What Do Black Doves Symbolize? Explore the Meaning behind the Dark Feathers

Black doves, often seen as the antithesis of their white counterparts, hold a special significance in the world of symbolism. These enigmatic birds are often associated with darkness, mystery, and the unknown. But what do black doves actually symbolize? Despite their often-intriguing nature, they are far from one-dimensional creatures. From hope and peace to mourning and death, black doves can take on many meanings depending on the context.

One of the most common interpretations of black doves is linked to mourning and loss. It’s not uncommon to see these birds featured in funerals, cemeteries or other places where people gather to remember those who have passed on. Similarly, black doves have also been associated with the grieving process itself, symbolizing the sadness and sorrow that can accompany the death of a loved one. On the other hand, black doves can also represent hope amidst despair. With their velvety black feathers contrasting against a pure white background, these birds can be seen as a beacon of light even in the darkest of times.

And yet, the symbolism of black doves is far from monolithic. Across cultures and contexts, these birds have taken on many meanings and interpretations. From the mysteries of the occult to the hope of new beginnings, black doves are imbued with a nearly magical aura that continues to fascinate and captivate. Whether you see them as harbingers of doom or agents of peace, one thing is for certain – these birds offer a wealth of symbolic possibilities to explore.

The Meaning of Black Doves in Christianity

For Christians, doves symbolize the Holy Spirit, as it descended upon Jesus during his baptism, and this symbolism extends to black doves as well. Black doves are also believed to represent the darker side of life, particularly sin and death. Here are some of the meanings associated with black doves in Christianity:

  • Bad Omen: The color black in Christianity signifies mourning and penance. Therefore, a black dove is considered as a bad omen that foretells the coming of death or unfortunate events.
  • Sin and Evil: Black doves are associated with the sin of pride and the Satan, the evil one. They are deemed as the result of sin that leads to a dreadful and eternal end.
  • Repentance and Forgiveness: Contrary to the first two meanings, black doves can also represent repentance and forgiveness. They signify the act of acknowledging one’s wrongdoing and asking for god’s forgiveness to be freed from their sins.

Aside from these meanings, some biblical stories also mention black doves. For instance, in the book of Songs of Solomon, the black dove is used to describe the beloved’s eyes, which are beautiful yet powerful enough to shake the hearts of others. Another story is the tale of Noah’s ark, where the raven that was sent out did not return, signifying that the flood was receding. It is assumed that this raven was a black dove.

Bad OmenBlack doves foretell the coming of death or misfortunes
Sin and EvilBlack doves are associated with pride, Satan, and the eternal end for sinners
Repentance and ForgivenessBlack doves signify the act of acknowledging one’s wrongdoing and asking for forgiveness, to be freed from their sins

Despite the negative connotations with the color black and black doves in Christianity, it is essential to note that forgiveness and repentance are always possible. Christians believe that with faith and through the Holy Spirit, one can be washed clean of their sins, making the black dove, in essence, a symbol of hope and redemption.

The symbolism of black doves in ancient mythology

Throughout history, the dove has been a symbol of peace, purity, and love. In ancient mythology, the black dove also held a significant place in various cultures. Here are some of the symbolism of black doves in ancient mythology:

  • Egyptian Mythology: In ancient Egyptian mythology, the goddess Isis was often depicted with a black dove. The black dove was a symbol of the goddess’ spirit and was believed to protect against evil spirits and bring good luck to those who kept it close.
  • Greek Mythology: In Greek mythology, the black dove was a symbol of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. The dove was believed to be a sacred bird that represented purity, innocence, and devotion. It was also associated with the goddess Demeter, who was often depicted holding a pair of doves.
  • Roman Mythology: In Roman mythology, the black dove was a symbol of the goddess Venus. The dove was believed to be a messenger of love and a symbol of the goddess’ divine presence. Many Roman coins depict Venus holding a pair of doves, symbolizing the goddess’ love and care for her people.

Overall, the black dove has held a significant place in ancient mythology, representing strength, purity, love, and good luck. To this day, the dove remains a beloved symbol of peace, hope, and new beginnings.

