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Spiritual Meaning of Monitor Lizard

What is the Spiritual meaning of monitor lizard? The name monitor comes from their large size (relative to other lizards), long, flexible bodies and their ability to move in any direction. They have been observed entering the water and swimming. Check out the spiritual meaning of seeing a baby lizard and what do lizards represent spiritually?

It is generally believed that seeing a lizard in your house means that something new is coming into your life, that your life is being ‘refreshed’ or that good luck, prosperity and abundance is coming to you.

Monitor lizards are sometimes called “varanids”, though this usage technically only refers to members of the genus Varanus.

In Hinduism, the monitor lizard represents the goddess Meenakshi. Meenakshi’s main symbol is a monitor lizard’s head, which represents protection from illness or danger. The lizard’s body represents long life and prosperity, while its tail represents wisdom and knowledge.

Spiritual Meaning Of Seeing A Baby Lizard

The monitor lizard is a reptile known as the water monitor lizard and the Komodo dragon. The monitor lizard has been around since the time of dinosaurs.

The Monitor Lizard symbolizes strength because it is capable of lifting more than its own weight with its tail alone. It symbolizes protection because it uses its long body to protect itself from predators. It symbolizes vigilance because it watches over its territory and will attack any other creature that invades their territory.

The monitor lizard is a very territorial animal. It will attack any creature that enters their territory including humans if they get too close to their nest or eggs!

The monitor lizard has many different meanings depending on what country you live in or what culture you belong to. In some cultures it is considered good luck to keep one as a pet but in others it’s considered bad luck! If someone gives you one as a gift then that means “you’re going places!”

Spiritual Meaning of Monitor Lizard

Goannas radiated from the north to Africa and Australia during the Miocene epoch, around 15 million years ago and have an important place in our history and culture.

The Perentie is Australia's largest goanna. Photographed on Hamelin Reserve by Ben Parkhurst.
The Perentie is Australia’s largest goanna. Photographed on Hamelin Reserve by Ben Parkhurst.

Perhaps the most famous monitor lizard is Indonesia’s Komodo Dragon, which can grow up to 3m long. Australia was once home to a giant (Varanus priscus) twice this size!

Today there are 27 extant species of these large lizards in Australia, most are carnivorous. All have a similar body shape to their original ancestors and have sharp teeth and claws to help them hunt and eat.

Size is the distinguishing feature of Australian monitors; the largest is the Perentie (V. giganteus), which grows over 2m long, and the smallest: the Short-tailed Monitor (V. brevicuda), grows to just 20cm.

Monitors are commonly dark-coloured or white and orange-yellow in the desert. Most have camouflage bands, speckles or spots relating to their environments, though these differ between species and age groups.

Behaviour of goannas

A tree climbing Heath Monitor on our Monjebup Reserve, WA. Photo Jiri Lochman.
A tree climbing Heath Monitor on our Monjebup Reserve, WA. Photo Jiri Lochman.

Goannas mostly live on the ground and dig holes for nests or burrows to protect eggs from predators and provide a constant temperature for embryo development. The Heath Monitor (also known as Rosenberg’s Monitor) and Lace Monitor will dig holes into the side of termite mounds to lay their eggs.

This is clever as the termites then rebuild the nest around the eggs, keeping them safe and at a constant temperature. Unlike Heath Monitors, mother Lace Monitors will return when the young hatch, to help dig them out.

Several species, including the Perentie, hibernate during the coldest months (from about May to August). Ridge-tailed Monitors get their name from the raised and pointed scales on their tails, which they wedge into rock crevices, making it harder for predators to pull them out.

Goannas are surprisingly good climbers. In fact, Lace Monitors are known as Tree Goannas and are thought to eat more bird eggs than other goanna species.

The Sand Goanna is also known as the Racehorse Goanna. Pictured at Charles Darwin Reserve, photo Ben Parkhurst.
The Sand Goanna is also known as the Racehorse Goanna. Pictured at Charles Darwin Reserve, photo Ben Parkhurst.

