What Does the Crab Symbolize? Discover the Hidden Meanings Behind This Crustacean

Crabs are an interesting creature that often pops up in our dreams, movies, and even in real life. Did you know that crabs have been used as a symbol for centuries? They are a powerful symbol of many things, from protection and security to healing and transformation. Depending on the culture, the crab can be seen as a positive or negative symbol, but either way, it leaves a lasting impression.

The crab is commonly associated with the zodiac sign Cancer, known for being emotional, sensitive, and intuitive. In ancient times, the crab was also associated with the moon and its cycles. As a symbol, the crab is often depicted as having a hard exterior shell to protect its soft and vulnerable interior. this symbolism is often related to the concept of protecting oneself from harm and danger.

In addition, the crab is also seen as a symbol of regeneration and renewal. Whenever a crab outgrown its old shell, it goes through a process of shedding its shell and growing a new one. This process is related to the idea of transformation and starting anew. The crab teaches us that change is inevitable, but it’s up to us to adapt and move forward. So, next time you come across a crab in your life, remember that it may be trying to send you a message about protection, transformation, and renewal.

Symbolism of the Crab in Different Cultures

The crab is a curious creature that has fascinated humans for centuries and has become a symbol in many cultures across the world. In general, the crab represents change, protection, and transformation. Its unique characteristics have given it a special place in different cultures, and its symbolism reflects how each of these cultures perceives it.

  • Ancient Egypt: In Ancient Egypt, the crab symbolized renewal and regeneration. This was because of its ability to shed its shell and grow a new one, which was seen as a symbol of rebirth. The crab was also associated with the goddess Isis, who was considered the protector of women and children.
  • China: In China, the crab is a symbol of good luck and fortune. It is often depicted with a coin in its mouth, which represents the accumulation of wealth. It is also associated with the moon and yin energy, which represents femininity, darkness, and intuition.
  • Native American: In some Native American tribes, the crab is believed to be a messenger from the spirit world. This is because of its ability to navigate the changing tides and move between land and water. The crab is also associated with protection and is believed to ward off negative energies.
  • Japan: In Japan, the crab is a symbol of resilience and perseverance. This is because it can walk forward and sideways, which represents the ability to adapt to different situations. The crab is also associated with the samurai, who are known for their strength and courage in the face of adversity.

The symbolism of the crab in different cultures highlights its versatility and adaptability. Whether in ancient mythology or modern culture, the crab remains a significant symbol that represents change, protection, and transformation.

The Crab as a Zodiac Sign and its Traits

As one of the twelve Zodiac signs, the crab holds significant symbolism and traits that are believed to influence those born under this astrological sign. People born between June 21 and July 22 are considered to be under the Cancer sign and are represented by a crab.

  • Emotional: One of the most prominent traits of those born under the crab sign is their emotional nature. They tend to be sensitive, caring, and empathetic, making them excellent listeners and friends. However, this emotional nature can also lead to mood swings and an inability to let go of past hurts.
  • Loyal: Cancerians are known to be fiercely loyal to family and friends. They are willing to go to great lengths to protect those they love and care for, making them reliable partners and confidants.
  • Intuitive: Cancers possess an innate intuition that makes them highly perceptive and receptive to the emotions of others. This trait also makes them adept at reading between the lines and picking up on unspoken cues.

These traits can further be understood through the crab symbolism. The crab is a creature that protects itself with a hard outer shell, shielding it from external threats, similarly, Cancerians often use their emotional barriers and defenses to protect themselves from the outside world. At the same time, they are also highly adaptable, just like the crab that can easily move in different directions or environments to keep itself safe and secured.

Furthermore, the crab’s symbol provides insight into Cancerians’ natural inclination towards tenacity, persistence, and resilience – traits that symbolize the crab’s ability to navigate its way through challenges and obstacles. Lastly, the crab’s physical appearance, which has four sets of legs, is also associated with Cancerians’ multifaceted nature. They can adapt to different roles and responsibilities, such as balancing work, family life, and personal goals.

EmotionalMood swings
IntuitiveOverly sensitive

Overall, the crab’s symbolism for the Cancer Zodiac sign provides a deeper understanding of why Cancerians act and react the way they do. They are emotional, loyal and intuitive people who protect themselves and others using their shells and adaptability while moving through life’s ups and downs with tenacity and resilience.

