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Hawk Symbolism (Meanings & Interpretations)

Hawks, with their sharp talons and keen eye-sight, are known as fearsome birds of prey. In the natural world, the hawk is a daytime (diurnal) predator that may be small, medium, or large in size. This article will discuss hawk symbolism, including dream interpretation, common symbolic meaning and historical mythology.

What Does a Hawk Symbolize?

Hawks are birds of prey, meaning they catch and eat other animals such as small birds and mammals. They accomplish this is with amazing eyesight, speed and incredibly strong and sharp talons. They soar high in the sky, surveying the land around them for miles. It’s not hard to see why these characteristics lead to their most common symbolic meanings: 

  • Determination
  • Clarity and Focus
  • Protection
  • Confidence
  • Quick Wittedness and Decision Making
  • Partnership

As predators, hawks must have patience and determination when searching for their prey. Whether soaring high or sitting still on a perch, they must display focus and concentration, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. 

We can bring this spirit into our own lives when tackling challenges, job opportunities or any period of transition. The hawk can remind us to have patience when attaining goals, remembering to focus and keep our vision clear in our minds. Rather than being hasty, we must wait for the right time to make our move, and then move with confidence and determination. 

As birds that are often seen soaring high above, they have often symbolized high ideals and imagination. Their spirit reminds us to soar and embrace our own freedom and independence to reach for our dreams with thoughtfulness and purpose.


Hawks are also associated with partnership due to their ability to form bonds with humans. Since the pre-Christian era, people were utilizing hawks to help them find food and attack enemies. Falconry, as we call it today, included hawk species as well as falcons.

Hawks could be trained to catch prey and return it to their handler, which could be the difference between life and starvation in harsh habitats like the desert. The Bedouin people are perhaps the most well-known for utilizing falconry to aid in their survival in desert climate. This hawk-human relationship is only achieved through the hawks intelligence and establishing mutual respect. A powerful symbol of mutually beneficial partnership. 

Image: sdc140 |

What Do Hawk Dreams Symbolize?

When interpreting any dream, one of the most important things to consider is the tone of the dream and how you felt in it. The emotions you were experiencing are always the best clue as to what the meaning is specific to you. Aside from that, here are some other meanings of hawk dreams that people have identified.

Seeing a hawk in your dream could indicate people around you may be hiding their true selves and have ulterior motives for you. As the old saying goes to “watch someone like a hawk”, there may be people around you that could use some extra scrutiny to uncover their true intentions.

If your dream shows a hawk flying alone in a clear sky, this is positive and indicates that you can expect some smooth sailing and good fortune. You can associate the wind element here as a positive influence, and your future may require teamwork for success.

However, if the skies have other birds flying with or near the hawk, you may feel troubled or have unresolved anxiety that needs dealing with before you can move more successfully towards your future.

Visits or Encounters With Hawks

Having a hawk land right in front of you would be a rare occasion, and could certainly be seen as a meaningful event. Some say this is a sign that you need to maintain more balance and calm in your life. You mind is anxious and overly stressed, and you need to bring more relaxation and focus to balance out those emotions and keep sight of your long term goals. Consider adding meditation to your day, and cutting down on distractions. 

A visit from a hawk can also be seen as a need to expand your creative imagination and ideas to succeed. You will need to evaluate those around you in life and see if they are there to aid you or prevent you from growing and achieving your goals. It may mean big life changes or taking a calculated and informed risk. Decision-making must be intuitive rather than emotional or from a place of fear.

A hawk seen near your home, especially more than once, is a reminder to review your habits. Especially for those that are stay-at-home parents, self employed or work from the home, you may need to pay attention to bad habits you have cultivated. Spending a lot of time at home can lead to things like overeating, social media distraction, or laziness. The hawk can serve as a reminder to revisit your daily routines to promote better productivity and self care. 

red-tailed hawk soaring
Image: 272447 |

Spiritual Meaning of Hawks

Hawks are associated with spiritual awareness. For your mind and body to be in sync with nature, you need to be attuned to the natural world’s flow, which requires intuition. The spiritual meaning of the hawk includes intelligence and creativity. Clarity and bravery. Protection and healing.

Hawks are considered spiritual messengers because they soar high above us, yet also can see what’s happening on the ground. They can see things from the “heavenly” point of view high above, and remind us to pull our perspective back when we get too caught up in our problems. Quieting your mind and meditating can make you better able to engage with this higher perspective.

Spirit Animals & Totems

The hawk spirit animal is good to call on when you need focus in your day-to-day. The hawk spirit can help you at work or at home to maintain focus, identify and avoid distractions. They are also a good spirit animal to call upon when you are facing a decision or challenge and you feel stuck. Hawks can help you gain a loftier perspective and develop a clear vision of what lays ahead. 

