Dolphins – Meaning and Symbolism
To encounter a dolphin at sea has throughout the ages in cultures around the world been considered a good omen and a great symbol of good luck.
The dolphin is a friend, helper and guide.
There are many stories about how dolphins have saved those who had been shipwrecked; some true and others fantasy. This animal is truly auspicious.
Dolphins are beautiful and graceful, as well as intelligent. It is no wonder they have been and still are loved by the human race.
Place sculptures or pictures of dolphins in your home for safe journey in your quest to reach your goal no matter what hardships you may run into.
Many prefer do wear a dolphin pendant as a symbol of protection and staying on the right track towards their goal.
The dolphin is a symbol of hope and guidance. This gracious and empathic animal will guide you to the shore of your choice. Just make sure your intentions are good.
Dolphin Symbolism in Christianity
Early Christians used the dolphin as a symbol of salvation through Christ. The images of dolphins would be shown with an anchor or pierced by a trident. Countless stories about how dolphins helped and saved humans in despair resulted to the use of dolphin images as symbols of Christ the savior.
Christians have also associated dolphins as a symbol of Christ who guides the souls to salvation. The obvious reason is that they observed the dolphins as they swam alongside of the boats.
Dolphins in Greek Mythology
In the Palace of Knossos on the island Crete, a wall in the Queens Hall is decorated with stunning frescos of dolphins. These beautiful creatures were highly regarded in the palace dating back to around 1900 B.C. It was the center of the Minoan civilization.
Apollo and the Priests
Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, music, healing and prophecy is very much connected to dolphins.
The most important oracle in Ancient Greece was at Delphi. It was the Apollo who laid the foundation for this oracle. It was considered the center of the world.
Apollo personally transported the first priests to Delphi. They were from Crete. The god transformed himself to a dolphin. As a dolphin he escorted the men to the harbor town called Krisa. The Cretan priests continued on their journey and settled at the Delphi oracle.
Dionysus and the Pirates
Dionysus was the Greek god of wine. His equivalent Roman mythology was Bacchus. He was the son of Zeus and Semele.
One time Dionysus disguised himself into a very handsome mortal and boarded a ship bound for Naxos.
As it turned out the sailors on the ship were actually pirates. The pirates agreed that they could get a good price for their attractive passenger on a slave market in Asia.
Once Dionysus realized the ship had changed direction and was headed for Asia, he got quite upset. The devious plan was revealed. The pirates did not know that their passenger was actually a god.
Dionysus made grapevines grow from the deck of the ship and sling made them around the mast. The wine god then transformed the oars of the ship to hissing snakes.
He created strange looking monsters which sent the pirates screaming in every direction. He filled the air with sounds of the flute. Finally Dionysus transformed himself to a lion.
The pirates were in shock and did not understand what was happening. They thought they were going mad. The terrified pirates jumped overboard to get away from the horror taking place on the ship.
As the pirates hit the water, Dionysus transformed them into dolphins. The pirates finally understood what had happened and they were filled with remorse.
The dolphins swore they forever more would dedicate their lives to helping humans. Never again would they try to harm any mortal or god.
The Greek Poet Arion and the Dolphin
The myth about the Greek poet named Arion from the island of Lesbos is quite well known. Arion made a fortune singing and reciting his poetry. He owned lots of gold and precious jewelry. After one of his concerts in Taranto, Arion hired a boat to take him back home to Corinth.
His regular job was as a court musician in the palace of Periander, who was the ruler of Corinth.
Unfortunately the sailors on the boat were filled with envy and decided to steal all the precious stones belonging to Arion. The sailors realized that Arion was risk factor. If they were to get away with the theft Arion had to die.
The sailors gave Arion a choice of being murdered onboard the ship or getting thrown into the ocean to drown. If he were to choose to get killed onboard the sailors promised him a proper burial.
Arion was devastated and did not know what to answer. Finally he requested that he be allowed to play one last time on his cithara before being thrown into the water. His request was granted.
After he finished playing he was thrown into the ocean along with his cithara. As it happened, dolphins nearby had been listening to the beautiful music Arion was playing shortly before being cast overboard.
Just as Arion was sinking a dolphin swam beneath him and swept him up. He was saved. Arion found himself clinging on the dolphin as it swam towards shore. Other dolphins came to escort them.
Safely ashore Arion went to the ruler and told his story. A large statue honoring the dolphin was erected.
The sailors were caught when their ship arrived at the harbor.
They tried to claim Arion had died at sea and they were innocent. Naturally their story was easily disputed.
Arion got back all his worldly goods.
The dolphin was later placed in the sky by the gods as a star constellation called Delphinus in the Northern hemisphere.