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

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Unicorn mythical creature has deep significance and magical representation. If you have been wondering what does a unicorn symbolize, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we will discuss all aspects of Unicorn symbolism and unicorn symbology across cultures so you can decipher exactly what seeing a unicorn meaning represents in your life.

Table of contents

Unicorn symbolism and meaning

The meaning of unicorn symbol is magic, mystery, romance, and positivity. The unicorn is sometimes depicted with a parrot on its back, the unicorn typifying dumb justice, and the parrot the vociferous advocate of truth. 

The early Christians adopted the unicorn as a symbol of chastity and it was thus given to St. Justina. The unicorn is the most ambiguous and poetic of all beasts of fable. Some of its meanings include chastity, purity, power, and virtue. 

It is a courtly symbol of sublimated desire and a Christian symbol of the Incarnation. Many people wonder did unicorns exist? For centuries, these mythical creatures have eluded mankind. 

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They have been mentioned in the Old Testament and movies and children’s books and cartoon series have depicted them in mysterious ways, thereby increasing the curiosity surrounding them. 

In Medieval Times, it was believed that people traded unicorn parts. Travelers often report sightings of this magical creature. However, the turn of the 20th Century had scientists declaring that unicorns have never existed. 

Some experts who have written books about these elusive animals beg to differ. They have a strong conviction that Unicorns exist. Traces of the unicorns’ traits and characteristics are present in many animals today, adding to the mystery surrounding this iconic animal.

Unicorn Native American symbolism

Native Americans believed that the unicorn was fierce and powerful and represented a creative masculine unicorn spirit that only a virgin could tame. 

Unicorn cave paintings have been found in Native American settlements and caves and the elders also told stories and unicorn legends. Mythological unicorns and unicorn symbols were often found with symbols of lions, eagles, and dragons. 

As stated earlier, the Native elders believed the unicorn was the penetrating force of the masculine spirit and represented male vitality. In the Old Testament, the virgin tamed this beast and then betrayed him by delivering it to the human hunters. 

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It is believed that Marco Polo, on his travels, saw unicorns. However, some experts believe that he might have been told of the mythical creature by Native Americans. 

Some even say that he might have seen rhinoceros in Java and mistaken them for unicorns. In any case, here was his description of the creatures: ‘slightly smaller than elephants, with a single large horn in the center of their head.’ 

He then made some unflattering remarks about unicorns, but despite these remarks, visitors to the North American Continents still tried to find these magical animals. Some visitors even claimed to have seen the unicorn and also heard about them from the Native Indians. (1)

Unicorn Eastern Symbolism

Much of the Eastern symbolism of unicorn is linked with the Chinese unicorn (qilin pronounced cheeleen), as this inspired all the later myths. Earlier, people believed the Chinese one-horned goat-like female beast Zhi (pronounced Jhuhr). 

Many experts tried to find animals that may have inspired the unicorn’s legend. Chinese unicorn or Zhi became the symbol of justice in China – after all, like a longing for this mythical creature, man always longs for ideal justice.  

The myth of the Unicorn in the East thus originated in China and spread to other parts of Asia. Jeannie Thomas Parker, the author of The Mythic Chinese Unicorn (2), believes that the unicorn symbol cannot be universal. 

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After all, this is a magical creature capable of endless transformations. That is why, in different times and different places, the images of unicorn have varied. 

The author goes on to state that through her research, she found that the Chinese Unicorn Zhi’s essential symbolism of impartial justice, fate, and good fortune, as well as protection against evil, must not be forgotten. White unicorn figurines are often gifted in China. 

This is because white is the ultimate symbol of innocence, purity, immortality, and incorruptibility in China. The unicorn symbol may have also later inspired the two rhinoceros horn cup symbolism, which is the ultimate symbol of longevity and good fortune.

Unicorn Christianity symbolism

The word unicorn comes from Latin Unus, meaning one and cornus, meaning horn. In the Old Testament, the unicorn was a masculine spirit that could only be captured by a virgin such as Mary. 

As soon as the unicorn sees a virgin, it lays its head on her lap and falls asleep. This image is said to represent Christ’s Incarnation. The use of Unicorn sign in Art is often based on this interpretation. (3

By the third century, the unicorn was adopted by the Christian world, not merely as a remarkable animal that had been described by pagan writers and endorsed by the Bible, but as a symbol of Christ. 

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The King James Bible mentions the Unicorn; thus: God brought them out of Egypt he hath as it were the strength of a unicorn (Num 23:22). There is power, majesty, and exaltation in the Unicorn of the Old Testament. 

St. Basil – the father of Eastern Church, developed the unicorn symbolism at length. He says in part that Christ be known as the Son of Unicorn for, as we have learned in Job, the Unicorn is irresistible in might and unsubjected to man. 

He further adds that unicorn horn symbolism means glory, power, and salvation. Christ being the Power of God, must be called Unicorn on Ground that he has one horn – that is one common power with the Father.

Unicorn Celtic symbolism

The magical, mythical unicorn had an important symbolic meaning to the Celtic people of Europe. The Celts were European people who originated around 400 BCE and lived around the Rhine River in Central Europe. 