The Significance of Crab in Chinese Culture and Mythology

In Chinese culture and mythology, the crab holds a significant place. From representing good fortune and happiness to symbolizing constancy and inconstancy, crabs have been associated with several meanings and beliefs over the years. In this article, we’ll delve into the various ways crabs have appeared in Chinese culture and mythology, and what they traditionally symbolize.

The Crab in Chinese Art and Literature

  • The crab typically symbolizes good fortune and happiness in Chinese art and literature.
  • Ancient Chinese poets frequently wrote about crabs and described them as earthly manifestations of the moon.
  • The crab is also seen as a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture due to its ability to live for a long time.

The Crab in Chinese Mythology

In Chinese mythology, the crab is associated with both constancy and inconstancy. In one legend, a man named Wu Gang is banished to the moon and tasked with chopping down an osmanthus tree. However, the tree would immediately grow back once cut down, much like the crab shedding its shell and growing a new one. Wu Gang’s endless task is akin to the crab’s ritual of shedding and regrowing its shell, symbolizing the constancy and inconstancy of life.

Another legend tells of a giant crab who fought a monkey and lost, leading the crab to promise revenge. In a bid to defeat the monkey, the crab begs a river to dry up so it can cross, but the river god refuses. Stuck on one side of the river, the crab is forced to fight in the open, leading to its defeat. The story shows the unpredictability of life and warns against acting with an obsession or desire for revenge.

The Crab in Chinese Cuisine

Crabs are a popular dish in Chinese cuisine and are often associated with special occasions and holidays. Many Chinese believe eating crabs during autumn replenishes lost energy and combats the drying effects of the season. Crabs are also believed to contribute to good health and longevity.

Chinese Crab DishesDescription
Steamed CrabSteamed crabs with ginger and garlic soy sauce
Crab Fried RiceFried rice with crab meat
Crab Soup DumplingsDumplings filled with crab and broth

In Chinese culture and mythology, the crab is a multifaceted symbol that can represent different ideas or beliefs. Whether it’s good fortune and happiness, constancy and inconstancy, or a delicious dish, the crab has meaning and significance in daily life and beyond.

The Crab in Native American Folklore

Crabs are creatures that hold significant value and meaning in various cultures and mythologies worldwide. In Native American folklore, the crab symbolizes numerous things, including power, transformation, and duality. Let’s take a closer look at the crab in Native American folklore with the following subtopics.

The Crab as a Totem Animal

  • The crab is considered a totem animal by some Native American tribes.
  • It is seen as highly adaptable and capable of navigating different environments and situations.
  • Crabs are also known to be territorial and fiercely protective of their homes, making them symbols of strength and security.

The Crab and Change

In Native American folklore, the crab is also closely associated with change and transformation. This symbolism arises from the crab’s ability to shed its shell and grow a new one when it can no longer accommodate its growing body. The Native Americans recognized that shedding one’s skin to become something new or better is a challenging, uncomfortable process but also a necessary one.

The crab’s transformation also represents the cyclical nature of life and the shedding of things that no longer serve us, welcoming new beginnings and opportunities into our lives.

The Crab and Duality

Duality is a concept that is prevalent in many Native American cultures, including those of the Pacific Northwest and the Inuit tribes of the Arctic. The crab embodies this concept, representing both light and dark energies, conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions, and the seen and unseen worlds.

Light EnergiesDark Energies
Emotional balanceAggression

The crab’s dual nature helps people understand that life is not linear and that both positive and negative forces are at play in our lives. It teaches us that embracing and balancing these forces is essential in striving towards wholeness and self-awareness.

Crab Symbolism in Spiritual and Religious Contexts

The crab has been a symbol of spiritual and religious significance in various cultures throughout history. In many traditions, the crab is viewed as a messenger of the divine, representing transformation, renewal, and protection.

The Number 5 and Crab Symbolism

  • The crab has five pairs of legs, representing the number 5 which is symbolic of balance and harmony in many spiritual beliefs.
  • In numerology, the number 5 is associated with adventure, freedom, and curiosity. These traits are reflected in the crab’s nature as a free-spirited creature that roams the ocean depths with ease.
  • Some ancient cultures believed that the five-pointed star shape of the crab represents the five elements: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit, making the crab a powerful symbol of connection to the natural world.

Crab Symbolism in Christianity

In Christianity, the crab is sometimes associated with the devil, as it is a creature that moves sideways and backwards rather than forward. However, some interpretations of the Bible suggest that the crab may actually represent protection and salvation.

