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This page on the dolphin meaning comes in response to an overwhelming series of impressions I've gotten from the dolphin. They're everywhere!
From earrings, to movies. Wallpaper to conversations. Dolphins keep swimming in my awareness at every turn. That means it's time to swim along!
Considered the "king of fish" by many ancient cultures, dolphin meaning is closely associated with kingly qualities. Not the dominating kind. Observe the dolphin for any length of time and you know if dolphins ruled the world they would be gracious in their reign.
And that is the core theme to dolphin meanings. Grace.
A quick-list of symbolic dolphin meaning includes:
Christian symbolism conveys the dolphin as an aspect of Christ. Dolphins seen in Christian art are symbolic of resurrection. Some artists utilize the protective, stabilizing, compassionate demeanor of the dolphin as a message of wellbeing to the pure of heart. Some artistic renditions speak of dolphins transporting the spirits of the faithful to Christ's side upon leaving their physical bodies.
This dolphin meaning is mimicked in ancient Greece where legend tells us the dolphin was responsible for carrying the souls of the dead to the Islands of the Blessed.
This is a key understanding because the dolphin meaning is connected with themes of duality. It has to do with the dolphin being both fish and mammal. It is both of the water, and an air breather. Ergo, dolphin symbolism talks to us about "being in two worlds at once." Indeed, the dolphin is a great conveyor of the concept of yin and yang.
Along with the divine Apollo sun and Aphrodite moon associations, other deities associated with the dolphin include:
Greek myth indicates Dionysus was known to turn himself into a dolphin and transported the shrine at Delphi where the cult of dolphin worshippers convened.
The term delphi is noteworthy as the Greek word for dolphin is delphis and its derivative, delphys means womb. This incorporates more lunar and feminine attributes to the dolphin scene.
In Celtic animal symbolism, the dolphin as a highly honored creature as it was seen as the protector of sacred wells and sacred water. The dolphin, to the Celtic mind, is the watcher of the waters, and the guardians of all things water-associated.
Pirate lore also hails the dolphin as a symbol of protection. Indeed, legend admits dolphin sightings were often exaggerated into incredibly fantasies of mermaids. Sailors often understood the spirit of mermaids lived in the heart of the dolphin, and ancient stories of the sea refer to dolphins metamorphosing into beautify sea maidens (and mermaids) if seen under just the right conditions.
Whether this is true or not remains to be confirmed. What is true is countless tales of dolphins interacting with humans in friendly, even protective ways. This colors the dolphin meaning in hues of compassion, caring, community and generous spirit in reaching out to connect with another species.