Shark symbolism represents guidance, protection, and focus. The shark is a fearsome creature that holds meaning in many different cultures.


What Does a Shark Symbolize?


The shark is thought to symbolize authority, and it’s common for them to be viewed as an aggressive animal. Sharks are feared, and because sharks are deadly, they’ve gained authority in the ocean.

The shark can remind us of the importance of being someone that people gravitate to, rather than someone to be feared. So, you should try to surround yourself with positive people and find a positive environment to stay in.


The shark is believed to symbolize guidance. There were a number of ancient cultures that believed the shark was a guide for fishermen.

In fact, some ancient cultures found that sharks showed them the best places to catch fish. The sharks would also help off-course boats or ships find the path back home.


The shark is a symbol of focus. So, the shark can remind us to remain focused on the task at hand or what we are trying to achieve. By remaining focused, you can cut out distractions or anything that could throw you off.

Adventure and Opportunity

Sharks are known to travel for hundreds or even thousands of miles. Because of this, they are symbols of adventure and opportunity.

They remind us to find opportunities and seek out new adventures. For some sharks, such as the mako shark and the whale shark, it’s necessary to keep moving forward so that the shark can get oxygen.


The shark is thought to symbolize protection. The shark was considered a guardian and protector for the inhabitants of the South Pacific islands in particular.


The shark is a symbol of fertility. They are able to have 100 or more babies at a time. Blacktip reef sharks in particular, will return to their home island once it is time to give birth.

Different Kinds of Shark Symbolism and Spiritual Meanings


In Celtic mythology, sharks were symbols of strength and courage. The shark was also associated with warriors.


The ancient Hawaiians thought that if a family member passed away, and if the body was sent to the sea, the loved one would transform into a shark. During a spiritual ceremony, the family was told by the holy leader that if they saw certain markings on a shark that were similar to the loved one’s clothing.


Native Hawaiians hold the shark in high regard. The ancient Hawaiians had multiple shark deities, one of which was known as Kāmohoaliʻi.

Kāmohoaliʻi was the most revered Hawaiian shark god. It is said that Kāmohoaliʻi was capable of shapeshifting into different types of fish. Additionally, the deity was viewed as a spirit guide who could show lost ships the way home by shaking his tail.


The Māori People of New Zealand viewed the shark as a guide and trusted guardian. There is one legend that tells the tale of when a massive white shark once saved a man from being swallowed by a giant sea monster named Te Parata.

Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, there are myths related to sharks that have unfortunately put them at risk of becoming extinct. Centuries ago, fishermen had difficulty catching sharks, so when one was caught, it was significant. It was thought to be a special event.

During the 14th century, which is when the shark fin dish originated, sharks and other hard-to-catch fish were served to royalty on special occasions. By the time the 18th century came, non-royals were consuming the dish which is considered to be a special delicacy.

Native American 

In Native American cultures, sharks were viewed as symbols of strength, courage, and adaptability. They are also viewed as powerful and dangerous predators as they are associated with death and destruction.

The Legend of Nohi Abassi

The Warao Indigenous People of South America have a story about a man named Nohi-Abssi. The Warao People believe that the sword hanging from Orion’s Belt is the severed human leg of a man named Nohi-Abassi, rather than a sword.

Nohi-Abassi lost his leg after he killed his mother-in-law after having lured her into the ocean. To get revenge, the mother-in-law disguised herself as a shark and bit off Nohi-Abassi’s leg.


Dakuwaqa was an important shark god for the people of Fiji. The god was half-man and half-shark. The god was known to help fishermen find the best catch. Kāmohoaliʻi would also protect fishermen from the dangers out at sea.


In the Bahamas, there is one story about Lusca, a mythical creature who is half-octopus and half-shark. Lusca lurks in caves, in particular, the Blue Hole.

Because of the power, Lusca creates currents and whirlpools just from breathing. Lusca also protects fish, and she makes sure that they are well-fed.

Cook Islands

A Cook Island legend shares the story of Ina and the Shark. Ina, a maiden, fell in love with Tinirau. Tinirau was the god of the ocean and one day asked Ina to visit him. A shark said that he would help her with the journey to the remote island where Tinirau lived.

While Ina was making her way to the remote island, she got hungry and banged a coconut on the shark’s head so that she could crack it open. This made the shark angry so he shook Ina off his back.

The king of all sharks, Tekea, rescued Ina when he saw the shark trying to devour her. Tekea helped Ina make her way to the island. It’s said that Ina’s coconut is the reason all sharks have a dent in their heads.

Greek Mythology

In one Greek legend, Lamia, the daughter of Poseidon, fell in love with Zeus. Eventually, Hera, Zeus’ wife found out about the affair and steals Lamia’s two children. Because of Hera’s action, Lamia is driven to madness. So, out of pity, Zeus turned Lamia into a shark-like monster.

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