Cormorant (shag)

Meaning, Medicine & Magic

Cormorant symbolizes taking action, bravery, and resourcefulness.

This regal bird knows exactly what it wants and how to get it. Cormorant is asking you to dive deep to catch your desires. Once a Cormorant commits to something they are usually able to achieve it because of their resourceful behavior and willingness to embrace the unknown.

Cormorants bravely choose to experience heavy challenges because they understand that doing uncomfortable things is necessary in order to achieve their goals. Cormorant is telling you that hard times are actually gifts that are leading you to your soul’s needs.

As a bird, you might find yourself getting caught in mental loops in your head as you soar through the air, but remember the Cormorant finds food and nourishment in the sea (heart & emotions). Try navigating your feelings through your heart more often than your head and you’ll fill your soul with abundance.

Cormorants have a shorter wingspan than other birds, which helps them swim better. This creates the need for more energy during flight. Deep breath work will help you gather the power you need for longer flight and to dive deeper into the waters of your heart field.


Cormorant is also referred to as a sea raven. I recommend studying Raven as it is strongly connected to the Cormorant (especially in their brave resourcefulness). Cormorants often swallow stones on purpose to help them dive deeper while fishing. Know that when you’re doing “what it takes” you will not choke. The stones/challenges will hold you down but only temporarily; you consciously chose to take it on knowing that you can let go of it once you’ve achieved a new level of growth. You are clever enough to know that bravely choosing to swallow heavy tasks leads to the deepest growth possible.


The Cormorant is often seen spreading their wings out to dry. This is because they don’t secrete enough oil to keep their feathers completely waterproof like other aquatic birds do. They are cleverly designed this way. Cormorants have an advantage over the other fish-diving birds because the water weighs down their feathers, making it more efficient for them to dive faster and deeper than others. You have this advantage too when you go for what you want. Drying off the wings reminds you to take a moment to open your heart and bask in gratitude after each success, instead of diving immediately into the next thing.


Besides fish, Cormorants actually eat a lot of eels and water snakes. Study Snake to help you better understand the predator/prey relationship you have with Snake. Snake has balancing qualities to offer you.


Cormorants produce pellets just like Owl, Hawk, and Eagle. This means that if you take on more than you can chew, swallow it anyway because you will be able to learn from what’s needed and let go off what’s no longer serving you.

Splash & Dance…

Watch the magic in lightspeed action…

Call on Cormorant

Pinterest Card

Cormorant bird meaning symbolism dreams

Save the symbolism on Pinterest

Art Print

cormorant spirit animal watercolor painting art


Dive in Deeper

Monthly Art Cards

Get a cosmic animal ART CARD with written symbolism in the mail each month to guide and inspire you.

Tarot Cards

Wild messengers tarot card reading

Use the Wild Messengers Alchemical Tarot Card Deck to guide your intuitive readings. Featuring 80 of my Cosmic Animal Paintings.

Animal Readings

find your spirit animal

Through my visual mediation practice, I can journey with cosmic animals to bring back wisdom and symbolism from the animals who most want to connect with you at this time. Personalized readings just for you!

I want to hear about your Cormorant experiences. What stories or dreams have you had? Please share and join in the conversation below!


  1. Janet Jephcott

    I was out in my kayak tonight in the gathering dark enjoying to the peace, when I felt to look to my left. Two birds sat up very high in the trees on shore: an Osprey flew off and across the water with a pee pee pee call. While a cormorant started behind in beautiful silhouette against the clear sky.

    She looked small and young. And acted curious and relaxed twisting her head to look up and around and back again. She seeemed settled in for the night on her branch.

    I also encountered two beavers swimming in front of me and slapping their tails.

    I have been very very ill and trying to see a new healer plus move to a healthy home. But I need to complete an inheritance for the money it would help me with. There have been some hoops to jump through and I had been busy all day trying to find answers. Very trying time. Yet I know clearly that I want to move ahead in my life-no linger disabled. And doing my heart career. And living in an oasis of a home and land-a retreat for me and for my future partner and for clients, family and friends.

    • Nina Androski

      Hello, I was just watching 2 cormorants swimming and diving in a lake near me. I loved watching them look around. They kept moving their heads side to side. I was fascinated by them so I came home and googled cormorants and animal symbolism and came across your website. I love what you wrote about what they mean and I love your watercolor painting. I also paint watercolors! We can learn so much from these birds and their bravery and courage.

      • Tanya Casteel

        Thank you! Yes, I love observing nature and learning from them too

    • Tanya Casteel

      I’m glad you have clarity within yourself about what you want and need, and I love hearing about your connection with nature. Sending you many blessings on your journey.

  2. Margott A Mattison

    Was ilout at a local pond saw a cormorant come up with a fish eat it whole in in gulp?I have named him George?George Cormorant sounds like a ex Navy man?✌

  3. Pilar

    Wonderful! Thanks a lot. Love

  4. Liz

    Got up this morning to find an injured Cormorant in the fountain at the condo complex where I live. He was swimming in the fountain underneath the main entrance and I was worried because I grew up in the wilderness so I know that wild animals don’t choose to be near humans unless they are in distress. So I came out numerous times during the day (and by numerous, I mean more than 20 times by 10AM.) I observed him swimming in the fountain and noticed he was only using his right leg to swim. Later, I managed to get close enough to him when he was out of the the fountain to observe him walking along the edge of the fountain and noticed he was “limping” on his left leg. I got quiet and managed to get closer so he wouldn’t get back into the fountain and was able to see that his left web was partially sliced off. He had about 1/2 of his left web remaining. i decided to run my Sunday errands and see how he was when I got back. When I got back, he was still in the fountain and looking more stressed. I decided to call around to see if I could find a wildlife rescue. After many, many calls I got a call back. The moment I was about to pick up the call, Charlemagne (that’s what I named him) flew out of the fountain and squeezed his body through the fence to the back courtyard behind the complex next to the lagoon. Unfortunately, the fence around the back courtyard to the lagoon is a chainlink fence so he couldn’t get into the lagoon, although he kept trying! I went back with him and saw a gate that led to the lagoon. I have a gate key that opens every outside door to the complex and figured, “What the hell, let’s see if works” AND IT DID!!!! I took off my shirt (no worries, sports bra underneath,) and managed to “shoo” him to the gate that led to the lagoon. He went through and started swimming. Once I knew he was in his own habitat, I collapsed into tears. I cried so hard that a neighbor from the next complex over, yelled out his window, “Are you ok?” Yes, I said. Just having a feels.”

    • Tanya Casteel

      Wow, that sounds like a profound experience. I love how much compassion you have for Charlemagne. Thank you for sharing.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This