Totem Talk

Working With The Animal Totems

Spirit of the Koi Fish: Peace, Prosperity, Beauty

The Japanese recognized these fish not just for their beauty, but for their ability to transform the observer into other-worldly states of perception. These altered states of perception ultimately lead to the attraction of high energy - and this manifests in the form of prosperity of all kinds in our lives.


(Artwork by Terry Gilecki ~ "Snap, Crackle, Pop!")

Goldfish/Koi's Wisdom Includes:

* Prosperity
* Beauty
* Harmony
* Balance between mind and emotion
* Peace

Goldfish - Koi

Transformation of the spirit, and shows how to bring peace and prosperity to your world. Goldfish will help you look for new opportunities and aiding you in taking advantage of them. Fish in general show how to swim the currents of life, use of intuition to navigate effectively, aids in attuning to the world of emotions, the un/subconscious and other-worlds, heightened senses including visions, dreams and related psychic abilities. Do you currently feel stuck? The river says it is time flow. Fish can show how to ride the tide to new adventures.

Animal Symbolism of the Japanese Koi

I love how the Japanese incorporate animal symbolism into their daily life. We see great examples of this in the Japanese symbolic meanings of fish, specifically koi fish.

The term nishikigoi in Japanese means "colored carp" and refers to the magical realm of koi fish.

The Japanese recognized these fish not just for their beauty, but for their ability to transform the observer into otherworldy states of perception. These altered states of perception ultimately lead to the attraction of high energy - and this manifests in the form of prosperity of all kinds in our lives.

You've got to admit, fish are quite mesmorizing - consider the shimmery copper scales of a goldfish. With just a subtle shift in observation those glistening scales become daydreamy coins, or starlit skies, or sequins on a lovely ladies' dress - dancing only to you in your far off thoughts.

You see? Fish have the power to take us into lands of fantasy - they let our analytical minds drop out of sight and allow our imaginations to roam the seas of our thoughts for awhile.

This ability comes from their elaborate colors and fluid motion. Additionally, much animal symbolism of fish comes from their watery world. Water is the realm of motion, emotion, dreams and the psyche. It's no wonder these creatures capture our imaginations!

(Click here for symbolic meanings of water).

The Japanese symbolism of fish goes so far as to categorize certain fish according to their attributes. Each classification is proposed to elicit a specific outcome. For example:

* Yamabuki:  The gold fish represents (of course) gold, wealth and prosperity.

* Ogon:  The platinum colored fish also represents the fulfillment of wealth in the form of success in business.

* Kumonryu: A midnight black colored fish that is named after a Japanese dragon of transformation - and this fish is said to bring about change in life circumstances.

* Kohoku:  A white and red fish (known as a "cap" fish with white body and a red mark on its head) believed to encourage advancement in career.

* Kuchibeni:  Also white and red (known as a "lipstick" fish with a white body and red markings around the mouth) said to inspire long lasting, loving relationships.

Tap into this creature's transformative power by exploring more information on the Japanese symbolism of fish.

Koi fish symbolize different traits. The meaning of Koi fish symbols that is most often used in interpretations is taken from Japanese symbology.  As you may well know, the Japanese give different meanings to different animals. The Japanese base their interpretation of the meaning of Koi fish symbols on the characteristics and behavior of the fish itself.

The Japanese consider the Koi to be the most energetic of fishes. This is because it is constantly moving, often churning up water. In fact, some countries are trying to minimize the Koi population because of its tendency to mess up waterways by stirring up the substrate.

The Koi is also able to fight the current of the water and swim upstream.

This can be interpreted in two ways:

  1. Being a non-conformist – Koi swimming upstream can be interpreted as showing the philosophy of non-conformism because of the fact that the Koi does not “go with the flow”. This can mean a person is very independent minded and does not do things the way they are expected of him or her. Swimming upstream can mean that a person is not easily influenced by others and does what he or she wants.
  2. Strength in time of adversity – Koi fish also symbolizes persistence and the willingness to go on even though you are being swept away. It also symbolizes surpassing expectations. The Koi fish swimming upriver can show that a person has overcome various obstacles and not only does he or she keep standing, but he or she has come out victorious.

In the natural, the Koi are also known to have certain admirable qualities. They are active fish, rarely keeping still. They are social fish that always swim in groups, even with other types of fish (as long as they are not small enough to be eaten by the Koi!). They also live a lot longer than most other fish (the oldest Koi lived up to 226 years old!). Little wonder that the Koi is a symbol of many good things.


Fish spirit signifies the illusive nature of all true knowledge. The gifts of fish are good luck, spirituality, positive energy and sustenance. Fish finds its home in the water, the conscious element of all life and the archetypal source of all creation. However, do not try to hold onto fish too tightly, or it will die. The key is to live without judgment, for fish has no need to limit its spirit to form and labels. Fish energy is literally medicine for the soul.

More information can be found on the symbolic meanings of fish here.

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