Raccoon Omens Spiritual and Meaning

The raccoon possesses a distinctive appearance—the masked face, ringed tail, and human-like little hands—so it’s no wonder that an encounter with a raccoon might trigger questions of spiritual significance. So, what is the spiritual meaning of a raccoon sighting? Also, what omens and symbolism do they convey? Lastly, we’ll look at traditional beliefs involving raccoons.

Are Raccoons Good Omens or Bad Omens?

Whether raccoons are a good omen or a bad omen really depends on your personal perspective and your intuition at the time of seeing the raccoon. After all, they are famously trickster spirits. Now, tricksters are sometimes malevolent. They often seek to punish the arrogant and selfish for their unpleasant behavior. However, not all tricksters are so mean-spirited. Typically, the lessons tricksters teach are intended to be helpful. For example, according to Menominee beliefs, the raccoon teaches us that we should not be distrustful of our closest companions. And that’s a super positive thing! Also, raccoons represent so many other positive things. Raccoons stand for intelligence, dexterity, cleanliness, adaptability and abundance. So, overall, raccoons are indeed a good omen.

What Are Trickster Spirits?

When examining the spiritual meaning of a raccoon sighting, the best place to start is the connection to the concept of the trickster spirit. This is because it is that mischievous energy that frames all other meaning associated with the raccoon.

trickster spiritual meaning

So, what are trickster spirits anyway? From Anansi in West Africa, to the Curupira of the Amazon rainforest, from leprechauns of the Emerald Isle, to the tanuki of Japan—trickster spirits are everywhere. Trickster spirits are elusive figures, typically relying on sneakiness, wit, intelligence, and craftiness to get the better of people. They’re often concerned with amusing themselves, and so play tricks on people. While, sometimes the tricks are just for a laugh, other times they’re intended to mete out justice or “lessons” to people who act abusively or selfishly. Also, trickster spirits are typically associated with the forest—being able to appear from, and disappear into, the woods with the utmost of ease.

The Raccoon as a Trickster Spirit

So, maybe you’re already seeing the connection with the raccoon? Like the typical trickster spirit, the raccoon is crafty and smart. Also, like the trickster spirit it uses that wit to get the better of you. Have you ever had a raccoon get into your trash? Well, there you have it—it sure might have felt like the raccoon was playing a trick on you. This is especially true if the little blighter comes back a second night, and still manages to get into the trash in spite of you trying to secure the lid. Could it be that the raccoon trickster spirit is teaching you a lesson? Secure your trash!

The spiritual message there is important though. When you feel as though a trickster spirit has targeted you for some trickery, it’s time to reflect on your behavior. Are you mistreating other people without realizing it? Also, it could be that you are not respecting Mother Nature as much as you probably should. Therefore, advice here is to engage in a period of introspection and focus on a broad sense of humility. What more can you do for others and what more can you do to respect and care for the natural world?

The Importance of the Color Gray

Color is a nice thing to think about when pondering meaning. The symbolic meaning of some colors is well-known—red is for passion, blue is for deep thought, etc—but the color gray’s meaning is probably less well-known. But, grey is a super meaningful color. Moreover, its meaning is quite poignant. And gray is the color of a raccoon!

grey gray door
By David Schott from Redmond, Washington, USA – Finished repair
CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52765685

Overall, gray is a very ambivalent color. Sometimes it’s good to have strong convictions. But, more often than not, it’s more helpful to have a broad understanding that acknowledges the complexity and contradiction in things. This is especially true of people, because if you can imagine their perspective and how complex their feelings might be, you’re less prone to unfair judgement. That is, you’re less likely to assign a person as black or white, good or bad. So, that’s what the raccoon represents—it represents taking people for what they are, understanding their individuality, and being cool with that.

Additionally, the color gray stands for intellect. And smarts are something that the raccoon has in abundance. So, let’s combine the meanings: the raccoon may appear in life as a messenger that you should be more accepting of the contradictions in others around you, and to do that in an intelligent way. After all, to rush to a quick judgement and assign somebody a simple label like “they’re bad/good” isn’t a very smart analysis, is it?

What do the Raccoon’s Tail Rings Represent?

The rings on a raccoon’s tail are very distinctive. But, spiritually speaking, what do they represent?

