Crane Symbolism And Spiritual Meaning: A Guide to the Magic of The Crane

This blog post will explore the meaning of the crane symbolism. Cranes can represent many things but they all seem to have a common theme: good fortune. It’s no wonder that the Japanese word for “cranes” is associated with happiness and longevity. In this article, we’ll learn more about what cranes symbolize and how you can incorporate them into your own life!

Long-Legged Beauty: The Significance of the Crane Meaning

Although not genetically related, cranes may seem like a close relative of storks and herons (see the comparison between the stork vs crane here.) 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.

Crane in flight

Long observed 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.

Cranes belong to a group of birds called wading birds or waders with long necks.

Regarded as a representation of happiness, longevity, and good fortune, it simply fits that we take a close look at the various crane symbolism.

Chanakya

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

Chanakya

What do cranes symbolize?

Known for its long history of symbolism, the crane is highly revered in both Eastern and Western cultures. While it is associated with longevity and femininity in Japan, this majestic bird is considered by the Chinese as one of the four sacred creatures alongside the dragon, tiger, and tortoise.

A revered symbol that draws the perfect balance between having a strong faith and material abundance, here’s a quick sweep into what the crane symbolizes.

Creativity

Adored for their striking mating dance rituals, the crane spirit appears to rouse our imaginative side. Not only does it help relieve our anxiety and stress, but it also urges us to confidently express ourselves.

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Cant believe

Loyalty

As one of the few animals that mate for life, these relatively protective creatures are widely seen as a symbol of love that has no end. The crane teaches us how commitment and faithfulness make us favored members of our community and cherished by our family and friends.

Dignity

Boasting its superior posture, the crane symbolism radiates both aristocracy and nobility. This may have led different cultures to consider cranes as figures of grace, integrity, and honor.

These tall birds remind us to be proud of our natural gifts and refrain from constantly trying to meet the expectation of others.

Spiritual awakening

Revered for its ability to walk, swim, and fly, the crane spirit reminds us of our own capacity to reach higher levels of spirituality.

Since such an eye-opening spiritual experience provides us with joy, relief, and deep-seated knowledge, these remarkable birds enable us to understand life’s different facets better.

Contentment

Regarded as a bird of happiness, a crane appears with powerful messages of joy, optimism, and peace of mind. They encourage us to remain strong and resilient amidst being lonesome while staying devoted to our values and principles.

What Do Cranes Symbolize

Prosperity

Often spotted frolicking on plains and marshes of various continents, the crane symbolism teaches us to find a perfect balance in life as it helps bring happiness, opportunities, and good fortune.

Long believed to be an animal that heralds the arrival of a prosperous period, they encourage us to help make other’s prosper as well.

Beauty

Typically appearing graceful and polished, these beautiful birds remind us about the charm that lies within and how we can use it to help others.

Cranes inspire us to give our gifts the utmost value and importance. They serve as reminders that though things may not always go our way, we should learn to deal with our difficulties with great knowledge, sophistication, and grace.

Cranes As Spirit Or Totem Animals

Intuition

Considered to be among the large birds, these notoriously territorial creatures offer enormous symbolic meanings that urge us to ensure the safety of our loved ones.

A symbol of focus, discipline, and vigilance, the crane spirit animal encourages us to face life’s challenges with confidence as it often brings in new exciting life experiences.

Longevity

Revered for being one of the longest-living birds, the crane spirit encourages us to form bonds that last a lifetime.

With a lifespan that stretches up to 30 years, these remarkable creatures allow us to contribute more to our community with our spiritual gifts and wisdom.

crane birds gather

Travel

They are respected by many for their awesome ability to traverse the waters, roam the land, and soar in the sky. The appearance of cranes indicates that you are about to embark on a physical or spiritual journey.

As they travel thousands of miles during times of migration, it indicates our readiness to jump borders in search of greener pastures.

The crane 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 dress up in crane feathers to perform what they call the crane dance, hoping to impress and possibly land a date with a potential mate.

They believe that when a crane shows itself while they are fishing, it leads them to an abundance of catch as they are symbols of luck and fortune.

Particular tribes consider cranes a symbol of good leadership. They also believe that the bird enhances their public speaking skills, turning them into incredible peacemakers.

Japanese crane

Being one among many holy creatures, the Japanese crane holds a huge significance to their culture.

Believed to symbolize fidelity, endurance, and good fortune, they follow the tradition of gifting newlyweds a plethora of paper origami cranes to wish the couple years of happiness and abundance.

paper crane

A paper bird is 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 bearers of peace, hope, and healing and are traditionally offered to shrines and temples.

