Fox symbolism and meaning can be found in the stories of cultures all over the world because foxes have inhabited every continent on Earth, whether natively or as imported species, except Antarctica. If the fox spirit animal resonates with you, you are blessed with a sensitivity that can bring you powerful insights and help guide you on your soul’s journey.
Table of Contents
- Fox Meanings
- Fox Spirit Animal
- How do you know if the fox is your spirit animal?
- Details Fox Symbols and Meanings
- Fox Mythology and Symbolism in Ancient Cultures
- Native American Fox Meanings
- Foxes in Intuit Culture
- Fox Symbolism to the Meskwaki People
- Foxes and the Moche People of Ancient Peru
- Fox Symbolism and Meanings in Asian Cultures
- Foxes in Japanese Folklore
- Fox Symbolism in the Bible
- Greek Myths About Foxes
- Fox Symbolism in Celtic Mythology
- Foxes in Norse Legends and Myths
- Organizations that Protect Foxes
The following are some common meanings applied to foxes in both ancient and modern cultures:
Playfulness and Mischievousness
Fox Spirit Animal
In Native American, Asian, Nordic, and other ancient cultures, the fox symbolism is sacred. Thus, the fox spirit animal is a powerful guide. According to Native American traditions, you don’t choose your spirit animals. Instead, they choose you. Your spirit animals might come to you in a vision quest or in another powerful experience that affects the course or your life and, thus, your soul’s journey.
If a fox makes him or herself known to you, whether in real life or through art, the media, or elsewhere – pay attention. There are no coincidences. Your spirit animal serves as a guide, bringing you messages from the Universe to help guide you during your human experience on Earth.
How do you know if the fox is your spirit animal?
If you are wondering whether the fox is one of your spirit animals, consider the questions below. And as you read this post, you’ll learn more about fox symbolism and meanings in different cultures. So, may become even more clear to you.
If you already feel that the fox is one of your power animals, you may learn some new things in this post that further guide you in your life. There is always more we can learn from these special beings. And if you’re curious about other animals who might be your spirit guides, you can take UniGuide’s spirit animal test and read more about power animals in UniGuide’s spirit animal guide.
Questions to consider:
- Were you especially interested in foxes when you were a child?
- Has a fox made himself or herself known to you? This might be by slipping away out of the corner or your eye. Or, it could be in art or the media, in a way that riveted your attention?
- Do you feel a connection to foxes? And do you experience a feeling of wonder when you see them or hear about them?
- Has a fox or foxes entered your dreams?
Are there stories, books, or movies that involved foxes that had a strong impression on you and stayed with you?
- Have your friends, family, or others described you as clever?
- Do you often experience people feeling jealous or envious of you for who you are or what you have?
- Do you believe in having a significant other? Yet, you also have a sense that if that relationship doesn’t work out, there are other options for you?
- Are you open to trying new things, such as exotic foods, or other experiences?
Only you can truly know if the fox is one of your power animals.
You may have loved foxes your whole life, or you may be someone who never thought much about one until suddenly one enters your life and rivets your attention. Either way, if you the fox spirit has made an impact on you, by all means explore what these beautiful animals can to teach you!
Details Fox Symbols and Meanings
Here are some fox meanings that are common in cultures around the world:
In ancient and modern times, the fox has always been described as clever. Undoubtedly, one reason for this is their ability to evade hunters. Thus, in a tragic paradox, it’s the fox’s gift of intelligence that has made them a target and a challenge to hunters.
The idea of a pack of blood thirsty hunting dogs and multiple humans on horseback with guns chasing one fox is so abhorrent that you want to believe it’s untrue. However, even though fox hunting was banned in the UK in 2003, it’s still done illegally to this day.
But who would take part in such a blood sport? The answer is unenlightened souls. These are people who are vainly trying to fill an emptiness within themselves by taking the life of another, and worse – at unfair odds. They are failing to see that their emptiness can only be filled through spiritual enlightenment, which comes from doing good work on Earth and building a deeper connection to one’s Angels and God, or one’s Higher Power. Thus, those who love and protect foxes are existing in a higher state of consciousness than those who brutalize them.
Use your wits.
When the fox is your spirit animal, you can rely on your wit and instincts, even when you feel the deck is stacked against you. You are blessed with a sharp intellect that you can use to overcome even the most challenging circumstances. The world is full of fools who may terrorize you because of your beauty and cunning, but every time, you will prevail.
While foxes are members or the canine family, or Canidae, along with dogs, wolves, and coyotes, they are more solitary than their canine cousins. Unlike wolves and coyotes, who prefer to travel in packs, foxes opt to hunt independently.
However, foxes are not completely solitary creatures. They will stay with and care for their mates when they raise their pups. And the male fox will leave the den to hunt and bring back food for his vixen mate as she nurses their young.
