The Octopus Symbolism

Photo of author
Octopus Symbolism

The octopus is an eight-legged animal that lives in water. The Octopus symbolism is quite vast and if you are drawn to it then you need to know what its symbolism stands for. Even its habitat speaks volumes of wonder and mystery.

This animal is known to move within a realm skillfully and is always found to be in constant motion. It wafts, shifts, and changes depending upon the moon’s pull. Its environmental aura also enhances its depth of mystery. Primarily, the octopus can be termed to be a bottom dweller, although it is mostly mobile.

In this blog post, we take a look at the octopus symbol and its meaning. The first thing that you will notice about an octopus is its eight long tentacles. There are many different interpretations of the symbolism behind these most unique appendages. Some people believe they represent life’s complexity, while others claim they are symbolic of intelligence or even immortality because it seems impossible to kill one! In order to better understand what they mean in your own life, read on for more information.

Octopus meaning

The symbolism of the octopus

The first thing you will notice about an octopus is its long arms–there are many different interpretations of this symbolism behind our most unique appendage. Some believe they represent life’s complexity, while others claim that it symbolizes intelligence or even immortality. To better understand what the octopus means in your own life, read on for more information:

The eight long tentacles of an octopus can be interpreted as a representation of either life’s complexity and how we are never able to completely control our lives, or they may represent intelligence and other important qualities like being–the ability to learn new things.

Octopuses have been found with incredible levels of cognitive abilities which lead us to view them almost as if their arms were symbolic of different aspects of human brainpower. This is why some people see the octopus spirit and its appendages as representing infinity because there’s no real way you’ll ever get to the end of it.

Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.

– H. Jackson Brown

Some people believe that octopus symbolism is representative of how life is unpredictable and full of surprises–you never know what’s going to happen next, or who you’re going to meet along the way.

In symbolic terms, it is said to exist within the psyche’s watery world. If you make this animal your totem, then you are likely to recognize easily this analogy. You are intuitive and spiritually gifted. At the same time being physical beings, you need to have a strong foundational grounding and temper your psychic gifts.

Symbolism of the octopus

Keywords regarding the symbolic Octopus meaning are:

  • Illusion
  • Reason
  • Magic
  • Focus
  • Will
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Diversity
  • Knowing
  • Potential
  • Strategic
  • Mystery
  • Defense
  • Unpredictability
  • Insatiability
  • Adaptability
  • Intelligence
  • Complexity
  • Expansion
octopus symbolism saying

Keywords regarding the water octopus symbolism are:

  • Fluidity
  • Emotion
  • Motion
  • Psyche
  • Purity
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Intuition

You can get to know the symbolism simply by observing this animal physically. The octopus’ physicality, ranging from regeneration ability to eyesight, shows symbolic interpretations.

octopus spirit animal

These are invertebrates and do not have a developed structured spinal column. It is symbolic of flexibility, grace, and agility. She can even escape the tightest of places as well as ambulate when embodied in water. You also need to observe its movements, which are quite hypnotic. Being a totem animal reminds you to relax and loosen up. She also shows that you need to move steadily towards your set goals but in an orthodox manner. You are likely to derive similar results.

If guilt was an animal then it would be an octopus. All slimy and wriggly with hundreds of arms that wrap around your insides and squeeze them tight.

– Annabel Pitcher

This animal also has developed the ability to detach any of its limbs to distract its predators. You need to understand the same from the totem perspective. This means that you need to cut loose of unwanted baggage present to achieve your goals and desires. The question asked here is, what are the things in your life that you need to leave behind? This will specify how you wish to move forwards to achieving the highest good! Such parts often, tend to serve as distractions, like unhealthy relationships, TV, addictions, etc.

The added symbolic diversity elements enter the stage as you get o know that this animal can regenerate its limbs.

Meaning octopus

The Regenerative Symbolism

  • Regeneration
  • Evolution
  • Cycles
  • Unity
  • Time

This particular ability of the octopus to regenerate is a constant reminder of not losing your essence. Moreover, the parts that you give up like addictions are never eliminated permanently. The parts which are set aside do shape your personality as you move on in life. This is regarded to be a lesson in forgiveness (read more about forgiveness and its symbols), acceptance, and diversity including embracing different facets of life.

Octopus spirit animal

With Octopus being your spirit animal, you are likely to know how to achieve your desired objectives efficiently and intelligently. You are also a productive worker, accomplishing greater objectives when compared to the average individual at the same time. You also know the ways by which you can derive what you desire. At the same time, you can also camouflage effectively your desires until the last moment.

