I’ve been asked about symbolic meaning of doves. The following is my response:
Primary symbolic meaning of doves stem in ancient cultures due to their voices. The dove’s cooing has lulled the ears of humanity for hundreds of years, and as such finds meanings such as comfort and reassurance.
The Native American (Pueblo, specifically) believed that the cooing of the Dove could coax the rain from the skies. In fact, they believed the appearance of the Dove was a sign of rain to come. Or, if during a dry spell, the Pueblo believed the Dove would lead them to water.
Other cultures such as the Ancient Celts, Picti, and Gauls believed the voice of the Dove was a mourning call. When its cry was heard, this indicated a soul was passing from the earth in peace.
The Slavs believed the Dove carried the souls of the deceased to heaven. Gypsy folklore believes that Doves are soft, subtle messengers – winging their messages of love to our hearts from the spirit world.
In Christian traditions, the dove is considered a symbol of divinity as it is the representation of the Christ. Also in ancient Christian lore the dove is considered a symbol for mother, specifically their virgin mother Mary.
By far, my research has lead me to conclude that the primary symbolism of the Dove is that of patience and tenderness. Their voice along with the soft hue of their bodies, and the tender glow of their eyes – all lead to thoughts of softness, tenderness and symbols of love.
Please note that ultimately, symbolic interpretations are up to you to determine. I can only give you traditional symbolism, cultural perceptions, and my own interpretations.
That said, I’ve come to understand that our animal friends are just as willing and able to communicate as we are, but we must be open to their message. Therefore, I would encourage you to invoke the spirit of the animals directly and inquire as to the purpose of its appearance in your life.
And lastly, because of all these softly inspiring attributes, the most withstanding meaning of Dove is hope.
More pages of interest for your contemplative moseying:
Dove Symbolism (full page on Whats-Your-Sign.com)