Wondering, “What does it mean to see a bald eagle?”, or “How did the bald eagle become the national bird of the United States?”, or “What it means to see a bald eagle in a dream?”
We’ve got you covered on everything that bald eagles symbolize from America’s Great Seal to dream meanings, spirit animals, animal totems, and what ancient cultures thought of this majestic bird.
Bald Eagle Symbol Meaning: United States of America (U.S.A.)
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Native to North America, bald eagles are one of 59 species of eagles that have long been an important symbol of strength, spiritual power, illumination, and freedom. The American Bald Eagle with it’s tell-tale white head has been the national bird of the United States since 1782.
The bald eagle is known for being in the category of “fish and sea eagles”. The bald eagle is a dark brown and white eagle with bright yellow legs, sharp talons, and bills, or beaks. Although bald eagle are sometimes touted with having a long life, their lifespan is typically only between 20 – 30 years in the wild.
Because eagles are opportunists who often steal prey from other birds, Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “For my own part I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country.” He argued that the bald eagle was a bird of bad moral character, instead of seeing them as a majestic bird of prey, and national symbol of great strength and new beginnings that Charles Thomson later designed for the Great Seal of the U.S. that we know today.
Benjamin Franklin also called the turkey “a much more respectable bird” and “a true original native of America.” While he considered the eagle “a rank coward,” Franklin believed the turkey to be “a bird of courage” that “would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.” While the private letter was a spirited promotion of the turkey over the eagle, Franklin never made his views public, and the official documents never reflected this view.
In fact, none of the founding fathers (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, or Ben Franklin) who were tasked to come up with the Great Seal originally proposed the bald eagle. Benjamin Franklin’s proposal for the Great Seal included Moses from the old testament standing on the shore, and extending his hand over the sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm pharaoh who is sitting in an open chariot” along with the motto “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” While the committee selected the scene from the Book of Exodus for the reverse of the seal, the Continental Congress was not impressed and tabled the concept. Not until 1782 was the Great Seal of the United States, with a bald eagle as its centerpiece, approved.
The Great Seal features the bald eagle with thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original states. As a national emblem and official seal of the United States, the bald eagle is holding an olive branch in one of its powerful talons, and a bundle of arrows in the other.
The motto E. Pluribus Unum held in the bald eagle’s sharp beak, which means, “Out of many, one”, completes this important national symbol of the United States of America, known as the Great Seal.
The bald eagle also appears within the Great Seal of the United States of America on U.S. paper money, including billions of one dollar bills. It is also featured on the President of the United State’s flag, the mace of the House of Representatives, and military insignia.
President John F. Kennedy also famously wrote to the Audubon Society: “The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America. But as latter-day citizens we shall fail our trust if we permit the eagle to disappear.”
Bald Eagle Symbolism
The bald eagle does not appear on the American flag, but does appear on many high value U.S. coins, as well as on the Great Seal of the United States. It has deep spiritual meaning to many cultures, and has been an important American symbol for a very long time.
The bald eagle often symbolizes heroics, nobility, and the Divine Feminine Spirit, while the Golden Eagle is used to symbolize the Divine Masculine. Unlike many other animals, female bald eagles are larger than the males, and their wingspans can be over 2 feet wider than their male counterparts.
Bald eagles also symbolize high ideals, clear insight, dignity, attainment, and the highest one can reach.
Known as a “Great Spirit” by Native Americans, as well as many other ancient cultures, bald eagles have long been associated with mysticism and mythology. The Aztec chief God instructed the people to settle where they saw an eagle sitting on a cactus eating a snake, which turned out to be Mexico City.
In early Christianity, the eagle was a symbol for resurrection. The “Thunderbird” used to represent the Heyoka Empath in certain Native American tribes, is often an eagle.
In ancient Greek mythology, Zeus transformed himself into an eagle to help him control his power over thunder and lightning. In ancient Egypt hieroglyphics, eagles are a symbol for the letter “A”, and also symbolize Soul, spirit, and the warmth of life.
The Ancient Sumerians were said to worship an “Eagle God”, while the Hittites who were located in what is now Turkey, used a double-headed eagle as their symbolic emblem to “never be surprised”.
To the Pueblo Indians, eagles were symbols of great sight and perception. They were great spirits of the sky that could fly upward until they passed through a hole and found the home of the Sun. From there, eagles could see in all directions that included: North, south, east, and west, as well as zenith (above), and nadir (below).
The Hopi Indians also considered both golden eagles and bald eagles to be the greatest birds of the sky, but they are also the only eagles native to North America. Other interesting facts about the eagle is that the golden eagle is the national bird of Mexico, and is also classified as “in danger”.
Bald Eagle Totem
For those whose totem is a bald eagle, living near water may be important to their health and well-being. Those with an eagle spirit animal are able to enter and exit the ethereal realms at will.
Just as the bald eagle enters the water, grabs its prey, and then quickly rises out of it, those with the bald eagle totem often have an increased EQ, or emotional quotient. Their empathy for others, allows them to assist those in need, but not be pulled down by them.
Totems that contain a bald eagle also usually exhibit strong psychic and creative skills. Bald eagles are alchemists and can transform one thing into another relatively easily with their mystical point of view.
