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4 Animals That Had Spiritual Meanings Throughout History

If you are an animal lover, you don’t need us to tell you how sacred and special they are. No matter if you keep animals as pets or not, you will know that the bond humans share with animals is so special – almost too special to put into words. 

Although animal rights movements are becoming more and more popular in the modern age, our special relationship with certain animals goes back before records began. In this post we will tell you about five animals that have had spiritual meanings throughout history!

Are you ready for an educational deep-dive into the spiritual meanings behind these 4 beasts? Let’s get started!

1. The Cow

The sacrality of the cow in Hindu culture has been well documented since the birth of this ancient religion. For thousands of years, the humble cow has been a venerated symbol in Hindu culture, and these animals have been widely protected across India in particular due to their sacred symbolism in the Hindu religion. 

Why are cows seen as sacred in Hinduism? The cow is a symbol of all animal life, and in Hinduism, all animals are believed to have souls as valuable as the soul of a human. 

The spiritual significance of the cow means that cows are often left to wander the streets, particularly in India. In the modern day, many people are campaigning for laws to be put in place to be able to stop cows from having such free reign. However, religious activists hold firm that the sacrality of the cow must remain in place.


2. The Horse

Horses have been an enormous part of the development of human society. Horses have allowed us to fight wars, build huge monuments, travel long distances and maintain status throughout history and all over the world. Before machinery, horses were the driving force behind industrialization.

But for many cultures, the horse symbolizes more than just the ability to build and conquer. The Chinese believe that the symbol of the horse in the Chinese zodiac means courage, dexterity and strength. In the Bible, the horse is a representative of war, status and power.

Across many cultures around the world, the horse has been the most powerful symbol when it comes to conquering others. This may surprise you, as horses are such peaceful, intuitive animals.


3. The Dog

Ah, the humble dog. Man’s best friend. For generations now, dogs have been domesticated and made into companions for human families. They are loved and cherished by millions of people around the world. But what do dogs symbolize in a spiritual sense?

For the Ancient Egyptians, the dog was a representative of the canine deity, Osiris. Before Osiris, there was Anubis, who was also a deity who represented death. Dogs were seen as symbols of death and afterlife in this ancient culture. 

In a more general sense, the dog has been heralded throughout history as a powerful symbol of love and loyalty. Dogs are the ultimate protectors of their pack, and this has been used to symbolize togetherness and unity in the human world. 


4. The Rabbit

You might not have known this until now, but the world-famous rabbit has many spiritual ties across multiple cultures. 

The tiny rabbit has a mighty presence in Native American, Chinese and Biblical histories. For the Native American people, the rabbit – a prey animal with sharp intuition and quick reflexes – was a spiritual guide that often represented fertility. Although the rabbit isn’t a powerful animal, it is a friendly, quiet animal that Native American people looked to for peace and guidance.

For the Chinese, the rabbit is heavily connected with the moon, being a nocturnal animal. Its quick senses and smartness in avoiding predators has been heralded throughout Chinese history as a symbol of good fortune and self protection in the face of difficulty. 

Of course, the rabbit has huge significance in Christianity, too. The modern day Easter Bunny, used to help children learn the story of the death of Christ and His resurrection, goes back to the use of the rabbit as a symbol of patience and resilience. The rabbit represents those who waited patiently for their leader, Jesus Christ, to rise again after his death. 

All around the world, the rabbit has come to represent quick-wittedness, cleverness and prosperity. 


To sum up…

As our relationship to animals evolves over the years, it is useful to look back and take stock in how far we have come. Animals mean so much to humankind, it’s important to remember it once in a while!

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