You may have heard the phrase “a wolf in a sheep’s clothing.” This famous quote provides the contrast between the two animals, with the sheep representing the good character.
Sheep symbolize obedience, gentleness, sacrifice, faith, and affection. As a spirit animal, the sheep leads you to expose your vulnerable side in moments you need more balance. If you have the sheep as a totem, it could mean that you’re looking for ways to belong to a group.
Read on to learn more about the spiritual meaning of sheep in your life.
Sheep Symbolism: What do Sheep Symbolize?
Several signs and symbols are associated with the sheep. Some are generalized which is why there are symbols common between the sheep, lamb, and ram, while others are more specific to adult sheep. Here are the most common representations linked to sheep.
Sheep as a Symbol of Obedience
Sheep, being a herd animal, has to go with its group’s overall direction and acts. As a result, it develops obedience and loyalty to the shepherd to remain close to the herd. This inherent quality makes the sheep a perfect symbol of obedience.
Sheep as a Symbol of Gentleness
It’s unlikely to witness an aggressive sheep since they are naturally gentle and friendly. This level of gentleness comes with their history of domestication and has become the main virtue people associate with them.
Sheep as a Symbol of Sacrifice
We get different products from the sheep. Unlike other livestock that only provides meat and dairy, sheep supply wool and its skin for clothing. With the way sheep offer these needs, it only made sense that they carry the symbol of sacrifice.
Sheep as a Symbol of Faith
Sheep always have an interesting and dynamic relationship with their shepherds. However, this type of bond only comes from a place of trust. The sheep puts its confidence in its caretaker the same way people put their faith in God.
Sheep as a Symbol of Affection
You may have seen a poster or two of a sheep being carried and nurtured by the shepherd. This staple image makes it easier for us to associate the sheep with affection as it upholds a high value in the eye of its owner.
Black Sheep Symbolism
The expression “the black sheep of the family” has been tossed around without fully understanding what goes beyond the color of the sheep. Sure, a black sheep symbolizes defiance, disappointment, or unworthiness. But it also represents uniqueness, bravery, and protection.
Nonetheless, the negative reputation of the black sheep can be traced to the fact that sheep ranchers prefer white sheep because their wool is easier to dye than their black counterparts.
White Sheep Symbolism
The white sheep represents all the symbols mentioned above. But when placed adjacent to the black sheep, its representation of conformity becomes more apparent. White sheep are likable and often preferred over black sheep because they tend towards more the comfortable ways of the shepherd.
Sheep as a Totem Animal
Having the sheep as a totem means looking up to meekness and purity. Instead of becoming domineering, you prefer humility and gentleness as it is what the universe looks for. In the bible, it is said that the meek shall inherit the world, which supports the idea that if you’re gentle like the sheep, a greater promise awaits you.
Sheep as a Spirit Animal
The sheep may come up as a spirit animal in times when you want peace. You may have taken the world on with aggressiveness and extreme passion disrupting your balance. In these moments, the sheep will remind you that it’s okay to become vulnerable and choose silence and rest instead of fighting all the time.
Significance of Sheep in Religions
Abrahamic religions make the sheep their go-to reference when speaking about sacrifice. This is because the sheep and the goat, were typically used as a sacrificial animals to communicate with God. The following details how sheep are perceived among Christians and Muslims.
Sheep Symbolism in Christianity
Christians consider the sheep as the most symbolic animal of their faith. Apart from the lamb representing Jesus Christ and His ultimate sacrifice to save humans from their sins, the sheep symbolize Christians.
This is evident in the parable of the lost sheep, where the shepherd seeks a sheep who got sidetracked and trapped. Despite the multitude of sheep the shepherd had, he still chose to take time and effort to find the lost one. The story represents the idea that God doesn’t play favorites. It meant that even sinners and those who go astray from Him are loved and welcome to his kingdom.
Sheep Symbolism In Islam
The Quran also presents sheep as the symbol of sacrifice. It has become a firm reminder of how Abraham willingly sacrificed Ishmael. Moreover, the sheep is viewed as a symbol of the herd representing obedience.
Cultural Significance of Sheep
With the many contributions of sheep to survival, it is undoubted that several cultures valued this animal beyond the physical purpose. The sheep bear specific symbolism and representations fitting their behavior and natural design.
Sheep Symbolism in Native Americans
The Native Americans respect sheep as they provide multiple items for survival. On top of that, the sheep is a spiritual animal the Navajo tribe sees as a messenger of direction. Encountering a sheep means you are directed towards a particular decision in life.
Sheep Symbolism in Celtic Culture
The Celts rely heavily on sheep for meat, clothing, and other items. The sheep’s ability to provide represents the pastoral and patriarchal symbolisms highlighting the purpose of the animal. Nowadays, sheep remain a stable commodity in Ireland that has been considered a national animal.
Sheep Dream Meaning
Dreams about sheep have several meanings depending on how they panned out. The following are dream scenarios with their interpretations.
Seeing a Sheep
When there’s a sheep in your dream which is healthy and strong, it usually indicates a positive turning point in your life. Dreaming about a sheep means you will experience financial gain and happiness.
Witnessing a sheep escape
If the sheep runs away in your dream, someone may steal from you in the near future. It could be a downright robber or someone you know. Also, the theft could be of material things or something you value most, like your relationships.
Dreaming about a dead sheep could mean that you will experience failure or a sudden loss in your finances. It could also suggest that your relationship is crumbling down, leading to an inevitable breakup.
When there’s a black sheep in your dream, there may be someone in your life that desires to inflict pain or has terrible intentions around you. So you opt to be careful and screen the people you trust most.
Having the sheep as your spirit animal means that you are going on a journey towards purity. The sheep will never fail to remind you not only to be gentle and polite but also to be brave and strong. Listen carefully to its message, and you can survive and thrive in a world of chaos and distractions.