Crane Symbolism – Symbols and Meanings of the Crane

Long-Legged Beauty: The Significance Of Crane Meaning

The crane has a long history of symbolism, in both Eastern and Western cultures. In Japan, the crane is associated with femininity and longevity; in China, it’s considered one of the four sacred creatures alongside the dragon, tiger and tortoise.

The Crane spirit animal symbolizes longevity, focus, discipline, and vigilance. So when you get cranes as your spirit animals during a journey to connect with them in their natural habitat or when they come to you in a dream that means you need to go on this journey because they are coming to guide you through this new time period of your life filled with new experiences.

Although not genetically related, cranes may seem like a close relative of storks and herons. With the exception of South America and the frigid temperatures of Antarctica, they can be spotted frolicking the marshes and plains of every other continent. Known to be opportunistic feeders, they alter their diet according to the season, switching from a range of small rodents, amphibians, and fish to seeds, grains, plants, and berries. Regarded as a representation of happiness, longevity, and good fortune, it simply fits that we take a close look at the various crane symbolisms.


“The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time, and ability.”


Appearing to be graceful and polished, these beautiful birds build platform nests in shallow water where both parents care for their young until the following breeding season. They are considered to be among the large birds, growing more than 6 feet depending on the species. They are known to live for long periods and are notoriously territorial. Cranes are celebrated as highly monogamous birds as they are known to find mates and groups of family members as well as large flocks and form bonds that last a lifetime.

Crane Bird Meaning

The innate ability of the crane to walk, fly and swim describes it as attuned to certain elements such as our various emotions, femininity, and water. When it unexpectedly comes into your life as a totem animal or a spiritual guide, it may be a stark indication that we should use our past experiences, may they be good or bad, to strengthen us through the challenges of the present.

Cranes appear to people struggling with secrets and mysteries in their lives, calling to mind the importance of keeping to your own and maintaining balance in life that leads to greater protection and assurance of family. Encounters with this spirit animal are signs asking us to look deep into ourselves as there may be occasions when we’ve failed to treat people with fairness. Cranes act as spiritual guides that teach us how to use and share wisdom in the best and most fitting ways.

What Do Cranes Symbolize?

The unique charm of these long-legged and long-necked birds, specifically their striking mating dance rituals, has captured our admiration regarding them as birds that symbolize a higher spiritual meaning. The myth behind cranes as spirit guides date back to ancient times where they are believed to be a symbol of happiness and prosperity.

Since cranes develop eternal relationships with their mates and their community, they are seen as a symbol of a love that has no end. Cranes, with their superior posture, radiate aristocracy and nobility, which led our ancestors to consider them as figures of excellent grace, admirable balance, and honorable royalty.

What Do Cranes Symbolize

Much like most birds that are revered as a symbol of freedom, cranes symbolize abundance and spirituality, drawing the perfect harmony between wealth and faith. They are a strong depiction of solitude and loyalty, encouraging us to be still and strong in the midst of being lonesome while we remain devoted to our values and principles and also to our loved ones.

Often, when a crane appears in our lives they bear with them powerful messages of concentration, perseverance, and wisdom, pressing us to create balance and to focus on what is currently given us. Cranes are reminders that though things may not always go the way we want them to, we should always deal with these issues with the utmost knowledge, sophistication, and patience.

Spiritual Meaning

Apart from being a symbol of durability and justice, cranes are perceived to be messengers of God. 

Using their ability to perform a mating ritual dance and to create music through their calls, they radiate our inner and outer beauty and communicate to us messages from the spirit realm that we might not have noticed. The crane’s ability to assemble in a flock prompts us to seek or provide opportunities to engage with others and socialize.

Crane Spiritual Meaning

Cranes appearing in our lives may be a reminder of the importance of keeping in touch with our friends and loved ones since such a setting may provide not just joy and peace but also creativity, mental support, and inspiration. Their presence invites us to understand the significance of listening to others as it makes us aware of their activities and feelings.

Spiritual Awakening

They invite us to carefully watch and learn about the messages that people are sending us through their body language. Cranes as spiritual animals awaken in us not only the qualities that will help maintain close relationships, but also the wisdom and courage to know when to finally break away from someone difficult and toxic.

Spirit or Totem Animals

When a crane appears, it bears in its large wings important messages about your present life. Oftentimes it comes when you are at a point when you have lost complete control over certain circumstances, offering you respite and the chance to re-establish and maintain stability and balance.

