What Do Crabs Symbolize? Discover the Meaning Behind Crab Symbolism

Crabs are more than just your favorite seafood dish. These fascinating creatures have also become a symbol of many things throughout history and across cultures. From mythology and folklore to literature and spiritual beliefs, crabs have played a significant role in human society for centuries. But what do crabs symbolize exactly? Let’s dive deeper into this question and explore the different meanings behind these crustaceans.

In many cultures, crabs are seen as a symbol of rebirth and renewal. This is due to their ability to shed their old shells and grow new ones, which symbolizes the process of shedding old habits and beliefs to allow for personal growth and transformation. In ancient Greek mythology, the crab was associated with the patron goddess Hera, who was known as the protector of women and the goddess of fertility. The crab’s association with Hera highlights its symbolic significance as a symbol of femininity and the nurturing qualities of motherhood.

Another common interpretation of crabs as a symbol is their association with adaptability and resilience. Crabs are adaptable creatures that can thrive in almost any environment, from freshwater streams to deep ocean waters. This adaptability and resilience are qualities that we can all learn from, especially in times of change and uncertainty. By embracing the resourcefulness and resilience of the crab, we can overcome challenges and adapt to new circumstances with ease. So, the next time you see a crab scurrying across the beach, take a moment to reflect on its symbolic significance and be inspired by its powerful message.

Symbolism of crabs in different cultures

Crabs have been an integral part of human cultures since ancient times. As such, they have come to symbolize various things in different cultures around the world. Below, we explore some of the most common symbolism attached to crabs in different cultures.

  • In ancient Greece, crabs were associated with the goddess Hera, who was said to be able to transform herself into a crab. As such, crabs were seen as a symbol of fertility and rebirth.
  • In Chinese mythology, the crab is associated with both good and evil. On the one hand, it is seen as a symbol of courage and resilience. On the other hand, it is also associated with darkness and deception.
  • In Japanese culture, the crab is a symbol of good fortune and longevity. It is often depicted in paintings and other artworks as a symbol of perseverance in the face of adversity.

Beyond these specific examples, crabs are generally seen as symbols of two main things: protection and adaptability. The hard shell that crabs have evolved to protect themselves with is seen as a symbol of the need to protect ourselves in our own lives. Meanwhile, the adaptability that crabs display in their ability to thrive in various environments is seen as a symbol of the need to stay flexible and adaptable in our own lives.

Overall, the symbolism of crabs in different cultures reflects the important role that these creatures have played in human societies over the centuries. Whether seen as symbols of fertility, longevity, courage, or adaptability, crabs continue to inspire us with their unique qualities and characteristics.

Mythological significance of crabs

The crab has been a symbol of various ideas, beliefs, and emotions in different cultures for centuries.

  • In Chinese mythology, the crab is associated with the lunar yin, representing femininity, motherhood, and nurturing. Additionally, the Crab is the symbol of the zodiac sign Cancer, which signifies emotions, sensitivity, and intuition.
  • In Hindu mythology, the crab is related to the god Vishnu. According to legend, the demon Hiranyakashipu obtained a boon from Lord Brahma, which made him almost invincible. To defeat him, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a half-man, half-lion and fought him in a cave. When the demon tried to escape, a crab emerged from the cave and clamped onto his leg, slowing him down long enough for Lord Vishnu to kill him. The crab was honored for its assistance and was thereafter worshipped as a god.
  • In ancient Greek mythology, the crab is linked to the story of the hero Heracles. During his fight with the multi-headed Hydra, a giant crab was sent by the goddess Hera to distract him. Heracles crushed the crab with his foot, and Hera placed its image among the stars as a constellation, known as Cancer.

The crab’s symbolism has also been used in literature as a metaphor for various concepts such as stubbornness, defense, and hidden emotions.

MythologySignificance of Crabs
ChineseLunar Yin, femininity, motherhood
HinduDivine assistance, cleverness
GreekConstellation, caution against falling prey into distractions

The crab’s symbolic significance differs in different cultures and beliefs. However, across various mythologies, it is often revered for its unique qualities such as cleverness, defense, and maternal instincts.

