The meaning of eagle spirit animal remains the same no matter where we look. Eagle spirit animal is the messenger of the gods and the lord of the birds. There are sixty species of eagles around the world and copious legends in every culture to match. Eagle is synonymous with the freedom, vision and enlightenment.
Eagle has a number of adaptations to his vision that allow him to see anywhere from 4 to 8 times better than humans. He has five times more light-sensitive cells in his eyes, one million cells to be exact, than we do. He sees five basic colors when we see only three. He has two or three deep fovea at the back of each eye that act as telephoto lenses, which enable him to judge the distance to an object (stereoscopic vision) as well as discern details at great distances. We only have one shallow fovea per eye. Studies have shown that eagle can see a rabbit up to two miles away. Eagle also has a well-developed supraorbital ridge that shades his eyes from sunlight, reducing glare.
Eagle spirit animal offers you an opportunity to practice seeing your life differently. We all have our own perspective on things which, in relation to eagle, is short-sided. Perspective is personal and limited by what we experience and the knowledge we gain.
Eagle symbolism teaches us how to catch a strong breeze, surrender to the will of the Divine and gain the gift of perception. As eagle soars high in the sky he can see for miles around taking in the landscape through his senses, perceiving all. When we tap into, or merge, with The One, we no longer are limited by our own story and we see the interconnectivity of all things. This is what it means to perceive and to embody eagle medicine.
A Godly Bird
As a messenger of the Divine, eagle spirit animal has taken many forms, including those of the gods themselves. The Greek god Zeus turns into a golden eagle to wield thunder and lightening. Both Zeus and the Roman God Jupiter employ golden eagle as their emissary. In Hinduism, the great Lord Vishnu has for his favored mount the divinity “Garuda” who has the body of a human and the head and wings of an eagle. Garuda is the enemy of evil which are represented by snakes.
In the Egyptian alphabet, eagle represents the sound A, or aleph, which shows his predominance over all other birds. Garuda is also known as the king of the birds. Eagle even has his own constellation called “Aquila”.
When an animal shows us playing the same role in countless cultures, we know we’ve come upon an archetype. There is no mistaking that eagle is representative of divinity itself and harkens a time of communion with Source for those who come into conscious relationship with the eagle animal totem. Eagle spirit animal teaches us how to trust in the currents of grace to hold us aloft and how to carry lofty values with dignity. Remember not to get too caught up in the path of enlightenment.
Eagle must come to Earth to feed and rest. Dependence on the mundane existence will keep you humble and is necessary for the spiritual path. Care for the body in your soul and the soul in your body. Eagle will help show the way, uniting in you heaven and Earth.
The First Shaman
The first shaman was said to be an eagle and eagles play a pivotal role in the cosmology in shamanic traditions around the world. According to the author Mircea Eliade in Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, the Buryat people of Siberia tell this story:
“The gods created man, and he lived happily until the time when the evil spirits spread sickness and death over the earth. The gods decided to give mankind a shaman to combat disease and death, and they sent the eagle. But men did not understand its language… The eagle returned to the gods and asked them to give him the gift of speech, or else to send a Buryat shaman to men. The gods sent him back with an order to grant the gift of shamanizing to the first person he should meet on earth. Returned to earth, the eagle saw a woman asleep under a tree, and had intercourse with her. Some time later the woman gave birth to a son, who became the ‘first shaman.’ According to another variant, the woman, after her connection with the eagle, saw spirits and herself became a shamaness.”
The message that eagle spirit animal brings is more than a mere edict stated in a sentence. It should mean something to us that eagle doesn’t have a complex vocal language. The “message” eagle brings is more akin to what the story of the first shaman indicates. The eagle bestows spiritual gifts that allow us to come into service of others, the heavens, and the world. Eagle, like Garuda, helps us dispel evil first within ourselves and then in the world.
The meaning of eagle reminds us of possibility, the kind of possibility that opens up when we rise above earthly concerns and open our minds to Source. The eagle is a symbol of freedom and courage because both are needed to find God.
“The reality is that, by its very nature, existence cannot have any boundary, because what will be beyond the boundary? – Again another sky… Skies upon skies are available for your flight.” – Osho in Osho Zen Tarot
Astronomers know this truth. As we develop stronger and stronger telescopes we continue to see that beyond each universe is another. Now is the time to take flight and break free from the imaginary boundaries that hold you back. There is nothing on Earth that eagle cannot soar above. Join him and know the same is true for you.
About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey L. L. Couch, Certified Shamanic Practitioner, works as a publicist and journalist for Mother Nature and is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She empowers people with the ability to explore life’s big questions by calling on nature, story and synchronicity as a source for guidance and healing. With her deeply rooted experience in the field of shamanism and passion for working with wildlife and rescue animals, Stacey has a unique blend of rational and mystical perspective that makes the world of shamanism easily accessible to others. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More about Stacey.