Well, that’s a fun question. Of course, there’s the connection to fidelity in the form of a wedding or engagement ring. So, when exchanged between lovers, a ring can represent the promising of yourself to another. But, that’s only one facet of the symbolism of rings. Also, it isn’t particularly appropriate when it comes to a raccoon’s rings. This is because, unlike when we humans exchange rings, the raccoon comes by its ringed tail inherently.

rings raccoon tail spiritual meaning
If you can, count the rings on a raccoon’s tail.

So, what else can rings represent? Rings represent oneness, eternity, and most of all, the endless cycle of eternity, i.e. birth, life, death, rebirth ad infinitum. Does that mean that the raccoon has a strong connection to oneness, wholeness, completeness, and the universe? Yes, of course, but is that connection more so than other lifeforms on our planet? Not especially. Typically, flying animals represent a better connection to the heavens, i.e. the universe. Whereas, obligate predators—animals that send others to the next life—are a better symbol of the endless cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Contrast and Complexity, Rings Light and Dark

Raccoon tail rings are representative of something else. A raccoon’s tail rings stand for the divine feminine energy of the natural world, i.e. Mother Nature. Moreover, their contrasting color represents natural balance. Dark, light, dark, light, and so on and so forth. This combination of light and dark is also reminiscent of the yin and yang symbolism.

The yin-yang symbol stands for the inherent balance and connection between dark and light. As such, we can take that message from the dark and light balance found in the raccoon’s tail, i.e. it can represent the balance of the yin-yang.

Is there a personal message to you concerning the balance of light and dark? Well, that’s something you will know instinctively, i.e. does it resonate with you? If it does, then you should focus on balance and the gentle and natural navigation of challenges. This is, of course, in opposition to struggling against challenges. That might sound a bit wishy washy, but if somebody comes at you with big yin energy, then flow naturally to the role of yang, and vice versa.

A common example used is that of a pebble. It is dropped into a pool of placid water. Naturally, ripples radiate out from where the stone was dropped. Those tiny waves possess peaks and troughs. Our lives, like the ripples, have ups and downs. It can be tempting and habitual to obsess over the lows in our lives, but that obsession and struggle can make the suffering extra severe. Instead, remember that struggling can be counterproductive, and focus on the reality that a high will follow a low.

Raccoon Intelligence

We mentioned above that the raccoon is associated with trickster spirits. Also, under the color section, we mention the significance of the color gray and that part of what it represents is intelligence. But, that isn’t where the raccoon’s links to intelligence end. No! Raccoons are notoriously intelligent creatures. Research has discovered, time after time, that raccoons show wonderful intelligence. For example, they learn to avoid dangerous traffic spots. Also, one of their well-known abilities, is that they are smart enough to circumvent complex trash locks to get at our discarded food. The evidence that raccoons are very smart indeed, is strong. In fact, it is currently believed that raccoons are much smarter than dogs and sit just below monkeys on the smartness scale.

YouTube video from the
BBC Earth Unplugged channel.

So, putting aside the scientific and refocusing on the spiritual: what can we take from this in terms of spirituality? Well, it could be as simple as asking ourselves, “what can we learn from the raccoon?” And the answer would be equally simple. Because, as human beings, we’ve been gifted a fantastic intellect. Sometimes we might not feel so smart, because we get caught up in comparing ourselves to others. But, that’s not a fair thing to do. The better thing to focus on is what can I do to advance my goals via my intelligence? When the raccoon comes across a secured trash can, it does its best to find away around that obstacle. So, that’s what you should do, too. Instead of just accepting that a barrier is a barrier, realize that there is a way around every barrier. Success is possible.

Raccoon Dexterity

Being smart is great, but you need more than just smarts to get anything done. People joke about dolphins, you know, about how smart they are, but they just don’t have hands. If only dolphins had hands, maybe they could build giant underwater cities. Luckily for raccoons, though, they do have hands! And they sure do put them to use. They’ve been known to combine their intelligence with their dexterous little hands to open all manners of doors and locking mechanisms.

raccoon hands symbolize dexterity

So, this means that the raccoon comes to you as a messenger that you are, with your hands, able to achieve what you want in life. This could be even more literal, i.e. think about job opportunities using your hands. It doesn’t just have to be about gainful employment, though. In fact, it could be that the raccoon is present in your life to advise you to engage in a crafty hobby so as to either raise your mood and vibration or, perhaps, the hobby would open up new opportunities to you.

Either way, learn from the raccoon, and don’t let your hands go idle.