Spiritual meaning of encountering crabs

Crabs have been a part of many cultures across the world for centuries and their symbolism varies depending on the culture. In some cultures, they are seen as a symbol of strength, courage, and persistence, while in others they are believed to represent rebirth and renewal. Here are some spiritual meanings of encountering crabs that you might find interesting:

  • The power of 3: Seeing three crabs at once is said to represent the power of 3 – mind, body, and soul. In many spiritual practices, the number 3 is considered sacred and represents wholeness, completeness, and harmony. Seeing three crabs might be a sign that you need to focus on balancing your mind, body, and soul, and finding harmony in your life.
  • Rebirth and renewal: Crabs go through a process of molting where they shed their old shell and grow a new one. This process is often seen as a symbol of rebirth and renewal, and encountering a crab might be a sign that you need to let go of your old ways and embrace the new. It could also mean that a period of growth and change is coming your way.
  • Protection and defense: Crabs are known for their hard shell that provides protection and defense. If you encounter a crab, it could mean that you need to protect yourself from something negative or harmful in your life. It could also mean that you need to stand up for yourself and defend yourself against any injustices.

The symbolism of crab in various cultures

Crabs have different meanings in various cultures, and here are some examples:

CultureSymbolism of Crab
ChineseCrabs are believed to represent happiness, longevity, and wealth. They are often eaten during festivals as a symbol of good luck.
Native AmericanCrabs are seen as symbols of healing and renewal. They are believed to have the power to cleanse negative energy and restore balance and harmony to the body.
AfricanCrabs are believed to represent protection and defense. They are often used in traditional healing practices to ward off evil spirits and protect against physical or spiritual harm.


Encountering a crab might have a spiritual or cultural significance depending on your beliefs and culture. Whether you see it as a symbol of rebirth and renewal or as a sign of protection and defense, the most important thing is to stay mindful of the message the crab might be trying to convey. Listening to the signs and symbols around us can help us gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Astrological Significance of Crabs

As we delve deeper into the world of symbolism, one cannot ignore the astrological significance of crabs. In astrology, the twelve zodiac signs each correspond with a constellation and have unique traits and symbols associated with them. Cancer, the fourth sign, is represented by the image of a crab.

  • Cancer is a water sign, which indicates emotional sensitivity and depth.
  • The crab represents a hard outer shell with a soft interior, symbolizing a need for protection and security.
  • Cancers are known for their nurturing and protective nature, like a mother crab shielding her young.

Furthermore, crabs are associated with the Moon, which is the ruling planet of Cancer. This connection highlights the emotional and intuitive nature of Cancers, as the Moon governs feelings and instincts.

Crabs also have a unique feature that sets them apart from many other animals – they move sideways. This trait is mirrored in the behavior of some Cancers, who may have a tendency to approach situations from an indirect or sideways angle, rather than head-on.

Positive TraitsNegative Traits

Overall, the astrological significance of crabs emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence and sensitivity, protection and security, and a nurturing nature. Cancers may sometimes struggle with moodiness and insecurity, but they ultimately seek to create a safe and loving environment for themselves and their loved ones.

Crabs as a Totem Animal

Crabs have been considered as a totem animal in many cultures worldwide. Totem animals are believed to be spiritual beings that provide guidance, protection, and inspiration to the people who identify with them. As a totem animal, the crab symbolizes many things, including:

  • Emotional sensitivity
  • Adaptability
  • Intuition
  • Connection to the cycles of the moon
  • Trust in the universe

One of the most significant energies that the crab embodies is adaptability. Their ability to thrive in various environments shows that they can adjust to changes and challenges and still come out on top. The crab can teach us to be flexible and open to new situations instead of resisting them.

Another aspect of the crab as a totem animal is their emotional sensitivity. Crabs are highly intuitive creatures with an abundance of emotions. They can help us tap into our own emotional depths and connect to our feelings more deeply. With the guidance of the crab, we can learn to navigate our emotions with grace and understanding.

The crab is also strongly associated with the cycles of the moon. Just like the moon, which waxes and wanes in a monthly cycle, the crab teaches us to move with the natural cycles of life. By embracing the ebb and flow of life, rather than fighting it, we can find balance and harmony.

The Symbolism of the Number 5

For people who identify with the crab as a totem animal, the number 5 is also a significant symbol. Numerology is the study of numbers and their potential meanings, and many believe that certain numbers have spiritual significance.

In numerology, the number 5 represents change and transformation. It is a number that reminds us that change is essential for growth and that sometimes, we need to let go of old habits and patterns to move forward in life. The number 5 also symbolizes adventure, freedom, and exploration, urging us to step out of our comfort zones and embrace new experiences.

When we combine the energy of the crab as a totem animal with the symbolism of the number 5, we can gain a deeper understanding of our personal journeys and the changes that we may be experiencing.

