Shark Symbolism & Meaning-The Ultimate Guide

Shark Symbolism & Meaning

“Sharks are beautiful animals, and if you’re lucky enough to see lots of them, which means that you’re in a healthy ocean. You should be afraid if you are in the ocean and don’t see sharks.”  – Sylvia Earle

Shark Symbolism & Meaning-Overview

Sharks are fearsome predators that roam the deep and dark ocean waters with enormous strength and speed. This majestic creature is agile and ferocious.

The shark spirit animal protects you from harmful situations or people. It makes you confident and reminds you of your inner strength and capacities that can help you keep away negativity.

Sharks symbolize curiosity, connection, knowledge, authority, guardianship, observation, efficiency, innovation, mystery, perception, superiority, power, movement, self-defense, and protection. Let’s look at the importance of sharks in various cultures and mythologies all around the world.

Shark Native American Symbolism

The word shark came into existence in Native America from the Mayan word xooc, which means sea dog. Though, sharks are not quite prominent in Native America because they view them simply as fishes. In California, some Indian tribes believe sharks to be man-eating monsters, even though sharks avoid eating humans.

Sharks are considered ill omen and symbolize a hurricane, storm, or other catastrophic events related to water. In Hawaii, sharks are popular in mythologies. Hawaiians believe that after death, a person’s body transforms into a shark. This shark would protect its former family and guide fish to them.

There are also seven shark gods in Hawaiian mythology that protect the ocean. The chief of these seven gods is Kamohoali’i who has the power to transform into other fishes and is an excellent navigator. People believe that Kamohoali’i was the one who discovered Hawaii.

According to some he was also a sailor friend who guided the lost people to the right path with a shake of his tail, in exchange for a drink. This is why the shark spirit animal is respected and admired and never consumed as food. People also believe that a shark tooth is a symbol of protection and thus wear shark tooth accessories.

Shark Symbolism & Meaning

Shark In Greek Mythology

There is a story about Poseidon’s daughter, Lamia in Greek mythology. It is said that when Zeus fell in love with Lamia, his wife Hera found out about it and stole Lamia’s children. This drove her to madness. Zeus took pity on her and turned her into a shark-like monster that devoured other people’s children.

Shark In Eastern Symbolism

Shark was a famous delicacy in China during the Ming dynasty. But as time passed, more people started consuming the fish, causing it to become endangered in the area. According to Chinese folklore shark, medicine was quite beneficial, and consuming shark fin could benefit immunity and sexual potency.

There is also a snake-tailed fish in Chinese folklore that sounds like a duck. It is said to be a combination of shark and dragon. Chinese also used the shark symbol on their planes to protect against disasters.

In Japan, there is a shark God named Ebisu who is worshipped by the fishermen to gain prosperity, wealth, and good luck. When Ebisu was born, he had no bones in his body. Due to this, his parents cast him away to the sea when he was three years old. Later he became the god of fishermen who guided the fish to the fishermen. Japanese also have a storm god with the name of Shark.

There is another shark symbolism in Japan in the form of a goblin named Tengu. Tengu is a slimy creature with a long snout. Tengu has the power of shapeshifting and can move around easily. This goblin is also quite picky as it only likes people who aren’t arrogant and boastful. He especially dislikes the arrogance of Shinto monks. Thus, he is usually seen as a tormenter and is linked with tengu-zame, a goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) in Japan.

In Fiji, there is a shark god named Dakuwaqa. This deity is portrayed as half man and half-shark who helps the fishermen find a good catch during fishing. Dakuwaqa was also the protector sea god who protected fishermen from sea monsters and disasters.

Shark In Cook Islands

Just like Fiji had Dakuwaqa, there was a God named Avatea in the Cook Islands. Avatea was the creator god who commanded the sun and moon. There is also a famous legend in the Cook Islands about a shark and a lovely maiden named Ina. It is said that Ina fell in love with the god of the ocean, Tinirau.