Raccoon Adaptability

Smarts and hands, they go pretty far. But, you also need to be broadly adaptable. The raccoon, given its intelligence and its grabby little hands, was always going to be an adaptable creature. But, it possesses something else that makes it supremely adaptable: the raccoon is a total omnivore. It’ll eat almost anything. So, when you’re smart, you’re not a fussy eater, and you can work with your hands, you’ll get ahead wherever you are.

And, of course, that’s the spiritual message to take from the raccoon: be adaptable. Also, the raccoon teaches you exactly how to be adaptable. Firstly, be smart. Next, be handy and driven—if something needs to be done, especially handiwork, then do it and do it immediately! Then, don’t let your environment bother you—this is especially true about what you eat, i.e. if there’s no food you know you like on the menu or at the store, then just try something new. In fact, try something you think you won’t like. You never know, you might like it!

Mother Nature’s Abundance: Take What You Need

The concept of personal possessions is core to human society, i.e. this belongs to me. The raccoon, on the other hand, couldn’t care less who something “belongs” to. If it’s hungry, and you’re not around, it’s gonna eat your food. We might be mad about that, but really it isn’t fair to be upset with the poor old raccoon. Because, after all, it’s hungry and it doesn’t know or care about our social standards or system of laws.

mother earth

And what can we learn from this? Well, we have to be a bit careful about what we learn from this. Everybody knows it’s not kind, fair, or legal to take other people’s stuff. However, it’s also not kind to yourself (or the people you love) to pass up opportunities to take what you need when it’s freely available. Maybe you’re a little sheepish or too polite? Well, look at the raccoon and remember… take what you need. It’s okay to do that because, after all, Mother Nature provides absolute abundance. There’s always more than enough for everybody, all the time. So take from Mother Nature’s bounty, and share it with others, and teach others how to benefit from what she offers. Everybody can have enough all the time!

Raccoons and Numerology

Some animals convey obvious numerological values based on the numbers in a particular pattern on their body. For example, the three banded armadillo always communicates the message from the number three. Raccoons, however, don’t always have the same amount of rings on their tails, therefore they don’t always convey the same message. So, if you want to take a numerological message from a raccoon sighting, then it would require you to count the rings on its tail. Which, if the racoon is alive, can be frightfully difficult. Also, if the raccoon is dead on the side of the road, pulling over to count the rings would not be a wise thing to do—the raccoon would be pretty gross, causing a health risk to you, and also ongoing traffic would be very dangerous. So, the best advice here is don’t go out of your way to count the rings on a raccoon’s tail. Only do count them when it is safe and easy to do so.

Focusing on the dark bands rather than the light, then a raccoon can have between five and seven dark rings on its tail. Therefore, to understand the raccoon’s full range of possible numerological meanings we need to look at three numbers: five, six, and seven!

Meaning of the Number Five

What does it mean if you see a raccoon with five dark rings on its tail? Well, let’s take a quick look at the meaning of the number five.

Five is a super important number in numerology. This is because five represents the five core numbers: life path number, birthday number, expression number, personality number, and heart’s desire number.

Five also stands for curiosity. Which, if you’ve ever watched a raccoon go about its business, then you’d know they’re curious little critters. As such, to see a raccoon with five bands on its tail is a strong message to embrace your curiosity. Let your interests and passions drive your enthusiasm.

Also, the number five represents you, the human—that is, five is the number of the human body. This is because it represents the four limbs plus the head that controls the limbs, to total up to the number five.

Five also has other meanings beyond stricter numerological traditions. For example, in tarot, five is a number of transformation. This is because the five of pentacles, wands, swords, and cups all represent the middle of the journey along that particular suits path. So, when you embody the middle of that journey, you are in the very midst of transforming from X into Y.

So, a raccoon with five rings on its tail represents a curious and transformational experience.

Meaning of the Number Six

For a raccoon with six bands on its tail, the meaning is, of course, different. Because it is an even number, six is more stable than the number five. Think about it like a kitchen table, a table with six legs positioned evenly under the tabletop—that’d be a pretty steady table indeed. It wouldn’t rock or wobble. So, that’s what a six banded raccoon represents—stability and security at home.

In numerology, though, the number six conveys other very specific things. For example, it stands for unconditional and very supportive love.

Meaning of the Number Seven

A raccoon with seven rings on its tail? What does it mean? Seven is one of those numbers, everybody knows something about—LUCKY SEVEN! Right? And that’s true, the number seven is believed to be a number of good luck. That belief isn’t just a Western one, either. According to Japanese traditional beliefs, there are seven lucky gods. So, when a raccoon with seven rings on its tail crosses your path, it might be time to go out and buy that lottery ticket! You never know.

