Symbolic Camel Meaning
Symbolic Camel Meaning
When we begin reasoning about the symbolic meaning of camels, we cannot miss the prevalent symbolic themes of journeying. The essence of long-distance travel is at the symbolic heart of the camel, and it’s easy to see why. It’s no secret the camel can endure days in scorching hot deserts while transporting precious cargo (even whole nomadic communities!) across great distances.
I’m struck by this knowledge when the camel comes to my awareness. When I see the camel, it typically holds a message of travel – typically of an arduous kind – like a pilgrimage. Rather than get stressed out by internal questions like “What kind of travel?”, “Arduous travel? That sounds intimidating, what kind of challenges will I face this time!?” I’ve learned to embrace the protective qualities of the camel instead of worrying about the pitfalls inherent to a long journey ahead.
We all have daunting travel ahead of us, it’s the way of human life. That’s why the camel is such a great energetic guide on our human path. Camels are designed to take on the challenges of long-distance journeying over harsh terrain. From an energetic or spiritual stand-point, they are superiorly equipped for the long-haul.
If we are faced with a potentially formidable path ahead of us – a journey that we must take, but likely full of pitfalls (every trip has its stumbling points) – I recommend calling upon the camel for strength, endurance and protection. This could be a physical journey, or a spiritual one. For centuries, the camel has been initiating long expeditions through unforgiving conditions, and it is highly capable of helping and protecting us as we make our way along the long path of life.
The camel is also an expert at conservation. The humps of a camel are stored with fat, which is stuffed with hydrogen atoms – water is held in the camel’s fat cells and via its ingenious metabolic system, the camel is able to regulate and conserve its water supply over long periods of time. Camels, when invoked, can assist us with this too. Camels serve as a reminder to pace ourselves, and be mindful of our own energy levels. When you feel like you’re always ‘running on empty’ try visualizing the camel helping you to regulate your energy stores. Camels can also help regulate our metabolism. Try meditating with the camel; specifically ask the camel to help with keeping resources and metabolism on an even keel. You’ll be amazed at how effective this request of the camel can be.
Camels can serve as incredibly skilled guides in our life. They’ve been traveling for eons, and their energy is impressed with themes of guidance, making them expert helpers on our way through the varied paths of life.
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A lot of my understanding of symbolism comes from esoteric origins. As a symbolphile, the Tarot is a it’s natural attraction. What many don’t realize about the Tarot is that it’s an amalgamation of many different sects and wisdom from all over the world. From its inception, the Tarot gained its momentum over seven centuries by accumulating bits of bright, symbolic understandings from cultures near and far.
So what does the Tarot have to do with symbolic camel meaning? The Tarot incorporates many systems of conveyance, one of these is the richly symbolic Hebrew language. Depending upon which deck you consult, the Hebrew serif gimel is featured on the High Priestess card. This Hebrew serif (shown left) is translated in several forms; its name means “camel” and the symbolic implications are profound.
According to Paul Foster Case, the founder of the Builders of the Adytum, “Camels are used for transportation and carrying goods. The Hebrew Gimel suggests travel, communication, commerce as well as coexistence and partnership. The camel (Gimel) is a “ship of the desert” and is connected with the High Priestess because she too is an island of bounty and transports her abundance of knowledge in the deserts of disillusion and ignorance.”
I really dig this on a symbolic level. This angle of viewing camel symbolism (albeit, obscure) always comes to mind when camels show up in my awareness. I’m reminded of the camel’s ability to travel great distances, in unforgiving environments with its precious cargo. Indeed, the camel (much like horses did for the west) opens up entire worlds of new understanding for pilgrims and travelers alike. Because they aided merchants across vast deserts, they were also responsible for opening trade-routes for the exchange of spices and other wares. This created to new connections, opening awareness to new cultures, languages, ideals, etc. Without the camel, commerce as well as new understandings about other communities in the dry Asian and African deserts may not have ever taken place. The High Priestess of the Tarot does precisely the same thing, only on a metaphysical level – she opens up new pathways of understanding by transporting us, under her protection, through unknown territory.