Although dove is stereotyped as white especially as a Christian symbol of the Holy Spirit, native Australian doves are soft grey or brown birds. Australia’s Peaceful Dove is a soft and gentle mixture of grey and brown with blue highlights on her face. Long before Christians adopted the white dove as an emblem of spirit, the ancients saw this bird symbolising the transition from one state of consciousness to another and of bringing spirit down to earth.
Dove encapsulates all the traditional and mother symbols. Dove is a companion animal with Astarte, Atargatis, Demeter, Athena, Aphrodite, Venus and Irene as well as the Fates and the Furies. Doves fed the baby Zeus when Rhea hid him from Cronus and both Aphrodite and Hera could transform themselves into doves. The seven major priestesses of Dodona were called Doves. In Muslim lore, a dove murmured the words of God into the ear of Muhammad. The dove is the symbol of purity on the Holy Grail in Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. The dove of peace is shown with an olive branch in its mouth because Noah released a dove to bring back proof that there was land again somewhere and that the floodwaters were receding. The Romans called their underground burial chambers catacombs (or dovecotes). In Slavic folklore, doves showed the souls of the dead the way to heaven. For the Celts, the call of a dove meant the peaceful passing of someone. Celts also believe the swift-flying dove is a spiritual messenger between the worlds and symbolises peace, gentleness and love.
Dove is one of the totems of the early earth mother and represents peace, innocence, and gentleness. If you have been jaded and disappointed by life, dove helps you to recapture a sense of innocence, of wonder and love for the world around you. Living with a cynical worldview is exhausting so if you are constantly irritated or upset, dove energy can help you wipe the slate clean so you can start again. Connect again with your real you, who you were meant to be, the genuine you waiting inside to be released.
Doves coo and strut, bob and prance, to gain attention especially during the mating season which is why we say lovers “bill and coo” like doves. The dove mates for life so signifies both romantic and eternal love. The dove asks you to look at your relationship with your partner: are you in harmony with them? If there is friction, now is the best time for you to reach out and smooth over any rough edges. Seeing a dove may be an omen of a new relationship, or signal a change for the better in an existing one.
Although doves call at any time they are especially loud at dusk and dawn, the time when the veil between the worlds is thin, when there is little space between the spiritual and the physical, the past and the future. Dove reminds us to mourn what is past but look to the future. It is a bird of prophecy. Doves remind you of the power of serenity, you can achieve anything when you are quiet, still and calm. If you are off-balance, or out-of-step with the world, dove reminds you to release all your tension and stress. Most of all, dove invites you to welcome love back to your world.