They later spread to different parts of Europe, including Ireland, the UK, and Western Europe. The magical, mythical unicorn held special importance to the Celts. 

To them, things associated with unicorns include virtues of purity, innocence, endurance, gentleness, fertility, and was also linked to nature, dreams, and magic. They believed that the unicorn could take one look at a person and know his heart and whether they were virtuous.

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Celts were spiritual people that believed in magic.  They also believed that the world of humans was connected to those of animals as well as that of magical beings like elves, fairies, goblins, and unicorns. 

The Celtic alphabet comprises images and symbols rather than alphabets. They even had unique astrological signs. They believe the Unicorn should have a zodiac sign: born between July 4th and August 8th. 

Today, these people are considered to be born under Cancer Zodiac and, like the unicorn, they are intelligent, loyal, kind, of service to others, and natural caregivers with a generous spirit. (4)

Unicorn African symbolism

In Africa, the unicorn symbolizes the rank of princes and emperors and among certain tribes, it was worshiped as a symbol of the sun. 

African tribes believed that the elusive creature had a hybrid-make with the body of a horse, a horn of a rhinoceros, legs of an antelope, and tail of a lion. They believed that the unicorn also incorporated the traits and characteristics of all these animals. 

The unicorn’s magical asset was its horn – a single structure that grew out of the animal’s forehead as a symbol of extreme magical power. They also believed that catching a unicorn could grant you your wish – whatever your heart desired. 

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The base of the horn is pure white, the middle is gold and black, and the tip is vivid crimson. Many tribes believe that the unicorn can only be captured by someone with the purest heart by means of innocent repetitiveness.  

This is in reference to the spiritual Hidden Self and the Human Self. (5) The 1886 book Mythological Monsters claims that in South Africa, there is a horse ‘extremely fleet and strong, with a single horn measuring 2-2 ½ feet projecting from the horse’s forehead. 

It is flexible; this horn can curls up when the creature sleeps. It can become hard and stiff under the excitement of unicorn wrath. It is fierce and invariably attacks a man when it discerns him’.

Unicorn in dreams

Unicorn in dreams means lust, idealized love, and mystery. Dreaming of unicorns is seen as a very positive sign. Unicorn dreams are associated with purity, magical consciousness, and union of the divine and animal (physical) nature. 

Dream analysts believe that when you dream of unicorns, it is a subconscious message to ask yourself: Where is my life? Am I ready to align my physical nature with my spiritual nature? 

When one dreams of unicorns, it is like meeting these mystical and magical creatures on a spiritual plane. This is a sign that they are already working with you. 

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When unicorns appear to you in dreams or during meditation, they are giving you unicorn medicine and healing and also recruiting you to join them in their mission of raising human consciousness – one person at a time. 

Unicorn in dreams meaning is to show you that we are all on this planet to express and understand Divine Love in our own ways. 

When a unicorn lets you sit on its back, it is an invitation to experience freedom, faith, and love that comes with being with Source Energy.  

Unicorns are free and they never like being bound, so they only let special people with pure souls ride on their backs. This immense honor should not be taken for granted. (6)

Unicorn encounters and omens

The Chinese considered the Unicorns creatures of good omen. Given the phallic symbolism, the unicorn’s horn was also considered an aphrodisiac or cure for impotence. 

Travelers throughout the ages frequently claimed to encounter utopian or perfect societies with unicorns. Unicorns symbolize divine love, grace, beauty, gentleness, and purity. 

Only a truly pure soul can see the unicorn. In China, it was considered one of the four superior animals of good omen, the others being the phoenix, the tortoise, and the dragon. 

It is said that the unicorn of China only appeared to humans to foretell good times (a belief some say accounts for it not being seen for several hundred years). 

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Cups made from the unicorn’s horn were able to neutralize any poison. Five millennia ago, a unicorn appeared to Emperor Fu Xi of China and gave him the gift of the written language. 

Confucius’ mother is believed to have met one before the birth of her son. The gentle creature laid its head in her lap and told her that her son would have great wisdom. At the end of Confucius’s life, he saw the same unicorn again. 

Genghis Khan saw a unicorn when he was about to invade Hindustan. The creature bowed his head 3 times. Khan was perplexed and took this as an omen not to attack the Land of the Buddha. (7)

Unicorn mythology and folklore

Of all the animals, the unicorn mythology is the one that has the greatest hold on our imagination. Prehistoric cave paintings of the mythical creatures have existed for nearly 15000 years. 

Alexander The Great claimed to have ridden one and the British Queen Elizabeth is said to have owned two unicorn horns that cost about $20 million today. Heroes have always admired the unicorns’ beauty, grace, gentleness, power, and majesty. 

However, they only get trapped if they allow it and they are known to lay their head on a virgin’s lap and also allow children to pet them. In Christian belief, the virgin is Mother Mary, so the unicorn is a symbol of Christ Himself. 

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Many explorers, adventurers, scientists, and anthropologists have tried to search for this elusive creature across the plains of Africa. No wonder this beautiful and graceful creature has inspired so many stories and legends. 

