Unlocking the Mysteries of Mourning Dove Symbolism

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Mourning Dove Symbolism

Are you curious about the significance of the mourning dove? These gentle birds hold a rich history of spiritual symbolism and personal meaning for many individuals. In short, mourning doves represent resilience, hope, and compassion in the face of loss and adversity. But why are they so special?

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In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating meaning and cultural significance of mourning doves, including personal experiences and spiritual interpretations. Keep reading to discover the secrets of the mourning dove.

Mourning Dove: A Comprehensive Look

Mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) are medium-sized birds found throughout North America. They are known for their soft gray-brown plumage, slender bodies, and distinctive, mournful cooing. Their name is derived from the sorrowful sound of their call, which has captivated people for centuries.

Description and Characteristics

Mourning doves are approximately 12 inches in length and have a wingspan of around 18 inches. They have a small head, a long pointed tail, and a slim, streamlined body. Their feathers are a mix of gray, brown, and beige, with some light pink or purple hues on their necks. When in flight, they produce a unique, muffled whistling sound with their wings.

mourning dove meaning hope and grief Unlocking the Mysteries of Mourning Dove Symbolism

Origin of the Name and Mournful Call

The name “mourning dove” comes from the bird’s distinctive, melancholic call. This call has a haunting quality that has inspired various spiritual and symbolic interpretations throughout history. Despite their mournful song, these birds are also known for their gentle nature and strong pair bonds.

Comparison of Mourning Doves and Pigeons

While mourning doves and pigeons belong to the same bird family, Columbidae, there are some noticeable differences between them. Mourning doves are generally smaller and more slender than pigeons, and their plumage is more muted and subtle. Additionally, pigeons have a more rounded tails and lack the distinctive cooing of mourning doves.

“Great ideas come into the world as gently as doves.”

– Albert Camus

Spiritual Significance and Symbolism

Mourning doves are associated with a variety of spiritual meanings and symbols. Some of the most common interpretations include:

Hope, Love, and Freedom

In many cultures, mourning doves are seen as symbols of hope, love, and freedom. Their gentle demeanor, strong pair bonds, and graceful flight inspire feelings of optimism and the potential for new beginnings.

Peace and the Holiday Season

Mourning doves are often associated with peace, particularly during the holiday season. Their presence serves as a reminder of the importance of harmony and goodwill among people.

What do mourning doves symbolize

Connection to the Divine and Spiritual Guides

The mournful call of the mourning dove has led many to believe that these birds serve as messengers from the divine or spiritual realm. They may be seen as harbingers of guidance, protection, or reassurance from angels, spirit guides, or ancestors.

Mourning and Grief

Given their name and the somber nature of their call, it’s no surprise that mourning doves are also associated with mourning and grief. They may be seen as symbols of loss, offering comfort and solace to those experiencing sorrow or bereavement.

A quick comparison of mourning doves and pigeons

FeatureMourning DovesPigeons
SizeSmaller, up to 13 inches in lengthLarger, up to 17 inches in length
PlumageSoft brown-grey with black spots on wingsWide variety of colors and patterns, often iridescent
CallMournful cooing soundCooing, sometimes with additional vocalizations such as grunting or whistling
SymbolismAssociated with peace, love, and hope; often released at funerals or memorials as a symbol of remembrance and healingOften seen as city-dwelling pests, but can also symbolize fertility and abundance in some cultures
Spiritual MeaningBelieved to represent the presence of deceased loved ones or messages from the divine; seen as a symbol of resilience and the power of love to heal and transformCan be associated with sacrifice, loyalty, and devotion in some spiritual traditions
This table is intended to provide a brief comparison between mourning doves and pigeons and is not exhaustive or comprehensive. There may be variations within species and cultures regarding the symbolism and spiritual meaning of these birds.

