What Does a Dove Symbolize?
March 15, 2024 10 min read

What Does a Dove Symbolize?

By Lady Saoirse

When you see a dove, you might first be struck by its beauty, and then wonder if seeing a dove is meaningful. Sometimes you see a dove simply because it crosses your path, but other times dove sightings have deep spiritual meanings. What does a dove symbolize, and what does it mean when you have dreams about doves? What does it mean when the dove is your spirit animal and what lessons can you learn from it? Read on to learn all about the spiritual meaning of doves and what you can learn from them.

What’s a Dove?

What’s a Dove?

Doves are birds that belong to the same family as pigeons. There are over 340 species of doves and they have lived alongside human beings for generations. As a matter of fact, they have been around for at least 66 million years and they vary in size from weighing under a pound to weighing over 8 pounds as adults. Those who watch members of the dove species walk note their head bobbing, and experts say that they do this to keep their vision consistent while they walk. They have a predator avoidance mechanism that helps them escape capture. When they are caught in a predator's mouth, they can yank themselves free because some of their feathers will easily fall out. They have specialized flight mechanisms allowing them to launch themselves quickly to escape from predators also.

They live everywhere in the world except for parts of the desert, Antarctica, and some areas of the Arctic. They have been found throughout cities, savannahs, swamps, and various forest settings. They live about 10 years in the wild and some doves in captivity have been known to live for almost 20 years. Doves love to eat fruit and seeds and some will eat insects and worms. In cities they will forage for scraps spilled from human’s food or from trash. They have been domesticated and kept as pets by many. Some carry written messages and others are used in wedding ceremonies, released for their beauty. Interestingly, doves are one kind of creature that both males and females can produce milk to feed their babies.

What Do Doves Mean Spiritually?

Spiritually, doves symbolize many powerful things. They have been associated with multiple ancient goddesses, and they symbolize peace. They are also symbolic of love and reconciling after estrangement.

The Goddess

The Goddess

Doves are symbols of the goddess Ishtar who is also called Inanna, a Mesopotamian goddess of love, sex, and war. She is also associated with the planet Venus. The goddess Aphrodite, also called Venus is associated with doves as well and some scholars believe that she as an embodiment of the goddess Ishtar, or Inanna. Both of these goddesses are goddesses of love and sex, but it should be noted that neither one of them are goddesses of marriage. An ancient Greek word for dove is “peristera” which might mean “bird of Ishtar.” Doves in ancient times would be sacrificed to the goddess Aphrodite, and the goddess Asherah of Canaan was sometimes known to take the form of a dove. To some ancient people, doves represented these goddesses of sensuality, but not monogamous marriage. To learn about goddesses and gods of the sea read here: The Folklore, Myths, and Gods of the Sea


Perhaps because doves are not aggressive predators, they are known as animals of peace. They also make soft cooing sounds, and are gentle when approached. They've symbolized pacifism in politics, and have become a symbol of the Olympics where members of many nations, some of whom have been enemies, compete alongside one another in brotherhood. Doves represent innocence, and lack of a warlike spirit. This is believed to create tender-heartedness and harmony amongst people. Doves are released at weddings to symbolize eternal peace between groom and bride. To read about relationship stages see here: What Are the Phases of Relationships?


Some doves mate for life, and if one mate dies, the surviving dove tries to revive their mate, but ultimately has to accept the death and it will find another mate. Some doves only stay with their mate throughout the breeding season, but even if they're not together for life they will raise their chicks together. Male doves bring the nesting materials to the female, who constructs the nest. Interestingly, some dove couples will separate for a season, but come back together multiple times. While some of them eat worms or insects, they are not predatory creatures and are not seen as aggressive. For these reasons they symbolize love. To read about spiritual love see here: What is the Spiritual Meaning of Love?



In the Old Testament of the Bible, the dove is the bird that is sent out after YHVH or Jehovah destroyed the world with a flood when he was angry with humanity. Noah and his family were saved because they pleased this god, and he instructed them to build an ark, or large boat, bringing aboard one male and one female of every animal. After the rain stopped, Noah sent out a dove to see if it could find whether there was land or not. The dove came back with an olive branch, and the people knew that there was dry land for them, thus signaling their god’s reconciliation with humanity after his anger. When people have fought, or had breakups, or falling outs, and one person reaches out to repair the relationship, this has become known as “extending the olive branch" in honor of this story. To read about breakups see here: Breakups with Each of the Signs

The Meaning of Dreams About Doves

Dreams about doves can symbolize all of the things that they traditionally represent, but if you pay extra attention to the details of your dream, you will see that there are special messages beyond general meanings. Mourning doves share different messages than brown doves, and white doves have their own messages in dreams. Peace doves have different messages than doves nesting and dreams about doves with olive branches tell you something different than what dreams about two doves will.

Dreams About a Mourning Dove or Turtle Doves

Mourning doves are known as turtle doves, rain doves, and the Carolina pigeon. These are one of the most widespread birds in North America. These birds are so widespread because they are prolific breeders, and it keeps their species alive. Many predators love to eat these birds for food and human beings hunt them as well. Despite this, they persist and thrive. When you have a dream about mourning doves, it is a dream about hope and perseverance. You can maneuver any difficulties and thrive no matter what happens to you. To read about another creature that symbolizes transformation and therefore hope, read here: What Does a Butterfly Symbolize?

