Slug & Snail Spirit Guide: Folklore and Symbolism
He’s tiny, slimy and moves at a snail’s pace. Literally. Mother Earth’s creatures are truly amazing, no matter how big or small. And when they pop up into our lives, they all have a message for us. Has the slug or snail spirit animal appeared to you lately? The snail may be small, slow and seemingly unimportant, but it has a profound spiritual message for you. As does the slug. Learn about the slug and snail spirit guide, snail symbolism and folklore here.
The Overlooked Power of Snails and Slugs
- Slugs are hermaphrodites, they have both male and female reproductive organs…and can fertilize their own eggs
- The largest slug in the United States is called a banana slug which can grow up to a foot long
- Slugs can breathe through their skin and respiratory pores
- Snails have been around for over 500 million years!
- Snails can live as long as 25 years in domesticity and between 3 and 7 in the wild
- The symbol of never-ending life is manifest in the snail’s shell
Slug and snail facts pulled from Facts.net and Lakesidenaturecenter.
The Humble Snail Spirit Guide
The snail is one of those creatures that not everyone finds pleasant. Children usually find them entertaining, but adults are often displeased to find a snail in their garden. With the use of pesticides and other chemicals, many are happy to rid their property of the humble, slow snail. While snails and slugs can be a “pest” to certain plant-life, their presence on one’s property usually brings a message of some kind to the inhabitants. Do you know what those messages are?
Let’s learn a little about the humble snail and it’s history as we look through the ages passed. While the snail might be considered a nuisance in modern times to those who don’t pay attention, there are those of us who are ready to learn of the snail’s deep spiritual symbolism and beginnings and how these can be applied to our lives today.
Snail Spirit Animal & Symbolism
Snails symbolize deep and powerful things. Keep in mind that not only are there land snails, but there are also sea snails. This special species bridges the gap between elements. And any animal that bridges the gap between two elements bridges the gap between the mundane and the spiritual worlds. The snail spirit animal crosses spiritual boundaries with ease.
- bridging the gap between the element of Earth and Water
- crossing the spiritual barrier between the physical and spirit worlds
- the spiral of life, death, and rebirth (reincarnation)
- the earth’s rotation around the sun
- carrying one’s home with them
- taking one’s time; enjoying life at a slower pace
- Amun – ancient Egyptian ram-god
- Tecciztecatl – ancient Aztec god
- fertility, abundance, things coming to fruition
- Taking one’s time in making life decisions
- being in liminal space: be it physical or experiential threshold space
- moving between homes, jobs, relationships, etc.
- being gender-queer, binary, and hermaphroditic (LGBTQ+ rights)
- connection to the moon and moon deities
The Snail Spirit Animal’s Spiral
First, if we look at the snail spirit animal, what do we notice? It’s shell, of course! Most snails have a spiral shell that holds much wisdom. The spiral to many ancient cultures represented the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. It also represents the rotation of the Earth around the Sun. In the spiral is the essence of the Universe and of time itself.
Snail Symbolism: Appreciating the Present
The snail is a slow creature, taking its time going where he pleases. While some see the snail as lazy, there’s something to be said for taking one’s time. If we rush in life, how will we fully appreciate the small things? The snail is slow and steady and appreciates the path he is on and isn’t solely focused on where he is going down the road.
The Snail’s Defense Mechanism
The snail and snail spirit animal carries his home and protection on his back. The snail’s spiral shell acts as a mobile home to the nomadic snail. It acts as a protector in times of danger. The snail knows how to employ his body’s resources to defend himself against predators and dangerous species.
The Snail is Sacred
Before Christianity used the snail as a symbol of the deadly sin of sloth, other ancient cultures saw the snail as sacred. To the ancient Greeks, the snails keyed them in as to when the crops were ready to harvest. They represented fertility and fruition of hard work. The snail was also a symbol in ancient Mesoamerican cultures.
Tecciztecatl, Quetzalcoatl & Snails in Ancient Aztec Culture
The ancient Aztecs saw the snail as a sacred being because its shell represented the cycle of life. Their beliefs are seen in ancient paintings, drawings, and carvings of the spiral snail shell.
Tecciztecatl: The Moon God and the Snail
There were Aztec gods whose sacred animal was the snail. Tecciztecatl was a lunar deity who carried a snail shell on his back. Just as the snail retreats into its shell, the moon retreats into the depths of the ocean.
Quetzalcoatl and the Snail Shell
Quetzalcoatl is another Aztec god associated with the snail. He wore the spiral shell as a symbol on his chest. Therefore, he knew the secrets of reincarnation and the cycles of the Universe and of the gods. In the picture below, you can see the panthers are holding the spiral snail shell and using it as a horn.
Slug Spirit Animal & Symbolism
Some find the humble snail cute, but if you mention slugs they go running for the hills! To many people, slugs are slimy nasty pests. But to those who know better, the slug is an important symbol. The slug was not always considered a nuisance but was once an ethereal being with healing powers. Some Native American tribes used slugs to heal a toothache by allowing them to squirm around in their mouths. They believed the trail the slug leaves behind has healing properties.
