Pigeons and doves are very common in urban areas, so we generally do not pay much attention to these birds. However, their symbolism was great in old times and it still lives on.
These birds are present in literature, art, mythology, folktales, in various traditions, cultures and belief systems.
Doves and pigeons are birds, in the first place, and that greatly affects their symbolism.
Bird symbolism is abundant and strong; it varies depending on particular species, but all the birds share several symbolic meanings all over the world. Birds have always been associated with freedom and knowledge.
They carry secret messages on their wings, both good and bad omens.
Birds have always been associated with forces that exist on higher levels; sometimes they are related to heavens and divine power, other times with realms of darkness.
However, in all of the cases, birds have something to do with magic, mystery and energies beyond our comprehension.
For example, ravens are seen messengers of darkness and death; cardinals bring good luck and fortune, while white doves symbolize peace and harmony.
In this article, we will talk more about dove and pigeon symbolism, forgotten and neglected in our modern world.
Dove and pigeon symbolism and cultural significance
According to studies, doves and pigeons are some of the first birds domesticated. These birds live all over the planet and many people think they are the same species. Actually, there is a little difference between these two, but their symbolical interpretation is almost the same.
Probably many of you have thought doves are ‘female’ pigeons, a funny mistake commonly made, at least when you are young. However, doves and pigeons are two bird species, but that does not affect their spiritual significance almost at all.
Did you know that pigeons were domesticated birds in Ancient Egypt?
Egyptians appreciated these birds and thought of them as useful. They developed the practice of breeding pigeons, which was continued throughout the history and then spread to other parts of the world.
These birds have soon become symbols of many good things. Pigeon motifs are present in almost every single of the history’s greatest civilizations, traditions and religions, such as Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Phoenician culture, Hindu tradition, Far Eastern cultures, Christianity and so on.
Both pigeons and doves are associated with many ideas and concepts. The most common interpretation of their symbolism links these birds to ideas of peace, harmony, love, devotion, beatitude and piety.
A white dove always represents peace, tranquility, grace and freedom and it is the same for a white pigeon.
Even if they are of a common grayish, pigeon-blue color, they have similar symbolic meanings. In addition to these, there are other interpretations.
Let us discover and analyze those.
Feminine power, fertility and virginity
Pigeons and doves especially have been associated with concepts of femininity, grace, elegance and tenderness, since these two birds are both gentle and soft.
Not only doves are associated with femininity, but also with maternity and fertility; the same stands for female pigeons. In many of old belief systems and traditions, these birds were closely related to some of the most powerful female deities.
For example, Sumerian goddess Ishtar was often portrayed with a dove.
Phoenician goddess Astarte was often portrayed with a pigeon. Both of the goddesses are worshiped not only as beautiful deities, but also as mothers, embodiments of ideas of fertility, passion and love.
We have mentioned Egyptians loved and held pigeons; they also associated these birds with the concept of virginity. In various cultures, pigeons and doves were associated with life, longevity and vitality.
Prosperity, vitality and longevity
Pigeons symbolize life, longevity and renewal, at least in old traditions of Greece and Rome.
Some of the most famous goddesses from Ancient Greek and Roman pantheon, such as Aphrodite (Venus), were depicted with these birds. Pigeons were closely linked to these goddesses and used as a metaphorical motif for these deities. It was also believed pigeons bring fortune and good luck.
Therefore, it was always good to see a pigeon. Seeing a dove has the very same symbolism; if you see a white dove or a pigeon, your chances for lucky outcome or happy news are even better!
Doves and pigeons symbolize harmony, peace, safety, well-being, good health and prosperity.
Luck, transformation and hope
Many other traditions worship pigeons and doves as positive spirit animals. Hindi tradition associates pigeons with god of death, Yama, but not necessarily as a negative omen. To kill a pigeon or a dove is believed to be very unlucky.
In China, pigeons symbolize transformation and they are associated with the Chinese concept of yin and yang energy. Chinese associate birds with transformation and changing of seasons, the believe that a sparrow hawk turns into a pigeon at the end of the winter.
Therefore, pigeons symbolize arrival of spring, new hope, new beginnings and life energy.
Harmony, mercy and freedom
In Christianity, pigeons and doves are considered loyal, kind and good messengers. Pigeons have always been considered messengers, but those that bring joy, happy news and hopeful information.
Doves are always believed to bring good fortune; they are messengers of peace and harmony. These two birds are also associated with forgiveness, kindness and mercy, so they are often used as artistic or literature motifs and metaphors.
All birds are associated with freedom and so pigeons and doves are, as well. They embody the brightest and purest idea of freedom, since overall symbolic meanings of these two are positive.
Pigeon and dove totem and spiritual powers
Pigeons and doves share very similar symbolic meanings, but they are different birds. Let us discover what they symbolize as totem animals.
If your totem animal is Pigeon, you are certainly a person who understand ideas of kindness, devotion, sacrifice and peace. Pigeon totem will help you improve all of your good traits and nurture your soul with gratitude and love.
Pigeons are considered gentle, as many birds are, but they are indeed tough and resilient.
Pigeon totem teaches kindness, mercy and love. Pigeon totem people are full of understanding and they have good hearts and intentions. They are patient, graceful and easy to talk to. These individuals are usually very sociable, friendly and communicative.
Pigeon people have love for the world and for other people. If your totem animal is Pigeon, follow the path of mercy and forgiveness it teaches you. All the goodness eventually pays off, even if sometimes we fail to see that.
Pigeon totem will help you overcome challenges of life with an open soul and warm heart.
Dove totem is similar to Pigeon, only, perhaps, more feminine related. This graceful, gentle spirit animal teaches you how to keep calm and patients, even during the hardest times in your life. Dove persons are forgiving, passionate and really deeply caring.
They value friendship and family above everything else and have an optimistic view on life. They never lose hope things could be better and they will do whatever it takes to make their dear ones feel safe and secure.
Dove people are ready to sacrifice what they have, for a greater good.
Both dove and pigeon people are sociable, loving, caring and they do not like to be alone.
Solitude frightens them; your totem will help you develop many healthy relations with other people throughout your life. Dove and pigeon people are not as competitive as some others are, but they have their dreams and goals, which they stick to.
However, they will never hurt another person in order to get what they want. Their good heart, kindness and nobility make other people appreciate and respect them.
Dove and pigeon totem are associated with healing, especially in an emotional way.
Your kind spirit guide will help you heal your emotional wounds and teach you how not to get discouraged by stresses that life inevitably brings along. Dove and pigeon totem offer inner peace and tranquility.
On the outer side, pigeons and doves seem fragile and gentle; Pigeon and Dove people, as well. However, these individuals have a lot of strength, which they gain from their positive attitude. They never let bad news bring them down and keep them there.
Dreaming about doves and pigeons
Dreams about these birds are fortunate. They bring you peace and tranquility. If you see a dove or a pigeon in your dream, it is usually interpreted as a positive omen.
It means you will soon hear some good news or that something good will happen to you in the nearest future.