One biblical story tells of the Israelites being pursued by the Egyptians and being trapped against the Red Sea. God saves them by causing the sea to part, and they pass through on dry land. In this story, the crab is said to have served as a guardian over the path the Israelites took, protecting them from any danger that might have lurked in the shallow waters. As such, the crab can be seen as a symbol of divine protection and salvation.

Crab Symbolism in Hinduism

In Hinduism, the crab is associated with the deity Vishnu, who is often depicted as riding on a giant crab through the ocean. Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the universe, and thus the crab symbolizes protection and security.

Vishnu’s AvatarsRepresents
Matsya AvatarFish
Kurma AvatarTurtle
Varaha AvatarBoar
Narasimha AvatarLion
Vamana AvatarDwarf
Parashurama AvatarWarrior with an axe
Rama AvatarPrince Rama
Krishna AvatarCowherd boy
Buddha AvatarBuddha
Kalki AvatarHorse

Furthermore, according to Hindu legend, a crab helped to save the world from destruction during a great flood. The crab is said to have worked alongside other creatures to hold up the cosmic mountain Meru and prevent it from sinking into the sea. This act of cooperation and unity was vital in saving the world from chaos, making the crab a symbol of teamwork, resourcefulness, and survival.

The Psychology of the Crab as a Symbol

Crabs are intriguing animals that evoke different associations to different people. Some see them as cute, cuddly creatures that remind them of the beach or seafood, while others view them as scary and creepy pests to be avoided at all costs. However, beyond their physical appearance and behavior, crabs also hold symbolic meaning that can reveal valuable insights into human psychology and behavior. In this article, we will explore what the crab symbolizes and what we can learn from its symbolism.

The Significance of Number 6 in Crab Symbolism

  • Six is a significant number in crab symbolism, as it represents balance, harmony, and nurturing. This is because crabs have six legs that provide them with a stable and symmetrical base for movement and protection. In ancient civilizations, the number six was associated with fertility, growth, and abundance, as it was believed to reflect the balanced interactions between the various elements of nature, such as fire, water, earth, air, and spirit.
  • On a psychological level, the number six in crab symbolism can suggest a need for balance and harmony in one’s life. This can manifest in different ways, such as seeking a stable home, nurturing relationships, or a fulfilling career. Similarly, it can also indicate a need for self-care and nurturing, as one cannot provide for others if they are not taking care of themselves first.
  • Additionally, the number six in crab symbolism can also relate to the concept of duality, where two opposing forces (such as the crab’s pincers) are unified to create a harmonious whole. This can encourage individuals to embrace their own contradictions and integrate various aspects of themselves to create a more authentic and balanced identity.

Other Meanings of Crab Symbolism

In addition to the number six, crabs hold various other symbolic meanings that can shed light on different aspects of human psychology and behavior. For example, the crab’s hard shell can represent protection and resilience, while its tendency to move sideways can reflect adaptability and flexibility. Meanwhile, the crab’s association with the ocean can evoke feelings of mystery, depth, and hidden emotions.


In conclusion, the crab symbolizes much more than just a cute or creepy creature. Its symbolism can help us understand the importance of balance, harmony, and nurturing in our lives, as well as the significance of integrating different aspects of ourselves to create a more authentic and fulfilling life. By exploring the various meanings of the crab symbol, we can gain valuable insights into our own psychology and behavior and apply them to improve our personal and professional growth.

Symbolic MeaningDefinition
Balance and HarmonyThe number six in crab symbolism suggests a need for balance and harmony in one’s life.
Protection and ResilienceThe crab’s hard shell can represent protection and resilience.
Adaptability and FlexibilityThe crab’s tendency to move sideways can reflect adaptability and flexibility.
Mystery and DepthThe crab’s association with the ocean can evoke feelings of mystery, depth, and hidden emotions.


  • https://www.whats-your-sign.com/crab-symbolism.html
  • https://www.sunsigns.org/crab-animal-totem-symbolism-meanings/
  • https://www.spirit-animals.com/crab-symbolism/

The Physical Characteristics of the Crab and Its Symbolic Meaning

The crab is a fascinating creature that can be found in various habitats around the world. With a hard exoskeleton and ten legs, the crab is a unique and easily recognizable animal. However, the physical characteristics of a crab transcend its appearance and go deeper into its symbolic meaning.