In conclusion, understanding the symbolism of black doves in ancient mythology can give us a deeper appreciation for the significance these birds hold in our lives. Whether as a symbol of peace or love, the black dove has a rich history that deserves to be remembered and celebrated.


1.Cotterell, A. (1997). Myths and symbols of the ancient world. New York, NY: MetroBooks.
2.Nathan, D. (2009). The myth of the dove in world cultures. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
3.Scheffler, H. W. (2002). A chronology of mythical birds and beasts. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Black doves as a symbol of death and mourning

Black doves, also known as mourning doves, have long been associated with death and mourning. People of different cultures and religions view these birds as a symbol of the end of life or the departure of loved ones. Here are some of the ways black doves are seen as a symbol of death and mourning:

  • Biblical symbolism: In the Bible, black doves are mentioned as a sign of mourning, especially in the book of Ezekiel. The prophet describes the people of Israel mourning the death of a leader by saying, “And I will make all their faces fall, because I have put upon them the weight of the sin of the house of Israel: they shall bear it as the weight of a bird, as the weight of a black dove, that flieth forth” (Ezekiel 4:10).
  • Symbol of grief: Many cultures believe that black doves signify mourning and grief. In some traditions, these birds are released at funerals or memorials as a representation of the departed loved one’s soul leaving the earthly realm. In other cultures, black doves are believed to be messengers between the living and the dead.
  • Death omen: Some people view black doves as an omen of death. If one sees a black dove or a flock of them before a loved one passes away, it is considered a bad omen. In some cultures, the sighting of a single black dove is believed to foretell a death within the next three days.

While it is true that black doves are often associated with death and mourning, it is important to remember that their symbolism is not always negative. In some cultures, these birds represent hope and new beginnings, much like their white dove counterparts. It all depends on the context in which they are viewed.

Despite their negative associations, black doves remain an important symbol of mourning and death in many cultures. Whether seen as a messenger of the dead or an omen of tragedy, these birds remind us of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing the time we have with our loved ones.

Here is a table showcasing the cultural significance of black doves as a symbol of death and mourning:

WesternDeath omen or symbol of grief
ChineseSymbol of separation or mourning of a lost love
JapaneseSymbol of the soul leaving the body

While the symbolism of black doves varies across cultures and religions, they remain an important symbol of loss and mourning. Whether seen as an omen of death or a messenger of the departed, these birds remind us of the cycle of life and the importance of cherishing our loved ones while they are still with us.

The Association of Black Doves with the Occult and Witchcraft

Black doves have always had a significant place in human mythology, folklore, and religious symbolism. However, it is in witchcraft and occultism that their symbolism takes on an even more profound meaning, often associated with death, transformation, and destruction.

  • Death: In occult and witchcraft traditions, black doves are often associated with death and the concept of crossing the veil between the living and the dead. They are considered messengers from the underworld and are thought to be carriers of the dead souls, symbolic of the more mystical aspects of death and rebirth.
  • Transformation: Many occult traditions consider black doves to be symbols of transformation. They are believed to be creatures of metamorphosis, as their color suggests the decomposition and reconstitution of matter, alluding to the cyclical nature of life, death, and renewal. In some cultures, black doves are believed to be shape-shifting witches who can transform their physical form at will, suggesting the potential for personal transformation in the spiritual sense.
  • Destruction: In some occult and witchcraft traditions, the color black represents the destructive or disruptive aspects of nature, and black doves may be seen as agents of that destructive force. They are sometimes associated with black magic and hexing, representing varying degrees of malice and ill-will. While black doves are not typically associated with evil in the same way as black cats, for example, they are still considered to be powerful agents of change, both for better or worse.

Black doves also feature prominently in occult and witchcraft spells and rituals, often used to open channels of communication between the physical world and the spiritual realm. They are frequently used in scrying, divination, and spellcasting, as they are believed to have the power to reveal hidden truths and knowledge from the beyond.