Crab SymbolismNumber 5 Symbolism
AdaptabilityChange and transformation
Emotional sensitivityFreedom and exploration
Cycles of the moonAdventure and new experiences

Together, the crab and the number 5 remind us to embrace change and to trust our intuition as we navigate through life’s ebbs and flows. By tapping into the energy of the crab, we can learn to be more adaptable, introspective, and in tune with our emotions.

Crabs in Literature and Art

Crabs have been depicted in literature and art for centuries, often symbolizing various aspects of life such as fertility, fortune, and even death. In this section, we will look at some examples of how crabs have been portrayed in literature and art throughout history.

  • The Crab in Ancient Chinese Literature: In Ancient Chinese literature, the crab symbolized filial piety. It was believed that crabs would care for their offspring just as a dutiful son would care for his parents.
  • The Red Crab in Literature: In literature, the red crab is often depicted as a foreboding symbol of death. For example, in Jules Verne’s novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea,” a giant red crab is described as a menacing creature that threatens the lives of the protagonists on their underwater journey.
  • Crab in Art: In ancient Japanese art, the crab was a popular design element. It was often depicted in a decorative manner, with intricate details and patterns. During the Edo period, crabs also became a popular subject of ukiyo-e prints.

Additionally, in modern literature and art, crabs have been used as symbols for various social or personal issues. For example, in the novel “Crabwalk” by G√ľnter Grass, the life of a young boy is closely tied to the history of Nazi Germany, where the crab symbolizes the Reichstag building that burned during the Nazis’ rise to power. Meanwhile, in contemporary art, crabs can be seen as a subject of political cartoons or as a metaphor for human anxiety or stress.

In summary, through their various cultural interpretations, crabs have represented many themes throughout history in literature and art, including filial piety, death, decoration, and contemporary socio-political issues. Their shape, uniqueness, and symbolism have made them a subject of fascination for many artists throughout the ages.

Crabs as Food Symbolism

In some cultures, crabs represent food and prosperity. People associate them with feasts, abundance, and wealth. The sweet, succulent meat of crabs is a delicacy, and many communities view them as a luxury item. However, some cultures believe that consuming crabs brings good luck and fortune. For example, in some Chinese traditions, it is customary to serve crab dishes during wedding receptions and other celebrations. The crab’s hard shell and sharp claws also suggest strength and protection, adding to their symbolic significance as a food source.

Seven: The Lucky Number?

  • The number seven is often associated with good fortune and positivity.
  • In numerology, seven is considered a lucky number with mystical properties.
  • There are seven seas, seven continents, and seven days of the week.
  • In the Bible, God rested on the seventh day, creating the Sabbath.
  • The ancient Greeks believed there were seven planets in the solar system, and seven was a sacred number in their mythology.
  • There are seven chakras in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing spiritual energy.
  • And, for many lovers of seafood, the seven legs of a crab represent good luck and prosperity.

When enjoying a meal of crab, many people believe that finding a crab with seven legs is a symbol of good fortune and prosperity. Some even interpret it as a sign of good luck in their personal or professional lives. However, the idea of a seven-legged crab is purely a myth – crabs typically have eight legs, and any deviation from this is due to genetic abnormalities or injuries. Still, the belief in the lucky seven-legged crab lives on in the imaginations of those who enjoy this delectable seafood.

Of course, as with all superstitions, the power of the seven-legged crab is only as strong as you believe it to be. Regardless of whether or not you find a seven-legged crab on your plate, enjoying a delicious meal of crab is its own reward – and an opportunity to partake in a longstanding cultural tradition of abundance, prosperity, and good luck.

So, the next time you sit down to a meal of crab, consider the symbolic significance behind this tasty delicacy. Whether you view it as a source of strength and protection, a symbol of abundance and wealth, or a source of good luck and prosperity, one thing is certain – crabs are a beloved and culturally significant food enjoyed by people around the world.

ChineseGood luck and prosperity
GreekSacred number in mythology
ChristianGod rested on the seventh day, creating the Sabbath
Hinduism/BuddhismSeven chakras represent spiritual energy

As we can see in the table, crabs have various symbolic meanings across different cultures. Nevertheless, they are frequently associated with food and prosperity, integrating the idea of prosperity and wealth through the food we eat.

Crabs in Dreams and Their Interpretation

Crabs are fascinating creatures that have been used for centuries in symbolic depictions. Throughout history, they have been associated with various meanings, including rebirth, emotional balance, and self-protection. In dreams, crabs can convey powerful messages about our lives, depending on the context and personal experiences of the dreamer.

