The cunning fox appears in myths from around the world in all his fascinating and beautiful forms.
Foxes have existed in symbolism and folklore for as long as people and foxes have co-existed. They are widely represented as symbols of beauty, intelligence, and independence. However, they also carry connotations of sneakiness, mischief, and evil.
Why Are Red Foxes Considered to Be Mischievous?
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Are Red Foxes Considered to Be Mischievous?
- 2 Are There Foxes in African Mythology?
- 3 Do Foxes Appear in European Folklore?
- 4 Are Foxes Sacred in Japan?
- 5 How Are Foxes Seen in Nordic Cultures?
- 6 Are there Foxes in Native American folklore?
- 7 How Can One Interpret a Dream About Foxes?
- 8 Common expressions about Foxes and what they mean.
The idea of red foxes as mischievous has persevered for thousands of years and they remain one of the most enduring symbols of wily intelligence.
Foxes are nocturnal animals so live their lives in the dark. After sundown, foxes sneak into a chicken coop or rabbit hutch to make off with their dinner – behavior fitting of a thief! Foxes never hunt in packs and are rarely seen with other foxes.
They are clever enough to outsmart a hunter’s trap or the sensitive nose of a dog as they run, hide, and play amongst the trees without being detected.
Are There Foxes in African Mythology?
The religious tradition of the Dogon people of West Africa teaches that all natural beings, objects, and forces have a living soul. Three particularly sacred animals are crocodiles, snakes, and foxes.
In Dogon mythology, all divine creatures are born as twins with a male and female counterpart. But when Pale Fox was born, he was without his female twin, and so was condemned to a life of loneliness.
Pale Fox represents disruption and chaos in the absence of balance between male and female energy.
Do Foxes Appear in European Folklore?
Almost every European country features stories and legends about foxes. Most of these stories portray the fox as a mischievous and clever creature, able to use intelligence and wit instead of strength to overcome obstacles.
According to early record keeping, the Celtic Fox was a symbol in the Celtic tradition of shapeshifting and seduction. Because the Celtic Fox knew the forest better than any other creature, he was able to trick or charm his way through life.
Are Foxes Sacred in Japan?
According to legend, the Japanese deity Inari was carried from the skies by a white fox to deliver rice to hungry people during a time of great famine. To this day, the holy spirit Inari is associated with prosperity, household wellbeing, and of course, rice.
Inari shrines can be found all over Japan and are often decorated with fox statues, called kitsune. Worshippers make offerings of rice, sake, and fried foods to please kitsune messengers so that they will carry wishes and prayers to the gods.
This respect for foxes was so ingrained in Japanese culture that real foxes and their cubs were once encouraged to nest within and beneath Inari shrines.
How Are Foxes Seen in Nordic Cultures?
Nordic countries and their territories experience Northern Lights, or Aurora Polaris, a natural phenomenon where lights fill the sky with beautiful colors. Nordic folklore attributes this wonder of the natural world to foxes.
The Finnish word for this incredible light show is revontulet, or “fox fire”. The Finns believe that as a fox darts across the snow it flings ice into the night sky to transform into lights and colors. Elsewhere in the Nordic territories, legends state that the lights are caused by the bristly tail of a fox creating sparks against the sharp edges of mountains.
Are there Foxes in Native American folklore?
Foxes play an important part in Native American folklore, but their role differs depending on the tribe.
In the South, foxes are portrayed as mean-spirited tricksters who punish those they deem to be proud or arrogant. However, Northern tribes see the fox in a more favorable light. Here, the fox is wise and clever, often helping people who are lost or in need.
In some tribes, the fox is even credited with shaping humanity. The Blackfoot and Apache tribes associate foxes with the sun, and some believe that it was a fox who first brought fire to man.
How Can One Interpret a Dream About Foxes?
No matter the context of your fox dreams, you should be aware of the events in your life and the actions of people around you. A dream fox may symbolize your ability of foresight, insight, and knowledge. Or it may represent problems that are to come your way.
A hunting fox can be warning you of trickery in your life – either from yourself or someone else.
Common expressions about Foxes and what they mean.
It is unsurprising that the fox has found its way into our vocabulary. In English, a “foxy” person is alluring and attractive. But to “outfox” someone means that you have beaten them in a battle of wits.
Foxes can even shape nicknames. Francis Marion, an Officer during the American Revolution gained the nickname “Swamp Fox” because he was so good at ambushing enemies in the South Carolina swamps.