I want to start this article with an English saying, “to talk the hind legs off a donkey,” which describes the talktative skills of a highly social person or perhaps a salesman.
In a few words, donkeys used to be an emblem of power. Slowly, as technology evolved and more efficient methods of transport were found, donkeys became a symbol of foolishness. In fact, donkeys widely symbolize hard work, determination, and good manners.
Although some see donkeys as unintelligent animals, this perspective is wrong and unfair. Conversely, donkeys are some the most intelligent animals in the world, with a high EQ and an emotional quotient better than dogs, gorillas, or chimpanzees.
Although stubborn, donkeys are fascinating creatures with lots of positive attributes. Let’s find out more about their symbolism, along with the spiritual meaning of donkeys.
The Symbolism Of Donkeys In The Bible
Donkeys have always been illustrated as humble creatures from the very first words of the Bible. Most references to donkeys in Christianity are found in the Old Testament, where they are described as metaphors or as an intellectual power (1). Additionally, donkeys are animals that help humans and bring them hope.
Among the biblical phrases, donkeys are a representation of the “authority of God’s word.” Jesus is also pictured entering the Holy City on the back of a donkey. The wise animal represented here as a symbol of peace.
Unfortunately, today there is a contrast between the biblical image of donkeys and how some people perceive these animals. But the donkey is a strong symbolic animal, representing hard work, good manners, and willpower.
Spiritual Meanings Of Donkeys In The World
Outside the Bible, Islam and Christianity generally, donkeys features are distinct based on different cultures and contexts.
For instance, donkeys are political symbols in Catalonia, Russia, Iran, and the U.S. Furthermore, the term “donkey” can be used as an insult for, for example a desperate soccer player or someone with no poker skills.
Nowadays, in Israel, “Messiah’s Donkey” is the central term of an religious-political doctrine. On the other hand, donkeys are considered a symbol of wealth in the Jewish religion.
Donkeys In Native American Symbolism
Native Americans have a legend about a donkey charged to carry the chief’s grandchildren on a journey. However, the chief’s daughter didn’t trust the donkey’s strength and preferred to take the grandchildren by ponies.
The donkey protested, and, eventually, the daughter saw the chief’s wisdom. And she chose done well, as the donkey saved the children’s lives during the journey.
Therefore, they see the animal as brave and intelligent.
Donkeys In Far Eastern Symbolism
In China, for instance, donkeys are famous for their stubbornness. For the Chinese culture, this characteristic comes with a negative connotation.
We can often see a donkey displayed along with Hong (the rainbow dragon). However, Hong, who is considered the symbol of fortune, has a donkey’s head.
Donkeys Symbolism in Film and Literature
Ancient Greece and Western cultures created a more positive image of donkeys in the modern world. In addition to the Bible, donkeys represent some key figures in the major works of Aesop and Homer.
Over the centuries, besides Greek literature (2), donkeys have been central characters in other literature works too. For instance, Shakespeare used in his play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” the term “ass” as an offensive term. In contrast, donkeys in “Don Quixote” by Cervantes were presented as loyal companions and a symbol of devotion.
Moving closer to modern day, donkeys are still present in film and literature. For instance, let’s take the famous “Winnie the Pooh,” where the donkey Eeyore is one of the most loved characters. He is considered as adorable for his melancholy character and sad voice.
Another iconic representation of donkeys is featured in a famous book written during the 20th century. In “Animal Farm” (1951) Benjamin is a resilient donkey and a loyal friend to Boxer, the horse. He is also a wise spirit but cynical about change.
In the film world, donkeys are the main characters of some Disney animations like “Pinocchio” or “Fantasia.” The donkey is also one of the main characters of the classic DreamWorks Pictures, “Shrek.” Known by the name of “Donkey,” he is one of the most well-loved characters of all modern animated movies.
Donkey Behavior: Facts And Meanings
Donkeys are surprising animals, mainly due to their excellent memory, as well as their impressive capacity for learning. Studies have found that these animals can learn at the same level as dogs and dolphins. This also means that donkeys remember both good and bad things.
When the world population was trading animals, donkeys used to be a status symbol for their owners. However, as previously said, with the rise of technology, donkeys’ sure and steady pace has been replaced with more high-speed, efficient transport methods.
To clearly understand what donkeys symbolize, you need to learn more about their dominant traits and the logical part of their characters. Two principal characteristics made donkeys popular among humans:
Most people associate donkeys with stubborn and foolish spirits. However, there is more than meets the eye. Donkeys are not stubborn for no reason. They use their stubbornness as a protective shield when they are afraid.
