Spiritual Meaning of Fox Crossing Your Path

The world is full of superstitions, good and bad omens, symbols, signs and riddles.

They are culturally influenced and shaped, but we could say there must be something universal in occurrence of all those ideas.

Since the dawn of time, humankind has been trying to understand the world around, the power of nature, the unusual phenomena without apparent logical causes, the behavior of one another and much more.

Throughout various cultures around the globe, historical and extinct or living traditions, there has been an uncountable number of symbolical and spiritual meanings, associated with what people saw or experienced in the world.

By attributing certain symbolical and spiritual meanings to living things or objects around, people have been trying to explain the ways this world functions and to place things in some sort of order.

There has always been an universal idea that this life is influenced by some higher power.

This belief in supernatural, higher forces has been taking various forms throughout the world’s cultures, traditions, belief systems, religions, mythologies, legendary tales, superstitions. These all overlap.

Sometimes it seems to us that ancient civilizations were far more superstitious than we are today.

Sometimes we think of medieval societies as ignorant of factual knowledge and superstitious.

However, the belief in spiritual power still lives on.

When we talk about the civilized, urban way of life, busy and fast, as deprived of spirituality, we might be right, to a certain degree.

There are still places in this world where the touch with nature, the primary cause of humans concerns, is much closer than in urban environment.

However, it seems that in our time and especially in areas that seem fully secularized and drowned in the everyday materialistic business, there is an inner craving for the spiritual, for the reconnection with the powers beyond our comprehension.

Animals, rarely seen in urban environment, are still being associated with various symbolical meanings and even spiritual powers, even if the animal is seen only on a photograph, even a painting or a logo design.

In order to understand what spiritually means if a fox crosses your path – an animal crossing path symbolism and superstition is widespread around the globe – we will first have to get familiar with the spiritual and symbolical meaning of the fox itself!

Fox Around the Globe

Fox is an animal most of us are familiar with. There is even a chance most of us have had an encounter with an actual fox, depending on a place you live, of course.

If nothing else, there is a good chance you’ve seen some of the species in the zoo.

So, what is a fox? What kind of animal it is? Where does it live and what are its main habits and traits?

In order to understand the symbolism and spiritual meaning of fox, we have to know what the foxes are really about.

Foxes are mammals, lovely four-legged members of the different genera from the large family of Canidae. That said, foxes are related to dogs and wolves.

They are considered omnivorous, although they fall under the order of carnivores, meat-eaters.

When we talk about foxes, we usually think of the group consisting of species considered to be true foxes.

They are members of the genus called Vulpes. The red fox, our first association when it comes to foxes is Vulpes vulpes.

Foxes live all around the globe! They inhabit literally every continent of earth; the only place you are not likely to meet a fox is distant and barren icy continent of Antarctica.

Red foxes are the most widespread of the species and they themselves have their own subspecies.

Thanks to their wide habitat, foxes gained extreme popularity in popular culture, traditions and beliefs of various nations and cultures around the world.

They are probably one of the most ’symbolical’ creatures on our planet.

Let us say something about the very term ’fox’. Where does it come from and what does it mean?

The name originates from Old English language, with roots in proto-Germanic, deriving from proto-Indo-European. The original term means ’tail, thick-fur, hair’.

There are various species of foxes, inhabiting different areas on Earth. We will mention only a few of them, just to give an illustration.

There are Bengal foxes, Tibetan sand foxes, Arctic foxes, Fennec, Kit foxes, Cape foxes and, of course, red foxes.

Some of these species are endemic. Depending on the part of the world they inhabit, they have a specific, symbolical and spiritual meaning to the cultures and people there living.

In the following paragraphs, we will briefly surf through some of the culturally specific meaning of foxes.

Foxes in Ancient Mesopotamian Cultures

The fox was considered a sacred creature, amongst Mesopotamian cultures. It was associated with an ancient deity of earth and fertility.

The fox was also associated with Enlil, the god of air, wind and storms, the atmospheric deity.

Biblical Symbolism of Fox

Foxes are definitely not amongst much praised animals in the Scripture.

They are usually associated with negative meanings, present in a metaphorical way. It all depends on the interpretation, though.

For example, there is a verse in the Old testament in which foxes are mentioned as ruining blooming vineyards, often interpreted as sins, the sins that should be curbed.

In Ezekiel, foxes are metaphorically associated with false prophets, while in Luke, they are associated with persecutors.

There are other mentions of foxes, as well. For example, Jesus says that ‘foxes have dens and birds have nests’, explaining that he, the Son of Man, has no place to rest.

