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Hummingbird Symbolism & What It Means To See A Hummingbird

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hummingbird meaning

To humans, hummingbirds may just seem like tiny birds who spend their time flitting from flower to flower in search of nectar. And while a hummingbird is quite a small bird — measuring between 3-5 inches — they are pretty impressive.

With over 350 species, hummingbirds date back 22 million years to South America, migrating to Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean in the colder months.

Not only are they very small, but these birds are mainly known for the "humming" sound their wings make when flying, which also allows communication between other hummingbirds.

Their wings beat 10-15 times per second, with some subspecies' wings beating up to 80 times per second! They also have the ability to fly at just about 61 mph.

Hummingbirds are incredible creatures, but when it comes to animal symbolism, the hummingbird is a powerful representation of being fully present and aware of your surroundings.

Hummingbird Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Hummingbirds

A hummingbird symbolizes good luck, beauty, agility, healing, and flirtatiousness. In addition, hummingbirds represent sweetness, resilience, the presence of loved ones who have passed, and are even said to be spiritual messengers.

But hummingbirds also indicate that you need to enjoy life, be present, and embrace your individuality. Hummingbirds are a symbol of happiness, suggesting to let go of negativity and instead be strong.

Because hummingbirds don't mate for life, they can serve as a symbol of diversity and indicate that it's time to meet new people. After all, variety is the spice of life! Furthermore, as a symbol of good luck, hummingbirds are a reminder that life can be sweet once we let go of toxicity and embrace new experiences.

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Hummingbird Encounters and Omens

No matter the circumstances, encountering a hummingbird is a very good omen. So, if you come across a hummingbird, pay attention, as their presence holds significant meaning:

A hummingbird visit is a time when you'll remember something the most. So, above all, being present at that specific moment can remind you to have fun without needing to take something away from that experience.

But there are other meanings associated with hummingbird encounters.

1. You need to be self-sufficient.

Being independent means that you're able to take care of yourself without having to rely on others. We need human connection to function, but that doesn't mean you get to use other people for your overall benefit without providing anything in return to the other person.

Hummingbirds tend to take up space. They connect with other hummingbirds by chirping at when they see one, but that doesn't mean they're using other hummingbirds for their own benefit.

This means that we shouldn't have to rely on others for anything, including our overall well being, which is also known as being self-sufficient. Maybe this will also help with being more self-aware!

2. Take the time to relax and loosen up.

Hummingbirds are playful, and what that means is that you shouldn't take everything so seriously. Seeing a hummingbird might also be a sign that you need more rest.

When a hummingbird rests, they actually go into such a deep sleep comparable to hibernation, where their metabolic rate slows to 1/15 its normal rate. Resting gives them the energy they need to start anew.

A hummingbird doesn't hum, which seems unnatural for one by name, but it's also unnatural for human's not to laugh. Laughter is healthy, and you don't need to be wound so tightly that you can't have fun.

3. Move past toxicity.

In terms of getting rid of negativity, seeing a hummingbird means to leave that toxic relationship. At the time you see a hummingbird, your spiritual guides are saying that you shouldn't hold onto people in your life just because they exist.

The symbolism of a hummingbird ties into being swift and resilient. You can (and should) be able to cut out negativity quickly while not letting it get to you. You're allowed to have feelings and feel sad from time to time, but you need to be strong enough for yourself to get through the rough patches.

Similarly, hummingbirds represent love, happiness, and life itself. This doesn't mean beating yourself up over something that happened five years ago, but learning from it and incorporating any lessons from it into your life.

4. Remain balanced and aware.

Hummingbirds are always working toward their goals while remaining balanced, so you should too. When a hummingbird shows up in your life, it means you should enjoy the process of getting what you want while staying on track to obtain it.

With a hummingbird, staying on track is important since things are always changing. When you get off track, you might end up being confused, but that doesn't mean you should be a stickler about staying on track.

Just like most birds, hummingbirds come out of nowhere, supposedly just like the small things in life that tend to occur. Not that you have to be on the lookout for small things, but you should have some awareness regarding when things might happen.

When you either come into contact with a hummingbird or think of a hummingbird, this means the Universe is communicating to you. Take this time to reflect and to let the spirits speak with you.

What Different Color Hummingbirds Symbolize

Hummingbirds are mesmerizing not only for their speed, but their color as well.

They come in a variety of colors — green, purple, golden-green, gray and white, copper red, metallic bronze, red-brown, dark and bright blue, and even bright red. But there are meanings associated with certain colors.

Red Hummingbird Symbolism

The color red represents passion, strength, power, courage, and creativity. A red hummingbird, specifically, symbolizes moving forward with a new opportunity that you've been avoiding. This color of hummingbird is meant to inspire you to make that jump!

Brown Hummingbird Symbolism

Brown hummingbirds are symbols of healing, nature, and spirituality. If a brown hummingbird appears to you, it's a warning that you need to get more in touch with your spiritual side and embrace your spiritual journey.

Green Hummingbird Symbolism

Green is associated with wealth, balance, luck, and natural healing. A green hummingbird is a symbol of a period of growth you're currently experiencing. It's a good sign for your future and means to be patient if you want to reap the rewards.