Slug Symbolism = Hermaphroditic
The slug is considered a hermaphroditic animal and is therefore embodies the Divine Masculine AND the Divine Feminine. Because of this, the slug is more of a spiritual being than an earthly being. Great balance and strength is also a message the slug brings. They are able to mate with any other slug and produce hundreds of offspring and henceforth represent fertility. If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, the slug is here to encourage you to be yourself and love yourself. And to speak your truth at your own pace.
Slugs and Shamans
I used to see slugs as being snails that are “between homes” but I realized slugs are actually a different species than snails. They don’t need a mobile home. They are strong without it. The slug spirit animal is connected to shamans of certain cultures. During the mating process, the slug sometimes loses a part of its body, just as the shaman loses a part of himself upon initiation. Honoring the slug during an initiation or transformation process is beneficial.
The Slug and Snail Spirit Animals’ Messages For You
The Snail’s Messages
What the snail and the slug have to say will differ by individual. For me, the snail represents me in a way. I am slow to do things, but I am steady and stable. I also have a hard shell that I tend to retreat into when I want to defend myself. When snails come to us with a message, we have to examine the situation closely. Are we finding a new path in life? Does the snail spirit animal’s presence tell us we are ready to “come out of our shell”? The snail also brings up memories from the ancient past, particularly for magical people who believe in reincarnation and the spiral of life. Are you finding snail shells everywhere? It’s time to explore your many incarnations in the universe!
The Slug’s Messages
How about the slug spirit animal? The slug appears to some as lesser than the snail, but the slug’s strength and physical abilities are extraordinary. Is the slug appearing to you to encourage you to be strong and steady in your path? Or is slug spirit animal trying to tell you to start a family? To be fertile and spread your seed over the earth? Perhaps the slug is prompting you to become one with spirituality, to embrace the masculine and feminine within yourself. Or to learn how to accept those around you who may be gender queer, binary, etc.
Lisa WascherNovember 11, 2021 at 9:28 pm
I had a dream my deceased brother kept trying to show me slugs he held tightly in his hands. I’m not sure what it means.
Alicia ShrefflerMay 21, 2021 at 3:48 pm
How do different types of slugs play a role in dreams? Last night I dreamed of entering a room i was to sleep and finding covered with banana slugs, all lying around in clusters like sleeping cats. I wasn’t grossed out. Just surprised.
AnonymousApril 6, 2021 at 6:50 am
he slug appeals to me on different levels. Im disabled and walk slow. I’m bisexual (two-spirited) the slug trails leave an iridescent rainbow. People don’t talk about it much, but their trails are beautiful. It’s as if they recycle waste and leave a rainbow. Great ability!
AnonymousApril 23, 2021 at 2:44 pm
Lovely message wishing you all the best
Joanna bigginsMarch 19, 2021 at 6:54 am
o.k., so there’s been this really long tiger slug that has been visiting my house recently. No one in the family knows how it gets in, but we always find it in the the same spot in the living room around the same time at 8 in the evening. What’s funny about this is that I’ve just recently moved houses (only about a year ago now) and in out old house we used to find slug trails every single morning from the night before circling a similar spot in my previous living room to here. I only started actually seeing the slug itself when I moved to this new house, but I can’t help but think it’s a spirit animal trying to talk to me. I always feel comforted when I see the slug, and am just wondering what exactly this could represent??
BrooklynApril 1, 2021 at 2:52 am
it is trying to tell u something but i cant put my finger on it….
ZheeAugust 22, 2020 at 5:19 am
I don’t leave comments on anything I ever read like this but like someone above or below said I just had to! To make a long story short in my tarot read insects came up. I laughed it off because well recently I’ve been seen an interesting amount of bugs out side our front door. First the spider, who I think laid cane ate laid an egg and left next and large praying mantis (haven’t seen that since being home in Michigan) not done then the baby of the spider that used and left and today this morning not to long ago I up having my CBD and I look to my left I see a slug I step out I see two, three more!!! All I have to say some change is coming soon a large abundance one. Thank you God! Take it slow and focus on the point and jump!! (I’m coming back to comment I feel this!)
Joseph Anthony BrownSeptember 5, 2020 at 3:47 am
This is crazy. I had killed a large spider out on our porch mainly because he was heading in the house. Then my cat caught a praying mantis and me and my daughter tried to nurse it back after it was attacked by the cat. He didn’t make it. Next I found a slug in the halway I took him outside and put him back in the yard. Maybe I shouldn’t have killed the spider. But I have my bed on the floor so I don’t let them live in my house. Its so strange though seeing you were getting the same visitors.
CPOctober 18, 2020 at 5:26 pm
Omg. So about 2 weeks ago I saw a large preying mantis on the front tire of my car. Ive never seen one in person before. A week ago I saw a large katydid next to my front door. Never seen one before. Last night I saw a tiny slug but then a super large one, the biggest I’ve ever seen. To be this is all a sign of a large change coming. For our universe as a whole perhaps?