Japanese Crane Symbolism
The crane in Japanese culture

The Japanese culture sees the crane as a bird that brings good luck. It is 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!

Considered a symbol of peace, the novel “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” talks about a young girl named Sadako Sasaki and her attempt to create a thousand paper cranes to spread a message of peace across the world. While it is believed that Sadako Sasaki passed from the effects of the atomic bomb that flattened Hiroshima before completing her goal, her vision was heard loud and clear in Japan and beyond.

Chinese culture

From their many artworks to the way they associate them with their life, the Chinese have long given the crane spirit such high reverence. They believed that seeing cranes soaring through the sky is a sign of happiness and charm.

Known for living a long and fruitful life, crane feathers were perceived to prolong one’s life.

However, Tibetan culture indicates white cranes as messengers of death.

One particular legend says that when a person is about to die, 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, death comes quickly.

Crane meaning in China

Celtic crane

Once common throughout Ireland, cranes have long held great significance in Irish mythology. A Celtic crane was seen as a divine messenger that brought curses and blessings.

Such a trait gave birth to the belief that cranes represented high levels of wisdom and knowledge. By mimicking how a crane stands in the water, Celts perceived that they can channel the crane’s gift of knowledge, patience, and longevity.

Celtic tradition says that crane people are gifted with the ability to transform into the shape of a bird when they ask for penance.

giant crane

Australian culture

Inspired by the way cranes dance during courtship, the aboriginal people of Australia associated them with the sun’s movement in the various seasons. Held as a bird that aggressively protects its territory and ensures the safety of its young, these flying creatures were seen as a symbol of fertility and protection of our homes and loved ones.

brolga australian crane
A Brolga, an Australian crane

Korean culture

While ancient tradition urges Koreans to keep the spirit of the crane dance alive, Koreans viewed cranes as an indication of peace and eternal youth. A bird that reminds us about the significance of a life of balance and harmony, the crane is trusted to bring friendship and accord to the South and their neighbors from the North.

Indian culture

Perhaps because of their trait of being loyal to a single mate, cranes in India are perceived to symbolize long-lasting love and trustworthiness. They believe that if one from a crane pair passes away, it won’t take long before the other follows its sad fate.

Sarus cranes dancing
Sarus cranes dancing

Ancient Egypt

Often illustrated as a man with a crane’s head, the Egyptian god Thoth brought knowledge in science, math, and magic to Ancient Egypt. It is widely believed that hieroglyphics and the written language were inspired by the crane’s unique flying patterns.

Egyptian god Thoth
Egyptian god Thoth

African culture

In a culture with an array of myths and beliefs, cranes are held in high regard for the kindness they showed towards an ancient African king.

Legend has it that a flock of cranes helped a king who was out for a hunt after he got lost and displaced. Since no other animal would stop and help the king, he asked his goldsmiths to craft a crown for the crane’s head to show his gratitude for saving him from dehydration and death.

However, the jealousy of the other animals led them to steal and destroy the crowns. The king asked his magicians to craft mystical crowns instead to make sure that their impressive tufts will never be taken away from the kind-hearted cranes.

African Crowned Cranes
African crowned Cranes

Cranes in Greek mythology

Highly associated to their sun god, Apollo, the crane’s movement and flight patterns were utilized by the Greeks to see into the future.

Typically tall with attractive features, they were perceived as a representation of Gerana, who many claimed was more beautiful than the goddess Hera.

Widely associated with the poet Ibycus, Ancient Greece saw them as agents of truth and justice.

Crane symbolism in Christianity

Cranes were mentioned twice in the Bible, in Isaiah 38:14 and Jeremiah 8:7, the former for their distinct voice and the latter for their role in migration. For Christians, the crane symbolism represents people who do good deeds in the service of others. They serve as spiritual guides to remain on the path to holiness amidst the tests 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 and repentance. Since cranes eat animals that are associated with evil, they are seen by many as a creature that helps us get rid of our life’s worries and uncertainty.

Crane symbolism in Buddhism

Much like most animals, the crane symbolizes rebirth and renewal in Buddhism.

Their fondness for migrating to warmer areas is seen as a soul that has reached spiritual enlightenment and chose to return to Earth to help others achieve high levels of spiritual awareness.

The Buddhists saw their presence as a reminder of the significance of faithfulness and commitment. Not only does it provide us with clarity, but it gives us a better sense of purpose and fulfillment as well.