The association of black doves with the occult and witchcraft reflects the complex and often ambiguous nature of these mystical traditions. While they are often associated with dark and fearful aspects, they also represent the possibility for transformation, growth, and transcendence.

DeathCrossing the veil, messengers from the underworld, carriers of the dead souls
TransformationMetamorphosis, shape-shifting, cyclical nature of life, death, and renewal
DestructionDisruptive aspects of nature, black magic, hexing, agents of change

Overall, black doves are powerful symbols in the world of the occult and witchcraft, embodying the mystery, ambiguity, and spiritual potential of these mystical traditions.

Black Doves in Art and Literature

The cultural significance of black doves is widespread, as they have captured the imagination of artists and writers for centuries. In art and literature, black doves are often used as symbols of mystery, darkness, and death.

Here are some notable examples:

  • Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”: In this poem, the raven is a dark and ominous symbol that represents the narrator’s descent into madness. Similarly, a black dove in literature often represents death or foreboding.
  • Francisco de Zurbarán’s “Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose”: In this painting, a black dove is depicted among a collection of bright fruits and flowers. The dove is thought to represent the darker aspects of life that exist alongside the beauty of the natural world.
  • Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies”: While Monet’s famous paintings of water lilies are known for their pastel colors and dreamlike quality, there are often dark and shadowy elements underneath the surface. In one painting, a black dove is perched in the center of a cluster of lilies, creating a sense of tension and unease.

In addition to these examples, black doves have appeared in countless other works of art and literature. They continue to be a popular symbol for artists and writers today, carrying with them a sense of mystery and intrigue.

Here is a table summarizing the common themes associated with black doves in art and literature:

DeathIn many cultures, black is associated with death and mourning. Black doves often represent this darker side of life.
MysteryThe black color of doves can create a sense of mystery and intrigue. It suggests that there is more going on beneath the surface than what meets the eye.
OppositesBlack doves are often used as a contrast to lighter colors, such as white or pastels. This creates a striking visual effect and emphasizes the duality of life.

Overall, the symbolism of black doves in art and literature is complex and multifaceted. Whether they represent death, mystery, or something else entirely, they continue to captivate audiences and inspire new works of art.

The significance of a black dove in dream interpretation

Black doves are often associated with negative connotations such as bad luck or death. However, in dream interpretation, the meaning may differ depending on the context and symbolism present in the dream. Dreams are often interpreted subjectively, and dream experts believe that each dream has its unique meaning that is specific to the individual who experiences it.

  • Positive connotations: Black doves in dreams may symbolize purity, love, and devotion. They may represent a sense of peace, harmony, and freedom, signifying a positive transformation or change that is about to happen in the dreamer’s life.
  • Negative connotations: On the other hand, black doves in dreams may also represent fear, sadness, or loss. They may signify a warning about something that the dreamer needs to pay attention to, like a difficult decision, a personal loss, or conflicts in relationships.
  • Spiritual significance: In some cultures, black doves are associated with spirituality and mysticism. They are believed to be a messenger from the spiritual world, conveying a message or wisdom to the dreamer.

It is essential to analyze the overall context of the dream and consider the emotions and personal experiences of the dreamer when interpreting the meaning of the black dove dream. Here are some tips to remember when interpreting black doves in dreams:

1. Pay attention to the details: Take note of the surroundings, the actions of the dove, and any other symbols present in the dream that may provide clues to its meaning.

2. Consider your emotions: The emotions present in the dream are essential in interpreting its meaning. For example, if the dreamer feels happy and at peace with the black dove, it may represent positive transformation and renewal.

3. Think of personal experiences: Dream interpretation is subjective, and personal experiences influence the meaning of the dream. If the dreamer has a personal connection with doves or black doves, it may affect the interpretation of the dream.

Peace and harmonyThe black dove symbolizes a sense of inner peace and harmony, indicating a positive transformation or change in the dreamer’s life.
Fear and sadnessA black dove that appears sad, injured, or dying may represent fear, sadness, or loss in the dreamer’s life. It may be a warning to pay attention to any conflicts or struggles that need resolution.
Spiritual messageBlack doves are believed to be the messengers of the spiritual world. If the black dove appears in a dream, it may symbolize guidance or a message from a higher power.

