The donkey is a very strong symbolic animal that represents the spirit of hard work, good manners, and determination. Although a donkey is often seen as an unintelligent animal, this notion is wrong. A donkey is one of the smartest animals in the world with an EQ or emotional quotient that is higher than gorillas, chimpanzees, and dogs. Indeed this stubborn but kind-hearted animal has many positive meanings. Let’s find out the symbolism and spiritual meaning of the donkey.
The donkey is a symbol of stubbornness, self-awareness, honesty, simplicity, and integrity. The donkey is also a symbol of work, humility, diligence, courage, and truth. Donkeys are sacred animals in Buddhism. They are considered to represent gentleness and patience in the religion. A white donkey appears on the flag of the United States, representing peace. Being herd animals, they also represent the values of a close-knit community.
This article will explore the symbolism of donkeys, their dream interpretations, and their importance in different cultures worldwide. We will also take a look at their omens, totem, and spirit animal.
To understand what the donkeys symbolize, you will first have to learn about their dominant traits and the logic behind them. Given below are two of their traits that have made them popular among humans:
Most people tend to think of donkeys as stubborn and stupid. However, there is more to it than meets the eye. The reason behind their stubbornness is not their stupidity or inability to understand you, but often fear or intuition.
The comparison between horses and donkeys is nothing new. But today, we will try to understand why each animal behaves differently.
Horses are used to plains and open landscapes, where they have plenty of space to run around, while the donkeys have evolved in the mountainous regions where running, or even walking, without a proper contemplation or risk-analysis could be life-threatening.
Therefore, while horses needn’t be told twice to start running, donkeys take much longer to act. Moreover, a horse’s impulsive response to pain or fear is to run, while when a donkey is scared, they intuitively begin to ignore the very thing that is scaring them. Thus, while donkeys might seem stubborn, they are much more sensible than most of the other cattle animals.
Clairvoyance and self-awareness
The main reason why donkeys are symbolic of clairvoyance is because of their large, funnel-shaped ears that can hear far better in comparison to our ears, making them more aware of what is to come. But that’s not all.
There’s another popular belief, having a hint of truth to it, that if a donkey perceives danger in their path ahead, they will refuse to move forward. No matter how many times you kick or whip them, they simply wouldn’t budge.
There are many animals out there that over-estimate their capabilities and end up falling prey to humans, either for their skin, meat, teeth, or bones. However, donkeys are not of them. They have an accurate idea of what they can, and can’t do, which saves them from a lot of trouble.
Donkey dream interpretation
Have the donkeys ever visited you in your dream? What could their dreams mean for you? Following are the interpretations of the most common donkey dreams. Take a look:
A blind donkey
Dreaming of a blind donkey is not a good sign. Such a dream indicates that all the money that you have saved up for the last couple of months will run out soon, and you’ll be left with nothing to sustain yourself. Under these circumstances, you might have to ask your family for help.
A dead donkey
A dead donkey in your dream is symbolic of the end of your career at a certain place or company. Such a dream suggests that you no longer believe in the institution you’re serving and cannot bear working there anymore.
A giant donkey
Dreaming of a giant donkey is symbolic of your giant ego and know-it-all attitude, which keeps people from giving you sound advice or helping you out in your hour of need. It is about time that you start working on mending your attitude.
A flying donkey
Donkeys obviously don’t fly in real life. So, what could it mean to dream of such a thing? It suggests that someone might give you a task that is impossible to do.
If you feel like the donkey is happy about being able to fly in the dream, it is a good sign and indicates that you will fulfill your task, much to the surprise of everyone who was counting on you to fail.
If you encounter a foal (a donkey’s baby) in your dream, it is symbolic of the entry-level workers of your institution. The dream is a sign that while it might seem like these people don’t have refined skills and can easily be replaced, in reality, training them properly lays the right foundation for your entire work structure. Therefore, you must keep them happy and communicate with them frequently.
An injured donkey
Dreaming of an injured donkey is not a good sign. Such a dream is symbolic of the upcoming obstacles in your travel plans.
Either your flights are about to get rescheduled, or the place you have planned to stay at is at its maximum capacity. Moreover, there’s a chance that you might meet with an accident on the road. Therefore, it would be best if you just postponed the trip to another time.
