Sheep Animal Totem Symbolism
Among animal totems, the sheep is one of the more highly regarded spirit animals. There are myths and stories that use sheep as a symbol for certain things. The Bible used the sheep metaphorically many times, and even the teen best-selling novel, Twilight used the sheep as a symbol for simplicity and vulnerability. These two aspects of sheep symbolism are found across cultures and time. Keep reading to learn more about sheep symbolism as animal totems!
Sheep have been domesticated for thousands of years. They have been used for their wool and meat for possibly longer than they have been herded by people. Sheep animal guides are a highly common animal, found on every continent except for Antarctica, even if they were put there by people instead of migrating on their own.
Sheep don’t do much migrating, as their lives are mostly run by the will of their human owners. Whether sheep are in the wild or on a farm, they tend to stick together. This could be why it was so easy for the early humans to get them and domesticate them. Since sheep have been near humans for so long, there is a lot of symbolic meanings around them.
Sheep Associated Traits
Innocent, Simple, Vulnerable, Brave, Adventurous, Pure, Gentle, Peaceful,
Symbolic Meaning Of Sheep
There are several names for the sheep spiritual totem, and some of them have different symbolism to them. Adult female sheep are called ewes. Adult fertile male sheep are rams, while adult castrated male sheep are wethers.
Baby sheep, no matter their sex, are called lambs. Lambs and ewes are generally portrayed as being vulnerable and pure, while rams and wethers are tougher and brave. This matches up quite well with how people used to see each other. Women were fragile and soft, while men were tough and adventurous. Although humans have gained more equality over the years, the sexes of sheep still vary largely in their symbolism.
For thousands of years the sheep, ewes and lambs in this instance, have been used as symbolism for pure and innocent things. So, it’s no wonder that sheep are commonly used as religious items or figures. It is believe that sheep were worshiped in ancient Egyptian astrology because of their contribution to their lives, by providing them with food and wool. Sheep are even found buried with mummies in pyramids sometimes.
In other religions it was the other way around. In Judeo-Christian culture, as well as many other religions, there were many instances in which the lamb was sacrificed to make God, or other religions gods, happy. The son of God in the sects of many Christian religions, Jesus, often compared himself to lambs.
He would say things like, “I am the lamb of God,” or that he was like a shepherd for God, and the people on Earth were the sheep. Regardless of culture or time, the lamb or ewe most often represents childlike qualities of people: purity, innocence, weakness, peacefulness, gentleness, and vulnerability.
The mighty male ram, on the other hand, varies a lot when compared to the female and young sheep. The ram is seen as a tough animal in many cultures. It’s probably because of it’s rough-looking spiral horns. Again in ancient Egypt, certain gods took on the appearance of this animal, even having the head of a ram.
In Celtic culture the god Cernunnos is often depicted as having a ram, as are many gods in Scandinavian culture. In the zodiac signs, Aries is the sign of the ram, as well as being first in the order of the zodiac signs. Many Aries people are said to be like the ram: determined but stubborn, strong and authoritative, and full of energy. Other symbolic terms used to describe the ram symbol are powerful, protective, and they are also sometimes seen as a symbol for virility.
Over all, the sheep’s symbolism changes greatly depending on what sex of sheep you are talking about. Remember, female and baby sheep are like baby people, weak, innocent, pure, and vulnerable. Rams, on the other hand, are head-strong, energetic, and powerful.