While they may appear slow, goannas are fast runners and will sprint short distances on their hind legs – often to the safety of water or a tree. The Sand Monitor is sometimes called Gould’s Monitor or the Racehorse Goanna for its speed. Goannas are also known to rear up on their hind legs to scare off attackers or fight, but they’ll also do it to look around for threats from a higher vantage point.

Water Monitors are excellent swimmers and can stay underwater for several minutes hunting for food such as fish, frogs, crabs or shrimps.

What do goannas eat?

Monitors eat just about anything they can catch and swallow whole. Prey is dependent on the size of the goanna but includes insects, birds, eggs, small reptiles and mammals.

In northern Australia crocodile eggs are a favourite food. They’ll also scavenge for carrion and are attracted to rotting meat.

As predators and scavengers goannas play an important role in each of the ecosystems they inhabit. They maintain population numbers of prey species and keep disease loads low through the removal of carcasses.

A Rosenberg's Monitor at Scottsdale Reserve. Photo Brett Peden.
A Rosenberg’s Monitor at Scottsdale Reserve. Photo Brett Peden.

They use their long forked tongues as snakes do, flickering to detect prey through scent molecules in the air.

Where do goannas live?

If you do any travelling in outback Australia you’ve got a good chance of seeing goannas. They’re mostly solitary, except for mating season in spring and summer.

It was only in 2005 that goannas were discovered to have venom glands similar to snakes. However, they don’t have enough venom to cause serious harm and lack fangs to inject into prey. Nonetheless, goannas have a great deal of bacteria in their mouths and a bite will often turn into a nasty infection, so caution and a healthy dose of respect are called for if you see a monitor in the bush!

How are monitors threatened?

Threats to Australian monitors include habitat loss due to land clearing for agriculture and urban space. Monitors prey on Cane Toads and suffer from the poison glands exuded by the toads, so the spread of Cane Toads has caused declines in many areas, most recently the Kimberley.

Pygmy Desert Monitor at Eurardy Reserve. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
Pygmy Desert Monitor at Eurardy Reserve. Photo Ben Parkhurst.

Invasive mammals and generalist predators such as foxes and cats may also prey on young monitors.

What Do Lizards Represent Spiritually

The monitor lizard is a symbol of protection and strength.

Monitor lizard is a symbolic animal that represents the ability to be able to see things clearly and understand them. In general, monitor lizards are also considered wise creatures, with their ability to survive in various habitats around the world.

This is due to the fact that it can survive even when human activity, like construction or deforestation, damages its habitat.

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Lizard Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)

lizard portrait

In some cultures, the lizard represents shining light. From the Roman goddess Minerva to the Moche people of Peru, the lizard has a wide range of meanings and significances.

Lizard Symbolism and Meaning

Some lizard species are capable of sacrificing a part of their tails. When the lizard is trapped or threatened by a predator, its tail falls off allowing the lizard to escape the threat. This ties the lizard symbolically to the idea of sacrificing one part for the sake of the whole.

Lizards and humans have had a close relationship since times immemorial.  

lizard on a leaf

In Egyptian hieroglyphics, the symbol of the lizard was representative of plentiful abundance.

A lizard in one’s house is often seen to represent an old friend or acquaintance.

In some Hindu superstitions, lizards’ chirping is seen as auspicious or holy. (1)

Lizards have even found their way into Shakespeare. In Macbeth, the witches boil up a magical brew using “lizard’s leg” as an ingredient. (2)

The Italian word for lizard is “lucertola,” which means the “shining light.” As mentioned above, the lizard can symbolize light and magic. (3)

Lizard Native American Symbolism

Lizard symbolism is very prominent in a number of Native American cultures. For the Native American Anasazi, Hohokam, Mimbres, and Mogollon cultures, the horned lizard was a common artistic motif. The imagery of the horned lizard was commonly featured on decorated pottery. (4)

In many tribes, including the Hopi, the lizard was associated with sacred medicine and powerful healing energies. (5)

The symbolism of lizard is often linked to strength; both physical and spiritual. The Piman people called upon the potent healing power of the lizard to “cure” them of persistent illnesses. Cures were affected by singing songs in praise of the lizard spirit and also by placing a lizard upon the patient’s body. 