Young foxes will stay with their families until they can hunt on their own, and then they set out to do their own thing.
Foxes will play together and groom each other, and some will even have communal dens. But overall, they enjoy their independence.
Maintain your sense of self.
The fox spirit animal reminds you to maintain your autonomy. Even though you adore your romantic partner, your family, and close friends, it’s important to have a strong sense of self, and to make sure you always nourish yourself, even when you’re a caregiver.
When you take a plane flight, and the flight attendant goes over the safety precautions for the flight, they always tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first because if you pass out, you can’t help anyone else. This analogy describes the sentiments of the fox spirit. It’s vital that you learn to care for yourself. Then, you can be more present in your relationships. This doesn’t mean self-centeredness or narcissism; it means a healthy sense of self-care.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Foxes generally only use dens to have their pups, but otherwise they choose to be outside, and even sleep out in the open. The fox spirit may be telling you that now it’s time for you to leave the warm den of your comfort zone. Self-care and nourishment are vitally important, but there is also a time to break out and take some risks. The fox is definitely not a comfort junky!
Playfulness and Mischievousness
Foxes have a well-earned reputation for being playful and mischievous. In a way, they are like a cross between dogs and cats because they love to play chase and pounce. Here are some videos that underscore just how playful these mischievous canines can be:
Young Foxes Discover a Trampoline
This video is from a fox rescue nonprofit called Save a Fox. Save a Fox rescues foxes from fox fur farms and they also take them from people who had them as pets and surrender them. While wild foxes should be left to remain in the wild, Save a Fox rescues foxes that have been born in captivity and could not otherwise fend for themselves in the wild. In this video you can hear the irresistible giddy giggling of foxes.
Are you having enough fun?
The playful fox reminds you to have some fun. Foxes know how to have a good time, and a little mischievousness keeps like interesting. We all have to go out and hunt, earning our living in one way or another. The fox spirit reminds you to make sure you take some time to have a little fun.
There is no doubt, the fox is an exquisite being. It’s not by happenstance that there was time in the English vernacular when we called people we found attractive “foxy.”
Like their cleverness, the fox’s beauty has been a source of pain for these magnificent beings, as undeveloped souls have coveted their beauty. Foxes have been abused and killed for centuries by those who lust after her beautiful coat. Mercifully, today fewer designers are exploiting animals for their fur, thanks to the hard work of activists who know the fox’s fur belongs only to the fox.
Never dampen the glow of your inner radiance.
The fox spirit animal is here to remind you that you should never dampen the glow of your inner radiance. You are here to shine. If others are jealous or covetous of you or what you create in the world, if they shame or ridicule you – ignore them. The fox reminds you that this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the abusers’ own personal emptiness.
Fox symbolism reminds us that we all have the capacity to be beautiful and to create vibrant beauty in the world around us. This world can be harsh and cruel, there is no doubt. The fox spirit is the antidote. They outsmart all the negativity and beam even brighter. Where others are creating ugliness, as a fox person, you are here to create more beauty in the world.
The fox’s fluffy tale isn’t just used for balance. When the weather is cold, the fox can wrap her fluffy tale around herself to stay warm and protected.
In addition to being playful and clever, foxes can be territorial. The will be affectionate and playful with their fellow foxes, however, if a hunting ground is theirs, they will defend it. They’re also very defensive of their dens when raising their pups.
For this reason, foxes symbolism also means protection. Foxes use their instincts and intelligence to protect what is theirs. While you may feel small and vulnerable at times, remember to protect that which is yours with fierce protectiveness. If other people overstep your boundaries, or those of your loved ones, whether these boundaries are physical, emotional, or financial, you have the right to stand your ground and defend your territory. Use your wits and your canine instincts!
As the saying goes, “Good luck results when preparation and opportunity meet.” While luck can seem like an amorphous concept over which we have no control, any successful gambler will tell you that winning is all about increasing your odds.
Foxes use all of their gifts to increase their odds of successful outcomes. They can slip through a narrow opening in a fence to escape their enemies and pounce at the perfect time to catch their prey.
Foxes are also omnivores like their wolf and coyote cousins. They will eat anything from insects to reptiles, birds, eggs, crabs, human garbage, and vegetation. This willingness to eat a variety of foods has been a key to the fox’s ability to survive in a human-dominated world.
Increase the odds for things to go your way.
The fox power animal tells you that while we can’t control every outcome, you can live your life to increase the odds that things go your way. For example, if you want to be successful in a chosen career path, you can study to become an expert in that field, gaining a level of skill that others don’t make efforts to reach.
In the popular book Girl Boss, author Sophia Amoruso tells the story of a friend who loved to do nails and decided to become a manicurist. While to some that may seem like a humble pursuit, for Sophia’s friend, it was her passion. Her friend decided on her path and knew that, above all, she would be an expert: the best that she could be.