In this context, the meaning is associated with the call of Jesus, the call of faith that requires leaving your comfort behind.

The fox is even associated with the king Herod, in the words of Jesus himself, in the Gospel of Luke.

The fox here is associated with negative traits of Herod himself and thus used as a metaphor for the king.

Fox in Ancient Greek Mythology

In Ancient Greek mythology, there was a legend about the Teumessian fox.

It was a mystical animal that could never be caught by the hunter.

The animal was sent by the higher power, a god (Dionysus, possibly), as a punisher of the city of Thebes.

The divine fox was meant to punish the city for crimes its inhabitants did.

The fox was however hunt down by Laelaps, the dog who could catch any prey, asked by the important people of Thebes to help!

Therefore, an unending circle was created – the fox that could never become a prey was hunt by the dog who is meant to catch any prey.

Seeing the hunt would never end, Zeus decided to break the cycle and he turned both of the animals into constellations.

The two powerful animals thus became the constellations we know as Canis Major and Canis Minor, the latter being the Teumessian fox.

Native American Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning of Fox

Native American traditions are very in touch with the phenomena of the natural world.

Foxes have a special place in various Native American beliefs.

Tribes within what we consider Native American culture, all have their own set of beliefs and customs, but they all have something in common.

It is the appreciation and respect for the world of nature, associated with spiritual energy and power.

Foxes are very important ‘actors’ in Native American traditions and beliefs.

Some of the clans are named after foxes, considering the animal their totem, their spirit animal and their protector.

Let us learn something more about fox clans and native American fox tales and legends.

One interesting story comes from northern parts of the west Canada. It is about the fox saving the people from the great hunger.

According to the legendary tale, the fox provided people with the caribou, for them to hunt.

We could say fox has a prominent place in Native American culture. It is associated with many concepts, though.

In some of the mythical tales, the fox is taken as a benevolent and very wise creature, in others, it has trickster characteristics.

Amongst various Native American beliefs about foxes, these fluffy-tailed ones are taken as good, wise, clever, but also greedy and tricky animals.

The fox is sometimes considered a companion of Coyote, another very important animal in Native American reality and folklore.

Fox spirit is often associated with helping people and other animals in folktales. It is like a minor clever and guiding spirit.

As we have mentioned, foxes are often associated with certain Native American clans.

For example, Blackfoot, Hopi, Creek, Meskwaki peoples all have clans associated with the fox.

The Meskwaki people from the Great Lakes area were mistakenly taken as Fox people, since some French visitors met fox clan members from this tribe and associated them with the whole tribe.

Amongst some of the Native American Indians, fox has a very prominent divine role.

In fact it is considered the divine Creator and it is associated with one of the very important legendary trope, seen in various cultures around the world.

The fox, in some Native American folktales, is the heroic one who brought the fire to humankind.

When it comes to the creation myths, a North California tribe tell a story about the sliver fox and the coyote, as creators of the world and guides of the humankind.

Peruvian Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning of Fox

The fox was considered sacred animal amongst the members of Moche people, who once inhabited the area of the our day country of Peru.

They taught of fox as a sacred animal with special powers.

The fox was often depicted as a warrior, in their images. However, there was something very peculiar about this fox-warrior.

He would not use actual physical force when engaging in battle. Instead, he would use his intellect, his mind.

It seems that these people regarded foxes very intelligent and powerful animals, with special gifts, adding to the overall worldwide present symbolism and meaning of foxes.

Inuit Fox Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning

Inuit people are greatly familiar with the lovely arctic fox, an adorable representative of the foxes large family.

They call it by a very fitting name – ‘little white one’ , whilst the ‘big white’ is definitely not as lovely as the arctic fox, though it is an impressive arctic animal – the awe inspiring polar bear.

Our little white one is not a deadly beast, but a very cute looking arctic fellow, one of the rare species of animals inhabiting these cold areas.

Inuit people legends about arctic foxes. One of those is associated with the creation of long periods of darkness and those of light in the distant lands of the Arctic.

According to the story, the light and darkness in these parts were the result of a quarrel between the fox and the raven.

The story tells raven stood for the periods of light, as the bird’s vision is best during the day, while the fox, the nocturnal hunter wanted it always to be night.

The animals settled with a deal that satisfied both of them.

There is another very interesting legend about the woman who shape shift into a fox.

It is worth of mentioning that fox is one of the animals associated with shape shifting. The legends is interesting on its own.