Seven Symbolic Meanings of the Crab

  • Change: The crab’s molting process symbolizes the shedding of the old and the beginning of something new. It reflects the idea that transformation and evolution are a natural part of life.
  • Protection: The hard exoskeleton of the crab serves as protection from predators, which can represent the idea of shielding oneself from negative influences or emotions.
  • Survival: The crab has adapted to various environments, such as the ocean floor, rocky shores, and even freshwater habitats. This versatility can represent the idea of resilience and the ability to adapt to different situations and environments.
  • Patience: The crab is known for its slow and methodical movements, which can represent the importance of taking one’s time in life and not rushing into decisions.
  • Intuition: The crab’s ability to sense changes in its environment, such as changes in temperature or water movement, represents the idea of developing one’s intuition and becoming more aware of their surroundings.
  • Connection with the Moon: The phases of the moon have been known to influence the behavior of crabs, with some species being more active during full moons. This connection can represent the idea of tuning into the natural rhythms of the world and using them to guide oneself.
  • Mystery: The crab is a mysterious and elusive creature, often hiding in crevices or burrows. This can represent the idea of embracing the unknown and being open to discovering new things.

The Crab in Mythology and Culture

The crab has played a significant role in many cultures and myths throughout history. In Greek mythology, the crab was tasked with slowing down the hero Hercules during his battle with the Hydra. This symbolism represents the idea of obstacles and challenges that one must overcome in order to achieve greatness.

In Chinese culture, the crab is often associated with the moon and is used in traditional medicine for its healing properties. It is also a popular food item during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The Crab as a Spirit Animal

For those who believe in spirit animals, the crab can represent a variety of things, including intuition, adaptability, and protection. Those who resonate with the crab as their spirit animal are often patient, resilient, and tenacious.

Positive TraitsNegative Traits

The crab is a complex and multi-faceted symbol, representing anything from change and transformation to protection and intuition. Its physical characteristics and symbolism have been celebrated and revered throughout history, making it a fascinating creature to study and learn from.

The Crab in Literature and Art

The crab is a popular symbol used in literature and art throughout history. It is often associated with themes of protection, regeneration, and transformation, as well as the cyclical nature of life. Here are some notable examples:

  • Cancer zodiac sign: In astrology, the crab is the symbol for the Cancer zodiac sign, which is associated with emotions, nurturing, and protection.
  • “The Little Mermaid”: In the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, the crab represents a wise and loyal friend to the mermaid protagonist. He helps her locate the sea witch in order to obtain legs and win the heart of her human love interest.
  • Japanese art: In Japanese art, the crab is often depicted as a symbol of longevity, due to its ability to molt and regenerate its shell over and over again.

The crab has also been featured in numerous artworks throughout history, from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Greek pottery to modern sculptures and paintings. Additionally, it has been used as a motif in various literary works, including Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.”

Furthermore, the number 8 has significance in many cultures when it comes to the crab. In Chinese culture, the number 8 is considered lucky and represents wealth and prosperity. The crab’s eight legs are said to resemble the symbol for infinity, making it a powerful and fortuitous creature. In conjunction with the crab’s association with regeneration, many believe that displaying crab artwork or figurines in the home or workplace can bring about positive energy and abundance.

CultureSymbolism of the Number 8
ChinaLuck, wealth, prosperity
IslamSalvation, rebirth
JudaismCovenant, renewal

With its complex symbolism and rich history, the crab continues to be a fascinating and inspiring theme in literature and art.

The crab as a symbol of transformation and growth

Throughout history, animals have been used as symbols to represent various concepts and characteristics. The crab is one such animal that has been used to symbolize transformation and growth. Let’s take a closer look at what the crab represents when it comes to these two ideas.

The Number 9

Before delving into the symbolism of crabs, it is important to understand the significance of the number 9. In numerology, the number 9 is seen as a symbol of transformation, rebirth, and new beginnings. It represents the end of a cycle and the start of a new one. Every time the number 9 appears, it signals that change is coming.

  • The crab as a symbol of transformation
  • The crab is a creature that starts off as a small larvae before molting and transforming into a crab. It is through this transformative process that the crab develops its hardened exoskeleton, which serves as protection from predators. This ability to transform and adapt to its surroundings is what makes the crab a powerful symbol of transformation.
  • When you see a crab in your dreams or as a symbol, it could be a metaphor for a pending change in your life. It could be a sign that it is time to embrace a new chapter in your life and let go of the past. The crab reminds us that change is inevitable and necessary for growth.

Not only does the crab symbolize transformation, but it also represents growth.

