This little creature is one of the more unique animals on earth. Gifted with a shell of cartilage and bone that protects it from danger, the armadillo is readily seen as a symbol of protection. But Nature has also taught us that there is more to her creatures than meet the eye, and if we look closely at the armadillo we can also see that it is symbolic of inner strength and objectivity.
Armadillo Symbolism Facts & Meaning: A Totem, Spirit & Power Animal
Armadillo Symbolism & Meaning
When trouble arises, all the armadillo has to do is to roll up and it can readily protect itself. It does not have to fight, neither does it have to run. It is the only modern mammal with this distinction. Moreover, there are those who see the act of protecting only oneself from danger on the borders of selfishness (because armadillos can neither fight for their kin, nor can they draw the predator away).
However, the armadillo’s rolling up is a lesson we might have to learn for ourselves. Sometimes we are too keen on reacting to problems around us, that we might not have time to assess the best course of action. Don’t get me wrong — reacting in a timely manner is a very important survival trait. But sometimes when we do so we are only acting from emotion, and not from a well-thought out plan. The armadillo teaches us that maybe sometimes it’s better to retreat and think about things a little, from the comfort of your personal hideaway. From here, you can emerge with better clarity and objectivity, thus knowing how to better deal with your concerns.
Armadillo Spirit Animal
When the armadillo comes to you as your spirit animal, it’s time to stop, roll up, and look deep within ourselves. Aside from its shell, the armadillo also has an uncanny ability to detect where food can be hidden underground. It uses its abilities to detect things that it cannot see. To us humans, this usually applies to the things we keep hidden in the back of our minds.
Here, the armadillo invites us to face our inner selves and embark on a journey of discovery, hopefully shedding light on aspects of ourselves we have not laid eyes on for one reason or another. This can bring us a lot of insights, which could then be used in our daily lives.
Armadillo Power Animal
When you need some time out, or when you need some extra space in life, call on the armadillo to help you create one within yourself. The armadillo has the power to help you find that secure place that is most ideal for soul-searching. You might find these private places in locations that sound unusual to you, but trust on the armadillo to get you there.
You can also call on the armadillo to help you determine when something (an act, opportunity, etc.) is safe or not. Armadillos have the ability to smell danger from a mile away (so they can react appropriately), and they can share this with you.
Armadillo Totem Animal
People with the armadillo as their totem animal have a natural defensive ability born of inner knowledge. They may not be physically capable of defense as the armadillo is, but their knowledge of their own instincts, emotions, skills, and talents allow them to invoke whatever is necessary to get out of a rough patch.
Armadillo people also tend to be smart, and are naturally curious. They are sure and steady when they proceed through life, and they may be aware of things that other people are oblivious to. This gives them a high level of confidence. Beware, however, since these same qualities may put you on a path of short-sightedness.
Armadillo Native American Symbolism
To the Native Americans, the armadillo is a symbol of armor and the guardian of boundaries. Armadillo medicine is concerned with everything that is in need of protection, or with everything that needs some sort of border of separation. Of course, this also involves the separation of the self from the other aspects of humanity.
Armadillo Celtic Symbolism
The Celts did not encounter armadillos in their daily lives, but we can find the same meaning in — of all animals — the otter. The otter is likewise an expert in guiding us at finding the true treasures in ourselves, and is also considered a strong protector when needed.
Armadillo Far Eastern Symbolism
Likewise, the Asians did not find a place for armadillos in significant segments of their culture. There is no single animal that provides the same traits as the armadillo, either, since those from the Far East have different symbolisms for protection and inner wisdom. However, there are claims that some Asian cultures hang Armadillo shells in their homes to bring good luck.
Armadillo in Dreams
In dreams, the armadillo is exhorting us to follow our instincts and dig deeper into something. Because of their good sense of smell that makes up for their poor eyesight, armadillos are very good at instinctively knowing where to find the things they need. Hence, it often show up in our dreams when we are in need of something — an answer, a solution, or even a physical object — but our “logic” and conscious sense is blocking us from finding the answers we need. Sometimes, we already know the answer to our questions but we just don’t trust ourselves enough to recognize it.
Armadillo Encounters / Armadillo Omens
When you see the armadillo, it is time to look around you and check if your surroundings still offer you the safety you need. This safety isn’t only physical, it may also pertain to other aspects of the self. The armadillo might be warning you of danger lurking, or it may be challenging you to inspect if what you perceive as danger is in fact an opportunity.
Armadillo Mythology and Folklore
The first armadillos were made to teach a lesson according to an ancient Mayan folklore. The story tells of two disobedient deities who were sat on a bench by Hachakyum, the Mayan god of the sun. To discipline them, the bench was turned into odd-looking beast which was called armadillos that tumbled the dieties on their bottoms in disgrace in front of all the other gods.
In Burma, the armadillo is among the forms taken by the malevolent creatures called “kyut”. These creatures are tricksters who can also assume human form, and can lead people to harm in the forest. For the Chinantec people of Southern Mexico, the armadillo scales is a result of a half-finished weaving of a goddess with all the weaving loom and sticks hastily put in place. The story tells of how the armadillo got his shell.
A legend in Bolivia tells of an armadillo who loved listening to the voices of the frogs after the rain. In his desperate desire to be able to sing, he sought the help of the shaman. However, the shaman was reluctant because of the price that must be paid. Learning that his wishes meant death, still the armadillo insisted to carry on. He gave his life to have his shell used as a musical instrument — a story warning that we should look into ourselves and also consider our safety before making decisions.
The Kayapo people of Brazil talks about men living in the sky at the beginning of time. The men are hunters which one day came across a wandering armadillo among the clouds. Going after the armadillo to catch the animal, the hunters saw it ran and disappeared into a cloud with a hole in it. After much discussions and disagreements, some of the hunters decided to follow the armadillo into the hole while the others remained to stay. As they hasten their chase, the determined hunters daring to brave the unknown found themselves at the end of the hole to be down on the earth. These people were believed to be the first men to have lived the earth while the hunters who remained are still in the sky where their fires can be seen burning each night.
Another story of British origin says that the armadillo came into existence when a turtle and hedgehog decided to help each other. Finding themselves cornered from the grasp of the jaguar, the hedgehog showed the turtle how to curl into a protective ball and the turtle described to the hedgehog how to hide his pricks but more armored. It confused the jaguar allowing them an escape and made them the first two armadillos.