Dreams About a Brown Dove

The brown cuckoo dove is native to Australia and sometimes migrates to find food and can fly low to the ground. Brown doves symbolize flexibility because they can adapt to different situations and know what to do to survive. When you dream about a brown dove, you are being told to adapt to a situation instead of being stubborn. If your approach isn't working, find another one so that you can be more successful. One Zodiac sign that is very flexible when situations call for it is Pisces and you can read about them here: Pisces Zodiac Traits and Love Compatibility

Dreams About a White Dove

Dreams About a White Dove

White dove meaning in dreams is simple. White doves symbolize purity, and holiness. When you dream about a white dove during a time when you're having a hard time making your decision about what to do, the powers that be are guiding you to do the moral thing instead of what would be the easiest thing. Dreams about white doves encourage honesty, restraint, and gentleness. Now is not the time to make decisions for your own benefit, but to make the kind of decisions that will benefit everybody. To read about dream interpretations see here: Your Guide to Dreams and Interpretation of Them

Dreams About a Peace Dove

When you dream about doves that bring tidings of peace, you are being called upon to be peaceful. Maybe your character has been maligned, or you are under attack. These dreams tell you that now is not the time to retaliate, but to try to deescalate the situation to the best of your ability. There comes a time to defend yourself, and fight fire with fire. Now is not that time, however. It is time to remember that it takes two to fight but one person can initiate peace. To read more about dream interpretations see here: Your Guide to Dream Meanings

Dreams About a Dove Nesting

Dreams about a dove nesting are guiding you to settle down and rest. Doves don't necessarily nest in the same place each time, but they know when it is time to nest. The dream encourages you to settle in, focus on tasks at hand, and plan for the future. The best way to do that is to focus yourself on a home turf where you feel most safe and comfortable. Surround yourself with the people who know you and love you best and strengthen your team of supporters. To read even more about dream interpretations see here: Your Dream Bible and Dream Analysis Guide

Dreams About a Dove with Olive Branch

Dreams about a dove with an olive branch signify that you are being called upon to orchestrate a reconciliation. There comes a time to break things off and walk away from people, especially when your personal peace and mental health are threatened. Then, there comes a time to let the past remain in the past and to move forward and forge a future with someone who you have a strong emotional connection to regardless of how bad the fight was. People make mistakes, and people change. If you are stuck in the middle of two people who love one another that are fighting, mediate the situation and help them to repair their relationship. One Zodiac sign that's very good at mediation is Gemini and you can read about them here: Gemini Zodiac Traits and Love Compatibility

Dreams About Two Doves

Dreams About Two Doves

Two doves in a dream either symbolize love, or partnership. If you dream about two doves cuddled up together, it means that a true love is on their way to you, and you will be able to settle down with them soon. Dreams about two doves flying away from a predator together means that you and a friend, family member, or partner will work together to get out of a bad situation. If you dream about two birds building a nest and nurturing their young together, it means that a helper will come into your life that will either help you on a personal level, or professionally. To read about another beautiful bird, cardinals, see here: What is Red Cardinal Spiritual Meaning?

 Dove Spirit Animal Meaning

Some people believe in spirit animals. These are animals that we have a soul connection with, and they teach us all of the spiritual lessons that they have to share. The dove spirit animal will teach you to be peaceful, shunning fighting, and harmonizing with even people who you don't like. They will teach you to have a gentle spirit, and to be the first to reconcile after a fight. They will teach you to live and let live, harming none, and enjoying a non-toxic existence. The spirit animal teaches you to be flexible, avoiding being stubborn, and adapting to new situations so that you can thrive no matter what happens. How do you know if a dove is your spirit animal? They will visit you often, both while you're awake and in dreams, and you will feel an unquestionable kinship with them. Another creature that might be your spirit animal is the black cat and you can read about them here: The Magic and Superstitions of Black Cats 

Some people seek to surround themselves with their spirit animal as much as possible. One way to spend more time with doves is to go where they are and scatter seed around you and then sit and wait for them to approach you and eat the seed. Quietly observe them, let them touch you if they come close enough, and pay attention to any energies or spiritual messages that you may pick up on while they're near. You can also draw them to your garden by laying out millet, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and water to make a more comfortable environment for them. You might not need to try to draw doves to you, because if they are your spirit animal, chances are they will find you on their own. Another creature that might be your spirit animal is the eagle and you can read about them here: What Does Seeing an Eagle Mean Spiritually? 

Sometimes, seeing a dove is a chance encounter, but sometimes it means more than that. Doves represent love, peace, reconciliation, and the goddess. Dreams about doves can bring messages of all these things, but so much more. When the dove is your spirit animal, it teaches you all of its spiritual gifts, and helps you bring out the loving, peaceful side of yourself. May all of your meetings with doves be spiritually meaningful and may they bring you all of their blessings. So Be It.

Would you like to know more about the spiritual messages that doves bring? Reach out to a Spiritual Blossom psychic to get a reading about that started today. Make sure to read all of our articles to learn about folklore, love, magic, and astrology.

About the Author: Lady Saoirse has studied magic and lore for most of her life but started walking her own Magical Path after being spiritually reborn in the desert. Today she is a High Priestess for The Temple of the Goddess, she is a psychic advisor and spiritual counselor, she shares her gifts as a Psychic and Content Writer for Spiritual Blossom. She has written for Mysticsense and PaganPagesOrg emag.