native American symbolism

According to Native Americans, hawks are guardians, as well as messengers from our ancestors. (1) The Native Chiefs always relied upon hawks to protect them through trying times, mostly as messengers of warning. 

Hawks are gatekeepers of the East and they represent honesty and clear vision. Hawks are reliable warriors of truth. A hawk crying overhead may be a warning, while one dive-bombing is seen as a challenge. 

If you often see a shadow of a hawk passing you, it means you may be in danger. If the bird sits on a low branch and simply stares at you, it could mean the death of a close friend. Sometimes, a hawk may fly over your head to simply check up on you. 

As per Native American shamans, the red tailed hawk symbol with its sharp, eagle-like whistle indicates ‘that you should clear your mind.’ If you keep seeing a hawk with white feathers, something very sacred is about to take place, and the Creator is giving you a message that a miracle is on the way. 

In short: hawks are viewed as messengers by the Native Americans. They could bring messages from deities, deceased ancestors, benevolent guides, etc. Although these messages can sometimes be negative omens, hawks and their feathers deserve respect.

Hawk Christianity symbolism

The biblical meaning of hawk sightings is also a message from God. The Hebrew root word Naz for Hawk and falcons signifies rapidity and the length of flight these birds are capable of. 

Falcons and hawks are both represented by this word and the meaning for both are ‘birds of prey,’ ‘cruel in a temper’, and ‘gross in the manner.’ As a result, hawks are forbidden from being eaten. Israelites do not eat hawks and other birds of prey.

The Greeks consecrated the Hawks to Apollo, but the Egyptians held the hawks and ibis in high veneration. In Christianity, hawks are birds of passage, and in Job xxxix, hawks and other birds of passage are praised for their abilities to tell time, season, know when to fly away to another region or country, etc. 

‘Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom?’ Thus, the meaning of the passage is that: hawks migration is not conducted by the wisdom and prudence of man but by the superintending and upholding of a wise God.

On the sacred Pylon at Diospolis, there is a boy-symbol of generation, an old man as the symbol of decay, and a hawk as a symbol of God. In the procession of Gods, they carry two images: two dogs, one ibis, and a hawk. The dogs symbolize the two hemispheres, the hawk, the sun, and the ibis-the moon.

Hawk Celtic symbolism

According to Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Names for Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Druids, the word hawk is derived from heafoc or the root word hab or haf, which means ‘to seize.’ Hawk is used generically by Llewellyn to represent any bird of prey that hunts by day. In terms of symbolism among Celts and Irish, falcons and hawks are used interchangeably.

Famed for their sharp-eyesight, hawk symbolism Celtic representation is clear-sightedness and perspicacity. The sport of capturing falcons and hawks known as falconry was a pastime of the aristocracy. 

It dates back to the end of the Roman period, contributing to the association of nobility/aristocracy with hawks. Since hawks also have a natural pride and aloof demeanor, the symbolism of hawk is also pride.

Hawks are considered to be cruel and ruthless, too, based on the way they capture their prey. This makes hawks become symbols of pitilessness and cruelty.

Many Celtic mythological takes and folklore mention the hawks. The hero Finn – meaning fair one- could bring down the hawk with a single shot. Some characters also get magically transformed into sparrow-hawks. 

The hero Gawain mentioned in the Legend of Arthur (whose very name contains the word gwalch that means hawk) sets off in search of the Holy Grail.

Hawk in dreams

To dream of a hawk means a sign of business losses. It also means not to speculate just now. It means a ‘get rich.

Pay close attention to your encounters with hawks in real life and in dreams. It is even more important to stay close to nature and watch out for animal and bird omens during insecure times. 

You might get several visits from hawks in dreams when you are going through terrible times. A hawk might circle your house or even fly into your windshield while driving. 

You might even see several hawks circling, meaning they are answers to the conflicts you may be facing. It certainly means a sense of blessing and affirmations. 

If you see a hawk in your dreams, it means you should think of it as a divine blessing. Invite supportive presence in your meditations and a hawk will show itself in your dreams and in real life as well.

In Arabic culture (2), dreaming of being chased by a hawk means that a brave man is angry with you. The hawk also means two things as per Islamic traditions: an honorable sultan or a stupid boy.

Hawk encounters and omens

A hawk facing you with its white breast in full view is a good omen. But, if a hawk shows you its back, it is a bad omen. Traditionally too, omens were carefully analyzed before wars. A hawk facing the opposite direction spelled sure defeat. (3)

A hawk flying symbolizes freedom. It is a divine messenger. Seeing a hawk means you are protected. Seeing hawks all the time means you are getting a flow of ideas like a hawk does while it is flying on the wind. 

A hawk is a wonderful symbol of freedom and flight. The meaning of seeing a hawk symbolizes a creative being. Encountering a hawk means you should let your creative spirit flow. It can be through music or poetry or other creative talents.

The Latin word for hawks is Accipitridae – which is to ‘seize.’ A hawk has excellent eyesight. It can see its prey from miles above, swoop down upon it, and seize it. The word hawk itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word hafoc, which means to hurry.

Hawk omen asks you to get in touch with your wild nature. It also denotes taking a broader perspective on things. It asks you to step back and not let emotions overwhelm you.