People will often compare horses to donkeys; however, each animal has different characters and behave according to their instincts.
Horses are generally used for carrying purposes on plains and open landscapes. They need enough space to move around, while donkeys are better in mountainous terrains. No matter the environmental danger, weather, terrain or inclination, they will cope with the conditions.
While donkeys might seem stubborn, they can react in a more highly emotional than any other “working” animal. They are domesticated animals with strong emotional bonds. Considering this aspect, it is not wise to keep donkeys as single animals.
Sixth-Sense and Self-Awareness
Some people say that donkeys possess the sixth sense. This is because of their funnel-shaped, enormous ears that can detect different sounds far better than our ears. It is believed that donkeys are always aware of what is happening around them and ready for anything.
People trust in donkeys’ instincts. If a donkey perceives a possible danger in the path ahead, they will be stubborn enough to stop and refuse to move forward. No matter how much humans push them, they will simply ignore this and listen to their instincts.
Donkeys are wise creatures, aware of their powers and limitations, so they will know what they can and cannot do. This natural intuition will save them from a lot of danger.
Donkey Symbols: Spirit Animal, Totem And Mythology
Donkeys are mighty animals and symbols of strong will and determination. They are very committed to their work; they don’t seem to get tired quickly.
Scientifically speaking, donkeys are resistant and sturdy, but they can still become exhausted and should not be over-worked. It is important to treat them well, respect them, and keep them healthy and happy.
Their stubbornness, along with their high level of intelligence and work ethics, make donkeys possess a fascinating instinct for self-preservation. Thus, they are cautious animals with a unique sense of self-care.They are also well-mannered.
Donkeys As Spirit Animals
Donkeys as spirit animals may look simple, but they are like a wake-up call to evade life’s glamorous and superficial aspects. Donkeys teach us to be more practical. Although these animals may be misunderstood, they are focused on their work and do their best without being distracted by external stimuli. However, this changes if they feel in danger.
In a world where people are distracted easily, donkeys can be a true example of concentration.
Donkey – The Power Animal
Donkeys hold weight for their owners or take parts in their burdens, being truly loyal animals and powerful creatures to rely on. The devotion to a master makes donkeys a valid symbol of loyalty. Donkeys are like a reminder of friendship’s fidelity.
The donkey is also a powerful animal to rely on when you cannot handle things anymore. They know precisely what life difficulties look like, how much work and responsibilities you need to deal with sometimes.
Last but not least, donkeys are a symbol of altruism and giving more than you take. There are times when we simply need to help someone in need, although we might lose more than we want. Donkeys are the pure symbol of solidarity.
Donkey – Totem Animal
First of all, what is a totem? A totem is a sacred object, a divine being, or a specific symbol for a family, a culture, or an individual. The totem animal is the symbol that follows you throughout your life, both in the physical and non-material world.
People born under the donkey totem are considered the most forceful spirits. These people may experience different hardships in life but have the necessary power to overcome them and be happy.
These people have excellent instincts gained by their various experiences. Indeed, they might not be true leaders; however, they know enough about danger. Thus, they know how to make good decisions and find the ideal road for their life.
Adopting a donkey as your spirit animal can be an inspirational choice. Consider these mighty meanings:
- Hard work
Donkey Mythology and Folklore Symbols
In Greek mythology, people paid tribute to the excellent intuition of the donkey when Apollo commanded that Midas should get a donkey’s ears so that he could hear the divine music from the God.
No wonder donkeys are nowadays one of the most exciting animal emblems to turn your attention on.
Donkeys In Dreams – Meaning
When donkeys are calling in your sleep, it means you might need to re-judge your current plans and decisions. Have you been under pressure? Maybe you have judged your goals based on emotions.
The presence of a donkey in your dreams reminds you to double-check things and adjust them based on gut feeling. Put more emphasis on what you are doing and focus on your well-being.
On the other hand, riding a donkey in your dreams means you should expect new journeys, maybe leaving the country and venturing into places that are difficult to reach. This is also the sign of good fortune or fulfilling some objectives.
Donkey Appearing In Your Path
When a donkey is crossing your path, there is one thing you should focus on: ignoring the appearance of superficial things and concentrating on what goes on deep within.
This allows you to stay objective and assess the decision on your life based on facts, not emotions. Some might consider you stubborn or blunt, but remember, donkeys are called that too. Be wise and follow your path in exactly the way these intelligent animals do.
Also Read: Burro Vs. Donkey: The Same or Different?