Symbolic Meaning of Giraffe
Meaning of Giraffe Symbolism and Giraffe Totems
There are some critters in the animal kingdom that reveal their secrets more obviously than others. The symbolic meaning of giraffe’s, in large part, is right before our eyes. Take a good look at this magnificent creature, and we can easily begin to weave a symbolic narrative as to the giraffe’s deeper meaning behind its presence (both totemic and random appearance) in our lives.
For example, it’s most telling physical feature is the giraffe’s neck. Symbolically, this impressive physical feature naturally asks us about “sticking our necks out” in terms of making connections (within family, community, business, creative endeavors, etc). In this respect, the giraffe is a messenger, encouraging us to elongate our vision, stretch ourselves, and reach as far as we can. The giraffe often makes an appearance when we need a little reminder that we all are grandiose beings with remarkable potential to rise ourselves up to a challenge. Furthermore, the giraffe demonstrates grace in striving. In other words, when the giraffe visits us, it’s often a message to strive through challenges while maintaining balance and grace.
The giraffe also reminds me of vision. Long-reaching, far-seeing kind of vision. It’s that long neck again. With its head lifted as high as the treetops it loves to snack on, the giraffe’s vision is a focused on the horizon. If the giraffe is your totem, I’m willing to bet you’re a natural visionary. Most folks who feel an affinity for the giraffe will admit to having a knack for seeing future trends. Giraffe-people have an incredible ability to see into the future, or see the “big picture.” Furthermore, giraffe-people are experts at shifting resources and influencing events so that future outcomes they see are more fluid, and effective.
And how about those massive eyelashes? Sure, they’re sweet and delicate looking, but they’re also symbolic of protection. Those long lashes effectively keep out debris, and we can translate this as an assurance that our visions are protected by the wisdom of Nature, and we have the ability to discern the right meanings of our visions under the guidance of our animal totems – in this case, the giraffe.
If the giraffe is your totem, you not only have a gift of higher perception, you’re also very sensitive about the information you see. Giraffe’s have a relatively gentle demeanor (unless provoked or during mating), and this is reflected in the person who claims the giraffe as their totem. I find it fascinating the giraffe has not two, but three horns (they’re called ossicones). The third horn is situated right between and just above its eyes. This is symbolic of the “third eye” which talks about intuition, delicate perception, and heightened sensory awareness. Are you the kind of person who easily senses what others are feeling or thinking? Do you often find that vague or obtuse concepts are more clear to you and make more sense to you than most? It’s that giraffe energy that enables deeper perception and the ability to combine vision with empathy to gain grand views in life situations.
Conversely, the giraffe can offer higher ground for our vision, and lend us intuitive insight when we feel we’re blinded by life’s distractions. Call upon the giraffe when you are in need of a higher position with which to analyze the foggy terrain of your life. Also call upon the gentle nature of the giraffe to help you with gracefulness in action, patience, and sturdy footing in life’s potentially rocky terrain.
The symbolic meaning of giraffe is also tied in with communication. Their necks (in males, especially) are a form of major social status within their herds. The longer, stronger, thicker the neck – the more attractive, and better-established the giraffe is. Translating this feature to symbolic meaning, the neck is a function of not only digesting, but communicating verbally. In this sense, the giraffe asks us if we are being mindful of what we are ingesting – what are we taking in or consuming? Whether it’s food, or thoughts, the giraffe makes us aware of what we are taking into our bodies and our energy and helps us discern healthier choices for ourselves. As far as communication goes, the giraffe encourages us to make our words count. If you have problems with communicating effectively, consider the powerful neck of the giraffe, and place that strength in your own ability to be strong with your voice, be effective in your words – in this way, your conveyances (with the giraffe’s help) will be far-reaching and make a difference in the world.
Its tongue provides a visual symbolic meaning of giraffe too. Did you know it can be as long as 20 inches? This is indicative (like the neck) of making our words count, be clever with your communications, challenge yourself to expand meaning and vocabulary. Call upon the giraffe for help with eloquently and powerfully expressing yourself in your business presentations, family meetings, interviews. The giraffe can really help (I know, she’s helped me with public speaking!). Interestingly, a giraffe’s tongue is often black – it gains this coloring as a protectant from over-exposure to the sun. This is another symbolic way of reminding us to be bold with our words, but be aware to not talk too much or over-expose our wagging tongues when in group discussions.
Did you know giraffe’s require very little sleep? Only about 10-20 minutes a day. Symbolically, this talks to us about using our available resources to the max. The giraffe has immaculate ability to preserve its energy stores (it’s more effective at retaining water than a camel!). This is a big lesson for us. Also, it’s a common trait shared with those who have the giraffe as their kin. If the giraffe is your totem, you’ll tend to be on an even-stream of energy…not too high, not too low. Rather, you ride a wave of energy that is steady and consistent. This is extremely helpful to those around you who need a second wind. Others see giraffe people as an inspiration for their seemingly ceaseless stores of energy.
The symbolic meaning of giraffe’s also hints to strategy when gaining resources. How so? Well, the giraffe’s favorite food is the acacia. Its tall neck allows it to munch on the most delightful bits of the acacia tree. The problem is, the acacia tree knows the giraffe’s appetite for its fruits, and so therefore emits an enzyme that purposefully makes its leaves bitter – hence thwarting the giraffe from eating as much. But the giraffe is endlessly resourceful and clever. This is where strategy comes in. Knowing the acacia’s tendency to turn bitter to discourage the giraffe from eating its leaves, the giraffe approaches the acacia tree upwind – hence avoiding the acacia’s burst of wind-borne enzymes that alert other trees a herd is feasting upon them. This is a lesson for us to approach our goals and challenges “upwind” or from an angle that will allow us the most resources without spoiling the process of attaining the fruits of our desires.
Some keywords to consider while contemplating the symbolic meaning of giraffe:
- Gentleness of Spirit
Lastly, I’ve got to say something about the incredible markings of the giraffe. I’ve always fancied the color patterns of their fur looks much like a maze. It talks to me about being sure-footed in the maze of life. No doubt, this life is replete with mazes and labyrinths of change – but the giraffe is a steady reminder of getting through the twisty curves of life with elegance and dignity.
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