You are also quite agile and flexible in your approach, gifted with quick thinking and abstract reasoning skills. You also do not get upset easily at things, while being able to adjust and adapt as and when required. Thus, you can lead a happy, satisfying life. But housekeeping might not be your desired objective. You can be self-sacrificial while taking care of your children and clingy in relationships.

I have sworn before a picture of the old and mourned comrade Stalin that I won’t rest until I see these capitalist octopuses annihilated.

– Che Guevara

This spirit animal is considered to be extremely intelligent. It is known to have the ability to recall information, strategize, and reason. It also is a reminder to use your logical sense to your advantage. You can also become highly intelligent and a master instead of a slave. You need to act the way the octopus does by using your reasoning skills.

Camouflage is another tool that is worth mentioning. This spirit animal is stated to be a master of disguises. This emphasizes the animal symbolism of esoteric knowledge, secretiveness, and mystery.

Octopus spirit animal

The octopus is also said to emit thick, black color ink onto its predators to escape itself. The dark clouds left behind by this animal make its attackers completely confused and lost. This signifies that nothing seems to be as it appears to be. There is plenty of shimmery brilliance and subtle wonder behind your physicality. You need to observe this totem animal for its mystery behavior and peak into your veil of reality.

Peeking is also about opening up consciousness. Its spiraling limbs according to myth are considered to be a representation of the ongoing universe’s creative process and expanding consciousness.

The octopus can offer you vision, experience, and knowledge. You will be on the learning path, having a thirst to acquire more knowledge. This is because its symbolism depicts ‘expansion’.

You can also connect with this totem animal through meditation, conscious thought, and invocation. It also includes other paths following which you can grow in leaps and bounds.

octopus symbol intelligence

Totem animal

The octopus totem animal is seen as a symbol of immortality and life. This interpretation would come from those who believe that the creature never really dies–even if its head has been cut off, it can regenerate lost limbs!

Some people might say that this means there’s always hope for resurrection even when one part of us “dies.” And finally, some would see them as symbols representing change because they’re so adaptable to their environment: having moved many times in order to find food/shelter and sometimes changing colors too; an octopus may be symbolic for adapting well to changes that are happening around you.

The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.

– Dodie Smith

The eight appendages could also represent intelligence or infinity since our lives have both intelligent aspects and moments where you feel like there’s no end in sight.

Finally, some Asians view octopuses as symbols of longevity and fertility because of their long life/regenerative abilities; they’re said to live a lot longer than most other animals and will even regenerate lost limbs!

Read also about the jellyfish symbolism.


The octopus in different cultures

Native American culture

Native American symbolism is rife with references to octopuses, and the meaning behind their eight long arms varies depending on which tribe you belong to.

One interpretation of the symbols in the animals’ appendages is that they represent the nine people who were saved from a flood by climbing onto a giant sea turtle‘s back–the two legs sticking out symbolize this creature as well as freedom and endurance.

The native tribes also believe that an octopus was used during initiation ceremonies because it represented immortality or longevity. Another reason for using these creatures is believed to be due to their ability to change colors (which some Native Americans interpreted as being symbolic of good luck).

African culture

The octopus in African symbolism has a wide range of meanings–some people believe that it symbolizes motherhood or the ocean because both are often described as being deep and dark. Others might see an octopus’s arms as symbols of intelligence, while still others associate them with fertility due to their ability to regenerate lost limbs!

The most popular interpretation of this animal is its relation to water (since they live there). Many tribes may see these creatures’ long arms as representative of either life’s complexity or infinity because you can never really get through all the aspects that make up your own life. Some native Africans believed that using this creature was symbolic of motherhood since it resembles carrying children on her back when she swims around.


Christian Culture

The octopus in Christianity symbolism has a very different meaning than any of the other interpretations–many people believe that it symbolizes life, death, and resurrection. The reason for this association is because an octopus can be either alive or dead depending on what part you pick up; if their head dies they will die too but still manage to regenerate lost arms! This regenerative ability is said to represent how Christ’s crucifixion eventually gave way to his resurrection.

Another interpretation of this creature’s eight appendages would come from those who view them as symbols of intelligence: since there are so many aspects that make up our lives, we must find ways to operate intelligently with all of these things happening at once. And finally, some Christians may see the octopus as representing how much we rely on God in order to survive because it is said that they have a natural instinct that tells them when/where to go for food and shelter.

Exaggeration is the octopus of the English language.

– Matthew Pearl

The Octopus Symbolism in Far Eastern and Asian cultures

The octopus in Far Eastern and Asian cultures is interpreted very differently from other parts of the world. For example, in Japanese culture it’s said that this animal represents resilience due to their regenerative abilities–in fact, they’re one of the few creatures which can regrow an amputated arm!