The story has that there was a hunter, living in a hut.

Oddly enough, every time he would return to his place, it would be perfectly clean and freshly cooked hot meals would be waiting for him.

The hunter was, of course, very curious about it, so he secretly observed his hut.

He saw a fox entering his place and ran to catch it, fearing the animal would simply eat his food.

However, he did not encounter a fox inside his home, but a lovely lady. The two married and lived happily.

One day, he noticed her smell was strange and complained about it.

The woman said she would leave, if he is not satisfied being with her and she took the fox skin that was hanged there and ran away, before he could even say a word.

The man tried to catch her, but he never did, seeing only a little fox in the snow, and he never seen her again.

Although the story is both lovely and a bit bitter, it definitely confirms the fox’ very special place in Inuit culture.

Japanese Fox Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning

Foxes are often present in myths and folktales and beliefs within the broad range of Asian cultural systems.

There are various interpretations of their power and role, though.

The most common attributes of foxes in Asian cultures are mystical, special powers and trickery.

Japanese culture is loaded with tales featuring foxes as mystical beings.

The fox in Japanese is known under the term ‘kitsune’ and is prominent within the Yokai concept, the belief in mystical creatures who possess special, mystical powers, like some sort of spirits.

In this tradition, it is believed that foxes are capable of shape shifting into human beings, something we have already seen in Inuit tradition related to foxes.

Japanese kitsune have many skills and powers. They are capable of creating fire, they could produce lightings.

Kitsune also travel through dreams and they can even manipulate the space and time! In Japan, foxes are regarded as very spiritually powerful beings.

In old Japan, foxes and humans have lived very close to in another, which contributed to many legends about these animals.

Foxes are also associated with a Shinto spirit, a kami, called Inari. Foxes are thought to be some sort of messengers of this kami.

This specific spiritual relation contributed to foxes’ supernatural powers and significance.

According to beliefs, kitsune could have more than one tail – the more it has, the wiser it is; the maximum number of tails is nine.

Some people would even worship fox as a deity, making sacrifices to them.

However, foxes were not equivocally considered divine  and worth of worship.

In Edo period especially, they were considered tricky and mischievous creatures, traits often associated with cats.

In China, similarly to Japan, foxes were sometimes considered spirits that have special mystical powers and that could be good, driving evil forces away. The trickster role is present, as well.

Chinese see foxes as a tempting spirits, female ones, those who could make men have affairs outside of their marriages.

He-fox or she-fox?

Interestingly enough, in Bulgarian and Russian folklore, there is female fox character who plays the role of a trickster, opposite to the male wolf character, who often falls a victim from her doings.

The trickster foxy lady we have already seen in some Chinese beliefs.

In Western European traditions, the term used for the animal fox is of masculine gender grammatically speaking, so foxes are usually depicted as – male foxes.

In Eastern European languages, however, the fox is grammatically feminine, so the  fox is represented as – female.

Spiritual Meaning of Fox Crossing Your Path

Finally, we get to the main question. What does it mean if this fluffy tailed little one crosses your path? Does the animal brings good luck or misfortune?

Well, there is no straightforward answer – beliefs and superstitions about foxes culturally vary.

Let us stick to the most common traits and capacities given to foxes in aforementioned cultural systems, for many are shared.

Foxes are regarded as wise, having mystical powers, being tricksters. These are the most common associations, when it comes to foxes’ symbolism.

The meaning of a fox crossing your path will depend on your culture’s depiction and perception of foxes.

However, there could be several more universal interpretations.

The fox crossing your path could be a lucky sign. It could be a message from the higher realms, a good omen, in terms of reminding you of your own capacities and capabilities.

The fox is clever and cunning animal, but it means it is very resourceful and bright-minded.

If you are finding yourself in a troubling situations and feel as if there was no way out and a fox crosses your path (or, you can perhaps have a dream about it happening), it should be taken as a good sign.

You are capable of getting yourself out of trouble.

It does not matter if the trouble was caused by complicated circumstances you cannot affect or it was a consequence of your own doing.

Either way, the fox reminds you of your capabilities and actually is a sign of reasoning and hope.

The fox is considered wise and associated with illumination, one might say, considering its role as a fire bringing one.

In that sense, the fox represents the brightness of mind, new ideas, new discoveries. It is a sign of light and new beginnings.

Alternatively, the fox, seen as a trickster, may be a warning sign. Maybe someone tries to trick you and manipulate you for their own ends.

Be careful whom you place you trust in and think through every offer you receive carefully.

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