An angry donkey
An angry donkey is symbolic of the people who are naïve and overemotional. If you see these donkeys in your dream, it might mean that you have said something or made a light-hearted remark about someone who took it to heart and is now upset with you. It is your job to apologize to them and convince them that you hadn’t intended to hurt them.
A donkey chasing you
If you dream of a donkey chasing you, it means that you are exhausted from all the hard work and wish to give it all up for a little peace. Such a dream might mean that you will soon switch your jobs or simply leave the current one and take a break before you find work again.
A donkey sitting like a human
Donkeys cannot possibly sit like humans in real life. But if you see such a thing in your dream, it has a negative interpretation. Such a dream suggests that in the coming months, your mental stress might lead you to explode in front of people you are meant to behave with, and this will get you in trouble, both at home and at work.
A donkey giving birth
If you dream of a donkey giving birth to foals, it is a good sign. Such a dream is related to your family life and indicates that in the near future, you will have plenty of time to interact with your family members and learn new things about their life. This will prove to be a happy and refreshing experience for you as well as for them.
A donkey crossing a river
Dreaming of a donkey crossing a river with a heavy load on its back indicates that you might be soon be made to lead a difficult project or task, and although you don’t want to do it, you will not be in a position to refuse.
A donkey falling into a swamp
If you dream of a donkey falling into a swamp, it is symbolic of your own gullible nature. The dream is a sign that you will soon find yourself in trouble because you’re easy to persuade or manipulate.
A yellow donkey
Dreaming of a yellow donkey is not a good sign. Their dream suggests that you might suffer from a disease or an illness soon if you are not careful about your health.
A donkey unable to carry the burden
If in your dream, you observe that a donkey has been overburdened with load and can, thus, barely move, it is a bad omen. Such a dream indicates that your past misdeeds (most likely dishonesty) will come back to haunt you and put you into situations where you will find it extremely difficult to survive.
A donkey biting you
Donkeys don’t bite humans in real life, so dreaming of such a thing is weird and ominous. Such a dream indicates that you will soon be caught doing some kind of eccentric activity because of which the people around you will condemn you.
A green donkey
Green donkeys are symbolic of holiness. Dreaming of them is a sign that your spiritual awakening is not far from you.
Purchasing a donkey
If you purchase a donkey in your dream, it is a good sign. Such a dream indicates that your social and financial status will be elevated in the coming months. Dreaming of finding, adopting, or being gifted a donkey also has the same meaning.
Sitting on a donkey
If you dream of yourself sitting on a donkey, prepared to take a ride, and yet not moving an inch, it is symbolic of a standstill in your life. Maybe the project you were enthusiastically working on has suddenly come to a halt, and it is deeply frustrating for you.
Riding a donkey
Dreaming of riding a donkey has a positive interpretation. Such a dream signifies that you might soon acquire a new hobby or learn a new skill; something that will work in your favor at your workplace.
A grey donkey
If a grey donkey comes to your dream, it indicates that you have been trying to move into a different profession for a long time. The dream is a sign that right now is the most suitable time for you to make that move.
Riding a donkey backward
Although riding a donkey backward might sound ominous, dreaming of it can be lucky for you. Such a dream indicates that you’re going to do exceedingly well in all the projects you are currently a part of, which will earn you compliments and praises from your colleagues. Moreover, your achievements will be noticed by your boss, who might give you a special preference shortly.
Someone else riding a donkey
Dreaming of someone else riding a donkey is a sign that you are unwilling to acknowledge or celebrate others’ success and achievements. Perhaps you’re too competitive or simply envious, but your attitude is unhealthy and could cost you your friendships.
Falling off from a donkey
If you have been riding a donkey and fall off suddenly in your dream, it is a bad omen and suggests that you are going to get shocking news in the future. This news will be related to your personal life and will hurt you so deeply that you won’t be able to get over it for some time.
A red-colored donkey
If you dream of a red donkey, we have good news for you. It indicates that you will soon find the work opportunity that you have been waiting for since forever.
Trying to push a donkey forward
Dreaming of having to push a donkey forward forcefully is a bad sign. It suggests that despite all your effort, you seem to have a little progress in your path to success. This is probably happening because of your lack of consistency.
A brown donkey
Dreaming of a brown donkey has a bad interpretation. Such a dream suggests that you are always looking for workarounds in everything you do to avoid hard work. This is not healthy for you and can get you into serious trouble in the future.
