Heron – Holy Spear

Heron illustrated by Ravenari


Precision. Discipline. Learning Grace. Patience. The Holy Spear. Getting What You Need. Showmanship. Sibling Rivalry. The Supreme Hunter. Spear Magic. Wetlands Wisdom. Dignity. Strength in Emotional Balance. Majesty. Otherworld Journeying.

General Description:

Herons (and Egrets) are the name for a collection of wading birds with long, sharp beaks, long legs, good eyesight, short tails, and long necks that sit on the back of the bird’s body when resting. Their primary habitat is the wetlands, and their primary foods are aquatic creatures, though some egrets will take insects..

Herons often have fancy and spectacular courting displays (they grow plumes especially for breeding season). Most herons form monogamous pairs, and nest in large colonies that are extremely sensitive to outside. These nests large shallow bowls of twigs. Heron siblings (there are usually two eggs laid) will fight and compete with each other for food, and a dominant chick will often push others out of the nest. Herons have a variety of calls, including ‘human-like’ screams depending on the species.

Brief mythological associations:

The heron has rich mythological associations in many cultures, and researching these will yield much information. In Greek mythology, the heron has been indicated as being a messenger from the gods, including deities like Athene and Aphrodite. White herons are often indicated as representing the sun, particularly in Eastern and Egyptian mythologies.


Please remember that if this animal is contacting you, it will often be the best resource for teaching you what its lessons are. What I write is only intended to be a guide, it is not absolute, nor is it infallible.

– Heron comes into our lives to teach us the power of precision. When we make decisions in our lives with precision, everything we do reaches a heightened level of effectiveness. We waste no energy, we conserve our internal power, and we save time!

– Are you clumsy? Do you wish you were more graceful in a specific or general area of your life? Heron comes into your life to teach lessons regarding learning grace. We can overcome our shyness of our own body with heron energy, and learn how to express grace regardless of what we look like, or our personality.

– Heron teaches us the value of watching and waiting in order to get what you need. In other words, heron teaches us the value of patience. It is not a passive patience, but an active one. We wait in our lives to grab opportunity when it arises, it is not a passive patience waiting for life to happen to us.

– Heron, from an evolutionary perspective, is a successful and supreme hunter. And with its fantastic ability to literally spear fish with lightning-fast moves, it also represents the concept of showmanship. Particularly in athleticism. Heron comes into the lives of people who have problems hunting what they need to nourish them, and shows them how to find nourishment with a sense of external flair. Heron teaches us to take pride and dignity in all that we do and acquire, and to appreciate every achievement as what it is – an achievement.

– Heron represents the holy spear, and the concept of spear magic. This inevitably relates heron back to phallus imagery, and in some cultures this is reflected in its connected to male deity, and the sun. If heron has come into your life, it might be time to look at the imagery of spears and arrows, and start visualising aiming for your goals with spears to make sure you’re ‘on target.’ The holy spear, is also the messenger from the gods, and heron comes into our lives like an arrow from the gods, to make sure that we’re on target too.

– On a more mundane level, heron warns against sibling rivalry. If you have siblings, or are a parent of siblings you might want to be careful. Heron presents a rivalry that may never go away, or become ‘peaceable.’

– Heron represents wetlands wisdom, an oft-overlooked habitat that is one of the richest areas of ecological diversity in the world. Take the time to explore the habitat of heron and deities associated with the wetlands, you might be surprised at what further wisdoms you yield.

– Heron teaches us majesty. Not in the pompous, arrogant and over-inflated sense, but in the literal sense. Heron teaches us how to carry ourselves with a sense of pride and dignity, to love ourselves non-pretentiously, and to take the time to share our dignity, our time, and our compassion with others.

– Like many of the significant bird guides, heron represents otherworld journeying. Heron will take journeymakers and those who go on vision quests between the upper and middle-worlds, and can negotiate directly with deity on behalf of the person who is making the journey. Heron is a gentle guide, and tends to not be the guide who takes the querent into their most extreme or confronting challenges. Heron teaches emotional stability, and is not often the animal seeking to undermine such stability.

If you have Heron as your guide:

People with this animal as a guide will often manifest traits similar to the animal itself. I work on the philosophy that we only have one guide, and it teaches us lessons as well as representing the core aspects of our personality. Therefore –

– Heron people are dignified, graceful and sometimes arrogant people who are not afraid to wait for opportunities, and are excellent at teaching others how to be patience (sometimes because they are so infuriating!). People with heron medicine must learn in their lives that mental and physical clumsiness both in themselves and in others are not necessarily signs of weakness, nor something one should be punished over. Heron people make excellent dancers, actors, martial and performance artists, and have very strong personalities which make up for their shyness around large crowds.

– Heron people teach the medicine of effective time management. These people prioritise their lives so well, they always seem to have leisure time on their hands. It seems they are able to balance friendship, work, family, hobbies and alone time, and still not pass up opportunities. Their medicine teaches others about ‘timing.’ In the spiritual world, it might be about knowing the best times to journey, so as not to visit the spirit-world constantly and use up energy reserves, in the material world it helps the disorganised become organised. It’s a valuable medicine in today’s society which might explain why I’m seeing this guide and guide far more frequently than I used to.

– People with heron medicine often struggle in their lives to balance their emotions, and are at times prone to melodrama and a passionate (and sometimes inappropriate) expression of emotion, contrasted with episodes of repression or oppression. Once heron people have learnt how to balance the two, they are often well-equipped to counsel others in emotional management, and make good grief counselors, anger management therapists etc.

There will be other ways your guide manifests, and you will recognise them with awareness and communion.

As shadow guide/guide:

The shadow guide is the animal we often fear irrationally, that teaches us things about ourselves that are profound and difficult to confront. Often the traits we fear most within the shadow guide, are the traits that we dislike in ourselves. We must scrutinise why this is, and learn how to work with them.

– Those who fear or dislike heron often have an inability to seize upon opportunities when they present themselves. Often they notice the opportunity, and then it slips pass them and they miss the chance to grab it. Instead of being assertive with themselves, and practicing better risk management and time management, they tend to project their angers and fears onto others, and victimise themselves.

– Those who fear or dislike heron may have problems with people who are both graceful and confident. They might think that all artists are pretentious, that anyone with a fairly balanced self-esteem might have hidden, deceptive traits that are unbecoming to the point that they are not worth knowing. These ways of thinking can inhibit our ability to make friends or even function socially, we may even begin to abhor grace, confidence, majesty and dignity that we begin to resent them when we manifest them ourselves.

Contacting Heron:

Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Heron often presents as a gentle guide, even to those who need to learn how to hunt. This gentleness is sometimes mistaken for ‘softness’, but instead it is the expression of compassion through dignity and sternness. Many people respond positively to heron’s lessons and nature, and as such s/he tends to be a prominent guide. Heron comes to us, more than we come to it, and will present in dreams, visualisations or in real life encounters.

Heron, once in our lives, responds to most methods of communication, from drumming, to simply sending out silent ‘spears’ of communication into the spirit world and patiently waiting for a reply. Heron, being a messenger guide, doesn’t always present when we call, but will often take the time to respond to our questions, our emotional fears and our confusion with tact, dignity and patience.