If you are having difficulty standing your ground or bearing your heavy burdens, the donkey as a spirit animal can be helpful in balancing responsibilities and expressing opinions in a surefooted way. Learn more about this spirit animal and totem as you read on.
Symbolism and Meaning
Historians believe that donkeys were first domesticated around 4,500 years ago by Nubians to use as a pack animal. This allowed the donkey to become an integral participant in agricultural communities. The donkey could travel over long distances allowing their meaning and symbolism tied to the growth of civilization, trade, service, and travel. The versatility of the donkey is legendary. By the second millennium, the donkey made its way to Europe where they were thought to be watched over by the god of wine, Dionysus. From there, donkeys were moved into Spain, Italy, France, and then the Romans spread them throughout. Still, no matter the area, the donkey’s stubborn nature was an asset because it refuses to move if danger is sensed. The donkey is well versed in knowing what it can and cannot do, so humans trust the intuitive sense to prevent trouble. As a spirit guide it is one of caution and resolving issues rather than running ahead without regard.
On Columbus’s second voyage, the donkey arrived in America and shortly after, Mexico where they became a landmark for mines and missions. The donkeys were used to reach treacherous places to dig during the gold rush. As some donkeys escaped, the donkey established itself in a variety of places. The donkey has funnel like ears that are able to hear things from a distance. As a spirit animal, this means active listening skills and keeping senses honed to what is coming. There are different superstitions around the donkey spirit. For example, a pregnant woman seeing a donkey will have a child who grows up wise and attentive or if a donkey brays while twitching, rain is to be expected.
As a Spirit Animal
The donkey as a spirit animal may arise when you are taking on too much responsibility. This ally wants to help, but will physically fail if you overload them. In human terms this is spiritual and emotional damage. This means we must learn to say no to honor the self. On the other hand, the donkey may challenge you to be responsible for the self, others, or some specific situation. Donkey will give you a push if you have been shirking responsibility. The donkey spirit animal may bray as a form of warning when they sense danger. You need to stop and reassess before moving forward. The donkey is smart and loves to learn, especially with those who have a playful spirit. Donkey can offer determination and confidence, as well as focus. The donkey wants us to be self-aware of our own needs for positive change.
As a Totem Animal
If you are born with a donkey totem you have a stubborn streak, but for a good reason. You will learn early to stand your ground and get yourself out of harm’s way. Donkey totem people are often smart and independent. They will not suffer cruelty or fools. They will seek the gentleness in people and have a soft spot for the frail who cannot protect themselves. Donkey people tend to be guides for others and walk in their personal truth. The donkey’s dedication is noble, creating an unsung hero.
As a Power Animal
Call on the power animal of the donkey when you need to stick to some decision as it creates support and teaches you to say no with meaning. When your burdens are heavy, donkeys will help as they take on some of the weight until you are finally burden free. They will teach you self-awareness and self-preservation in every day life. As a power animal, the donkey is loud when you need to be heard.
The Irish have a strong relationship with donkeys as they were a central part of rural life. They ground corn, cleared fields, and transported people, eventually becoming pets. The donkey came to represent adaptation and survival.
Far Eastern Symbol
Donkeys are common in North China for plowing fields and transporting goods. It is viewed as steadfast and determined. There are many tales around the donkey in this culture.
Dreaming of the donkey represents working through until something is complete. There is a message of not taking on too much at once. If the donkey has a rider, there is someone letting you do the work for them. If you are the rider, it means you are humble, modest, and gentle. At times, a donkey means you are being stubborn and you may need to give a little. A braying donkey will represent someone insulting you while pretending to be a friend.
Common Donkey Meanings
To close, we will share a list of the common symbolic meanings associated with the donkey.
- Hard Work
- Speaking Up
- Standing Your Ground