Giraffe symbolism and meanings include aspiration, uniqueness, the gift of prophecy, and other distinguished traits. Giraffes are truly unique animals who are native only to sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, genuine giraffe mythology and folklore originated in the cultures of the African continent. Throughout these cultures, the giraffe is held in high regard, and the giraffe spirit animal is seen as a between who can connect the material world to the heavens.
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What does a giraffe symbolize?
Detailed Giraffe Symbolism and Meanings
As the tallest mammal in the animal kingdom, the giraffe achieves lofty heights, sometimes as high as 20 feet (6 meters). Thus, giraffes are symbols of aspiration. The giraffe spirit animal inspires you to reach for the highest branch. You have the capacity to go further and higher than you ever thought possible.
Just as the giraffe is a symbols of aspiration, they are also symbols of opportunity. You may feel that opportunities and lucky breaks don’t come your way. The giraffe reminds you that you have to reach for them. There’s a great big world out there and fortune favors the bold. Where you may not see opportunities, the giraffe, from their lofty height, assures you that they are there.
There is no other animal quite like the giraffe. While llamas, alpacas, and the okapi (the giraffe’s closest relative) resemble the giraffe, giraffes are really in class all their own. Therefore, they are symbols, and even icons, for the nonconformists of the world.
Those who feels synergies with the giraffe are unique individuals who have the capacity to hold their heads above the fray, even when there is only madness around them. They are not afraid to “stick out,” and they wear their unparalleled spots with flair. The giraffe reminds you that there is only one you, and you are divine.
Because they hold their heads high, giraffes are also symbols of confidence. After all, they can reach places where others don’t even attempt to go. Yet despite their confidence, the quiet giraffe is neither boastful or arrogant. They don’t require adulation in the way that a lion or your pet cat might. Rather, giraffes are merely interested in being the best giraffes they can be.
Despite being the tallest mammals on Earth, giraffes possess a natural grace and quietude. Male giraffes will spar with each other, but even those matches are lowkey, and the two giraffes end up being buddies afterwards.1
The giraffe epitomizes the strong silent type, or the kind person who can bring calm and serenity in what is otherwise a noisy jungle.
Because giraffes can see dangers before other animals can, the other animals in the savanna look to giraffes for guidance. If zebras, gazelles, and ostriches see the giraffe run, they start running too, knowing there is a predator nearby.
For this reason, giraffes are powerful symbols of guidance and leadership. Giraffes symbolize seeing trends and even warnings when others are oblivious. The giraffe is also a symbol for the trailblazer or pioneer.
Giraffes are sensitive animals who also possess keen eyesight. Because of this and the fact that they can see farther than other animals, they are also symbols of prophecy and clairvoyance.
Giraffe people have the potential for the gift of foresight. You are able to understand potential outcomes before other people do and before they happen. Thus, it’s important to hone your sensitivities through meditation or prayer, and learn to trust your gut feelings and intuition more.
One African fable about giraffes, which I’ll describe in more detail below, explains the reason why the giraffe has such a long neck. According to the tale, it’s because when God spoke, the giraffe listened. So God gave giraffes long necks so they could more easily listen to his word and get the leaves that other animals could not.
Throughout Africa, giraffes are considered to be spiritual beings who, like hawks and eagles, have a connection to the heavens, or supernatural world, while simultaneously still being grounded in the material world. Therefore, giraffes are also symbols of spirituality and faith.
Giraffe Mythology and Folklore
African Giraffe Symbolism and Legends
Throughout Africa, giraffes are highly regarded. In fact in, in Botswana, they call the giraffe Thutlhwa, which means “the honored one.”2
There are innumerable fables about giraffes in African culture, and a few of them explain how the giraffe got such a long neck. Here’s one:
How the Giraffe Got Her Long Neck
The Shona People of southern Africa tell the tale of when God created all of the animals. As he created them, he spoke to them. A giraffe named Twiga stretched her neck to the heavens so she could be sure to hear all that God had to say. Quite pleased with this, God bestowed Twiga with an even longer neck, so she could reach the leaves on the branches where the other animals could not and so she could easily hear his word. From Twiga the other animals learned that putting in extra effort brings extra rewards.3
Be Grateful for Your Uniqueness
In another popular story, this one by Aesop, there is a young gazelle who is envious of other animals. Most notably, she is envious of the giraffe. The gazelle lamented to her mother that she wished she had a longer neck. The gazelle’s mother tried to explain to her daughter that each one of us is special and that we all have unique qualities that are assets.
