Diving Deep with Pelican; Animal Guides Woo Woo or True?

This summer has been a lot busier than I was planning it to be.
There hasn't been time to do many of the summer things that I was so looking forward to enjoying.
I was able to carve some space out last week to capture reference photos at a gorgeous aviary.
 (checkout my Instagram to see a very cool video)

I'm hoping to continue my flamingo paintings very soon.
(Stayed tuned for my small studies from the Brevard Zoo.)

But that really hasn't seemed like enough...
Do you know what I mean?
When pushing through makes things bubble up.

Today I want to post these guys because they have a special meaning I'm not sure many people know about.
Pelicans are amazing birds, and they are all over the shore no matter where you are.
They live on every continent except Antartica!
The brown pelican, like the ones pictured here at Cape Canaveral, are the smallest of the pelicans.
They might be the slightest, but their wingspan can still reach up to 8 feet.
Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
They are also protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
I won't go on and on with bird facts (I'll save it for another post) but I will tell you what their behaviors have come to mean in lore and symbology.

As I've written before, the root of "animal guide" or animal totem is all based on the animals' natural behaviors and physical traits. It's pretty much all projection on man's part.
I think modern people aren't as close to nature and animals as they once were and now don't like to hear about their boring scientific behaviors and then process them in a way that requires quiet reflection-
but wrote superstitions and old wives' tales are easier to remember.
However, I'm definitely not one to poo poo signs and belief.
There is even growing evidence that the Universe could be a hologram.
I don't know that I believe in coincidences anymore. What you believe shapes your reality.
What you expect to happen most likely will. We are all self-fulfilling prophets.

And the Pelican...

 A water bird that flies high & dives deep,
this bird has significance on intellectual, spiritual, and emotional levels.

If a pelican flies across your path, it can mean that things are off kilter and you need to take time for yourself to figure some things out.

A pelican quietly swimming or floating means a reminder to find balance.

A pelican sitting with a full bill (gular pouch) is a reminder to pay attention to what abundance you have and use it wisely.
A large group of pelicans beating the water with their wings (hunting & feeding) together is a sign to look toward cooperation and support from those that can help you.

Throughout history, mystics and alchemists have linked the pelican to soul forces, spiritual sacrifice, and inner nourishment.
Source: Marie-Louise von Franz, Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology

There are other reasons mystics project man's psyche onto traits attributed to the pelican, but it ultimately helps that they live at the ocean.
I mean, every time I'm on the edge of the sea, I seem to get a better perspective and the crud is washed away from my spirit.

With that being said-
I think I'm gonna take a little re-route and get some more beach time A.S.A.P.

In the meantime, I painted a pelican study and

made a little beachy treasury.

Click here to open the treasury & see my picks for this week.

You can visit my gallery on DPW to see a larger view
or .

Thanks for stopping by.

What does the pelican say to you?

~D. Renée


  1. Pelicans are so cool! For some reason, one I saw in Miami years ago really sticks in my mind. The pelican lore sounds like good things to remember, whether or not you believe in signs or animal guides or what have you. I'm not saying I believe in ghosts, but a house I lived in was definitely haunted. So why shouldn't an animal have an important message to convey?

  2. They're pretty fascinating to me. They're such a big water bird. Lovely artwork :)

  3. Love your painting and your words here. I've been digging deep into symbolism lately and I feel like it's helped me though a tricky point with my business and career. I wouldn't have thought deeper about pelicans until I read this, mostly because it's such a visceral "woah, that's a big, cool-looking bird!" reaction of awe reaction when you see them but I think this will teach me to look deeper at every animal now :) And more beach time too, asap.

  4. Oh I missed this post! what a great post. We saw so many pelicans when we were down in Florida this past Feb. It was amazing. They were everywhere. Such large birds. Beautiful treasury - thank you for including me!


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