Today, a search for books on Amazon will yield no less than 15000 entries. There are dozens of movies and TV shows present about them. In Chinese folklore, the one-horned animal called Zhi – that had psychic powers – might have been the unicorn. 

According to Scottish folklore, the unicorn combines the body and swiftness of a horse, the tusk and fierceness of a boar, and the tail and power of a lion. (8)

Unicorn spirit animal

Unicorn spirit animal belongs to someone of exquisite beauty. The old adage: a herd of unicorns is the greatest blessing’ is very true. If a unicorn is your spirit animal, you are blessed. 

It means you are spiritually powerful and truly an enlightened person. For a unicorn chooses only those that it deems worthy. It is a good omen to have unicorn dreams, for he brings you good luck and blessings. 

Your material and financial troubles will soon be over, for the unicorn brings with its ‘horn’ of plenty or cornucopia. Your life will be filled with inexhaustible riches. 

You will also radiate good looks from your Inner Beauty. If a unicorn shows up as your spirit animal, you must start creative pursuits and hobbies that you have so far suppressed. 

Pay special attention to the signs and symbols around you, for it is said that when unicorns visit you, you might also be visited by fairies and other magical creatures. Let go of doubts and disbeliefs. 

Start believing in unicorn medicine. You have magic inside you and you can easily manifest your desires and dreams with ease. Just remain faithful and believe that your unicorn spirit guide is always looking out for you. (9)

Unicorn totem animal

People with unicorn totem animal are pure of heart. They are innocent, gentle, graceful, and beautiful inside and out. The unicorn totem is your spirit guide and mentors for your time on earth. 

Welcome this beautiful and gentle spirit with an open heart. You will know that the unicorn is your totem if you feel drawn to this majestic and mystical creature. 

Perhaps you dream of unicorns or might constantly chance upon them in movies, TV shows, or in books. 

You will feel a connection with the unicorn. If you are a meditator, you will also see this beautiful creature in different astral planes and in various states of consciousness. 

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Each time you are in distress, close your eyes and imagine you are sitting on the back of your unicorn and this gorgeous creature is taking you away into the Higher Realms. 

You can even astral project and take away your mind and attention from your physical discomforts and a unicorn totem will help you do so. This way, your physical body can undergo anything that comes its way, but your mind and spirit will be free. 

The traits associated with the unicorn totem are power, maternal instinct, innocence, new and ancient wisdom, leadership, and protector of loved ones. Be reassured when Unicorn calls you. This is a highly honored totem animal spirit. (10)

Unicorn power animal

Unicorn power animal shows up if you are an exceptionally gifted, spiritually evolved, beautiful, gentle soul. You are already on the spiritual path and the power animal may just be there to take you the rest of the way. 

You have felt incredibly connected to this beautiful and magical animal. May be you have been suppressing some talents, artistic and creative pursuits – the unicorn may be asking you to take these up again. 

The unicorn power animal is also asking you to pay attention to signs from your angels, fairies, and sprites. You might see coins, feathers, and other unicorn symbols around you. 

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Have fun, the unicorn is telling you! Let go of doubts, responsibilities, and worries for a while! Suspend all disbelief and know you are loved by the spirits and the Divine. You will soon meet some gifted children that have artistic and creative talents. 

They will astonish you and you can even learn something from them. Call on the unicorn power animal when you are starting a creative/artistic project but are feeling self-doubt or anxiety. 

Call on this guide if you have a gifted child or a talented offspring or if you are feeling doubtful and stuck and wish to experience the magic all over again. (11)

Unicorn tattoo meaning

Lady Gaga has a tattoo of a unicorn head with a banner that says “Born This Way” wrapped around it to symbolize she can find meaning in situations, experiences, and interactions and to turn that meaning into visuals. 

Unicorn tattoo symbolizes purity, gentleness, love, magic, talent, creativity, artistic nature, innocence, virginity, romance, ancient wisdom, spiritual ascension, and healing. 

White unicorn symbolism stands for goodness, purity, fairness, blessing, and good luck. It can be a reminder to you to focus on the magic. 

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A unicorn power animal, spirit animal, unicorn totem all means one thing: that there are divinity and magic within each of us. 

We should focus on that magic instead of seeking material pleasures. On the other hand, a black unicorn is “greedy,” “impatient,” and “mistaken/ for a shadow/ or the opposite of a white unicorn. 

Depending on the way it is portrayed, the black unicorn tattoo can also stand for mystery, illusion, and suspense. In both cases, the unicorn tattoo has become a symbol of freedom and power. Some people also opt for tattoos of knights sitting on unicorns. 

These represent freedom, strength, power, valor, bravery, and even chivalry and loyalty. As can be seen, different unicorn tattoos have different meanings. So choose wisely after discussing with your artist.

Conclusion

The unicorn symbolism is linked to purity, freedom, gentleness, virginity, innocence, divinity, and magic. Christians believe that the unicorn symbol is that of Christ and Mother Mary themselves. Seeing unicorns in dreams is inevitably a sign of good luck, happiness, and a positive omen. We hope this guide helps you decipher the unicorn meaning in your life.

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