Symbolism for Pain: What Animals, Plants and Objects Represent Pain

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Symbolism For pain

No Pain, No Gain: Are The Symbolism For Pain A Friend Or Foe?

Identified by some as a feeling that allows us to understand who we really are, pain can be a sensation or a strong state of mind that helps us realize how life genuinely works. While it usually ushers in a period of discomfort and suffering, some see it as a way to inspire meaningful life changes that lead us to significant growth, maturity, and wisdom. From the most easily recognized to the often overlooked, here’s a look at some of the most popular symbolism for pain that encourages us to achieve more gains.

Pain is a part of life. It’s something that we all experience at some point, and it can be incredibly difficult to deal with. While there are many ways to cope with pain, one of the most effective is understanding the symbolism of pain. What do different animals, plants, and objects represent when it comes to pain? How can this knowledge help you better understand your own pain and find relief? In this blog post, we will explore the symbolism for pain and what it means to you.

“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”

– Buddhist Proverb
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raven pain

Apart from being an angel of death and a Halloween décor staple, ravens are interesting creatures that drive us to be more perceptive and adaptable. A scavenger that used to feast on the bodies of fallen soldiers, these inquisitive and solitary birds easily earn the top spot as a symbol of pain (read more about the raven symbolism). While they are generally seen as omens due to their dark plumage and their fondness for corpses, these mysterious flyers swoop into our lives with powerful messages of clarity, knowledge, and wisdom that help us withstand the heartaches and difficulties as they come.


lamb symbolizing pain

Domesticated thousands of years ago for its wool, skin, and meat, several cultures see the lamb as an animal that symbolizes anguish and grief. Considered an essential part of countless sacrificial rituals, these gentle creatures represent the hurt that we endure particularly in those times we feel that we don’t deserve the sufferings that life brings about. While pain can at times feel tiresome and burdensome, this delicate spirit animal tells us that our struggles are necessary for they help our inner strength and courage to flourish. Read more about the lamb symbolism.


rabbit pain

An adorably nocturnal mammal that can happily jump and twist, the rabbit’s association with Easter moved a handful of cultures to regard them as a symbol of sacrifice and loss. Perceived as an animal that brings good fortune and spiritual development, this highly affectionate creature hops into our presence to encourage us to make that leap of faith and to give us the boldness at times when our life needs a change in direction. By teaching us about the importance of unpredictability, this persistent and at times stubborn little animal serves as our warning that something in our life is not right and that we should give ourselves the space to grow, learn, and enhance our skills. We also wrote about the dead rabbit symbolism.



A flightless bird that thrives in unforgiving, frigid temperatures, the penguin would often glide into our presence at the most challenging times of our life to remind us that the darkness will soon pass (read more about the meaning of the penguin). Equipped with a thick layer of fat and tightly compressed feathers that allow them to survive the harshest and coldest temperatures, these highly social creatures provide us with the spirit to face the tough times that lie ahead and serve as our spiritual guide to go through the future struggles and conflicts that await.

Fire ant

fire ant causes pain

Known for their ability to inflict a burning sensation with their bite, fire ants remind us about the importance of hard work and patience. Commonly seen as an animal that symbolizes great strength and abundance, the pain that its sting brings reminds us to be watchful of our steps and behaviors for we may be unconsciously subjecting others to sadness and agony. They also inspire us to take a different path for the one we have currently chosen has led us to be pricked by torment and anxiety. Read more about the ant symbolism.

Hyacinth flower

Hyacinth flower Symbolism for Pain: What Animals, Plants and Objects Represent Pain

Sporting a distinct form and an even more attractive color, the hyacinth flower can undeniably provide your garden with an eye-popping look. Its constant presence in churches and funerals stirred several traditions to view it as a symbol of sorrow and bitterness. While some of us look at death as a symbol of change and new beginnings, the hyacinth’s impressive blooms are believed to bring clarity that can help us rise above the pain and strengthen us to move on and find happiness again.



As the only element that humans can produce from scratch, fire has long been seen as one of our most powerful connections to the gods. The burning sensation it offers, as well as its destructive nature, has led many to view this energetic element as a symbol of ruin and loss. Long-held as an indication of passion and warmth, it reminds us that even though pain can cause a level of strain and discomfort, it can also bind us together since such an emotion lives within each of us.



Perhaps because of the critical role it played in the story of Noah and his ark, countless traditions have given the rain a mix of both positive and negative connotations. While it may represent a period of rebirth and renewal, others believe that the rain signifies sadness, death, and destruction. Although a dark and gloomy sky indicates that a stormy period in our life is about to arrive, it spiritually stimulates us to patiently stay in our shelter and wait until the disturbance and turmoil have passed.

A broken heart

broken heart

Hopelessly falling in love with someone is no doubt one of the greatest feelings that anyone can experience. However, unrequited love, as well as losing a loved one through death, break-up, or physical separation, spurs emotions of grief and devastation. Considered as one of life’s best teachers alongside an empty pocket and a hungry stomach, it gives us the spirit to develop a better appreciation of our relationships and to perhaps comfort those who share your similar heart-wrenching experiences.

The cross

the cross

Regarded as one of the most intimidating yet comforting structures ever built, the cross is arguably the most meaningful symbolism of pain and suffering. Intimidating since its appearance reminds us of death and loss, yet comforting because it symbolizes Divine acceptance and forgiveness (read more about symbols of forgiveness). Planted firmly on the earth with its vertical beams pointing up to the heavens, it is considered our direct connection with God and an indication that hope and peace live beyond this life. As Christians are constantly asked to carry their own crosses, this imposing figure reminds us of the more significant things and our need to rely on the love that our spiritual guides offer us.

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As these figures often come to us when we are going through a difficult time, it is best to understand that their images serve as an encouragement for us to remain hopeful and to believe that every disappointment will pass. Whether it is a demanding or broken relationship, an illness, or what seems like a hopeless case, holding on to the messages brought by this symbolism for pain makes the pain that you currently feel all worth it.

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Author: Rachel Meyer
Meet Rachel, a veterinarian in Pasadena, California, and a valued contributor to our blog. Rachel brings a wealth of expertise to the table, with a particular focus on the intersection of symbolism, nature, and spirituality. She shares her knowledge and insights on our blog on regular basis.

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