Cultural Interpretations of Mourning Doves

CultureInterpretation of Mourning Doves
North AmericaSymbol of hope, peace, and love; often seen as messengers from deceased loved ones; released at funerals and memorials as a sign of remembrance and healing
ChinaRepresents long life and fidelity in relationships; also seen as a symbol of peace and prosperity
GreeceSymbol of love and devotion; associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love
AfricaConsidered a symbol of good fortune and blessings; presence seen as a sign of positive energy
Native AmericanVarying beliefs, ranging from symbols of peace and harmony to messengers from the spirit world or spirits of the deceased
This table is intended to provide a brief comparison of cultural interpretations of mourning doves and is not exhaustive or comprehensive.

Mourning doves have held symbolic significance in various cultures throughout history:

meaning of dreaming of mourning doves

Biblical References and Christian Symbolism

In Christianity, doves are often associated with the Holy Spirit, particularly in the story of Jesus’ baptism. Mourning doves, with their melancholic call, may be seen as reminders of redemption, hope, and new beginnings in the face of grief and loss.

The mourning dove is mentioned twice in the Bible! The first book of Kings tells us that King Solomon was out hunting when he found a mourning dove nesting, looking for somewhere safe to lay her eggs.

He took pity on them and brought them back to his palace, where they lived happily ever after with their new human father, who would protect them from danger making mourning doves symbolize peace during war.

In Leviticus, God commanded Moses to tell Israelites not to kill mourning doves because it’s considered an abomination which makes sense since these are symbols of love—killing one shows absolute disrespect even if you’re following what someone told you without thinking about how this might affect others around you or the mourning dove symbolism attached to them.

The white-necked doves are messenger birds because they bring messages from one person or thing to another. This includes good news, like when Jesus Christ told his disciples he was going back up into the heavenly realm after laying down on death’s doorstep at Lazarus’ feet (John 11:25-27).

The mourning dove was also said to be Noah’s only friend while he sailed during the great flood (Genesis chapter eight). This shows how important these creatures were for survival in ancient times when they acted as harbingers or indicators that land was near!

“As the hawk is, won’t to pursue the trembling doves.”

– Ovid

Greek and Roman Mythology

In Greek and Roman mythology, doves were associated with the goddesses of love, Aphrodite and Venus, respectively. Mourning doves, with their strong pair bonds, were seen as symbols of romantic love and devotion.

The Greek goddess Aphrodite, often portrayed amidst a flock of doves, has a fascinating legend associated with these birds. It is believed that she made her grand entrance into the world in a chariot that was pulled by doves.

These birds were also thought to carry ambrosia, the divine nectar that was consumed by the gods and goddesses to ensure their longevity. This captivating symbolism of doves in Greek mythology can offer us a deeper understanding of their cultural significance.

“I say love, and the world populates itself with doves.”

– Pablo Neruda

Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, doves represent long life and loyalty. The mourning dove, with its strong pair bonds, exemplifies these traits and is seen as a symbol of faithfulness and commitment in relationships.

African Culture

In some African cultures, mourning doves are considered symbols of good fortune. Their presence is seen as a sign of blessings and positive energy.

Native American Culture

Native American tribes have varying beliefs about mourning doves. Some see them as symbols of peace, love, and harmony, while others associate them with the spirits of the deceased or messengers from the spirit world.

Celtic Culture

In Celtic mythology, doves represent the divine feminine, love, and nurturing energy. Mourning doves, with their gentle nature and soothing cooing, embody these qualities and serve as a reminder of the importance of compassion and empathy.

mourning dove meaning

Mourning Dove Visits and Personal Experiences

Mourning doves often hold personal significance for individuals who encounter them. These experiences may include:

Comfort and Messages from Loved Ones

Many people believe that mourning doves serve as messengers from deceased loved ones, offering comfort, reassurance, and guidance during times of grief or hardship. Their presence may be seen as a reminder of the enduring love and support of those who have passed on.

Sign of Remembrance at Funerals and Memorial Services

Mourning doves are often released at funerals and memorial services as a symbol of remembrance, love, and hope for peace and healing. Their presence serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of cherishing memories and embracing the grieving process.

