6 Animals That Represent Hope

The aspiration of hope is something best represented by these six animals – the dove, crane, phoenix, seagull, firefly, and butterfly.

Through cultural images, behavior, and even physical attributes, these animals have become important symbols of hope and hopefulness for cultures all over the world.

Animals That Represent Hope

Animals that Represent Hope

1. Doves

The dove is almost universally viewed as a symbol of peace and purity – in short, it is a very positive cultural image. The dove incites optimism and a sense of hope.

Perhaps the bulk of the dove’s association with symbols of hope comes from early biblical stories. In the story of Noah and the ark, it is the dove that returns to Noah with an olive leaf – a sign of land, a sign of hope for every human and animal onboard.

So, is it any surprise that the olive branch and leaf are symbols of peace and optimism?

Those who channel the totem of the dove have a profoundly calming and peaceful effect on the people around them. They have a knack for soothing anxieties and restoring faith when others are experiencing difficulty. It’s no surprise that this tends to result in an overall feeling of hope when in the presence of these people.

2. Cranes

In eastern cultures, cranes are often associated with hope, happiness, and good fortune.

This is especially true in Japanese culture. Cranes are seen as an enduring symbol of hope, resilience, and healing, and are perhaps best known for the story of Sadako Sasaki.

Sadako was a young girl who was badly affected by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII and folded 1000 paper cranes in her lifetime.

1000 of these tiny origami cranes are believed to bestow eternal good fortunes on a person. In Japanese folklore, the crane has long been a symbol of hope, longevity, and survival.

If you are noticing the appearance of cranes in your life, it’s a sign that you are able to cope with considerable setbacks that you have experienced or that may be coming your way.

It indicates that you will face these setbacks with grace and dignity (much like the crane) and continue to survive and thrive.

3. The Phoenix

The saying “to rise like a phoenix from the ashes” perfectly explains how this mythological creature has come to represent hope for the future.

The Phoenix is consistently reborn, symbolizing the possibility of new beginnings and chances to start again.

This majestic animal may never have actually walked the earth, but it has made a striking impact on world mythologies, particularly Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Judeo-Christian mythology. Its regenerative life cycle has often been compared to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The regeneration of the Phoenix should show that you always have the potential to start anew – you don’t have to be rooted in negative life cycles. It’s possible to try again, start a new journey, and become a better version of yourself.

4. Seagulls

Seagulls have long symbolized hope to sailors and seafarers, due to their appearance on the horizons signifying land in the distance. These birds signify hope as well as freedom, optimism, and independence.

Living along the coastlines, for centuries seagulls were one of the easiest ways for ship passengers and crew to identify land.

Of course, if ships were lost at sea these birds became an incredibly useful tool for navigating back to land, often saving lives in the process.

The sight of seagulls signified land, food, and resources. In other words – hope for survival, and possibly even prosperity. It also indicated a return home after years of seafaring.

The sign of the seagull encourages us to be more accepting of the storms that life may bring to us. When we embrace the difficulties in life rather than letting them blow us over, we will always emerge stronger for it.

Take hold of the symbol of hope that the seagull brings, and it will help you remain calm and patient in the face of turbulence.

5. Fireflies

The firefly represents a glimmer of light in the darkness, which can easily be interpreted as a sign of hope in dark or negative situations.

These mesmerizing insects are known for their bioluminescence, which allows them to convey a glowing light at night.

For obvious reasons, the firefly has become a symbol of hope for the future – a fitting metaphor for the ability to see some light, or positivity, even when life seems shrouded in darkness.

The firefly as a spiritual symbol shows you that it is possible to reclaim a sense of hope in life, and can also act as a guide out of trying circumstances. You can overcome any current obstacles when you retain those feelings of hope, inspiration, and joy.

6. Butterflies

The image of these delicate insects can represent many different things, often depending on their color. However, the butterfly is thought to symbolize hope regardless of what it looks like, in large part due to its life cycle of regeneration, or rebirth.

Like the above-mentioned Phoenix, the butterfly is closely associated with the theme of hope due to the transformation it undergoes during its life cycle.

The process of beginning life as a caterpillar, “dying” in the cocoon, and being rebirthed as something entirely new and beautiful, resonates with many people as an allegory for positive transfiguration. It represents the hope for change and new beginnings.  

From a religious and spiritual perspective butterflies can also symbolize the hope of possible resurrection, or of life after death.

The idea that “hope springs eternal” is something that many of us want to believe. These animals have come to symbolize hope, and encourage us to recognize the need to remain hopeful even in times of strife or difficulty.

Hope acts as a shining light in times of darkness and encourages us to continue on in the face of doubt. Humans are always looking for a sense of hope, and of brighter things to come after hardship. These animals serve as a gentle reminder that things can and will get better in the future.


The above animals are the top animals that are symbols of hope for humanity. They have historically been tied to the idea that the future will be a better place than the past. They exist in stories such as the bible and cultural traditions like weddings to remind us that better days are always ahead.

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