What The Heron Symbolizes: Spiritual Meaning, In Dreams & More

Herons are at home at the water’s edge, where they can sit, motionless for hours. Their unique mix of stillness and speed bring them respect and adoration, and, just as they watch the water’s reflections, they allow us to reflect inward. What is the spiritual meaning of a heron? It is as simple as being still and as complex as being self-reliant.  

The spiritual meaning of a heron is mostly around independence, being self-sufficient, staying grounded, and remaining still. Herons remind us to rely on others when needed and remain calm and focused. They are considered messengers of gods by specific cultures.

If you have ever watched a heron in action, it will be easy to understand why the spiritual meanings we mention here match the bird so well. Throughout history, cultures worldwide have revered this beautiful bird for various reasons. It takes a unique animal to be named a messenger of a god, so what is it about the heron that gives us a sense of wonder and awe? Let’s delve into the spiritual meaning of the heron to find out.

The Spiritual Meaning Of A Herons Behaviour

There are so many spiritual lessons we can learn from the heron.  Here are the ones we love the most.

Solitary And Team Work

The heron lives alone for most of the year. It is only during mating season that it will pair up with a worthy partner. The two birds then work together to create a strong nest and sound foundation for their chicks. The personal spiritual lesson we can learn from this behavior is that, no matter how self-reliant we are, there are times when working with a worthy partner is beneficial.

It can become easy to be either wholly solitary or over-reliant on others. Both extremes are not particularly healthy for human beings. We learn from the heron that it is good to rely on ourselves, but a balance of self-reliance and asking for help is healthy and can be enjoyable.


Herons are known to sit for lengthy periods. They seem to fall into a trance as they watch the water. They are still, calm, focussed, and tranquil. As we watch a heron at the water’s edge, we can learn to become as still and serene as this majestic bird.  

Zhuangzi said it perfectly: “Men do not mirror themselves in running water; they mirror themselves in still water.” As we witness the heron being still, we are reminded that we can also be still. Only through stillness can we see the truth in our own lives.

Focus And Swiftness

The heron may sit for hours watching the water. He may seem as if in a trance, but when the moment is perfect, the heron will fly with such swiftness that he will spear a fish in one swoop. Just like the heron, we should keep our intentions to ourselves until the moment is perfect for striking. When we do strike, it should be with the precision and accuracy that we have harnessed during the time of stillness and focus.

Walking Through Muddy Waters

There are times when a heron must walk through muddy waters in search of a meal or the perfect hunting spot. The heron uses its head and neck to give it the momentum needed to wade through the mud, and when it begins to sink, it uses its wings to lift itself a little. What can we learn from this behavior to aid our spiritual journey?

We can learn that life is never all good or all bad. There are times when we will be required to walk through difficulties and troubles to come out to the other side and achieve our goals. It is essential to keep your eye on the prize during these times, keep looking ahead, and use your thoughts to propel you forward. When you feel the weight of the world starting to pull you in, use those majestic wings of inspiration, focus, and confidence to keep you afloat.

The Spiritual Meaning Of Herons Across the Globe

Throughout history, cultures worldwide have regarded herons as majestic, regal, and even in contact with a greater being. We have hand-picked a few of the most beautiful depictions of herons worldwide and from different cultures and their spiritual significance.

Native American Spiritual Meaning Of Herons

Certain Native American tribes considered the heron a sign of good luck. Since they relied on fishing as their primary food source, they knew that if they saw a heron near the water, they were likely to have a good catch that day. The blue heron was also considered a reminder to be self-reliant, persevere, and keep progressing.

The bird’s long legs reminded them that we do not need strong pillars of support beneath us. We can make our own way and help create the reality we wish to experience. The swift hunting skills of the bird gave it the symbol of wisdom with the tribes, whose members needed wisdom and hunting acumen to feed their families. Some saw the heron as a symbol of one who prefers to be alone.

Celtic Spiritual Meaning Of Herons

For Celtic people, the heron symbolized serenity, peace, perseverance, and long life. All of these attributes can be linked to the lifestyle and hunting skills of the bird. Herons are considered the reincarnation of the goddess, Rhiannon, who has dominion over bodies of water. She is a revered Celtic goddess and is celebrated for helping lost sailors return home. For this reason, the heron is sometimes called the “Lady of the Lake.”

Celtic warriors would often have images of herons on their shields. They did this because the god, Creyr, was believed to give and take away life. 

The Celts sometimes referred to the heron as Creyr, so they placed the heron symbol on their shields for protection.

The Celtic people designed knots depicting the heron, which symbolized harmony and peace. The knots show the balance between light and dark in life and how one cannot exist without the other.

Greek Spiritual Meaning Of Herons

The heron is a symbol of good fortune for the Greek people. They are often used in celebrations like weddings and birthdays since they bring peace to family life. The heron is said to be the messenger between Zeus and the people of Earth. For Greek people, the heron helps souls reach heaven after death.

Japan Spiritual Meaning Of Herons

Much like the others we have mentioned, the heron symbolizes a long life, peace, and purity in Japan. The heron signifies reincarnation, dignity, and lasting love for Japanese people. In Japan, the sound of gentle rain falling near a heron’s nest is referred to as the voice of God.

The Spiritual Meaning Of Herons In Dreams

If a heron visits your dreams, it could have a few different meanings. Herons in dreams typically signify independence, working towards a goal, or the need to dig deep into your subconscious to explore thoughts you are not always aware of. If you can recall the specific color of the heron in your dream, you can interpret the meaning even further. Here is a list of heron colors and their significance in dreams:

  • White Heron: A spirit guide is possibly trying to communicate with you
  • Black Heron: Put aside your fears and go for the opportunity
  • Blue Heron: Ask for advice from those you trust before making a decision

As always with dreams, it is best to consider what is happening in your life to make the best sense of the imagery presented while sleeping. If you feel connected to the heron as an animal, consider adopting it as your spirit animal. Spirit animals help to teach us life’s lessons, and we often find that we possess many similar traits with our spirit animals. This relationship could be another reason they appear in our dreams.


The heron is a peaceful, solitary bird that is independent and self-sufficient. Herons enjoy a long lifespan and are excellent hunters, often spending long periods watching the water as if in a trance. They can come together for the good of their young and gladly work in a team when necessary. For many people across the world, the heron symbolizes peace, independence, wisdom, and being close to God. If you feel connected to the heron, you might consider using it as your spirit animal and using the life of the heron to teach you greater truths about yourself.

Other Popular Spirit Animals

See if you relate to any of these popular spirit animals.