A Dove Sighting
Often released at both weddings and funerals, the dove is a special kind of animal. They represent two of the most important human experiences: love and death. At weddings, doves celebrate and signify the everlasting love of the newly married. At funerals and memorials, people may release doves to let go of a departed loved one. While these are two of the most powerful associations with this creature, the symbolic meaning of the dove is far more complex than even that.
What Is a Dove?
The demure, small, and light cousins of the pigeon, doves are birds in the Columbidae family. While there are multiple types of doves, the most common are the American mourning dove and the European turtle dove. Both are spotted white and tan with soft feathers.
When seen in a pair, the shape formed by two doves sitting together can look like a heart, reminding the world that unity and partnership should always be built on love. Most doves mate for life, making them a perfect symbol for strong romantic relationships. When it comes to their other meaning, a group of doves is called a “dule,” which is the French word for mourning. Mourning doves get their name from their distinct, sorrowful song.
Dove Symbolism Throughout History
Throughout the centuries, the dove has held a variety of religious and spiritual meanings. Doves are sometimes seen as messengers from God, or as manifestations of other angelic or spiritual guides. They are often thought to be representatives of heaven or the afterlife, and frequently, the dove can be a symbol of Spirit, meant to bring peace and comfort. In the biblical story of Noah, a dove with an olive branch comes to mark the arrival of peace and the end of hardship. In fact, a “dove” is a nickname or slang term for advocates of peaceful policies in government, especially when it comes to foreign affairs.
Doves are also a special symbol associated with the holidays, especially Easter and Christmas. This makes sense, as doves have historically been a religious and maternal symbol, representing the goddess Ishtar in Assyrian culture and Mother Mary in Christianity.
Turtle doves are mentioned as one of the gifts from someone’s “true love” in the popular holiday carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Doves don’t just fly through holiday songs either — they are mentioned in love songs by Prince and Loretta Lynn, among many others.
The dove’s other meaning — the end of life — also crops up in music quite a bit. For instance, Stevie Nicks has explained that the “white-winged dove” in her song “Edge of Seventeen” represents the time of death in which the spirit leaves the body to find peace.
Are Doves Always a Good Omen?
Seeing a dove, even in the context of death, is commonly thought to be a good thing. Still, some people may wonder whether a dove sighting always has a positive meaning. Many believe deceased loved ones send dove sightings as a message of hope. This message often appears when you feel down and in need of encouragement. By serving as a reminder that there is a new world beyond, doves can signal the end of a problematic cycle or mindset. Doves also encourage people not to fear the unknown, telling you to trust your spirit guides and intuition. Let them lift you up and serve as the wind beneath your wings.
Dreaming of a Dove
Sometimes, doves visit in dreams. But what does it mean to dream of a dove? If you dream of a dove that is sitting on a branch, that may mean that you are currently afraid to take a chance in your waking life. If the dove is injured or trapped, then the dream may indicate a loss of innocence. Likewise, dreaming of a dove that is flying away from you can be a sign telling you to let go and move on from something that has been hurting you.
The Dove as a Totem and Spirit Animal
Those with the dove totem are often very gentle. They have a soft presence that calms the people around them. They are also wise and altruistic, always willing to sacrifice for the greater good. The dove protects you on journeys both physical and spiritual, making it an excellent totem for travelers of all types. As a spirit animal, the dove has feminine energy and can uphold sacred vows of love and beauty. The spirit of the dove is a reminder that calmness is a form of strength, not fragility or weakness.
The Uplifting Symbolism of the Dove
Doves can bring peace and good fortune by appearing in the best and worst of times alike. They bring hope that things will work out in the end, even when the situation seems heavy. Doves also serve as a reminder that cooperation and acceptance are important parts of life. Let the dove be your guide to a peaceful and happy existence.
If you’re interested in our other animal sighting articles, you can find them here.
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