The god lived on a remote island and one day asked Ina to visit him. Since Ina had no way of traveling to the island, a shark came up to her and told her that it would take her to the island. Ina climbed on the back of the shark carrying some coconuts in case she got hungry during the journey.

Halfway through the journey, Ina did feel hungry. To crack open the coconut, she smacked it on the shark’s head. The shark was furious and threw Ina off its back. But before it could devour her, the king of sharks, Tekea arrived there and rescued her. He then carried her to Tinirau’s island and it is said that this is the reason why to date sharks have a dent in their head.

Shark Bahamas Symbolism

In Bahamas mythology, there is a fearful creature called Lusca, a half-octopus half-shark creature.

Lusca lurks in caves mostly in the Bluehole caves in the Bahamas and is so powerful that it can create whirlpools and currents simply by breathing. Despite being feared, Lusca is not completely evil as she is responsible for feeding the fishes and protecting them.

Shark Symbolism In New Zealand

Like any ancient people living on islands, the Māori People of New Zealand also believe sharks to be spiritual guardians and guides.

There is a tale about a group of people who almost drowned during a voyage.

A huge sea monster named Te Parata attacked their canoe, fortunately, they were saved by a white shark. Since then, the Te Arawa confederation considers the shark spirit animal as the guardian of the Māori People.

Shark In Various Religions

In Christianity, the shark is an unholy animal and is often linked with the devil. It is portrayed as a water demon that is dirty and unsuitable to consume.

The Bible makes an allegory using the shark as a spirit animal. It stands for a sinner who, through repentance, is still eligible for God’s love. The image of Christ’s perfection is the shark Jesus.

According to Christianity, if you dream about a shark it symbolizes vulnerability and danger. It symbolizes the feeling of helplessness. You feel like you have no power over yourself or the things around you and they are destroying you inside out. If you dream about a white shark, it symbolizes betrayal from your close ones.

Shark  Celtic tradition Symbolism

The name of shark in Gaelic translates into loving in Ireland. The basking shark in Scotland is considered a mystical and mythical creature. According to Anglers, sharks drag their boats underwater and kill them. There is also a tale that portrays sharks surrounded by huge snakes.

Oil from shark’s liver is used as medicine especially to treat Rheumatism in Celtic nations. Today sharks are protected by UK law due to their low count. The Stronsay beast (a kind of shark) that once washed ashore dead was considered a monster and some new type of species because it had three pairs of wings and paws.

Shark Symbolism In South America

The Warao people of South America tell a story about the Orion’s Belt. According to them, the sword hanging on the belt of Orion is not a sword but the severed leg of Nohi-Abassi. Nohi-Abassi was not fond of his mother-in-law. But his dislike towards her became so much that he killed her.

He lured his mother-in-law to the ocean where he asked a shark to lay in wait and eat her as soon as she was close enough. However, unknown to him the shark was his sister-in-law in disguise. Thus, when the time came instead of attacking her mother, she bit off Nohi-Abassi’s leg, which you now see in the constellation.

Shark African Symbolism

The shark spirit animal is a popular creature in Africa.

An African tale tells the story of two friends, a shark, and a monkey. According to the tale, the monkey brought food to the shark every day and threw it in the water from the tree. The shark was grateful to the monkey and to repay him, one day the shark invited the monkey to his home.

He ensured the monkey that no harm whatsoever would come to him. The kind and gullible monkey believed the shark’s words and followed after him. Later the shark told him, that he wanted to take the heart of the monkey to his king, to treat his illness. The monkey got scared and didn’t know what to do.

Suddenly, he thought of a good plan. He told the shark that he doesn’t carry his heart with him and left it on the tree he lived. He convinced the shark that his heart was not with him and fooled the shark into taking him back to the tree to take back his heart so that he could help treat the shark king.

The shark believed him and took him back ashore to fetch his heart. When they reached the shore, the monkey jumped back onto the land and climbed the tree.