Mourning Dove as a Spirit Animal and Totem Animal

For those who identify with the mourning dove as a spirit animal or totem, the bird serves as a symbol of resilience, grace, and the power of love to heal and transform. The mourning dove encourages introspection, emotional growth, and the pursuit of inner peace.

Spirit animal mourning dove

Mourning Dove in Dreams

Dreaming of mourning doves can hold various meanings and significance, depending on the context of the dream and the dreamer’s personal beliefs:

Dream Interpretation and Possible Meanings

Dreams featuring mourning doves may represent feelings of loss or grief, the desire for peace and healing, or a reminder of the power of love and hope. These dreams may also indicate a need for emotional support and reassurance from friends, family, or spiritual guides.

on nest

Significance of Dreaming of Mourning Doves

For those who believe in the spiritual symbolism of mourning doves, dreaming of these birds may be seen as a message from the divine or spirit realm. These dreams could be interpreted as guidance, protection, or a reminder of the importance of love, forgiveness, and hope in the face of adversity.

Mourning Dove Feathers and Their Meaning

Finding a mourning dove feather can hold special significance for some individuals:

Interpretation of Finding a Mourning Dove Feather

A mourning dove feather may be seen as a message from above, a reminder to trust one’s inner voice and intuition, or a sign of a connection to the spirit world. The feather may also symbolize comfort and guidance during difficult times.

Connection to Inner Voice, Intuition, and the Spirit World

Mourning dove feathers may serve as reminders to embrace one’s intuition, listen to inner wisdom, and trust in the guidance of spiritual allies.

Embracing the Lessons and Messages of Mourning Doves

The symbolism and significance of mourning doves encourage us to reflect on the following aspects of our lives:

Cultivating Resilience and Perseverance

Mourning doves are a reminder of the importance of resilience and perseverance in the face of loss, grief, and adversity. Their presence encourages us to remain hopeful and strong, even during difficult times.

Finding Light and Life Amidst Sorrow

Despite their association with mourning and grief, mourning doves also embody hope, beauty, and new beginnings. Their presence reminds us to find joy and meaning in life, even during times of sorrow and hardship.

Embracing Compassion and Empathy

The gentle nature of mourning doves and their association with love and nurturing energy encourage us to embrace compassion and empathy in our relationships and interactions with others.

Connecting with the Divine and Spiritual Guides

The spiritual significance of mourning doves encourages us to cultivate a deeper connection with the divine, spiritual guides, or ancestors. By doing so, we may find comfort, guidance, and support during times of uncertainty and turmoil.

The mourning dove feather is also associated with love in some cases, which was particularly popular during Victorian times when mourning jewelry made with these feathers became all the rage along with black ribbon or lace.

The mourning dove symbolism in arts, literature, music and film

The mourning dove has long held a place in arts, literature, music, and film as a symbol of love, peace, and hope. In literature, it has been referenced in works such as William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” and Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”.

It has also been the subject of poetry, such as Joyce Kilmer’s “Mourning Dove”. In music, it has been featured in songs such as Prince’s “When Doves Cry” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird”.

In film, it has been portrayed in various genres, from the animated “Mulan” to the Western “Dove Hunters”. Its gentle nature and mournful call continue to inspire creative works across various mediums.


“Those doves below, the ones utterly cared for, never endangered ones, cannot know tenderness.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Mourning doves hold a rich history of spiritual significance and cultural symbolism, as well as personal meaning for many individuals. Their gentle nature, mournful call, and graceful flight serve as reminders of the importance of resilience, hope, and compassion in our lives. Whether encountering a mourning dove in nature, finding a feather, or dreaming of these birds, embracing their lessons and messages can provide comfort, guidance, and a deeper sense of connection to the world around us.

The Mourning Dove is a symbol of mourning, peace, and hope. It was the only bird that appeared to Noah after the flood in search of land.