The Crab as a symbol of growth

Crabs are known for their ability to grow back lost limbs. This regenerative process is what makes them a symbol of growth and renewal. Whenever a crab loses a limb, it sheds its exoskeleton and regenerates the lost limb during the molting process. This process is not only a physical representation of growth but is also indicative of the crab’s resilience and adaptability.

When we use the crab as a symbol of growth, it reminds us that even when we experience setbacks, we have the ability to bounce back and emerge stronger than before. Just like the crab grows back its lost limbs, we have the capacity to heal and overcome our setbacks.

In conclusion, the crab is a powerful symbol of transformation and growth. It reminds us to embrace change and to have faith that we can grow and adapt. Whether you encounter a crab in your dreams or as a symbol in your waking life, let it be a reminder that you are capable of transforming and growing into the best version of yourself.

TransformationThe crab represents the transformative process that leads to growth and adaptation.
GrowthThe crab represents the ability to grow and overcome setbacks.

So the next time you see a crab scurrying along the beach, take a moment to appreciate the symbolism it represents. It may just be a sign that transformation and growth are on the horizon.

The Crab as a Symbol of Protection and Defense

It’s no secret that the crab’s defining characteristic is its tough and protective shell. This, in turn, makes it a symbol of protection and defense. Whether in nature or in culture, the crab has been associated with this symbol for centuries.

  • In ancient Greek mythology, the goddess Hera placed the giant crab Karkinos in the sky as a symbol of her protection of the city of Lerna.
  • In Chinese culture, the crab is often depicted as a guardian of the home and a protector against evil spirits.
  • In Native American spirituality, the crab is seen as a symbol of wisdom, courage, and protection.

But what, exactly, does the crab protect and defend against? On a literal level, the crab’s hard shell is an effective defense mechanism against predators, providing a stronghold for the vulnerable flesh inside. Figuratively speaking, the crab can be seen as a protector against negative energy, harmful intentions, and emotional vulnerability.

Like the crab’s shell, a person’s boundaries and defenses can serve to protect them from harm. The crab reminds us that it’s important to establish healthy boundaries in our relationships and to be mindful of our vulnerabilities. By doing so, we can defend ourselves from emotional harm and build stronger relationships based on mutual respect and understanding.

Crab SpeciesDefense Mechanism
Box crabCamouflage and hiding
Coconut crabStrong claws and aggressive behavior
Hermit crabUse of shells for protection

Overall, the crab serves as a reminder of the importance of protection and defense in our lives. Whether it’s physical or emotional protection, we all play a role in safeguarding ourselves and others against harm. By learning from the crab’s example, we can cultivate a sense of strength, resilience, and compassion in ourselves and those around us.

What Does the Crab Symbolize?

Q: What is the spiritual meaning behind the crab?
A: The crab is often associated with the concept of protection, regeneration, and feminine energy in spiritual beliefs. It symbolizes the ability to adapt to the environment and protect oneself from emotional harm.

Q: What does the crab symbolize in astrology?
A: In astrology, the crab is the symbol for the zodiac sign Cancer. It represents emotions, intuition, and nurturing energy.

Q: What is the symbolism of the crab in Chinese culture?
A: In Chinese culture, the crab symbolizes good luck, wealth, and prosperity. It is often used in decorations and rituals during festivals to bring good fortune.

Q: What does the crab symbolize in Native American beliefs?
A: In Native American beliefs, the crab is a symbol of renewal and rebirth. It represents the cycle of life and death, and the ability to adapt to changes in life.

Q: What is the mythological symbolism of the crab?
A: The crab is often used in mythology to symbolize the moon, which represents femininity, emotions and intuition. It is also associated with the goddess Aphrodite, who was born from the seafoam and walked on crabs.

Q: What does the crab symbolize in dreams?
A: Dreams featuring crabs often symbolize emotional vulnerability, sensitivity, and the need for self-protection. It might also represent hidden fears or insecurities that need to be addressed.

Q: What are some common cultural references to the crab?
A: Popular cultural references to the crab include the “Crab Mentality” metaphor, which describes how people tend to hold each other back as a group. There are also numerous films, books, and songs that reference crabs, such as Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and the Red Lobster chain restaurant.

Closing thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to read about the symbolism of the crab. Whether you are exploring spirituality or just curious about cultural references to this fascinating creature, we hope that this article has provided insight and inspiration. Don’t forget to check back for more articles like this in the future!