Similarly, in Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life’s Riches, Steve tells the story of a friend of his who loved to detail cars. This friend parlayed his passion into having his own successful business detailing cars because he had the conviction that he would be an expert.
Get ready for good luck and opportunity to come your way.
Being ready for opportunities and good luck to come your way can also be applied to those who are single and looking for their soul mate. Of course loneliness can be hard, but you can leverage that sadness. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, the fox spirit reminds you to home in on your own gifts.
Being single is an ideal time to work on yourself and to become the person you want to be in your next relationship. That could mean working on being more understanding, more spiritual, less judgmental, more fun, or even more fit. It is also a time for reflection on why past relationships didn’t work out. The fox takes advantage of the opportunities that come their way, and periods of solitude can be golden opportunities for growth.
Fox Mythology and Symbolism in Ancient Cultures
The fox is the subject of many ancient stories, from Aesop’s Fables to Native American creation legends. Here are some fox symbols and meanings in some of these cultures.
Native American Fox Meanings
Foxes are sacred animals to Native Americans. While every Native American tribe has their own distinct set of traditions and beliefs, one thing they all have in common is a reverence for animals and the natural world. Many tribes have creation legends about foxes, and some even have fox clans, which you can read more about below.
Fox Symbolism to the Dogrib People
Hailing from the area near Great Slave Lake in the northwest territory of Canada, the Dogrib People have a story about how the fox saved their people.
One season, there was not enough caribou to hunt, so the people were growing hungry. A raven was regularly coming into camp, and the people noticed that he was plump and always had a smile on his face. They asked him how he could be so happy when everyone was smiling. The raven said, “I am suffering like you are.” But the people realized that the raven was just waiting for them to die, so they could eat him.
But how is the raven so plump?
Curious about how the raven remained so plump and happy while everyone else was starving, they decided to have one of their trackers follow him one day. One day, the tracker, named Make-Bone, hid until the raven left camp, and then followed him. Make-Bone saw the raven go to a smoke hut, so he told the people to come see it.
The next day, the people returned to the smoke hut and asked again who would go into the hut to get the food. This time, a fox came along. He told the people that he would go in and that they should wait outside the smoke hut with their spears. The fox went into the smoke hut and stirred up the smoke with his bushy tail, so it became extremely smoky in the hut. Suddenly, there was a loud noise like thunder and a herd of caribou came stampeding out of the smoke hut. And this is how the fox saved the people.
Foxes in Intuit Culture
The Inuit People are from the areas that are now Alaska and Canada, as well as from Greenland. They refer to the Arctic fox as “the little white one,” not to be confused with “the great white one,” who is the polar bear.
One Intuit legend tells the story of creation of light and dark periods in the Arctic. When the Earth was created, the fox and the raven had an argument. The raven, who sees best during the daylight, wanted the days to always be filled with sunshine. But the fox, who prefers to hunt when it’s dark, wanted it always to be nighttime. In the end, they struck a compromise, with periods of both light and dark.
The Fox Woman
Another Inuit story tells the tale of a hunter who lived alone. One day he returns to his hut after a long hunting trip and sees that everything is neatly put away and a warm meal is waiting for him. This happens time and time again, even when he leaves his hut a total mess.
Eventually, curiosity gets the better of him about who is cleaning his hut and preparing his meals. So, one day he pretends to leave another hunting trip, but hides in the trees and watches the hut.
A fox enters the hut…
After some time, he sees a fox enter his hut. Suspecting the fox is going to eat his food, the hunter sneaks up to the hut, but when he peers in, he sees a beautiful woman cooking, and a fox skin hanging on a hook. So, the hunter enters the hut and asks the woman if she has been the one who had been cleaning his hut and leaving warm meals for him. The woman says yet and that she will be his wife.
The two live happily for a while, until one day the hunter comments that she has a funny smell about her. The woman says if he is unhappy, she will leave. Within a second, she grabs the fox fur hanging on the hook, puts it on, and turns into a fox, darting away to never to be seen again.
The Fox Creator God
Native American cultures have a clan system that is organized around family groups, which are based on the maternal line. Clans serve as a system of community organization and division of labor, and some historians surmise that they helped to keep gene pools healthy by preventing close relatives from marrying.
Clans also have animals that are associated with them, such as the bear, crow, or hummingbird, and a number of Native American tribes have fox clans. Tribes that have fox clans include the Creek, Hopi, Menominee, and Blackfoot.
Fox Symbolism to the Meskwaki People
The Meskwaki People are another Native American tribe who are associated with the fox. Hailing from the area around the Great Lakes, the Meskwaki People first came into contact with French traders around the 17th century. The French apparently met member of a Meskwaki fox clan, and assumed that the entire tribe was a fox tribe instead of a clan within a greater tribe. To this day, the Meskwaki are still referred to as the Fox People.