The Number 8 and Its Significance in Crab Dreams

One of the most significant interpretations of crabs in dreams is related to the number 8. Crabs have eight legs, which represents the numerological symbolism of the number eight. In numerology, the number eight is associated with abundance, wealth, and achievement.

  • If you dream of eight crabs, it may indicate that you will soon experience a significant financial gain or accomplishment that will bring abundance to your life.
  • The number eight in crab dreams can also suggest that you need to invest more time and effort into your work or personal goals to achieve success.
  • On the contrary, dreaming of a single crab or several crabs may indicate that you are facing a challenging situation that is hindering your growth and prosperity.

Other Interpretations of Crab Dreams

Aside from the significance of the number 8, crabs in dreams may also reflect various aspects of your waking life. Here are some other interpretations of crab dreams:

If you see a crab:

  • You may feel emotionally vulnerable or defensive around others.
  • You may need to protect yourself from negative influences or situations.
  • You may be afraid of someone or something, and your subconscious is warning you to be cautious.

If you catch a crab:

  • You may be struggling to achieve a goal or accomplish a task
  • You may need to be more patient and take a slower, measured approach in your endeavors.
  • You may need to work harder or be more persistent to achieve success.

If you eat a crab:

  • You may be symbolically consuming your problems or challenges, suggesting a need for resolution or closure in your life.
  • You may be seeking pleasure or satisfaction in your waking life.
  • You may be feeling emotionally fulfilled or satisfied.

In conclusion

Crabs in dreams can carry rich and complex meanings that vary based on personal experiences and cultural associations. The number eight is particularly significant in crab dreams and may indicate financial gain, abundance, and achievement. Other interpretations of crab dreams may center on emotions, challenges, and fulfillment. By examining the context and symbolism of your crab dream, you can gain insight into your subconscious and use this knowledge to positively impact your waking life.

Crab tattoos and their symbolism

Crab tattoos have grown in popularity in recent years. These tattoos can carry different meanings for different people, but they are all linked to the symbolism of the crab. The symbolism of the crab is both ancient and diverse, and it continues to be relevant today. In this article, we will explore what crabs symbolize and how this symbolism is reflected in crab tattoos.

What do crabs symbolize?

  • Renewal: Some cultures associate crabs with renewal because of the way they molt their shells. This shedding of the old shell and growth of a new one is symbolic of rebirth and new beginnings.
  • Protection and armor: Crabs have a hard exterior that protects them from predators. This symbolizes the idea of protection and having a tough shell to guard oneself from harm.
  • Emotions: Crabs are often associated with emotions due to their tendency to retreat into their shells when feeling threatened or vulnerable. This symbolizes the importance of emotional protection and the need to have a safe space to retreat to when feeling overwhelmed.
  • Intuition: Crabs have a keen sense of intuition and can detect danger before it arrives. This symbolism reinforces the importance of trusting one’s intuition and being aware of the signs around us.
  • Persistence: Crabs are known for their persistence and perseverance. They continue to move forward towards their goals, even in difficult situations. This symbolism emphasizes the importance of never giving up and always working towards one’s dreams.

The symbolism of crab tattoos

Crab tattoos can be customized to reflect the individual’s interpretation of the symbolism. Some popular designs include realistic depictions of the crab, colorful and abstract designs, or simple black outline designs.

Some people choose crab tattoos as a way to symbolize protection and emotional fortitude. Others choose the crab tattoo to symbolize perseverance and the ability to overcome obstacles. Additionally, crab tattoos can symbolize transformation and the idea of shedding the old to embrace the new.

The location of the crab tattoo can also hold significance. For example, a crab tattoo on the chest can symbolize emotional protection and guarding one’s heart. Similarly, a crab tattoo on the wrist can symbolize intuition and the importance of always being aware of one’s surroundings.

The number 9 significance in crab tattoos

The number 9 may hold significance in crab tattoos due to the idea of renewal. This number is associated with the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. For crabs, the process of molting their shells typically happens nine times before reaching maturity. This symbolism reinforces the idea of rebirth and new beginnings as well as the importance of shedding the old to welcome the new.

Crab tattoo designs incorporating the number 9Symbolism
A crab with nine legs or clawsSymbolizes the importance of persevering through cycles of change and the ability to adapt to new situations.
A crab with the number 9 incorporated into the designSymbolizes the idea of new beginnings and the importance of letting go of the past.
Crab tattoo with nine dots or starsSymbolizes the importance of intuition, as the number 9 is associated with introspection and self-awareness.