Those with the hawk totem are well-known for being protectors, especially of their loved-ones. They are also extremely perceptive, having both great attention to detail and a clear view of the overall picture. This comes naturally, and because it feels like they effortlessly “know it all”, it is often said these people have a gift for intuition. Those under the hawk totem must take care to not be too blunt with their observations, as their ability to pick up on what others might be hiding can get them into hot water. 

These qualities make those under the hawk totem very honest and direct. They are also great problem solvers and visionaries, using their ability to see every angle to come up with ideas that others miss. 

Hawks in Religious and Cultural Mythology

Norse Hawk Symbolism

European cultures generally associate hawks with being otherworldly messengers related to deities and gods. Freyja, the Norse goddess, was said to have a cloak made of hawk or falcon feathers that granted her the ability to fly. It was also believed Valkyries could transform to hawks in order to fly down over Norse battlefields and carry the souls of fallen warriors to Valhalla.

Celtic Hawk Symbolism

Celtic people believe that a hawk crossing your path means that something momentous is about to happen to you, and you should prepare for the unexpected, for good or ill. A circling hawk is bad and may foreshadow death. If Celtic people hear a hawk cry, they prepare themselves for the unexpected and should act boldly and decisively. Hawks were also associated with coming battles, and were seen as delivering messages from ancestors. 

Hawks in Christianity

The Bible mentions hawks in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. They are considered unclean animals and should not be eaten. 

However they are also seen in another light, as trusting faith. In the book of Job, the hawk is used metaphorically to tell Job some things are beyond his control and that he should have faith without questioning the process.

Native American Hawk Symbolism

Each tribe has their own sets of beliefs about hawks, but some common symbolic themes seen are strength, courage and protection from enemies. As a protector, the hawk protected people from evil spirits of the air and was associated with air related phenomenon like wind, thunder and lightning. 

In Peru, the Moche people viewed hawks as brave warriors and they were thought to bring good luck in battle. 

The Arawak people of South America and the Caribbean viewed the red-tailed hawk as a sacred bird that traveled between the spirit world and materials world, brining messages to people from the Creator. The red-tailed hawk was special to many tribes and their red tail feathers often used in clothing and rituals.  

Hawks in Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, a hawk was associated with Apollo, the god of sun & light, as well as prophecy, poetry, music, and healing. Apollo had a hawk he used as a messenger, and was said to turn into a hawk himself.

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Apollo transformed the grieving father, Daedalion, into a hawk to prevent him from committing suicide. Daedalion was a great warrior before his grief overwhelmed him, and his courage is said to be the reason for a hawk’s fierceness and strength and their propensity for hunting other birds.

Hawks in Ancient Egypt

Hawks are often considered “solar birds”, perhaps because of their ability to fly very high, they are associated with sun gods. The Gods Horus, Ra, Mentu and Seker were all often pictures as men with the heads of hawks or falcons. Hawks and falcons were often linked to the spirit realm and the afterlife, sometimes protecting souls and guiding them. When an important figure died, such as a pharoh, often a hawk was released to symbolize their soul’s release from the mundane world traveling to the afterlife.  

Image: Bergadder |

Hawk Tattoo Symbolism

Hawk symbolism in tattoos may grant the wearer protection and awareness. Individuals with hawk tattoos are independent and exhibit a strongly connected spirituality. They seek freedom and a chance to practice their creativity. Some of the most common symbolic meanings behind hawk tattoos are:

  • Strength
  • Ferocity & Fighting Spirit
  • Clarity & Perception
  • Power & Protection
  • Stability
  • Skill at hunting
  • Intelligence
  • Inner warrior

Are Hawks Good Luck?

Yes, hawks, in general, are considered a good omen or good luck.

In Native American culture, a hawk totem symbolizes good luck for making your dreams come true. In Japanese culture, hawks are considered symbols of good fortune and luck because of their clever nature, and they are depicted in artworks as far back as the 13th century. A hawk is a royal bird associated with the deity Horus in Egyptian culture. A hawk was said to bring good luck during battle.

A bird pooping on you is considered good luck, so if you end up with hawk bird poop on your shoulder, then consider yourself doubly blessed.

The Recap

When you consider the hawk and hawk symbolism, you will do well to remember that a hawk is a predator with strong talons and a sharp beak in the natural world. They travel fast and see well. Encountering a hawk should be considered special, and an awareness of its symbolism and spiritual meaning may help you move towards your future goals. The hawk is associated with intelligence, clairvoyance, adaptability, and spiritual awareness.

A hawk is fierce and not easily tamed. A hawk coming to you will likely mean that you need to receive a message and prepare for big changes in your future. This future might bring good fortune or bring upheaval, or both. In most cultures, hawks have a positive association and are considered good luck.