In mythology, the Mayan lizard god was believed to have created the Earth. The Mayans connected lizards with cosmic power beyond the confines of time and space.

lizard portrait

In many Native American traditions, lizards were connected to dreams and prophecies. In some of these traditions, the lizard is associated with Dreamtime and intuitive psychic abilities. 

The Native American lizard symbol often represents changes, cycles, duality, and mystery. Lizard icons also stood for subtlety, sensitivity, psychic abilities, intuition, and quickness.

Because lizards often use stealth to catch their prey, the lizard can also be connected to patience, camouflage, and hidden danger.

Some lizards, like the spiny-tailed iguana, were also sacrificed in some Mayan rituals and thus held special significance through these rituals.

Lizard Eastern Symbolism

In Chinese culture, lizards, crocodiles, alligators, and other reptiles are associated with the powerful symbolism of dragons. On the plains of Northern China, where rains are very important for crops and also rather scarce, the people pray to lizard rain deities. 

In as early as 6th Century BC, people celebrated rain rituals using lizard icons and images followed by a procession of dancers. 

As part of the rainmaking rituals, people placed water lizards in wooden jars. This connected the lizards to alligators, which were in turn linked to the rain Gods. Ten young boys would then incessantly beat the jars for days and nights with green bamboo sticks until it rained.

lizard on a ground

The sleek and sinuous lizard is regarded as an erotic animal, and therefore a symbol of sexual activity in Japan. The lizard’s graceful shape appears to justify its use in the small – scale applied arts of Japan.

Lizards are also symbols of love in the East. Used in the imagery of netsukes, or intricately formed wooden tools or objects, the lizard is a love-provoking amulet. 

In ancient times, people would distill love potions from lizards because of the lizard’s symbolic association with love. This drink was also sold at druggists in small earthen pots with the dosage marked on the pot.

Lizard Christianity symbolism

The spiritual meaning of the lizard in the Bible is generally unclean. Biblical traditions often associate reptiles with sin, deception, and impurity. Although Polynesians and Maoris associated lizards with God, early Christianity associated the lizard with the devil. 

Lizards of various kinds abound in Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia; some of these are mentioned in the Bible under various Hebrew names. 

The Hebrew word for lizard means ‘creeping things which creep upon the earth.’ In Leviticus, it is stated that the Israelites considered them to be unclean.

Lizards are mentioned in Proverbs 30:24 as one of four things on earth are small but exceedingly wise. In this proverb it is said that the lizard can be caught by hand yet is found in the king’s palaces. (6)

lizard portrait

The wisdom of the lizard in this passage is a fascinating departure from the negative connotation that reptiles largely hold in Christian symbolism. The lizard is wise because it can go unnoticed in palaces and overhear the plans being made by the king. This small creature represents the wisdom of subtlety. Tiny yet mighty, the lizard can survive even in places where other creatures cannot. Lizards are at home in inhospitable desert conditions.

Lizards adapt well because they depend on their instincts. Like the lizard, we must learn to be small, inconspicuous, and yet be wise. We should, like the lizard, work quietly and powerfully and do the work of the Lord.

Lizard Celtic Symbolism

The Celts believe that the Night Goddess Evaki stole sleep from the lizard’s eyes and gave it to all living creatures. Thus the Celtic superstition of a lizard within the house indicates sleeplessness or insomnia.

The Celtic Wicca also use lizard wisdom and lizard symbolism in potion-making. Lizards are sacred to dreaming. You can call upon lizards for prophetic or meaningful dreams and visions.

Lizards are sacred to Abas, Atum, Itzamna, and Tate Rapawayema. Similarly, Monitor lizards are sacred to Ascalabus and Sir Monitor Lizard. Lizards are also symbols of agility and conservation. 

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