But, the number seven has way more meaning that just “good luck”.

In the Pythagorean tradition, seven was believed to be especially important because it consists of the physical (i.e. the number four) and the spiritual (i.e. the number three).

Think Raccoons Are Gross? Think Again!

It’s easy to think of raccoons as “unclean” animals. After all, they eat trash! But, we have to be fair to them. Because in reality they are quite clean creatures, and are well-known for their habit of washing their food clean in water before they eat it.


As such, the raccoon represents the importance of cleanliness. This is an especially pertinent message when it comes to food—make sure you’re “eating clean”. That means, remember to avoid foods that, ultimately, you know will make you sick. Additionally, the raccoon can come as a reminder to wash your food thoroughly before eating it so as to avoid an upset stomach. This is especially true of foods that we don’t cook, i.e. salads.

Raccoon Crossing the Street – What Does it Mean?

Unfortunately, raccoons often try to cross busy streets. It’s not safe, but they do it anyway! So, what is the spiritual meaning of seeing a raccoon run across your path while driving? Well, the meaning of such an event can be deciphered by combining the meaning of the road and the meaning of the raccoon. That is, their “intersection” (pun intended, I guess).

So, what do roads stand for? It’s pretty obvious, really. Roads represent travel, journey, movement, and connection. However, it doesn’t always have to be literal travel. Although, that doesn’t mean it isn’t literal either. The meaning of the road could relate to an actual journey, like a road trip to see family at Thanksgiving, or it could represent something more symbolic like a journey from an old job to a new job. Rely on your instinct to know which it is, i.e. if it resonates with you then follow that feeling.

Let’s think about what we’ve learned about raccoon spiritual meaning and symbolism so far—more than anything else, raccoons stand for tricky intelligence, dexterity, adaptability and cleanliness. So, add that to the meaning of roads. Therefore, when you engage in your journey (whether literal or symbolic), you should be like the raccoon. So, be tricky and clever to overcome obstacles between you and your goals. Don’t take too many risks though, i.e. keep it clean, keep it safe. Above all else, though, to succeed in your journey you must embody the raccoon spirit’s strongest trait: adaptability.

Raccoon in Your Trash – What Does it Mean?

Sure, we all already know what it means when there’s a raccoon in your trash—it means that rotisserie chicken you threw out yesterday still smells pretty good. Or, well, it smells good to a hungry raccoon, at least.

raccoon in the trash
By Steve from washington, dc, usa – Busted!!,
CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3974965

But no, in all seriousness, the spiritual meaning of a raccoon scavenging in your trash can is actually all about that discarded rotisserie chicken (or whatever wasted food). The raccoon is absolutely determined to take the food available to it. That is, the raccoon does not possess our senses of “shame” and “pride”. If it’s hungry, it’ll take something, and it’ll eat it. And while, eating bad or discarded food is dangerous for your health, wasting good food because you “don’t feel” like eating it can be a problem at times.

How that problem manifests, though, can vary. For example, you have bags of frozen broccoli in the freezer but decide to get take out—you end up eating something that isn’t as good for you and costs more. So, yeah, think about eating what you already have as long as it’s good for you.

Menominee Beliefs

The Menominee people retell a story of two blind men and a raccoon. In the story, the raccoon uses its wit and trickiness to get the better of the blind men. The racoon causes them to turn on each other. After which, the raccoon reveals his foul play and admonishes the men for not trusting each other more. The full story, well worth a read, can be found on the excellent Native-Languages.org website.

Raccoons in Japan Aren’t Raccoons!

Japan has an animal that kind of looks like a raccoon. In fact, its common name in English is a reference to its similarity to the raccoon—we call it the “raccoon dog”. But, in actuality, the raccoon dog—tanuki, to give it its proper name—is not very closely related to the raccoon at all. The tanuki is in the same family as dogs, Canidae, whereas the raccoon has its own family, Procyonidae. The Procyonidae family includes other American animals like kinkajous and coatis (both of which are adorable).

difference between raccoons and tanuki

Even though raccoons and tanukis aren’t that closely related, it’s worth taking a quick look at the spiritual and superstitious beliefs associated with the tanuki because they’re super interesting.