In conclusion, crab tattoos can hold different meanings for different people, but they are all linked to the symbolism of the crab. The number 9 can hold significance in crab tattoos due to the idea of renewal and the importance of shedding the old to welcome the new. Ultimately, a crab tattoo can serve as a powerful symbol of protection, persistence, emotional fortitude, and transformation.

Crab Symbolism in Feng Shui Traditions

Crabs have long been considered a symbol of prosperity, protection, and good luck in many cultures. In feng shui, crabs are particularly revered for their strong yang energy, which is said to attract wealth and good fortune to the home or workplace.

Here are some of the ways that crab symbolism is used in feng shui:

The Number 10

In feng shui, the number 10 is often associated with the crab. This is because the crab has ten legs, which is seen as a powerful symbol of completeness and perfection. To harness the power of the crab’s energy, many feng shui practitioners will incorporate the number 10 into their home or office decor. This could include hanging ten crab images on a wall, placing ten crab figurines on a desk, or arranging ten crab shells on a bookshelf.

  • Using the number ten is a popular feng shui tactic to attract the beneficial energy that crabs represent.
  • Integrating ten crab images, figurines, or shells into a space can also serve as an attractive and unique decorative element.
  • Remember to follow basic feng shui principles and not overdo it with decorations or clutter the space. Less is often more in feng shui design.

Crab Shells

Another popular feng shui tactic is to use crab shells in home or office decor. Crab shells are believed to bring strong protective energy to a space, and they are often placed by windows or doorways to ward off negative energy and protect the home or office from harm. Crab shells may also be used in feng shui cures, such as placing a small crab shell in a bowl of water or placing a larger crab shell near a workspace to promote productivity and focus.

Feng shui experts caution against using real or live crabs in your home or office, as they can evoke feelings of unease or disturbance in some people and require special care and attention.

Crab shells are a natural and beautiful way to promote the energy of protection and good fortune in a space.Using real or live crabs in your home or office can be impractical, and it may not be possible to find suitable crab shells in some areas.
Crab shells are typically easy to find and relatively inexpensive.Some people may find the presence of crab shells in their home or office to be odd or unsettling.
Crab shells are a versatile decor element that can be placed in a variety of locations to achieve different feng shui goals.If not properly cared for, crab shells can start to smell or attract unwanted pests.

If you are interested in incorporating crab symbolism into your feng shui practice, consider experimenting with different placements and decorations to see what works best for your space and energy goals. With a little creativity and intentionality, you can harness the positive energy of this powerful symbol and enjoy the benefits of greater prosperity, protection, and luck in your life.

FAQs: What do crabs symbolize?

Q: What do crabs symbolize in different cultures?
A: In Japanese culture, crabs symbolize good luck and prosperity. In ancient Egyptian mythology, the crab is associated with the god of the afterlife. In Chinese culture, crabs are a potluck dish served during festivals, and they symbolize good luck and good fortune.

Q: What do crabs symbolize in dreams and astrology?
A: In dreams, crabs can have multiple meanings, including feeling trapped or needing protection. In astrology, the crab represents the zodiac sign of Cancer and is associated with qualities such as sensitivity, intuition, and nurturing.

Q: What do crabs symbolize in literature and art?
A: In literature and art, crabs are often used as a symbol of the cyclical nature of life, as the hard shell protects the soft and vulnerable interior. They can also symbolize mystery, rebellion, and unpredictability.

Q: What do crabs symbolize in spiritual and religious contexts?
A: In some spiritual and religious contexts, crabs are seen as a symbol of death and rebirth, as they shed their old shell to grow a new one. In Christianity, the crab is sometimes used as a symbol of the trap of sin or temptation.

Q: What do crabs symbolize in popular culture?
A: In popular culture, crabs are often associated with the beach and the ocean, and they are commonly depicted in music, movies, and television shows. They are also a popular food item in many parts of the world.

Q: What do different types of crabs symbolize?
A: Different species of crabs can have different meanings. For example, the horseshoe crab is a symbol of ancient wisdom and longevity, while the fiddler crab is associated with creativity and playfulness.

Q: How can I use the symbolism of crabs in my life?
A: You can use the symbolism of crabs in many ways, such as incorporating crab imagery in your home decor or wearing jewelry featuring crab motifs. You can also meditate on the qualities associated with crabs, such as protection, growth, and regeneration, to help enhance those traits in your own life.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you have a better understanding of what crabs symbolize, you can begin to appreciate these creatures in a new way. Whether you see crabs as a symbol of good fortune or as a reminder to protect your soft interior, their presence in your life can be both powerful and meaningful. Thank you for reading, and be sure to check back for more articles about the symbolism of the natural world.