The fox is often depicted as a trickster. Movies often characterize the fox as cunning creatures that always get what they want.
However, there’s more to the fox than just a scheming trickster. These adorable animals have so much symbolism to offer, that their pop culture portrayals do not give them justice.
In this article, I’ll discuss all the meanings linked to these beings, how it came to be, and other facts that you might find interesting about them.
Fox Symbolism: Meaning
The reputation that foxes have of being cunning creatures can be broken down into several meanings. Here are the most notable meanings attached to fox symbolism.
Wisdom and Intelligence
To be cunning, you have to be incredibly smart. This allows you to outsmart your opponent because you’re always one step ahead of them. And with that said, foxes are incredibly intelligent and witty, allowing them to come up with tricks that can easily fool their opponent.
This is also one of the ways that foxes survive in the wild. What they lack in strength, they make up for their intelligence. This is why foxes are seen as symbols of wisdom and intelligence.
You can’t easily fool foxes. Like what I’ve previously stated, they’re always a step ahead of their opponents. Whether it’s prey or a predator, foxes cannot be easily lured into their traps.
In the wild, foxes are known to observe before they make their move. This allows them to study their opponent wisely and use their wits to win against them. Because of this, foxes are seen as observant animals who are always forward-thinking.
Being smaller than most wild animals, foxes can move swiftly from place to place. This allows them to catch their prey faster, or easily escape the clutches of their predators.
Thus, foxes often symbolize speed and agility. Because of this, some sports teams use foxes in their logos and as their official mascots.
Purity and Divinity
Foxes have different species and can appear to us in different colors. As a result of their varying exterior, the symbolism between each type of fox also differs.
For example, the White Arctic Fox symbolizes purity and innocence. White is universally recognized as the symbol of purity, innocence, and divinity, and this is why arctic foxes are also given such symbolism.
It is believed that if you encounter or see a white fox, it is reminding you that your acts, words, and thoughts should come from a place of positivity and divinity.
On the other hand, a red or orange fox symbolizes passion. Its fiery color reminds us to keep the flame of passion burning within us. This is the most common fox that we encounter, and it’s a great way of reminding us why we’re doing what we do.
The gray fox is a species that is rarely seen. But when it does appear in front of you, it always seems more elegant than it is cunning. This is why the gray fox is linked to elegance above all things.
It is believed that if you see a gray fox, it is trying to tell you to be more reserved.
And finally, the Fennec Fox is known for its huge ears – and I’m not even exaggerating. Because of this, the Fennec Fox has been tied with the belief that they are highly intuitive.
It is believed that if you see a Fennec Fox, you are being reminded to listen beyond what the person is telling you. For example, perhaps there’s a hidden cry for help that your human ears can’t hear.
Fox Symbolism: History
Both European and East Asian folktales are replete with fox symbolism, and these are still well-embraced until today.
The first known written literature that mentioned a fox was the famous Aesop’s Fables which were written in 4 BC.
These were followed by East Asian stories, including the Chinese love story between a man named Zheng and the beautiful Ren, a fox who disguised herself as a woman. The two got married and the fox brought great success to Zheng. However, their love story didn’t end happily as Ren turned back into a fox and was killed by hounds.
During the renaissance, several pieces of literature also mentioned foxes. This was the period when foxes were depicted as cunning because they were one of the animals named that describe a successful prince – and the rest is history.
Fox Symbolism: Other Facts
Foxes had been featured in various children’s books since the early 1900s. They are also widely used in animated films and movies, appearing in almost 100 of them.
They are so popular in pop culture that they are also common characters in video games and comic books.
Several English words stemmed from the word “fox”, including “foxy” and “to outfox”. The former pays tribute to the fox’s red-haired attractiveness, while the latter is synonymous to the word “outwit”.
Foxes can see the earth’s magnetic field as a ring of shadow, and they use it to catch their prey. They can sense the movements of their enemies better because of this magnetic field.