Since people from around the world have had strong relations with sparrows in various ways, the symbolism that has been attached to these tiny winged creatures is vast and often contradictory. While such variety shows how much humans have revered sparrows through the years, it also presents a particular set of problems to a spiritual investigator seeking to determine how and why gods, goddesses, myths, folklore, stories, and superstitions associated with sparrows came about.
The sparrows are symbolic of productivity, cooperation, and teamwork, and of finding joy in the little things of life. Their spirits are great at problem-solving abilities and can thrive in the right environment. In some cultures, they’re also believed to be the embodiment of the souls of those who have departed from this world.
In this article, we will learn about the symbolism of sparrows, the legends, myths, and superstitions associated with them in different cultures, and the importance of their spirit animals and totems.
Although sparrows are small in size and do not have the remarkable speed and strength of the falcon or elegance of the crane, they still stand for many qualities that we can inculcate in our lives.
Despite being tiny, they’re very hard-working. They’re working round the clock, whether it is to collect food or make their nest. Their spirit teaches us that as long as we’re willing to work hard, we will always be able to overcome every difficulty that life throws at us.
However, the sparrows don’t simply work hard, they’re also concerned about whether or not is their hard work being fruitful. Their productivity is what keeps them satisfied. As our totem, these birds teach us to ensure that all our efforts and investments are being made in the right direction.
Sparrows are highly social birds that are used to living in large communities, distributing their responsibilities and duties among themselves to make their lives easier and more convenient. They represent to us the values of being a part of a community; by working efficiently with the people who have the same goals as we do.
Lastly, while these little birds are all for productivity and duties, they also stand for pleasure and joy. They live by the principle that their short lives should be filled with joy and happiness. And if they feel like their duties are weighing too heavily on them, they don’t waste a minute in shedding them off. For them, pleasure always comes first.
Sparrow symbolism in the Far Eastern culture
The sparrows have a positive interpretation in the far eastern culture. In China, they are considered to be lucky birds that spread joy wherever they go. The Chinese also believe that if a sparrow makes a nest in a house, the family living in it will be blessed with good fortune and abundance.
In fact, in Japan, there is a popular fairy tale about an old man and his tongue-cut sparrow, written by William Elliot Griffis. Let’s quickly narrate the tale to you:
The old man and his cut-tongue sparrow
Once, there was an old man with an ill-tempered wife. She couldn’t bear him any children and wouldn’t let him adopt one either. Therefore, in order to have a companion, her husband bought home a tiny sparrow as a pet. But soon, the old hag began to hate the little bird as well.
One day, the old woman made starch for laundry and had kept it to cool off in a bowl. While she was busy doing other chores, the sparrow flew in and pecked at the starch. This drove the woman mad with rage and she ended up cutting the sparrow’s tongue with a pair of scissors. Crying out in pain, the sparrow flew away, never to return.
When the old man returned home, he heard from his wife how the sparrow’s tongue was cut. His heart bled at it, and he kept grieving the pet sorrowfully but silently.
Not long after the incident, the old man was wandering in the woods one day and encountered the sparrow. The two old friends greeted each other, and the sparrow invited him to his house. They had a serene cottage by the waterfall where the sparrow lived with Mrs. Sparrow and their two babies.
The old man had a great time with the sparrow family, and when he was leaving, Mrs. Sparrow brought out two baskets for him and asked him to take one home as a parting gift. Humble as he was, the old man accepted the basket that was lighter and was soon on his way back home.
Upon his return, the old hag bombarded him with questions as to where he was and was curious about the basket he was carrying. As he opened his basket, they found out that it was filled with gold, silver, and precious gems. The greedy old woman wanted a basket for herself as well and went to the sparrow’s house in the woods.
Once there, she demanded a basket right away. The polite sparrows wouldn’t refuse them and brought out two baskets again. But unlike her husband, the woman chose the heavier one and opened it as soon as their house was out of sight. From the basket emerged a large, hairy serpent that coiled around her and crushed her bones, killing her.
The old man buried his wife’s corpse and adopted a son as he had always wanted to, spending the rest of his days comfortably and peacefully.
Dreaming of Sparrows
If a sparrow appears in your dreams, it could have diverse meanings for you. For instance, blue sparrows are symbolic of true love. So, if they’re visiting you in your dream, it is a sign that you are soon going to meet your soulmate.
While a red sparrow in your dream is symbolic of passion, a green one stands for your hard work, and a yellow one indicates that you will soon come across unexpected wealth or property.
Dreaming of a baby sparrow has a positive interpretation and symbolizes new beginnings in your home. One of your family members could soon get pregnant as well.
If you can’t spot the sparrow in your dream but can clearly hear their voice, it is a sign that great opportunities are waiting for you right around the corner. You should prepare yourself beforehand to grab them as soon as they come your way.