The people who live on this island also believe that when you find an octopus while fishing: good luck will be your reward because these are considered a symbol of prosperity or fortune. In addition to having some really cool colors (which some might see as being symbolic of intelligence), many Asians associate these animals with a long life since they’ve been around for so much time. Another interpretation would come from those who view them as symbols representing immortality or longevity since they live a long time and are capable of regenerating as well.


Tattoo Meaning

The octopus animal tattoo has become a popular design used by people across the globe. The reason is that there are endless beautiful possibilities to avail of. There are interesting and diverse attributes that allow you to connect with certain meanings. Known as a secretive sea creature, its varied qualities also allure people to use such tattoos.

Since this animal is shrouded with mystery, there is a diverse interpretation that comes with every tattoo design. This animal is also stated to be a master in deception. It can manage itself to escape attacks from its predators unscathed. It can also destroy predators which are triple their size.

Such attributes are termed to be qualities that many prefer and hence, engrave this tattoo onto their body. This totem animal is also found in varying colors, shapes, and sizes. So, you can choose a unique tattoo of your choice. However, each one comes with its meaning. They may symbolize variability, insight, mystery, intelligence, illusion, enhanced vision, complexion, and diversity. Such qualities do appeal to people of all ages.

You may ink a large octopus that wraps its tentacles around your arms, waist, and shoulders. For some, it may mean power, and for others with mystery. The animal’s eye also symbolizes vision in the future/past, while being associated with higher intelligence. The outstretched long tentacles might be releasing/holding onto something.

The octopus can regenerate its limbs. This can be adapted in the tattoo very clearly, with one or a couple of arms missing. Such tattoos represent your ability to refrain from addiction or a person. Such artwork motivates you to move toward the path to growth and healing. The tattoo also allows you to reflect on your psyche while expressing your inner desires.

The eight appendages can also be symbolic of how complex our lives are since there’s always more than one thing happening at a time: we must operate intelligently with all these things going on to make sure that everything goes as best it can. And finally, some Christians believe that octopi tattoos represent God because they have the natural instinct which tells them where/when to go; if someone has an octopus tattoo then they rely heavily on Him in order to survive!

octopus tattoo

Octopus in dream meaning

If you dream of an octopus, then it is considered to be a symbol showing your multitasking ability. The vision shows that you are capable enough to juggle several things at a time. It also signifies that you need to prioritize things to make sure that you do not end up sacrificing yourself. The dream may also interpret that you are becoming entangled emotionally in some kind of drama. You need to disengage yourself immediately.

If you feel that you are an octopus in a dream, then it shows your eagerness to control others. You can explore the choices of being in a co-dependent relationship. The goal here is to grow as well as regenerate through your experiences.

The fact that three-fifths of an octopus’ neurons are not in their brain, but in their arms, suggests that each arm has a mind of its own.

– Sy Montgomery

Dreaming about the octopus can also be interpreted in a number of other ways–some people might see these creatures as symbols of intelligence or complexity because they have so many different aspects which make up their life. Another interpretation could come from those who believe that this animal represents motherhood: since it’s said to carry its own young on her back when she swims, some would say that dreaming about an octopus means you’re expecting a baby! Finally, there are those who view them as symbols representing fertility due to their ability to regenerate lost limbs; if you dream about finding one while fishing then good luck will be your reward and prosperity awaits (check here the dead fish meaning and the reflections in dreams).

spirit animal

The Octopus God

This animal is regarded to be an important subject being part of urban legends and mythical tales. They rather appear as other-worldly with magical abilities. Residing in the ocean, they do create some sense of mystery, thus resulting in fantastical stories.

Many cultures ranging from the Pacific Northwest to South America to the Polynesian Islands consider octopuses as spiritual guides and divine protectors. According to a few traditional beliefs, this animal is said to have healing powers and can also control the weather. Kraken is one of its most popular mythical representations. It is a giant cephalopod-like, the legendary sea monster that is told even today in Scandinavian folklore. The octopus ancient god, ‘Na Kika’ of Gilbert Islands is considered to have created the Pacific Islands. The God Kanaloa, in Hawaiian culture, is known to take an octopus shape. Some ancient myths specify that the present universe is just the remnants of another ancient one. The octopus is regarded as the only survivor of that ancient universe.


The octopus totem animal is stated to be marvelous, misunderstood, mischievous, and mythical. They seem to have inspired storytelling while managing to captivate human imaginations. Hence, they are increasing in popularity and are a totem for many people.

For a more holistic view, see also our post on spiritual symbolism of fish.

[Video] OCTOPUS Meaning: flexibility, all is provided

Photo of author
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, 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.

1 thought on “The Octopus Symbolism”

Leave a Reply