This beautiful bird has been used as a symbol in biblical stories and still holds significance today. The beauty and sorrow of these doves have captured people’s imaginations for centuries.
They’re mentioned in the literature, spiritual texts- even cartoons! Mourning Dove sculptures adorn churches all over America, symbolizing their resilience against sadness.
In this article, you’ll discover the spiritual messages of the mourning dove, how it’s appeared in different cultures, and what it means if you dream of this sacred bird.

Also, check our post: Turtle Dove vs Mourning Dove.


What god is associated with mourning doves?

The Greek goddess Aphrodite is often associated with mourning doves. This is because the bird is a symbol of love and affection.
In many cultures, mourning doves are seen as messengers of love. They are believed to carry the souls of loved ones who have passed away. For this reason, they are often used in funerals and memorials.

What is the meaning when I see two mourning doves?

When you see two mourning doves together, it is a symbol of eternal love. This is because the mourning dove mate for life. They are known to be very devoted and loving partners. If you see two mourning doves together, it may be a sign that your soulmate is coming into your life.

Mourning dove in house meaning

If a mourning dove visits your home, it is considered to be a sign of good luck. It means that the bird has chosen you as its special friend. This is a very rare and special honor. The mourning dove is known for its loyalty and affection, so this is a great omen for your future.

Why are doves hanging around my house?

There could be many reasons why doves are hanging around your house. It could be that they are attracted to the food you are feeding them, or it could be that they are looking for a safe place to nest. If you have a lot of mourning doves in your yard, it is considered to be a sign of good luck.

What is the mourning dove call meaning?

The mourning dove call is a symbol of hope and new beginnings. The sound of the mourning dove is said to be like the voice of an angel. When you hear the mourning dove call, it may be a sign that your prayers are being answered. The bird is also considered to be a messenger of love and peace.

What is the brown dove meaning?

The brown dove’s spiritual meaning is often seen as a messenger of tranquility, love, and understanding. It has been thought to encourage us on the path toward spiritual connectedness while also serving as a reminder to remain loyal in all relationships. As a symbol of hope and renewal, it comes with an important message that calls for inner peace-seeking endeavors.

3 mourning doves meaning

The soothing coo of the mourning dove symbolizes serenity in many cultures, and a trio may act as an emblem of hope. For some Christian denominations, these three birds can represent God’s presence while other religious beliefs look to them to signify a connection between one’s mind-body-spirit trinity.

Dead mourning dove meaning

Discovering a dead mourning dove can evoke vastly different interpretations – some consider it to be an ill-fated portent, while others merely see the passing of a beautiful creature. Its true message is often left up to cultural and personal beliefs; though in most cases seeing one may simply mean that its life has come to end without any special significance.

Are mourning doves good luck?

Mourning doves carry a symbolic message of peace, love, and harmony across various cultures. Seen as an omen of good luck in some parts, they bring positive energy to the world around us – embodying gracefulness wherever they may be seen.


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Author: Richard Alois
Richard, a London-based spiritual explorer and daytime marketer, invites fellow seekers to join him on a journey of discovery through his website, richardalois.com. With engaging articles and thought-provoking discussions, Richard's inclusive approach transcends borders, uniting people in the quest for wisdom, inner peace, and self-understanding.

3 thoughts on “Unlocking the Mysteries of Mourning Dove Symbolism”

  1. I found a Mourning Dove Feather laying beside my “soul dog” of 16+ years the day he was crossing the Rainbow Bridge. He had walked over, sniffed it and laid down. I kept the feather & only figured out it was a Mourning Doves a few days later. That night & the following morning, I could hear a mourning dove cooing. It was odd as it was the middle of December here in Ontario Canada and we don’t typically hear or see them that time of year.

  2. This is an absolutely beautiful article about the Mourning Dove 🕊 💜🌌✨️ I’ve been hearing and seeing them for a few years now. I heard one today and I had to finally look up the meaning(s) of this beautiful spirit animal. So many confirmations🥹🕊💜🌌✨️


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