If you dream of yourself keeping a sparrow trapped in a cage, it is not such a good sign. Such a dream suggests that there is someone in your life who feels suffocated by you. Either you’re knowingly being too controlling of their lives, or your affection might be smothering them in a bad way. This person could perhaps be your partner or child.
Eating a sparrow is another common sparrow dream that has a negative interpretation. Such a dream indicates that one of your closest relationships might end in the near future.
Sparrow symbolism in the Jewish culture
In Jewish mysticism, the sparrows are considered to be the only living creatures that are perched on the Tree of Souls, a tree in the Garden of Eden that is symbolic of the end of the world.
It is said that from the tree, these birds keep an eye on every soul that descends here. And the chirping noise that they make is said to be reflective of the joy of the Messiah’s return to the Earth.
The sparrow totem will enter your life when you’ve been carrying far too much burden on your back. They’re here to relieve you of some of it. They will show how you don’t have to bear it all alone; seeking your family and friends’ help is not such a repulsive idea.
After all, they want to be there for you in your times of need, and you would do the same for them. Their totem is symbolic of the fact that there is strength in unity and multitude. Because while no one is too strong to win all the battles alone, you can stand a much better chance with the support of your loved ones.
Alternatively, their totem can also appear in your life when you begin to loathe yourself for all your shortcomings. They inspire self-love in people and show you how to embrace yourself with all your flaws and imperfections.
Sparrow symbolism in Greek mythology
Sparrows have a reputation for being quite the lovebirds in ancient Greece. They were known to be spiritually connected with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, which is why the Greeks associated them with the symbols of true love and connection.
In the Trojan War legend, the instance of the snake eating nine sparrows foretold that the war would last for 9 years.
The spiritual meaning of sparrow encounters
Have you ever seen a sparrow sitting on your windowpane and wondered what it could spiritually mean for you? While it might be a coincidence, there’s a good chance that this could be symbolic of a secret being uncovered. In that case, you might learn something that will either upset you deeply or make you ecstatic in the near future.
However, seeing their nest or eggs is considered a good omen and indicates that you will be successful in your current endeavors and will be widely appreciated for it.
If you have recently encountered a dead sparrow on your path or see one fall dead right in front of you, you should be worried. Such a sighting could be a sign that very soon, you will face several obstacles in your life, most likely in the path of your career.
Spotting a flock of sparrows flying or perched together is often an indication that you might not be able to truly connect with the people in your life and are, therefore, seeking new, meaningful connections.
Sparrow symbolism in the European Folklore
In European culture, the sparrows are associated with bad omens. It was believed that these little birds were the foretellers of people’s deaths. In the Kent region, there is a popular superstition that says that if one catches a sparrow, he/she must kill it, or else someone in their family, or they themselves, might die soon.
Sparrow spirit animal
If you’re someone who is known for their dignity, the sparrow spirit might be looking over you. These people have a self-pride that is unshakable and can at times make them appear egoistic. But they’re unafraid of taking a stand for the things that they believe in and can accept their defeat equally gracefully.
Such people tend to have a creative mind that has a solution to even the most peculiar problems. In their workplace, their colleagues rely on them for their lofty ideas. And as well as these people can work on their own, they can always perform better as a team-player. They are great at communicating and working with others, which makes them popular wherever they go.
These people usually have a lot of friends and somehow manage to find plenty of time for each one. As friends, they are reliable, trustworthy, and supportive, being there for you unconditionally. However, once you’ve lost their respect, no amount of atoning can bring them back into your life.
As lovers, the sparrow-spirited people are flexible. They’re neither too casual nor too hasty in their relationship; not only do they love you, but they also respect you and give you enough space to make your own decisions in life. However, being with them can be challenging for some people, for they expect you to put in as much work in the relationship as they do.
Sparrow symbolism in the Native American culture
The sparrows had a positive symbolism in the Native American culture. These little birds stood for contentment, friendliness, and resourcefulness in most of the Native American tribes and communities.
In many of their folklores and myths, they were portrayed as helpful spirits who always sided with humans in times of their troubles. Some of these tribes also considered the sparrows to be the friends of the peasants.
Conclusion: Sparrow Symbolism and Meaning
Found in almost every corner of the world, the sparrows are quite versatile birds that can adapt to any environment quickly.
Just as these birds use their adaptable personality for their survival, we can also learn to be more adaptable if we wish to be successful in life. Because no matter how brilliant or talented we are, if we have not mastered the art of adjustment, we might never find the right platform to showcase our skills.
Moreover, these birds also teach us the lesson of contentment. They’re aware that their existence on the Earth is very short and are, therefore, more focused on enjoying the time they have here instead of fretting about the trivialities of life.