Overall, interpreting the meaning of black doves in dreams requires careful attention to context, symbols, emotions, and personal experiences. By analyzing these elements, dreamers can gain insight into their subconscious and discover the message or guidance that the black dove dream holds.

The role of black doves in cultural traditions and rituals

Black doves, also known as mourning doves, have played significant roles in cultural traditions and rituals throughout history. These elegant creatures have been revered and depicted in art, literature, and religion for centuries, and their symbolism has evolved over time. In this article, we will explore the various roles that black doves have played in cultural traditions and rituals, ranging from their associations with death and mourning to their symbolic connections to love and reconciliation.

The Number 7: A Significant Symbol in Cultural Traditions

The number 7 is a significant symbol in many cultures and religions around the world, and black doves are often associated with this number. In Christianity, the number 7 is associated with perfection and completion, and it is found throughout the Bible, from the seven days of creation to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation.

Similarly, in Hinduism, the number 7 is considered to be a holy number, and it is often associated with the seven chakras, or energy centers, in the body. The number 7 is also considered to be a lucky number in many other cultures, including Chinese culture, where it represents togetherness and good luck.

When it comes to black doves, the number 7 is often associated with their symbolism of mourning and grief. For example, in some cultures, it is believed that if a black dove is seen flying seven times over a home or a village, it is a sign that someone is going to die. Similarly, in some traditions, seven black doves are released at funerals to symbolize the deceased’s journey to the afterlife.

Culture/ReligionSymbolism of the Number 7
ChristianityPerfection, completion
HinduismHoly number, associated with the seven chakras
Chinese cultureLuck, togetherness

Overall, the number 7 provides an important context for understanding the symbolism of black doves in cultural traditions and rituals. Whether we associate them with mourning, completion, or luck, these beautiful birds remain a powerful symbol of both life and death, of hope and despair, and of the interconnectedness of all things.

Differences between black doves and white doves in symbolism

When it comes to symbolism, black doves and white doves have some significant differences. Here are some of the main ways they are seen differently:

  • Black doves often represent mystery and the unknown, while white doves are seen as symbols of peace and purity.
  • White doves are commonly used in wedding ceremonies and other celebrations, while black doves are more associated with funerals and other solemn occasions.
  • While white doves are often associated with Christianity and the Holy Spirit, black doves are more commonly used in pagan and witchcraft traditions.

These differences in symbolism can be traced back to a variety of factors, including cultural and religious beliefs, as well as the physical characteristics of the birds themselves.

Number 8

In some cultures, the number 8 is closely associated with black doves, adding another layer of symbolism to these birds. For example, in Chinese numerology, the number 8 is considered lucky because it sounds similar to the word for “prosperity” in Chinese. Similarly, in Jewish tradition, the number 8 is associated with rebirth and regeneration because of the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah.

Symbolism of Black Doves and the Number 8 in Different CulturesCultureMeaning
The number 8 and black dovesChineseLuck and prosperity
The number 8 and black dovesJewishRebirth and regeneration

The addition of the number 8 makes black doves even more mysterious and intriguing, adding to their symbolic power and cultural significance.

The Use of Black Doves in Contemporary Popular Culture

While doves are commonly associated with peace, love, and innocence, black doves hold a unique symbolism in contemporary popular culture. Here, we’ll explore what black doves symbolize and how they’re used in modern media.

Number 9: Mysterious Energy

The number nine is often associated with completion and wholeness, but it also holds a mysterious energy. This energy is reflected in the symbolism of black doves, which represent a sense of unknown or hidden power.

  • Black doves in movies and television often serve as a warning in ominous or eerie scenes. They add an element of mystery and foreboding, reflecting the unknown energy associated with the number nine.