Hummingbird Symbolism in Dreams

Dreaming of a flying hummingbird

One or more hummingbirds flying in a dream means you are grappling with commitment issues in your relationships. Remember to take a step back and enjoy where you are in your relationship, rather than rushing into anything.

Dreaming of talking hummingbird

A hummingbird dream like this may sound a bit strange, but it actually indicates your own journey through self-discovery and getting to know the deeper, inner you. Be sure to listen to your intuition and do some introspective work.

Dreaming of a hummingbird in your hand

If you dream of having a hummingbird in your hand, it means you are in the process of manifesting good things for yourself. Whether it's a new project or an opportunity, this dream indicates that the Universe is supporting you and your decisions 100%.

Dreaming of a hummingbird attacking you

When a hummingbird attacks you in your dream, it indicates that you need to continue fighting and working hard. You may be struggling at your job or with your finances, but whatever the circumstances, stay focused on the goal ahead.

Dreaming of catching a hummingbird

While it's impossible in the waking world, catching a hummingbird in a dream means you are craving a change. Do some self-reflection to figure out how you are going to get where you want to go, and be sure you don't succumb to burnout in the process.

Dreaming of a dead hummingbird

To dream of a dead hummingbird means there is something in the waking world that is hindering you. Don't be afraid to take that step forward and embrace the new chances coming into your life!

Dreaming of a wounded hummingbird

If you dream of a wounded hummingbird, it means that new chances are presenting themselves to you, but you still have time to grab them while you can. Determine how you can stay inspired without subconsciously convincing yourself that you don't deserve good things.

Hummingbird Spirit or Totem Animal

Spirit animals are spirit guides that lead you on the right life path and teach you lessons along the way. Totem animals, or animal totems, are also spirit guides, but they are called upon when you are in need of help.

You cannot choose your spirit animal, but you'll know if a hummingbird is your spirit animal if you resonate with them in some way or have had a profound experience with one.

Those with a hummingbird spirit animal are creative, independent, nurturing, intuitive, and spiritual. A hummingbird spirit animal is present in those who don't like to stay in one place for a long time; rather, they are open to all that life has to offer.

These individuals are incredibly lucky to have such a powerful spirit animal; not only does the hummingbird spirit animal remind you to be positive, but being able to adapt to new situations and grow from your mistakes.

A hummingbird totem belongs to people who are loyal, ambitious, strong, outgoing and energetic. This totem is called upon when you are in need of good luck, change, and happiness in life. This totem animal is an indication that even through life's ups and downs, it's important to stay positive and joyful, and spread that positivity around.

Photo: Unsplash / YourTango

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Spiritual Meaning of Hummingbirds in Christianity and the Bible

In Christianity, hummingbirds are symbols of death, joy, hope, strength, and messengers of God.

In the Bible, all creatures are gifts from God, including the hummingbird, which also represents messages from deceased loved ones; to see a hummingbird is a sign that a loved one who has passed on is now in Heaven.

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Another interpretation of hummingbirds in Christianity has to do with letting go of the past and living in the present. Hummingbirds are creatures that give us the strength and hope we need to overcome our obstacles.

Though hummingbirds are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, they are referenced in Philippians 1:11, NIV: "filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God." In this passage, Paul encourages Philippians to overflow with their love for God, and that glory and praise must be given to Him.

Hummingbird Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Native American Hummingbird Symbolism

In Native American cultures, hummingbirds are symbols of power, spirituality, beauty, healing and good luck. Hummingbirds are often portrayed as spirit guides or beings that help people.

Some tribes associate hummingbirds with royalty, divinity, and a connection between the spiritual world and our world. And there are numerous stories and legends from various Native American tribes that show this, including some that say hummingbirds brought fire to the world.

However, it all depends on the individual tribe.

Apache

In Apache culture, there's a story of Wind Dancer, a deaf warrior who, despite not being able to hear, creates wonderful songs. His melodies were said to bring good weather and healing.

One day, he met a beautiful woman, Bright Rain, who was being attacked by a wolf. After saving her from the wolf, Wind Dancer later died in battle, causing winter to consume the land.

After his death during a very harsh winter, Wind Dancer visited Bright Rain in an open field, appearing to her as a hummingbird who sang Wind Dancer's beautiful songs. Comforted by his music, the lands were then blessed with good weather once more.

Hopi Hu

One Hopi legend tells the story of a famine that forced a mother and father to leave their daughter and son behind while they searched for food. The young boy carved a hummingbird out of wood, and when the young girl threw it into the air, it came to life!

Seeing that the children were in need of food, the hummingbird returned each day with an ear of corn. Eventually, the hummingbird flew to the center of the earth and begged the god of fertility to bring rain to the land.

The god of fertility, inspired by the hummingbird, brought rain back to the land, allowing crops to grow and feed the people.

Cherokee

A Cherokee legend tells of a hummingbird bringing back tobacco to the people after it was stolen by an evil Dagul'ku goose. In the beginning of the world, there was one tobacco plant that people and animals alike used. That is, until the Dagul'ku geese stole it and flew with it to the south.