MelissaPOctober 22, 2021 at 12:22 am
Zhee!! I needed to read this comment, soooo resonated with me. I just did a great full moon ritual and as I walked outside to burn my release statement I saw a slug 🥰😍 What a great sign! Take it slow, focus on the point, and jump! Love it 🙏🏼 Bless
TomAugust 11, 2020 at 12:15 pm
After work I noticed a slug perched atop my secured drink bottle. I am a neophyte on the shamanic path and reawakening is slow, sluggish requiring patience. Ho’ oponopono Hawaiian practice has expedited my being in many ways. Slug has come and perched on the pinnacle of symbolism of water element. No more sugar drinks. Next day doc office called: ” borderline diabetic”. I have beat this before. This time I take it serious. Thank you slug and thank you creation for the nudge and sign. Each of us the source within: eternal, immortal, universal and infinite. Awaken your inner shaman and be. Namaste and Aloha!
NiniJuly 6, 2020 at 3:17 pm
Came home a little drunk New Year after celebrating and had a weird dream of a slug under my microwave…Long story short, could smell burning around the house, could not figure out where it was coming from (I have a great sense of smell) until I remembered my dream and decided to check the microwave…Yep, it kinda saved the house from burning down…
JJuly 1, 2020 at 12:43 pm
I have some dreams with reoccurring themes. It’s not like a full on nightmare and it’s not always a bad thing but there is usually something chaotic in the dream. When I dream about my cousins the Morans, theres a storm or in this dream we almost got hit by a 16 wheeler well driving. Then there is always this large wooden building like a barn that is being used as a dance hall or food court. In this dream my brother dug up my aunt and moved her to a different location to be near where we were partying or something. And there was this guy serving sandwiches and this old couple that somebody in my dream seemed mighty excited about. Like they were a famous old couple or something. Strange dream. Then I was actually waken up in real life by my dog having to go pee which is really odd this early in the morning and I stepped on a snail and broke it’s shell outside. Not sure if that’s a sign of something. Usually a snail represents travel like a gypsy. Carrying your home on your back. What’s it mean to crush the home of a fellow traveler. I talked to two of my brothers the past few weeks which is rare and strange for me. Ate some dark chocolate chips before I went to bed. Maybe this keto diet is giving me weird dreams.
JerilynnJune 10, 2020 at 4:55 pm
Just found a snail on the back seat of my car 😳. Recently I’ve realized I need to really really focus on putting Jesus first in my life. It seems like it’s satin bgg “you’re on the right path?”. Awesome!!! Even if it was ewwwww at first.
RobbieJune 9, 2020 at 3:19 pm
Two small slugs were on my amazon package outside, i didn’t realize it until i brought my package inside and sat on my couch. I took them back outside and looked up the meaning. When I looked it up masculine and feminine stood out to me, because there’s two slugs and I’m going through a separation with my twin flame. I believe this was Spirit’s way of letting me know to be patient.
JrodJanuary 27, 2020 at 6:10 am
I have two snails that live is a wooden box I made that I have on my front porch. They go out at night then come back to the box.
Danielle HewittDecember 30, 2019 at 11:32 am
I dont usually leave replies but felt I needed to lol. So a couple months ago I found a slug on my kitchen counter. Thought it was odd. I picked him up and put him outside. Today after dreaming I was pregnant (my tubes are tied), I find a slug in the same place as last time. BTW, it was near my keurig. My hubby was just over there for awhile making coffee and eating cereal. Even I was there shortly before I saw it putting creamer in my coffee.I walked back in and said Oh-my-God! This time I paid attention and looked it up lol!!!!!! I am thinking it must mean a birth of something or a rebirth becausde of the dream. I had been praying last night about spiritual questions I had. Just crazy.
ShereMay 17, 2020 at 11:21 pm
Did you ever figure it out?
AnonymousMay 27, 2020 at 1:17 am
The same thing just happened to me. I was walking through my kitchen and there was a slug on the floor no idea how it got there so I put it outside and then looked up the meaning.
Sarah DewhirstMay 30, 2020 at 2:36 am
I was just greeted by 3 slugs on the kitchen floor at 3am when I got up for a drink…
GraceJune 30, 2020 at 9:19 am
Thing ! It’s 2 am and I’m going to get a drink of water in the dark and I realize there is a huge slug in my kitchen !
MichelleJuly 9, 2020 at 1:54 pm
A slugs been crawling under my backdoor to sleep in the kitchen on my door mat at night. I think he lives here with me. I can see his slime trail each morning. Last night I saw him for the first time when I touched him with the bottom of my foot. I left him and when I came back he had slithered back out the door! I think it was a sign for me that MJ is alive!👍💗😇
AnonymousDecember 30, 2019 at 11:03 am
Thank you <3
MichelleApril 3, 2021 at 7:44 pm
I don’t know if anyone can interpret my comment. I am a lover of animals and will do everything in my power to keep them from harms way. But in the last 3 weeks, I have accidentally injured 2 snails, in which their shells have broken off. I was totally devastated and tried to nurse them back to health but they unfortunately passed away. I am someone that will watch where I walk so that I don’t tramp an ant…it was really heartbreaking for me. In this time we had also discovered that my mum has breast cancer…I don’t know if this is all connected in some way. 😟
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