Nichiren Buddhism
A crane in the logo of Nichiren Shōshū, a branch of Nichiren Buddhism based on the traditionalist teachings of the 13th—century Japanese Buddhist priest Nichiren

Crane symbolism in Islam

Believed by many as a physical representation of the phoenix, the Muslim belief holds these enormous birds as the symbol of the goddesses Allat, Manat, and Uzza. Revered as Allah’s daughters, they are popularly referred to as “exalted cranes” which bring forth spiritual transformation and immortality to those who give them the utmost reverence.

Common types of cranes and their meanings

Red-crowned crane

Considered perhaps the rarest among the crane species, these typically sizable birds are a symbol of strength, energy, and faithfulness.

While legend has it that these birds achieve their size due to their gift of long life, the red-crowned crane has been revered as an indication of peace, longevity, and wisdom.

Japanse Red-crowned cranes
Japanse red-crowned cranes

White cranes

White cranes are adored and cherished in many cultures as a symbol of discipline, fidelity, and vigilance.

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 to us when we are in our darkest.

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

Blue crane

Commonly found frolicking the waters of South Africa, blue cranes signify faith, sensitivity, and freedom.

They would often swoop into our lives to remind us how we should be gentle with both our actions and words. They also remind us to be grateful and satisfied with the gifts we have.

The crane spirit animal meaning

The crane spirit animal has long been perceived to be attuned to each of the elements. When it unexpectedly comes into your life, it may be an indication that we should use our past experiences to strengthen us to go through the challenges of the present.

Appearing to those struggling with life’s hardships and mysteries, the crane spirit reminds us about the importance of keeping to ourselves and understanding the value of secrets.

Encounters with this spirit animal are signs asking us to look deep into ourselves as there may be times when we’ve failed to treat people with fairness.

red crowned crane
Dancing red-crowned cranes

Their ability to remain faithful to a single mate for life easily made a crane pair spiritual guides that teach us how to use and share wisdom in the best and most fitting ways.

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

Apart from being a symbol of fairness and durability, cranes are perceived to be messengers of the Divine. Their unique calls and mating ritual dance enable us to communicate with our spirit guides and heed the messages that we might not have noticed.

Crane Spiritual Meaning

The crane animal totem

The crane animal totem often appears at a point when you have lost complete control of certain circumstances. It swoops down to offer a respite and a chance to re-establish your life’s stability and balance.

Having the crane totem signifies that you are a well-balanced person who is in control of all aspects of your life. It gives people the grace to understand other people’s needs and the elegance that enables you to foster empathy towards your peers.

crane dreams

The crane totem animal inspires us to put loyalty in high regard, particularly in our relationships. These faithful birds stir us to respect and love our partners until the end of time.

Cranes keep you focused on your goals and provide you with a persevering spirit to keep working until your aspirations are met.

The crane animal totem gives us the wisdom that will inspire others to go to you seeking your opinion and advice.

With cranes as your totem animal, you are seen as an individual who is in touch with his spirituality. It also shows that your journey towards higher spiritual knowledge and enlightenment is dynamic and limitless.

The crane power animal

The crane’s ability to assemble in a flock prompts us to seek or provide opportunities to engage with others and socialize.

The appearance of the crane spirit may be a reminder of the importance of keeping in touch with our friends and loved ones.

Having this adored migratory bird as a power animal provides us with the spiritual awakening that helps us develop close relationships. It also gives us the courage to let go of the people that make life toxic.

Although the crane symbol teaches us the importance of community, its presence reminds us of the value of independence and individuality.

What does it mean when you dream of cranes?

Seeing a crane in your dream represents a time when you need to be lifted to new heights. You are able to see things at an established distance and recognize the value of all that’s around you.

The appearance of this bird is a reminder not only of physical growth but also of emotional well-being. One might think about one’s mind or self as something beautiful worth protecting and nurturing. When we feel safe from harm, we can grow our happiness like a tree full of leaves!

A symbol of protection and beauty, seeing a crane in your dream means that you are protective of the people close to you.

While it could mean that there’s something about yourself worth exploring, these communicative creatures symbolize good vision and hearing.

Conclusion

People have always associated the crane symbolism 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.

Some cranes are almost made extinct, for instance, the whooping crane.

In another post, we compared the crane vs heron and the egret vs crane, please check them out.

Video: Cranes: Symbols of Survival

The crane is on our list of animals that represent life.

FAQ

Is it an omen when you encounter a Crane?

No, not all cranes are good luck. In fact, only the white crane is considered a bad omen in many parts of Japan!crane omen

What do paper cranes symbolize?

Paper cranes (Origami) have a long history in Japan and are even considered to be symbols of luck. In Japanese culture, an old folktale says the gods granted longevity to anyone who folds 1000 paper cranes. Another story states that if you make one thousand origami crane wishes, your wish will come true!

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