10 Eel Symbolism Facts & Meaning: A Totem, Spirit & Power Animal

Meeting an eel for the first time isn’t generally a good experience. It is a pretty strange animal, a serpentine creature in the water, with unique characteristics and capabilities. The electric eel, for example, is famous for being able to protect itself with significant jolts of bioelectricity. The moray eel can intimidate by its sheer size. Other types of eels are awesome survivalists, being able to burrow into the murky waters of their dwelling place in order to stay safe.

Eel Symbolism Facts & Meaning: A Totem, Spirit & Power Animal

While the eel may look sinister, its very existence teaches us great things if we can look past their uncanny appearance.

I
Eel Symbolism & Meaning

In the world of magic occupied by animal spirits, the eel also symbolizes the ability to survive come what may. They are naturally elusive (hence the term “slippery as an eel”) and they have a no-nonsense approach to survival. In other words, they are not afraid to get their hands dirty and to pull a trick or two from their sleeves if it means being able to escape their current predicament.

Eels are also pretty stealthy with their tactics, and are pretty good with the whole “smoke and mirrors” effect. They are the perfect embodiment of a now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t philosophy, evading the spotlight and leaving the audience wondering where they are and how they did it.

II
Eel Spirit Animal

While these natural magician talents could have been used for more spectacular effects, the eel spirit animal uses it to keep a low profile. That does not mean you can’t find them, though. More often than not they can be found silently observing those around them, remaining in the murky depths until the need to show themselves arise.

Just because they are out of sight, does not mean they are idle. Eels continue to grow and develop, progressing far beyond their initial selves, even when hidden. This adds to their mystique, since they often surprise everyone at their progress when they finally show themselves. Thus, they are also the spirit animals of growth and development.

III
Eel Power Animal

When you need to stay out of the spotlight in order to focus on your growth, the eel is a good power animal to call on. But take note that the eel doesn’t guarantee you a quiet time in the shadows. More often than not, staying hidden is good if only just to protect yourself from the scrutiny others will heap on you as you do something unorthodox. The eel doesn’t deal in theatrics; it is immensely practical, and often practical isn’t pretty.

And while theatrics isn’t its strength, the eel is also a great power animal if you need to have a platform on which to show your achievements. “How did you do it?” is one of the most frequent questions asked the eel. This gives you an opportunity to boast and brag a little, but in the end you can’t fail to drive home the point — wonders are done only by doing the hard work.

IV
Eel Totem Animal

The eel is the perfect totem for the middle class person, the one who aspires to do something great but knows he must pass through a lot of obstacles. It is the totem of working students and the like, who must juggle different aspects of life equally skillfully in order to succeed. Eel people aren’t the most attractive or the most charismatic, but they gain admiration for being invariable efficient. When in positions of power, the eel embodies top-down leadership. He enacts change by starting it themselves.

Somewhat ironically, eels are also good at social events. While they shy away from the spotlight, they are good at interpersonal communications (largely because they can talk about a wide variety of topics due to their experiences). When it comes to catching a break, they don’t have to chase it — their merits ensure that they get what they deserve in due time.

V
Eel Native American Symbolism

To the Native Americans, the eel does not have a special meaning. However, many of their tribes also ascribe the same shape-shifting qualities to fish in general. To them, the eel is among those who control the water element and are thus very fluid in nature.

VI
Eel Celtic Symbolism

The Celts have curious stories that feature the eel’s shape shifting capability. To them, however, the eel isn’t just adaptive in water — it can also grow legs and cover long distances in land, only to lose it again once it’s back home. This is a homage to the adaptability that people blessed with the eel’s magic have.

VII
Eel Far Eastern Symbolism

The Chinese typically consider fish a good luck animal, though this does not refer to eels specifically. It can be interpreted to mean, though, the good blessings that an eel gains due to its actions.

VIII
Eels in Dreams

When you see eels in your dreams, it is asking you to face your current problems. You know you have a goal, and you know what must be done in order to achieve it. But are you shying away from the process? Are you beating around the bush, wasting your time trying to work around the problem even when you are fully aware it is futile? The eel is inviting you to stop this and do the work that matters.

IX
Eel Encounters / Eel Omens

When you see an eel in real life, consider yourself lucky! It’s not easy to see an eel, much less catch one. But take time to reflect on the progress you are having in life. Maybe the limelight (in whatever form) is hampering you from your work. Maybe you are too conscious, afraid of how other people may judge you when they see you getting knee-deep in the problem and trawling out a solution. If this is the case, maybe sinking in the background may be better, and the eel is inviting you!

X
Eel Mythology and Folklore

In Samoan myth, it is said that a woman named Sina once befriended an eel. She was afraid at how it looked at first, but realized it meant no harm. This eel, however, was an aged king who fell in love with Sina — he eventually revealed his true form, and apologized as he only wanted to get close to her before he died. As he finally passed away, he asked Sina to plant his head in the ground — and from here the coconut, one of the most useful trees in the world, sprang up. The eel hides away, and also hides within it deep wonders. Maybe it would do us good to try and find it?


4 thoughts on “10 Eel Symbolism Facts & Meaning: A Totem, Spirit & Power Animal”

  1. Jesse&Les says:

    Thank You very much for the comprehensive and awesome insightful knowledge about Animal Spirits and The comprised understanding of various cultures within different contexts.

    Very Awesome to attend the different sections of knowledge you all possess and The way you all present the information and the language you all use makes me very excited about meeting you all someday…hopefully soon…

    Thanks Again for the details and the way you all are so positive and uplifting and even when you present negative aspects to presence in dreams and the like it is very thoughtful and it provokes awe and wonder along with fascination and the sensation of enlightenment.

  2. tarbens says:

    Yesterday (December 21st) I found a freshly dead eel on the beach in Malaysia. It had been hit by a propeller I assume. The locals made it into a curry and shared it with the community (including myself). I wonder what the symbolism of a dead eel is.

  3. Andrew says:

    perhaps something, persons, seasons or experiences of the past are now ready to be composted and recycled, allowed to transform into nourishment for the future, symbolized by the dead Eel being made into a curry for the community. In my imagined version, the Eel encourages me to move on from the past, as what I experienced then is now ready to be used/transformed for the benefit of others in the present and future. Some of these experiences may have been shocking and had the effect of life seeming to be a reclusive experience, but nevertheless, the divine intelligence of life will now honor the highly personal sojourn and it becomes reintegrated into the circle of life, for your benefit and with transcendent beauty, for the benefit of others.

  4. Lucie says:

    Beautiful page & the most magikal reply above 💕

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