Unicorns are wonderful creatures that have enthralled people throughout history, and most of us would love to know more about these mystical creatures. In this article, we will be trying to understand what unicorns represent and the different symbols and interpretations they carry with them.
Unicorns are often described as symbols of freedom, magic, purity, innocence and healing. In the modern world, unicorns often also represent positivity, joy, hope, pride and diversity. Although the qualities that unicorns represent can vary, they are one of the few creatures that are almost always given positive associations.
Unicorns In Mythology
Unicorns have represented life and joy in many different cultures over time. The Chinese, Greeks, Persians, and many others refer to similar creatures bearing a single horn and magical powers, though sometimes under a different name like Qilin the Chinese Unicorn.
Sighting one of these mythical creatures brought great happiness because they were so pure. They were also shy and elusive creatures, shrouded in mystery. Only people who were pure of heart were able to approach unicorns, which would run from anybody unkind.
Many people thought that wild unicorns could be dangerous because they were so powerful. Unicorns were the fastest of all creatures, and catching them was supposed to be impossible, unless they were lured into a trap by a virgin.
Virgins were able to approach unicorns because they were pure and untainted, like the unicorns themselves. This association may have come from a translation in the Bible, which appeared to reference a unicorn, though not by name. You can also read more about Unicorn in The Bible from our more detailed article.
Unicorns were also able to transcend boundaries, and pass between worlds. Many people believed unicorns could disappear, perhaps going to another place, and this is still the case in stories today. Unicorns were often solitary creatures, alone and majestic in the depths of the forests or vibrant colorful creatures going over the rainbow.
Tales of their amazing abilities weave through folklore and fairy tales. The breathtaking power of unicorns has unquestionably left hoofprints on the hearts of many.
Throughout the Years, Unicorn has been symbolizing:
- Healing powers
- Nurturing powers
Horses Of Healing
Unicorns are perhaps most notable for their horns, usually portrayed as straight, spiraling single horns. These give them their name, which literally means one horn. The horns are said to have magical powers. Many stories suggest that touching a unicorn’s horn will bring healing or good fortune.
In the past, many wealthy people sought to buy unicorn horns to extend their lives or give themselves protection from bad luck. As said by Mythology.net, most of these horns actually belonged to rhinoceros or narwhals, but the nobility coveted them and paid high prices to own one. I am not sure that anyone now would want to buy a rhinoceros horn instead of the pearly one we all associate with unicorns!
Hairs from unicorn manes and tails were often used in healing potions. In the much-beloved Harry Potter series, unicorn hairs were one of three powerful wand cores, and unicorn blood could prolong life.
A New Coat Of Color – Rainbow Unicorn
Many of the things which unicorns represent have not changed throughout history.
They are still considered fleet-footed, springy creatures that show themselves only to innocent, pure people. Their coats have remained pure white, occasionally with silver overtones. They continue to delight people of all ages, picking their way through the fringes of foliage of mythical worlds.
Now, though, unicorns are taking on new colors. They are increasingly seen with rainbow manes, rainbow tails, or even pooping rainbows! The original connection with rainbows may simply have been that both represent joy and beauty.
It may also have something to do with the elusive nature of unicorns and rainbows, and the idea that unicorns can travel to other worlds. The “end of the rainbow” has always been a mythical place, so perhaps this aided the connection.
Unicorns Rule suggests that unicorns pooping or farting rainbows have become popular because the juxtaposition of a pure magical creature doing something so everyday is surreal and amusing. You might not want to find a unicorn in your garden if this image were true to reality, though! However, there are many fun questions these days around unicorn poop, starting from how does it look like and how it smells?
Helping Hooves – Symbol of Difference 🏳️🌈
Perhaps because of their new association with rainbows, unicorns have also come to represent the LGBTQ+ community. People who have suffered persecution throughout history are now using rainbows to remind us to celebrate our differences and appreciate all the vivid colors of humanity. Unicorns have become a symbol of this thanks to their link with color, and perhaps because of their amazing healing properties.
Unicorn as between male power and feminine energy
It’s also possible that the association helps transgender people. In the past, the unicorn has represented both male power and feminine energy. It walks somewhere between the sexes and is often presented as sexless, so it can stand in for people anywhere on the spectrum. This makes it a wonderful representation of people’s differences.
Perhaps in a more playful way, the LGBTQ+ community are reminding the world that they should be celebrated as much as unicorns have been. They may also be teasing those who believe LGBTQ+ people do not exist.
The Unicorn Of Scotland
The unicorn is such an important symbol that sometime before the 15th century, it became associated with Scotland’s crest of arms. It symbolized the harmony of the rule, but also male power, as Scottish-At-Heart explains.
The other associations mentioned, including freedom-loving, beautiful, and courageous, might also explain why it became their symbol. When Scotland later united with England, the image of the unicorn was joined with the English image of the lion to form a new crest of arms.
Visitscotland also explains, why the Scottish unicorn is always shown as bounded by a golden chain, around the neck and the body of the unicorn. The reason behind it relies on the belief that unicorn was said to be the strongest of all animals, wild and untamed. However, the chains here can symbolize the power of the Scottish king. The king that would be strong enough to tame the unicorn.
Scotts love mystery – as we know from Nessie and besides the Lake monster, there are plenty of places you can actually meet unicorns in Scotland.
“Believe in Yourself” – Symbol of Hope and Positivity
These days unicorns are literally everywhere. From TV and books up to the kids’ room and birthday cakes – filled with glitter, colors, powers, and mystery. Times, when it was possible to see those magical creatures only in mystical forests, are over.
According to Alice Fisher in The Guardian unicorns gained a reputation for being elusive- things you could never quite see or catch. But through all the possibilities these days, we still take this leap of faith in life to actually bond with this magical creature. So probably during the times we live, this sparkle and mystique will keep up the belief in us and we take those magical horses as a symbol of hope – for the better future and positivity. Actually, unicorns, in their special way, even help us to believe in magic and ourselves. It is not rare that unicorns are symbolized with the self-belief.
Wherever we look in the world, the amazing nature of unicorns continues to enthrall and enchant people. They represent power, purity, masculinity, femininity, freedom, healing, and many other things. Perhaps this is why we remain captivated and curious, always reshaping the unicorn so it silver hooves continue to leave their prints on our imaginations.
Unicorns are not living only in “once-upon-a-time” stories and do not only belong to the glittery corner of a kid’s room or colorful cereal box. These beautiful imaginary creatures can represent so many things that what they mean to me is probably quite different from what they mean to you! For me unicorns symbolize magic and fantasy… and there are a few things in this world I adore more.