The Symbolism of White Doves


White doves have been powerfully positive symbols since ancient times. Different cultures have different takes on what a white dove represents. Popular meanings include peace, purity and love. Seeing doves at gatherings like weddings and funerals are a symbol of good luck. 

Doves are lasting symbols in art. They’ve been used as symbols of the divine across multiple cultures and belief systems. We’ve compiled a list of popular meanings to help you decide what it might mean if you see a white dove.

What Do Doves Symbolize?

Doves symbolize several qualities. They’re closely associated with gods and goddesses in Ancient Greece. In China, they mean longevity and peace. In Christianity, doves are symbols of love, faith, purity and peace. Curious about some of the main things white doves symbolize?

Fertility and Love

Doves nourish their children with a special milk that’s high in protein, fat and growth hormone. “The Continuum Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism of Art” hypothesizes that this could be why doves became a symbol of the regenerative, fertile powers of the Great Goddess. In Mesopotamia, doves represented the goddess of love and fertility, Ishtar. In Greek Art, Aphrodite has a dove. It’s a symbol of spiritual love.

Fast, Reliable Messengers

Doves may have been among the first domesticated birds. Humans are able to train them to fly as far as 1,000 miles and return home. This is why they’re symbols of faithful, fast messengers across many cultures. Doves as messengers appear in Homer’s Greece, Hindu and India.


White doves are widely considered to be symbols of peace. The Old Testament of the Bible tells the story of Noah’s ark. Noah sent a dove to check on the flood waters three times. The second time, the dove returned with an olive branch and Noah understood that God’s punishing floods were over. The dove didn’t come back the last time. Noah knew it was safe to venture out of the ark. The image of a dove holding the olive branch remains a popular symbol of peace.

The Holy Spirit

The white dove has long been associated with the Holy Spirit in Christianity. Christians believe in the Holy Trinity. This is made up of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The symbol of the dove likely comes right from the New Testament of the Bible. In Matthew 3:16, the Bible describes the “Spirit of God descending like a dove.” It was described in a similar fashion in the gospels of Mark, Luke and John.

Many cultures and religions see the color white as symbolic of purity. In Christianity, the white dove represents the purity of the Holy Spirit.

What Does It Mean When You Dream About a White Dove?

White doves are positive symbols among different cultures around the world. Dreaming about white doves could have several possible meanings. You could view it as a sign that things are peaceful now or soon will be in your life.

Flying doves bring harmony and balance. They may also represent achieving your goals or a period of intense joy that’s on the way. If a dove perches on your arm in your dream, you may be guilty of wearing your heart on your sleeve. Or, you may be in need of finding more peaceful moments through prayer or meditation.