Foxes and the Moche People of Ancient Peru
For the Moche People, who lived from the 1st to 8th century in in what is now modern-day Peru, the fox was a sacred animal. The Moche depicted the fox in their artwork as a warrior. But what made the fox special is that he only used his mind to fight battles, never engaging in physical warfare.
Fox Symbolism and Meanings in Asian Cultures
In Asian folklore, foxes were also revered. In some cultures, they were viewed as sacred beings with mystical powers, and in others mischievous tricksters.
Foxes in Japanese Folklore
The word for fox in Japanese is “Kitsune,” and there are many popular stories about Kitsune in Japan. In Yōkai folklore, which centers around creatures with supernatural powers, foxes can shapeshift from fox to human and back again. According to these legends, the fox gains more super natural powers and wisdom with age. Some of the powers Kitsune possess include creating fire and lightning, entering people’s dreams, and bending time and space.
In both Japanese and Chinese cultures, the fox is viewed as a powerful ally who can help drive demons and other evils spirits away. However, the Chinese view of foxes is somewhat mixed. In China, the fox was also seen as a female temptress who could entice men into having extramarital affairs.
In ancient Mesopotamia, which today is the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, and Syria, the fox was a sacred being. The fox served as the messenger for the ancient goddess Ninhursag, who was an Earth goddess, or goddess of fertility.
Fox Symbolism in the Bible
In the Bible, foxes are used as metaphors, and often negative ones. Some believe that these negative connotations, as those with wolves, helped lead to the mistrust, abuse, and exploitation of these animals in the modern day.
In the Song of Solomon 2:15, there is a verse that goes, ” Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”
The verse has been interpreted as the little foxes are like sins of the spirit, such as pride, jealousy, and gossip. Thus, the fox is viewed negatively vs. as the sacred being in other cultures.
For the Dogon People of West Africa, the fox is both a trickster god and a messenger. The Tswana People of southern Africa, have a proverb that says, “Only the muddy fox lives,” which loosely translates to – people who are willing to get their hands dirty, or get “muddy,” will progress in life.
Greek Myths About Foxes
Aesop, who is known for his popular fables about animals, had a number of stories that depicted foxes. Aesop was possibly a slave in ancient Greece in the 7th century, but there are still many questions about his origins. One of his fables, The Fox and the Grapes, tells the story of a fox who is trying to get some grapes that are hanging on a vine. The grapes are beyond his reach, no matter how high he tries to jump. Finally, the fox says, “They’re probably sour any way.” This story is most likely where the figure of speech about having “sour grapes” comes from. When people are envious of something they can’t have, they’ll be overly critical of it.
The Teumessian Fox
In other Greek stories, the fox is not seen positively. In the Greek myth about the Teumessian Fox, the fox is an oversized beast who is sent by the god Dionysus (who was Bacchus to the ancient Romans) to eat the children of Thebes. Apparently, this was as a punishment for some wrong the people of Thebes inflicted on him. To defend the children, Creon, who is the head regent of Thebes, employs the magical dog Laelaps to catch the giant fox. However, Zeus decides to intervene and turns both beasts into stone and then throws them into the sky, where they still remain as the constellations Canis Major (the dog) and Canis Minor (the fox.)
Fox Symbolism in Celtic Mythology
In Scottish and Irish folklore, the fox was seen both positively and negatively. In the story of Dia Griene, Dia is the daughter of the sun. However, she is captured by the god of the underworld. The god of the underworld relents and lets her go free, but she can only return to the Earth as a fox. Eventually, as Christianity started to overtake paganism in the Celtic world, the fox was increasingly seen as a sinister figure.
Foxes in Norse Legends and Myths
In Nordic mythology, people have spirits, or fylgjur, who accompany them throughout their lifetimes, serving as guides. These guides can take on animal form, or, in other words, serve as animal spirit guides. As with other ancient cultures, animals took on important symbolic meanings in Nordic cultures.
Tulikett, the Fire Fox
In Finnish and Sámi culture, there is a story of Tulikett, a giant fox. It was believed that Tulikett had magical powers, and thus, he was a coveted prize of hunters. However, Tulikett was so fast, that he was impossible to catch. In fact, he ran so fast that his fluffy tale would stir up the snow, causing magical sparkles in the sky. These magical sparkles would start of spark, causing colorful fires in the sky, which created the aurora borealis, or the northern lights.
Organizations that Protect Foxes
While foxes are incredibly adaptable animals, like so many wild animals these days, especially predators, they face a range of threats. These threats include habitat loss, toxins in the environment, and other threats from human beings. If you care about these beautiful creatures, please do what you can to protect them. Here are some organizations and resources that are helping to protect foxes.