From there, he told the shark the story of a rabbit and a washerman’s donkey. In the story, a rabbit fooled a fat donkey into marrying a lion twice in a row. Though the donkey survived the first time, it was not the case the second time. Thus, the monkey did not return with the shark because he loved his life and would not risk it naively.

Shark Spirit Animal

The appearance of the shark spirit animal symbolizes the fact that you need to start facing your fears. You have been running away for too long and have dreaded it for quite some time but now it is time to face your fears bravely and overcome them. You need to be more iron-willed and not cower away from your fears.

Don’t let people pull you down. Hold your head high and don’t let the words of others affect you. Don’t underestimate and undermine yourself. You are not worse than anyone. Be confident in yourself and believe in your potential.

The shark spirit animal gives you the strength to overcome evil and anyone who stands in the way of your success. It gives you the strength to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.

Sharks are independent creatures and listen to none. They follow their heart and do whatever they desire. They have their own mind and their own way to carry out things. Thus, sharks guide you to manifest your inner self and the divine energy of God within you. You can come out as the winner in any situation as long as the shark spirit guides you.

It tells you that you are perfect as you are and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t change your nature or shadow your inner self because of others. Everyone is unique in their way and has a unique temperament. Don’t let anyone take it away from you. Move ahead and leave all your fears and doubts behind.

Shark Dreams Meaning

Dreaming about sharks symbolizes past trauma and insecurity. If you dream about a swimming shark, it is a positive sign and symbolizes that you have the power and ability to overcome your problems and struggles.

Dreaming about the shark spirit animal in the water is a symbol of your unstable emotional state and a lack of control over your aggressiveness.

If you dream about a dead shark, it means that a calmer period is approaching you and you would not undergo much turmoil in life shortly. You can relax and take a break for now. If you see a shark attacking you in your dream, it is a symbol that someone close to you is betraying you or will betray you.

However, if you dream about a shark attacking someone, it is a sign that someone close to you might suffer.

Sharks usually symbolize vulnerability and if you dream about a shark biting you it might be the embodiment of your fear that someone close to you might betray or attack you.

Shark Totem Animal

Shark totem animal allows you to release great potential and energy around yourself. Sharks might not look like the friendliest of creatures or even kind but because of their relationship with water, they have a deep connection with their psychic world and inner self.

The shark totem is a representation of a cheerful person who is creative and talented and enjoys embarking on adventures and taking up new opportunities and tasks. People with the shark totem animal are fearless and courageous.

They fear nothing as they move ahead in life. They won’t stop until they reach their goal. They are fierce and have the spirit of a winner. The shark totem gives you the courage to fight head-on for your rights and never back down. It gives you the strength to stand up to negative people and situations.

Sharks never back down from challenges and are up for a good challenge always. The shark totem too helps you to bring out your inner strength and face challenges in life. You are always prepared for a battle with the shark spirit totem beside you. It makes you confident and implores you to trust your strength and potential.

Conclusion-Shark Symbolism & Meaning

Sharks are brave and intelligent creatures that symbolize strength and authority. They give you the power to achieve your goals and never back down. Believe in yourself with the shark spirit and let it guide you through negativity and difficult times. The shark spirit would never abandon you and always assist you to achieve victory in life.

Sharks teach you to keep moving forward and never let go of your dreams. Chase after your goals and dreams with passion and determination. Never give up, stay active in life, and pursue your dreams aggressively!


"Smith is an outdoor enthusiast and Just loves everything about binoculars. Since his childhood he has been a fan of optical gadgets & going into the Jungle with his uncle was his favorite pastime. Besides, He loves watching & studying birds & animals. He is a mechanical engineering graduate and New Jersey Resident. He loves to review binoculars and related optical Instruments and loves testing each one of them." When he is not fiddling with one of his binoculars, you can find him playing his favorite sport Pickleball."

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