First of all, the American raccoon and the Japanese tanuki share status as trickster spirits. So, they have more than just their appearance in common. Tanukis, though, have a very specific set of abilities that help them trick people. For example, they are famous shapeshifters and can transform into almost anything. In the olden days, the tanuki was broadly accepted to be a “bad omen”. But, over time, that association changed. Nowadays, the tanuki is seen as more of a playful trickster rather than a malevolent trickster. In addition to be a positive and playful symbol, the tanuki now represents abundance and financial wealth. As such, tanuki statues are often placed outside restaurants to coax indulgent spending and experiences from patrons.

Raccoon Spirit Animal, Totem Animal, and Power Animal

It’s important to start by making it clear that spirit animals, totem animals, and power animals are not the same thing. But, nevertheless, the raccoon version of these three different concepts conveys similar effects. A spirit animal is something that appears to you, seemingly randomly, but in reality it has presented itself with a purpose and message of support for you. Whereas, a totem animal is something you feel a deeper connection to consciously—your totem animal is something you feel like, on some level, are one with. Lastly, a power animal you can actively request its assistance, e.g. if you need a particular power, then find an animal that conveys that power and ask, humbly, for its assistance.

So, with the raccoon, as a spirit, totem, or power animal, you will benefit from its relentless ingenuity. That is, you will be able to access your intelligence and be able to put it to good use in advancing your most basal needs in life, i.e. access to food (or money, since food can depend on that). As a side effect, you might feel a little mischievous—being tricky is a core element of the raccoon spirit.

Spiritual Meaning of a Dead Raccoon

It’s always upsetting to see a raccoon on the side of the road, still and lifeless. So, it’s not always easy to say that that isn’t a “negative omen”. Death, in terms of symbolism, isn’t necessarily about the ultimate end. Instead, it represents the end of a cycle. And, of course, cycles repeat. So, when a particular era in your life comes to an end, that’s okay, because something new (and possibly better) will come in its place.

So, what ending cycles does a dead raccoon convey?

First of all, let’s remember that the raccoon represents a very tricky spirit indeed. It is by no means a malevolent tricky spirit inherently, but it can be. So, when you encounter a dead raccoon, it could be that the message is that a phase in your life where people were being less than honest with you is coming to an end.

Next, let’s think about the raccoon as an emblem for intelligence. As such, a dead raccoon can warn you to be aware of a period of time where your wits might fail you. There’s a chance you might make some pretty dumb mistakes or decisions. Remember, though, that bad omens like this aren’t set in stone. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Sometimes our angels send us omens like this to give us the help we need to avoid making bad decisions. So, if you do see a dead raccoon, take extra time to reflect on all decisions you make. If you need to make a decision, but you feel insecure about it, then seek out somebody who has successfully navigated that issue themselves. Remember, people like to give advice, but if they haven’t achieved whatever it is, then their advice isn’t based on first hand experience. Instead, their advice is based on their imagination and preconceptions.

Raccoon Tattoo Meaning

A raccoon tattoo doesn’t have any rigid coded meaning. Instead, the meaning of a raccoon tattoo will be personal to the individual who decided or decides to get the tattoo. But, because raccoons are generally considered to be cute, clever, and tricky (see: silly), then it’s fair to assume that anybody who would get a raccoon tattoo is likely lighthearted, with a great sense of wit.

Also, if you are looking to invoke the powers of the raccoon—ingenuity, determination, adaptability, intelligence, cleanliness—then getting a tattoo would be something that could help you manifest those powers.

Raccoon Dream Meaning

Dream meanings are, of course, pretty personal. Think about it, if you’ve lived your whole life with a fear of a rabid raccoon attacking you, then dreaming of a raccoon would be pretty nightmarish. But, we have to be careful to make the distinction between psychological interpretation and spiritual interpretation. Both can be useful, but when it comes to spirituality it’s easier to give broader advice to a large and diverse audience.


So, when it comes to spiritual meaning, what does it mean to dream of a raccoon? Firstly, remember that dreaming of something, in terms of omens, is not that different from encountering the thing in the waking world. So, all the usual raccoon stuff applies. That means that to dream of a raccoon is to be reminded by the raccoon spirit of the benefits of intelligence, dexterity, and trickiness.

However, dreams come with a slightly different meaning. This is because, usually, dreams occur at night. The night is ruled by the moon, which is to do with deep and secret emotions. So, to dream of a raccoon could mean that you are having unconscious emotions relating to some of the things raccoons stand for, like intelligence or trickery.

Further Reading