An old woman that all animals and people loved grew sick and weak without the plant. Many animals attempted to go retrieve the tobacco plant, but the Dagul'ku would kill everyone who tried. Eventually, the hummingbird offered to get the plant back, but others doubted its ability due to its size. But the hummingbird proved them wrong with its speed.

And off the hummingbird went to get back the plant. When the hummingbird was in sight of the Dagul'ku, they couldn't see it due to its size, allowing it to snatch the plant before the Dagul'ku could see.

When the hummingbird returned, it blew smoke in the woman's nostrils, to which she cried, "Tsa'la (tobacco)!" and opened her eyes.

Pueblo

One Pueblo story tells of a demon who made a bet with the Sun and became blinded after losing. Angry at both losing and not being able to see, the demon began spewing lava, setting the world on fire.

The hummingbird, who wasn't colorful and instead was gray, flew around and gathered rain clouds from everywhere to put out the fire. As he fled, he flew through a rainbow, which blessed him by painting him with bright colors.

It's also important to note that hummingbirds are especially important in Pueblo culture, as the Pueblo Nation uses the hummingbird in their clan system.

Navajo

In Navajo culture, hummingbirds, also called Dahiitį́hí, are symbols of wisdom and beauty for the Diné, or Navajo. Hummingbirds also symbolize devotion, eternity, and aggression. The Navajo people give thanks to the hummingbird when anything of beauty comes to them.

A legend from the Navajo people tells of a hummingbird that flew up upwards to see what was on the other side of the blue sky. But when he didn't find anything, he continued to fly up into the sky to look, which still happens to this day.

Another story tells of how the hummingbird taught the Navajo to gather sacred corn pollen. As legend says, the hummingbird came up to the women picking the pollen, shook it, and explained the way to do it, to only pick the pollen in the morning, and to not look around while doing so.

African Hummingbird Symbolism

Though hummingbirds are not native to Africa, and there are no legends or stories to tell of, this tiny bird still has a meaningful purpose. Hummingbirds are associated with prosperity, wealth and fertility due to their migration pattern, telling people when rain will return to the land.

There are many birds similar in appearance to the hummingbird, particularly the sunbird, which isn't actually related to the hummingbird. Sunbirds are considered sacred animals that should never be killed.

Far Eastern Hummingbird Symbolism

Hummingbirds are also not native to Asia, but still, hummingbirds represent happiness, good luck and freedom.

The ancient art of Feng Shui uses hummingbirds as a symbol, saying to put pictures of this bird in nurseries for luck and purity. Feng Shui also says that putting hummingbird charms in your office or home, in general, brings success.

Celtic Hummingbird Symbolism

In Europe, hummingbirds were also not native to the area, but still have symbolism in Celtic culture. Birds, in general, were thought to be messengers between the spiritual world and human world, delivering guidance and even shapeshifting in some traditions.

Birds were also associated with wisdom, courage and endurance.

Mexican and Central American Hummingbird Symbolism

Hummingbirds were an important part of ancient civilizations, specifically the Aztecs and the Mayans. There are also numerous legends that show how much they were revered.

Aztec

In Aztec culture, the God of Sun and War, Huitzilopochtli, translated to "Hummingbird Wizard," was represented in art as a hummingbird or as an eagle, or as a warrior with a helmet made of hummingbird feathers.

The Aztecs believed that Huitzilopochtli was birthed from his mother, Coatlicue, after she kept a ball of hummingbird feathers, which fell from the sky, in her bosom.

Mayans

In Mayan culture, hummingbirds were incredibly sacred. So sacred, in fact, that their feathers were believed to possess magical healing powers. There are a few legends in Mayan culture, one of which tells of the first wedding in history being between two hummingbirds.

As the legend goes, when the world was not yet complete, the god Maya took the few leftover gray birds and put them together to form a tiny bird with a long beak. Maya made sure the bird could fly and feed on nectar that no other bird could take. Sending the bird off with a breath of air, the Mayans called the bird the Dzunuume because the sound it made when it flew went, "dzu-nu-ume."

Eventually, Maya gave the bird a mate, and told the bird to make that day their wedding day. But the color of the birds was dull, so the animals all decided to help them out, using the feathers of the Quetzal, Violet-green swallow, and finch.

The Sun peaked out from behind a cloud and married the two birds, blessing them with a ray of sunshine that turned Dzunuume's throat red and gold. Another sunbeam turned the birds' feathers green on the back, like jade. And the Sun then promised that the feathers would forever shine in the light.

Hummingbird Tattoo Meaning

While getting a tattoo is a very personal thing, a hummingbird tattoo, in particular, has its own special meaning.

Some people may get a hummingbird tattoo as a spiritual symbol, representing rebirth or listening to your intuition. Others may get this tattoo because they have the same traits as a hummingbird: agility, luck, healing, flexibility, speed, and/or connecting to the spirit world.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who has written hundreds of articles about relationships, trending news and entertainment, numerology and astrology. Follow her on Twitter for more.

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