Hawks' mythology and folklore

In Zoological Mythology or The Legends of Animals, Volume 2, Angelo De Gubernatis states that hawks are divine creatures in opposition to all that is diabolical. (4)

In Norse mythology, hawks are not only birds of prey but also the messengers of Gods. They were often kept as pets by royalty and accompanied them on hunts. 

The hawks acted as ‘sharp-eyed messengers’ and informants for Gods and also represented death. In many legends, they preceded their master’s arrival and signaled the nobleman’s family about the master’s return from hunting trips or wars. (5)

In Hindu mythology, the hawk is considered as the protector of women. In Ramayana, the story of Lord Rama, who goes to Lanka in search of his wife kidnapped by Ravana, the demon King, Jatayu hawk, plays the messenger. 

Jatayu informs Rama about his wife’s location. Ravana chops off the bird’s wing and as he lays there dying, he saves his last ounce of strength to relay the message to Lord Rama.

In Greek mythology, hawks served as Apollo’s messengers. According to the Greeks, if you have been wondering why do I always see a hawk, the answer could be that you need to remind yourself of your wilder nature. (6)

Hawk spirit animal

Spirit animal hawk means that you are focusing on too many details. It may be time to step back and get a larger perspective on the situation. It also means that you may be getting distracted by things and that you should eliminate distractions and stay as focused as possible.

Seeing a hawk meaning is to observe and study the situation. It may ask you to pay close attention to the situation as the Universe may relay an important message to you. Also, be prepared for attacks and get ready to defend yourself.

A hawk spirit guide is also telling you to stop trying to change people or situations and instead accept them as they are. You can call upon a hawk if you are feeling overwhelmed by emotions or are being criticized or physically assaulted. You can also call upon the hawk when your plans do not go as planned and you wish to raise your spirits.

If hawk spirit animal shows up, then you are a strong person, a leader, and a visionary who does not get easily affected. You are also very good at protecting your family and loved ones. Your insightful nature wins you many friends and followers. (7)

Hawk totem animal

Totem animals communicate to you Nature’s powerful messages. If a hawk is one of your totems, you must learn to watch out for these birds, for they may give you important messages from the Universe. If you are traveling, ask for hawk’s protection and vision to guide and assist you on the trip. The hawk will not fail you and you will need several as you travel along.

Hawk totem people also initiate and lead. But they are also known to be impulsive. A hawk totem person has important gifts to share with the world and one of them is the vision of a better and brighter future. If you are a hawk spirit animal yourself, you may want to seek out other visionaries to support you. (8)

Hawk totems can also send you other animal totems for helping you out. For example, hawks do not fly at night. So, if you are traveling at night, the hawk may send other totem animals like owls, deer, etc. to guide you. (9)

As a hawk totem, you may have to play the role of messenger. Sometimes, those messages may not be what other people wish to hear, but you have to nevertheless say those things and relay them, no matter what the consequences. This can be a challenge faced by hawk totems.

Hawk power animal

If a hawk turns up as your power animal, it has the following message for you: “You need a perspective. Don’t try to change people or situations. Fly away for a while and take a break. 

Take some time to just be. Sit up high on a rock or walk through the mountains- do whatever you can to maintain your spiritual perspective. That is when you are at your best”.

Call upon the hawk when emotions like anger, despair, hurt, etc. overwhelm you. Any situation wherein you feel that you have misplaced your faith and your perspective, the hawk can guide you.  

You can also call the hawk when you have intense mental activity, educational pursuit, or training where you need to maintain your vigil.

A person who has hawk as their power animal has heightened spiritual awareness. They are sensitive to emotional currents that are the ebb and flow of the human-kind. But these people can easily glide through these emotional currents. 

Hawk power animal means that one can see the bigger picture and has a broad perspective. They also have a keen ability to zero in on details. A person who expresses their power animal spirit can truly soar like the hawk. (10)

Hawk tattoo meaning

Hawk tattoos are very popular. Their popularity increased after movies like ‘Now You See Me,’ which depicts the Eye of the Horus since the hawk is representative of the Eye of Horus. (11

It is not uncommon in tattoo art to show a hawk perched on a glove or in the process of hunting.

Each tattoo has distinctive and evocative qualities that stimulate our imagination. A hawk tattoo is no different in that; it can mean different things to different people.

A hawk always observes before swooping down to take action or killing its prey. So a hawk tattoo is a reminder to think before you leap. Hawks also represent intelligence, prowess, and honor.

A hawk tattoo is trendy and timeless; it is representative of awakening one’s powers of mystical awareness. But its meaning can change from culture to culture, and also based on its style and colors used. 

For example, in some cultures, a hawk may represent balance, patience, and wisdom. In other cultures, it may represent evil and dangerous creature that preys upon the weaker animals or birds. 

So make sure you discuss your vision with your tattoo artist. Do your research and fully understand the hawk meaning and what exactly it represents.

Conclusion

What does it mean when a hawk crosses your path? A hawk has different spiritual meanings. It mainly means the Eye of Horus or a messenger from God or from our ancestors. Ancient tribes used this bird as a warning or omen for knowing the outcome of a situation, especially during wars. If you have seen a hawk, we hope this guide on hawk symbolism helps you gain clarity about its meaning.

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