Other Symbolisms of Black Doves

Aside from their connection to the number nine, black doves hold various other symbolisms in different cultures and contexts:

  • In literature and poetry, black doves are sometimes used to represent sorrow, grief, and death. This is because black is often associated with mourning and loss.
  • In some cultures, black doves represent witchcraft, magic, and the occult. They’re seen as companions of supernatural beings or messengers of the underworld.
  • However, black doves can also be interpreted as symbols of transformation and rebirth. Just as the color black represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one, black doves can signify the start of a new chapter or the emergence of something hidden.

The Use of Black Doves in Media

Black doves have been utilized in various forms of media, from music to film and television:

MusicThe Beatles’ “Blackbird” features a lyric about a black bird singing in the “dead of night,” which some interpret as a reference to a black dove’s mysterious energy.
TelevisionIn the series “Twin Peaks,” black doves appear in several surreal and disturbing scenes, adding to the show’s surreal and unsettling tone.
FilmIn the film “The Crow,” the protagonist is brought back to life by a murder of crows and a black dove. The black dove represents the character’s transformation and rebirth.

Overall, the use of black doves in contemporary popular culture reflects a fascination with mystery, the occult, and transformation. Whether they’re seen as warnings, companions, or symbols of rebirth, black doves hold a unique and intriguing symbolism that continues to captivate audiences.

How the color and type of dove feathers impact their symbolism.

While doves, in general, are often seen as symbols of peace, purity, and love, the color and type of their feathers can further impact their symbolism.

  • White Doves: White doves are the most common type used for release at weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies. The white color symbolizes innocence, purity, and peace.
  • Black Doves: Black doves are rare and are thought to symbolize death, mystery, and sorrow.
  • Brown Doves: Brown doves are often associated with grounding, home, and stability.

In addition to the color of their feathers, the type of dove can also impact their symbolism. Here are a few examples:

  • Pigeon: Pigeons are often seen in urban areas and are associated with resilience, adaptability, and community.
  • Mourning Dove: Mourning doves are a common species in North America and are associated with mourning, renewal, and hope.
  • Rock Dove: Rock doves, also known as feral pigeons, are often seen in urban areas and are associated with tenacity, resourcefulness, and survival.

To further understand the symbolism of dove feathers, here is a table outlining the meanings of different feather colors:

WhiteInnocence, purity, peace
BlackDeath, mystery, sorrow
GrayNeutrality, balance, compromise
BrownGrounding, home, stability
BlueHope, freedom, communication
GreenGrowth, healing, nature
PinkLove, compassion, intuition

As you can see, the color and type of dove feathers can add depth and nuance to their symbolism. Whether you are releasing doves at an event or simply admiring them in nature, understanding their symbolism can enhance your appreciation of these beautiful birds.

FAQs: What do black doves symbolize?

1. Are black doves a different species from white doves?

No, black doves are not a different species from white doves. Black doves are just a color variation of the white dove.

2. What do black doves symbolize?

Black doves symbolize different things depending on the culture and context. They can symbolize mourning, mystery, elegance, or even contrast.

3. Do black doves mean bad luck?

No, black doves do not necessarily mean bad luck. However, some cultures associate black with negativity, so black doves can be interpreted as a sign of bad luck in those contexts.

4. Why are black doves rare?

Black doves are rare because they have a genetic mutation that causes their feathers to be black. This mutation is not common, and it can only occur in certain breeds of doves.

5. Are black doves used in ceremonies and events?

Yes, black doves are used in ceremonies and events, just like white doves. They can be released as a symbol of peace, love, or remembrance.

6. Can black doves be kept as pets?

Yes, black doves can be kept as pets, just like white doves. However, they require the same care and attention as any other pet bird.

7. How do I attract black doves to my garden?

Attracting black doves to your garden is similar to attracting other birds. You can provide food and water, as well as a safe and comfortable environment. Black doves are ground feeders, so make sure to scatter some seeds and grains on the ground.

Closing thoughts

Thank you for reading about black doves and what they symbolize. Whether you are intrigued by their mystery, elegance, or symbolism, black doves are a fascinating creature to learn about. We hope that you found this article informative and engaging. Please visit us again for more interesting facts and stories about the natural world.