As the mother gazelle talked to her daughter, a leopard jumped out from behind a tree. All of the animals ran away in fright. The young gazelle and her mother hide in the bush. And when they looked back, they saw the giraffe’s head sticking out of the trees, where everyone, including the leopard, could see her. The mother gazelle said to her daughter, “See? Be happy for who you are.”4
How the Giraffe Guides the Sun
Another African tale, this one from the Bushmen of Mozambique, explains how the giraffe learned his purpose.
A long time ago, when the Earth and the heavens began, every animal had a purpose. That is, all but for the giraffe. This filled the giraffe with anxiety and sadness. So, the giraffe would often look up to the sky and pray for a purpose.
At that time, the Sun did not have a direct course in the sky. Instead, it would bounce around like a ball, causing inconsistencies in warmth and light. Noticing this, the giraffe said to the Sun, “Follow my lead, and I will show you a clear path across the sky.” From that day forward, from sunrise to sundown, the giraffe guided the Sun’s path across the sky.5
Giraffe Spirit Animal
If you feel a special kinship with giraffes, or if one makes themselves known to you, whether in real life, art, literature, or the media – pay attention. There are no coincidence. The giraffe spirit animal may have messages for you that help to guide you on your soul’s journey.
In Native American culture, you can have several spirit animals who serve as guardians throughout your life. According to their traditions, your spirit animals choose you, whether during a vision quest or another powerful experience that transforms your life.
If you’re lucky enough to have the giraffe as a spirit animal, you are the type of person who can hold your head above the fray, even when there is chaos all around you. There may be moments when you forget this. The giraffe spirit animal is here to remind you.
You are also a person who is one-of-a-kind, a truly unique individual. In a world that wants to put you in a neat box and have you conform to its expectations, you are not afraid to stick out and go your own way.
The giraffe spirit animal is a powerful guide who reminds you to chart your own course. Don’t be afraid to be a trailblazer. You will see that soon the other animals on the savannah will follow your lead.
Giraffe Power Animal
Giraffes are powerful symbols for embracing your uniqueness and for reaching for the stars. The giraffe power animal can be a helpful symbol to mediate on in situations when you need to find inner confidence and calm to achieve your goals.
Meditate on the Giraffe Power Animal when you:
- Want to learn how to embrace, and even discover, the unique qualities that set you apart and make you who you are.
- Are going after a goal and need that extra motivation to believe you can achieve it.
- Need to summon inner calm and resolve when the world around you is in chaos.
- Hope to find more faith and strengthen your belief in a higher power.
Giraffe Totem Animal
The giraffe totem is a helpful symbol for reminding yourself that what makes you unique is one of your gifts to the world. It is your unusual qualities and life experiences that will help you to fulfill your purpose on Earth. In addition, the giraffe totem serves as a reminder that your dreams are only limited by your beliefs in what you can achieve. Always remember to reach for the stars and ask your Angels for help.
Giraffe Dream Meaning
What does it mean when you dream of a giraffe or giraffes? Dreams and dream interpretations are uniquely personal, so there is never one cut and dry answer. However, delving into the emotions you felt in the dream and your feelings when you awoke can shed light on what the dream meant.
Unless you work directly with giraffes on a regular basis, a giraffe dream is most likely an unusual event. Giraffes are large animals, and they’re also unusual. For some, a dream of a giraffe could mean you’re feeling intimidated by something in your life. Or it could mean that you’re trying to reach for something and want more of a bird’s eye view on how to get it. What is key is understanding the emotions and feelings you had in the dream, just as much as the context.
Once you identify your feelings in the dream, you can consider the different meanings applied to giraffes. Hopefully, this will give you new insights into how to approach an issue in your life.
Giraffe Tattoo Meanings
A giraffe tattoo can be an empowering symbol that shows the world you value your uniqueness and individualism. It can also mean that you’re confident, yet gentle. Giraffe tattoos can also express that you are someone with hopes, dreams, and high aspirations on life. It can also mean that you simply love these graceful, tall beings! Hopefully some of the giraffe symbols and meanings you learned about in this post will brings more meaning to your giraffe tattoo.
How You Can Help Giraffes
Adult giraffes make challenging targets for predators because of their size and the fact that they have a strong kick. However, baby giraffes are extremely vulnerable to predators, including lions, hyenas, and wild dogs. In fact, only one in four baby giraffes survive long enough to reach adulthood.6
In addition to their natural predators, giraffes face threats from human beings, including hunting for sport and poaching them for food, their pelts, and other body parts. Furthermore, like so many wild animals today, giraffes are at risk because their natural habitat is being reduced or degraded from human activity. If you care about giraffes, please do what you can to protect them. Here are some organizations that are doing that.