Meaning, Messages & Magic

Penguin symbolizes dreams, adaptability, dual-natures, closeness, family, and spirituality.

Penguin is a bird that has adapted to fly through the water instead of the sky – choosing to dive deep into the world of dreams.

Penguin travels easily between realms and recommends that you use your dreaming skills during chaotic times, because a breakthrough IS happening.

Penguin brings confusion, contradictions, and the power to handle opposites with its black and white markings and its ability to live in both Arctic poles and hot climates.

Embrace this dual-natured characteristic by not always having to exclude, choose, or sacrifice.

Instead bring things together with closeness. Just like Penguin does with friends, family, and spirituality – all huddled together.

  • The black and white coloring of Penguins offers it excellent camouflage while swimming. From above they blend into the dark sea, and from below their white bellies matches the bright sky. Know that you are protected from various angles. You can let yourself be more vulnerable than you think you can.

  • Usually, birds only lose a few feathers at a time. Penguins molt all at once during a 3-week process called a catastrophic molt. This can represent the tendency to go through big emotional shifts and changes all at one time. When change, release, or understanding might not appear to be happening for you, know that it’s building up to happen in a monumental way when the timing is right. Embrace this pattern when it shows up and be kind to yourself. This is how you process best.

  • Male emperor penguins take care of the eggs while the female hunts. They are also nostalgic to their nesting site and the rookery in which they were born. Honor your preferred masculine and feminine roles in partnerships and your love of home.

  • Just because you’re a bird does not mean that you act like one. Most birds have hollow bones making it easier for them to fly. Penguins have dense bones which make it easier for them to dive. Don’t assume that you have to do things as others do. You are uniquely equipped to what you do best.

-Tanya Casteel


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


  1. Tracie

    I love your site and more importantly your art.

    Im new and enthused by you and your work, thank you.

  2. Remi

    I just arose from a dream with a penguin that was dancing he had crazy eyes and I decided to mirror him and dance too, we were moving out shoulders side to side it was great fun we were staring in each other’s eyes and then I realised exactly how free I felt and stopped and so did penguin, he said now his back feels loose and he smiled and so did I. He was a macaroni penguin

    • Tanya Casteel

      I love macaroni penguins! Thanks for sharing your dream. I love how free we can feel when we dance and how intimate connections can become with eye contact.

  3. Jodiy

    The reason I researched the medicine of the Penguin is because I had a dream where there were a whole bunch of miniature penguins gathered on my left thigh, while one stood apart…I just now realized the significance of that…being a loner myself… The dream seemed to be more about my not wanting to disturb them by staying still & not moving. I guess I am still processing it. Thank you for having this information available to me! Love your Penguin portrait also. Coincidentally it matches my glitter nail polish which I never normally wear! No coincidences.

    • Tanya Casteel

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful. I’m glad you’re reflecting on your dreams. That nail polish sounds spectacular.

  4. Christy Block

    Your article inspires me to have a different sort of day today. Thank you for taking the time to explain the penguin spirit & symbolism. I dreamt of them last night, and was curious about their meaning. What a great way to begin a day.

  5. Ginny

    I saw just before my eyes, 3 Emperor penguins were escaping a building using a fireman’s pole and running out of tunneled passage one after the other. They seemed mischievous, jolly, and had a purpose for the mayhem they created. There were other animals following their lead & I was drawn to follow them as well.

    Then the next day, my friend sent me an article about a baby penguin being raised in a nearby zoo. Clearly the penguins have a message for me, and I found your site thanks to their guidance.


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