Symbolism – Penguins and the Quest for Enlightenment

Published August 29, 2014 by Jen Rosado from MyAlternateUniv

A few blogs back, I was looking up the meaning of “spiders” in dreams. I remembered reading about animal spirit guides of Native American cultures, and I thought, “Hmm… maybe the spider is my animal guide. Then again, maybe the penguin is my guide, because I’ve always loved penguins.” (Seriously, I own more penguin tchotchkes and memorabilia than you can shake a stick at. Even my son’s nursery was penguin themed.) Chuckling to myself, I did a Google search for “penguin animal spirit guide”.

What started as a lark turned out to be something much more interesting. According to Presley Love at, the penguin brings the gifts of elegance and epiphanies, shares the energies of duty, survival, and an epic journey, and teaches the magic of intuition and imagination. The penguin guides us to see things in new ways: They cannot fly in the air, so they fly in water. They leap from icebergs. They share the work of raising their young chick with their mate, surviving and thriving in extreme conditions.

Damn! Penguins kick ass! And every word seemed to speak to the very place I found myself in my life. The idea of my husband and I, leaping from icebergs into scary waters, raising our son in the “extreme conditions” of autism, and finding new ways to help him “fly” with his wings that worked a little differently from those of other children. It was weird. Weird, and really cool!

And unlike the spiders in my dreams that represent negative things – feelings of being trapped and unable to move, penguins represent positive and hopeful things. They symbolize endurance and resilience. They persevere through tough times. And they’re cute and silly, too.

Now some might think that all of this is, indeed, silly. But I have to disagree! The search for meaning in visions and dreams, in animals and nature, have been a part of what makes us human since our ancient ancestors first began telling stories. We, as humans, are always on a quest for deeper meaning. We look for shapes in the clouds and patterns of stars in the night sky. It’s comforting to recognize our interconnectedness with nature, the world, and the Universe.

So, yes, it may seem silly in these modern times to find magic in the mundane or look for truth in the trivial. But if enlightenment wants to present itself to me in the form of a penguin, I’m OK with that!

Now if I could only get penguins to visit me in my dreams instead of spiders…


* Copyright info: Presley Love, Universe of Symbolism,, 2013.

4 comments on “Symbolism – Penguins and the Quest for Enlightenment

  • That is SO cool and absolutely filled with spiritual meaning. I love finding these signs that we are connected to, and influenced by, animals and nature. I’ve seen all the penguin movies, and they are – female and male – hardy, diligent creatures who survive the harshest conditions. A truly worthy spirit guide.

    • Thank you, Sammy!! The penguin is, indeed, a worthy spirit guide! To experience that moment of “Wow! That’s me!” was really amazing, especially when I read about other animals and did not feel that same connection.
      It’s funny how we can be drawn to things without really knowing why until we look a little deeper. Some of my friends collect frogs, elephants, owls, dolphins – kind of makes you wonder what gifts their guides are giving them!

  • I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you’re searching for magic in the mundane. How I wish the world was filled with folks like you.
    And I think dream interpretation is a topic that’s filled to the brim with fascination. Such a terrific post, Jen. I’ll now be paying closer attention to the critters who pop up in my sleep.

    • Thank you so much, Shelley!! It’s so exciting when something really meaningful turns up in a place you least expect it and at the perfect time when you need to hear it.
      And I love hearing from others who find it just as fascinating as I do!

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