Bald eagle medicine can also assist with rediscovering your inner child. This may involve Shadow Work, or exploring your true emotional aspects, and Shadow Side of the self developed from childhood. This will awaken a new sense of self-awareness, purity, innocence, playfulness, passion, creativity, healing, and spiritual attunement.
When a bald eagle presents itself on your path, this is a good sign that new vision will open for you. Often called having an “eagle eye”, the bald eagle meaning points to having a higher perspective. This vision will stretch far into the past and future, but also be very grounded in the present.
Bald eagle totems lay solid foundations for themselves with their characteristic four toes. Soaring high, they are able to quickly grasp new ethereal concepts with ease, while still staying grounding to the Earth.
Being one of the largest birds of prey, the bald eagle’s beak is very sharp, and is designed to cut, tear, and crush. If a bald eagle totem has entered your life path, be cautious in your speech with others.
Bald Eagle Dream Symbolic Meanings
To see this magnificent bird in a dream can point to a bald eagle totem, or eagle as a spirit animal. It can also represent something to do with the USA. Seeing a bald eagle in a dream can also represent your higher power breaking through, high ideals, superiority, supremacy, or the highest heights one can reach.
Bald Eagle’s Wings
Seeing a bald eagle’s wings in a dream is sometimes a symbol of Saint John. Bald eagles are able to strike their prey with twice the force of a rifle bullet, and don’t always swoop down to kill.
Their powerful wings can also glide slowly, silently, and can hover in the air to make their strikes more accurate. Seeing a bald eagle’s wings in a dream may mean that you are learning to maneuver through life better. You are using the winds of change to your own benefit, and learning to swoop, soar, and dive with great ease.
Bald Eagle Feathers
The feathers of a bald eagle are especially treasured by Native American cultures and represent incredible amount of healing, wisdom, and creation. The bald eagle is protected by the United States of America government through the bald eagle protection act, (even though they were officially removed from the endangered species list in 2007). It is still a felony for anyone to own their feathers except Native American tribes.
Eagle’s feathers are sacred and were traditionally used by Native Americans for powerful healing ceremonies, such as cleansing one’s aura (A person’s electromagnetic field that surrounds their physical body), and shapeshifting.
Bald Eagle Ears
Bald eagles ears are not visible, but they hear very well. They hunt by ear as much as by sight, and if a bald eagle enters your dreams, it is a powerful symbol that your hearing in not only the physical world, but also the spirit world, will greatly increase.
More Bald Eagle Dream Meanings
Other possible meanings for seeing a bald eagle in dreams or waking life are:
You Are Powerful
Bald eagles symbolize prowess and great power. Having a bald eagle fly into your life either in your dream or waking life means that you are a very powerful individual.
You Are Patriotic
A symbol of freedom and strength for the United States since 1782, the bald eagle flies high with great courage and strength. If you see a bald eagle carrying a U.S. flag, flying over Washington D.C., or other important buildings in the United States, you have a deep love for your country and fellow countrymen, as the founding fathers intended!
Your Psychic Gifts Are Awakening
Bald eagles are also known to have the “Eagle Eye”, or clear sight of Clairvoyance. They also have excellent hearing and “hidden ears” for clear hearing or Clairaudience. If the bald eagle totem animal comes into your path, it means these psychic gifts may be awakening within you.
You Are a Master Alchemist
Bald eagles easily transition between ground and air. They can also dip into water to catch prey and then soar back into the skies. Those with the bald eagle for a spirit animal can pivot like no other in life. They know how to soar, dive, and seemingly stall in mid-air to work with the creative energies of the Universe in designing their ideal dream life.
You Are Balanced and Grounded, But Able to Soar to New Heights
Bald eagle medicine teaches a balance of being of the Earth, but not ruled by it. Bald eagles can easily traverse all the elements of the natural plane to hunt for food, but are still able to soar high above the clouds.
You Are Excellent At Manifesting What You Need
Bald eagles are such amazing hunters that they spend very little time actually hunting. If a person chooses to accept the wisdom that a bald eagle totem animal is teaching, they will be able to manifest very quickly with their thoughts and actions.
Related Posts: How I Manifest Whatever I Want with Ascended Master Secrets
You Are Creative
Seeing a bald eagle in a dream may also mean that you are highly creative, and can use your passions and Divine feminine creative energies to beautiful new opportunities in your waking life, and quickly grab them as they come!
Bald Eagle Symbol Meaning Synopsis
As an emblem of the United States, the bald eagle is a symbol of great power, higher consciousness, the ability to outmaneuver, and psychic hearing and sight. Bald eagles are a powerful force in nature, and are much more powerful than their size dictates.
All birds are typically seen as “Winged creatures, or messengers from Heaven,” and the more mystical birds of prey, such as the bald eagle, will lead you to great heights in your life and spiritual development.
Having a bald eagle as a spirit animal or totem means you are wise and willing to accept the responsibility of being a role model, or Lightworker on Earth. A new beginning is upon you, and with bald eagle medicine, you will fly faster, quicker and become stronger.
Manifestation becomes easy to those who see or dream of bald eagles. Monitor your thoughts, practice positive affirmations, and use this powerful totem animal to better move between the spirit and physical worlds, as well as provide healing for yourself and others.
1. Andrews, Ted. Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2012. Pages 137 – 141.
2. Tanner, Wilda B. The Mystical Magical Marvelous World of Dreams. Oklahoma: Sparrow Hawk Press, 1988. Page 121.