Kicking a donkey
If you see yourself kicking a donkey in your dream, it is symbolic of your intolerant attitude towards the people in your life, especially your family members. Perhaps you have a rigid sense of right and wrong and can’t stand others doing things that you think they shouldn’t be.
Hitting a donkey with a whip
Although whipping a donkey is rather cruel, it becomes necessary to make the stubborn donkey listen to you in some cases. If you see yourself having to hit a donkey with a whip in your dream, it has a negative interpretation. Such a dream indicates that your future will not be easy on you; you will have to struggle for even the smallest things, and your loved ones might not be there to support you through it.
Killing a donkey
If you see yourself killing a donkey in your dream, it is a bad sign. Such a dream indicates that you will have to tolerate your boss’s rude and slightly abusive behavior soon. This behavior might result from his personal frustration or something that you’ve done wrong, but talking back to them might cost you your job. Your safest bet is to involve a third party to save yourself.
If, in your dream, you find yourself surrounded by many donkeys, it has a positive interpretation. All these donkeys in your dream are symbolic of a peaceful and pleasant lifestyle. Their dream suggests that you will have no worries in the coming months and feel no stress or anxiety, only tranquillity, and satisfaction.
A white donkey
Dreaming of a white donkey has a positive interpretation. Such a dream signifies that you will meet someone who will fill your life with adventures and excitement in the next couple of months. This person might even end up becoming your love interest.
A black donkey
If you dream of a black donkey, it means that you might be traveling abroad soon for work purposes.
Is encountering a donkey a good or a bad omen?
As we’ve already discussed, donkeys are highly intuitive animals. Their strong intuition has evolved as a survival skill in the dangerous habitats they used to live in more than a hundred years ago. It is only natural to wonder if there’s a hidden meaning, an omen, behind them crossing our paths.
In some cultures, it is believed that if you hear a donkey braying loudly when you are about to leave for a holiday or even a work-related trip, it is considered a bad omen. However, if you see a herd of silent donkeys instead, it is a good omen. Seeing donkeys feeding on grass is widely regarded as a good omen as well.
Donkey spirit animal
If you’re generally an agreeable person but can be surprisingly stubborn about things that matter the most to you, the spirit of the donkeys is guiding you. While most people find it annoying, you never falter from standing your ground, even if it has to be against the people you love.
The people guided by the donkey spirit are also far-sighted; therefore, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to trust their judgment. They have great instincts and use them to look out not just for themselves but also for others.
They’re not selfish, but they are not selfless either. While they always try to do right by others, doing right by themselves is on the top of their priority list.
The donkey totem will enter into your life when you have taken up more responsibilities than you’re capable of, most likely due to your inability to say “no”.
Although you want to help others, trying to go above and beyond your capacity to do so will not benefit anyone, least of all you. Even the toughest nuts crack under immense pressure, and doing that to yourself is not wise.
It could end up damaging you both emotionally as well as spiritually. The donkey totem will show you how the art of saying “no” signifies the fact that you value yourself. And you if you can’t value yourself, what can you really expect from others?
Donkey symbolism in ancient Greece
The Ancient Greeks associated donkeys with Dionysus, their god of wine, fertility, and merriment. In Roman mythology, there is a similar character, although he has been named Bacchus.
Let’s tell you the story behind the donkey’s association with the Greek god of merriment. Once upon a time, Dionysus wanted to pay a visit to the temple of Dodona. However, on his path, he discovered a lake so wide and deep that he thought it impossible to cross without an aid.
Right at the moment appeared two donkeys, offering to ferry him across the lake. Once they dropped him to the other side, Dionysus was impressed with their skills and willingness to help and, thus, blessed them with an immortal life as stars in the constellations. In many Greek pictures and art forms, Dionysus is seen riding on a donkey.
Conclusion: Donkey Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning
Since the donkey has traditionally been a symbol of physical and spiritual strength this animal is also often seen as a representation of the self, and one’s own characteristics. When the donkey appears in your life, you are being reminded of your own strengths and abilities, and to value yourself for them.
It is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with using your physical and intellectual strengths. These abilities can be valuable to you, as well as others. For example, if you have high intelligence or above-average creativity you might want to share these gifts with others who value what they can get from you.