As a totem animal, cranes signify that you are a well-balanced person who is in total control of each of your life’s aspects. It provides you with the grace to understand other people’s needs and the elegance that enables you to foster empathy towards your peers, making you admirable to them.

Cranes impart with you the unique ability to be social yet not minding spending time alone, again displaying the importance of balance in handling our relationship with our communities.

Cranes As Spirit Or Totem Animals

Here are a few more of the characteristics of what a crane as a totem animal brings you:

  1. Having a crane as your totem animal means that you put loyalty in high regard especially in your relationships, as this spiritual animal stirs you to respect and love your partner for a lifetime.
  2. Cranes keep you focused on your goals and provide you with the knowledge and energy to keep working until you reach your goal.
  3. The wisdom that a crane totem animal hands you will inspire others to come to you seeking advice and your opinion.

With cranes as your totem animal, you are depicted as a person who is in touch with his spirituality and that your journey towards higher spiritual knowledge and enlightenment is dynamic and limitless. The crane’s presence highlights the importance of focus, boosting our sense of being protective of the people around us, and of celebrating and enhancing our gift of creativity.

The Symbolism in Different Cultures

The image and symbolism of cranes vary in different cultures and traditions. Their warm personality and exquisite beauty, along with their eye-catching dance during courtship, provide countless symbolism and interpretations that enthroned the crane’s significance in the lives of well-known civilizations.

Native Americans

Native American men from these tribes dress up in feathers and outfits to perform what they call the Crane dance, hoping to impress and possibly land a date with a potential wife. They believe that when a crane shows itself while they are fishing, it enables them to an abundance of catch as they are a symbol of luck and fortune. Particular tribes consider cranes as a symbol of good leadership and that the bird enhances their public speaking skills, turning them into amazing peacemakers.


Cranes were mentioned twice in the bible in Isaiah 38:14 and Jeremiah 8:7, the former for its distinct voice and the latter for their role in migration. For Christians, cranes represent people who do good deeds in the service of others. They serve as spiritual guides to remain on the path to holiness amidst the test of sin and temptation.

In Christianity, the crane is also symbolic of repentance. This bird has a long neck and can see into heaven; this indicates its ability to look back on past sins with sorrow for them. A Christian who repents will be forgiven by God, like as if they were being pulled upwards from sin by the wings of a gentle scavenger — or in other words, lifted up by cranes’ wings!


Being one among many holy creatures, the Japanese hold a lot of significance to the crane. Believed to symbolize fidelity, endurance, and good fortune, they follow the tradition of gifting newlyweds a plethora of paper origami cranes to wish them years of great happiness and abundance.

Origami cranes are also given to newborns, not to make them float in the tub during the bath, but to wish them a long and prosperous life. A thousand origami cranes are considered as bearers of peace, hope, and healing and are traditionally offered to shrines and temples.

The Japanese culture sees the crane as an bird that brings good luck – it’s seen as bringing longevity and peace since it lives so long (sometimes even over one hundred years). In fact, many people give gifts of paper cranes to celebrate someone’s birthday!


Crane meaning in China

When it comes to symbols, the Chinese can never be overlooked, may it be in real life or through their collection of artistic works. Paintings of cranes soaring through the skies are indications of happiness and beauty while the ones shown with lotus express purity. Living a long and fortuitous life being a crane’s common symbolism, spotting one among pine trees and a spotted deer was believed to prolong one’s life.


Cranes are seen as one of the most dependable and trustworthy creatures by the Koreans. They are admired as symbols of peace, longevity, and purity which people put in high regard in this East Asian nation.

White Cranes

White cranes are adored and cherished in many cultures as a symbol of discipline, fidelity, vigilance, and wisdom. They are believed to be messengers of God who serve as our spirit animal guides, sweeping down on us in times of anxiety and imbalance.

As totem animals, white cranes are known to help clear and bring light on us when we are in our darkest. 

They are identified to have the ability to carry us to higher spiritual consciousness and provide us with the wisdom to grasp and celebrate the love and joys in our lives.

On the other hand, in Tibetan culture, white cranes are seen as messengers of death. One particular legend says that when a person is about to die (but has not yet passed on), they will see an image of two or three white cranes flying overhead. The head crane cries out and tells the dying soul it’s time for them to go home – but if this warning goes unheeded, then death comes quickly.


People have always associated cranes with balance, longevity, and good fortune. Their dance remains to be the distinct and most prominent feature that makes them well-loved creatures (cranes also symbolize love). The crane’s role as a spirit guide is simply boundless which makes encounters with this prehistoric bird timeless.

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