It's an undeniable fact, unicorns are absolutely everywhere ! They can be seen in films, in shops, on posters, in party costumes, in books, in advertisements. Even in the business world, we hear terms like "unicorn start-up" : this is the last place you would expect to see unicorns ! 😃
So what are unicorns ? You can probably answer easily : they are white horses with a horn. Do unicorns fly ? Yes, for those with wings. All of them are incredibly powerful and fast creatures with amazing magical powers. That sums up this mythical animal, but as we shall see, unicorns mean many different things !
Indeed, unicorns are now associated with many different aspects of our lives. Depending on the context and the person talking about them, their meaning can vary completely. In this article, we will explore some of their many meanings.
1) Unicorn Start-Up
The association of unicorns and the business world may seem completely crazy : how can you imagine men in suits talking about unicorns ? The term unicorn start-up was coined in 2013 by Aileen Lee, who had found 39 startups each worth more than a billion dollars ! The idea behind this expression is simple : this type of company is extremely rare and of great value, just like a unicorn ! People continue to talk about unicorn start-ups even today.
You probably know companies like Uber, Airbnb or Spotify, which are all unicorn start-ups. This type of company brings a major innovation that will radically change the way people consume at the time, thanks to a great idea or product. Of course, after the idea has been invented, many competitors appear on the market, but the unicorn start-up always stays one step ahead. Just like unicorns, they blaze new trails thanks to their speed and self-confidence, and are independent.
It should be borne in mind that for many people, unicorns are just wacky animals that exist only in our imagination. So we have to be careful because "start-up unicorn" can also have a pejorative meaning : it can mean that the product or the idea of the company is not credible and will never work ! 😢
2) What does the Unicorn symbolize ?
To make the link with the previous part, we can say that the unicorn symbolises both something we desire and admire, but also something elusive. If we look at the Mythology of the Unicorn, we realise how precious and revered it was. Unicorns bring happiness and luck, and are therefore much sought after by humans. However, it is very difficult to see them because they are fearful and lonely. Legend has it that only a virgin can see a unicorn.
Unicorns are considered elusive because they were once considered real creatures and not mythical. For many Europeans, narwhal horns were considered to be proof of the existence of unicorns. It was said that unicorns lived in remote places, far from humans, and that it was almost impossible to see them in one's life. Moreover, unicorns and especially their horns were believed to have magical properties such as the ability to purify poisonous waters, prolong life or heal.
Humans have always sought to achieve goals beyond their reach : considering them as unicorns undoubtedly helped them to put a touch of magic into their journeys and to make things less abstract. It has also helped them to better understand their limits, and to give more meaning to their lives.
Sometimes unicorns help us realise that the goals we are pursuing are imaginary or unrealistic. Other times, it can help us to be even more determined in trying to achieve something that we are missing. In both cases, unicorns symbolise goals full of promise that are both very close but also so difficult to achieve ! Just as if you were trying to catch a unicorn, you can't succeed in this kind of project by running headlong towards them, but with a precise strategy.
3) Definition of a Unicorn
According to the dictionary definition, the unicorn is an imaginary creature that looks like a white horse and has a horn on its forehead. Note that there are other colours than white for unicorns (have you ever heard of Rainbow Unicorns ?). In fact, we can see that throughout history, the unicorn has not always been considered a horse. Some people have said that during their travels they had heard about heavy and massive one-horned creatures. A bit like big oxen or rhinos. If you take an interest, you will see that unicorns have come in different shapes and sizes. Even if each time we are talking about a creature with a unique horn !
Today, you can call any animal (or even a person !) a unicorn with a horn added. You have probably already seen the famous unicorn cats. Not only them, of course : unicorn pandas, unicorn dogs, unicorn llamas, unicorn dolphins... the list is endless, to our great pleasure 😊 ! This is not surprising when you know that the unicorn is synonymous with unicorn which literally means "one-horned". In short, being a unicorn simply means having a horn (if possible magic !) on your forehead.
4) The Unicorn : a real good-luck charm !
Almost everyone knows that unicorns are associated with happiness and positivity ! You have probably seen it yourself if you research unicorns. But they are also associated with longevity and luck. You should know that Dreaming about Unicorns usually means that something good will happen to you ! If you've ever given someone a unicorn gift, it probably means that you wanted to bring a little joy into their life !
Unicorns have always been regarded as creatures bringing luck and hope. Seeing a unicorn or touching a unicorn is a sign that something positive is about to happen. This is one of the reasons why unicorns are so coveted. In the film The Last Unicorn, we see a human being crying with joy when he sees one ! In fact, the beauty and purity of unicorns is considered so great that it is beyond the understanding of human beings. Modern representations of unicorns usually show them in a peaceful setting, around their families. In children's cartoons, or in toy shops, they are often seen as rainbow unicorns or pink unicorns !
Unicorns are therefore associated with positive events in the life of the person who has seen them. Examples include the Qilin, the Chinese Unicorn. It was said that this fabulous creature appeared before the birth or death of a particularly important leader. This link between unicorns and luck is not as strong in the West. Rather, unicorns are linked to healing and purity. In some myths and legends, owning a unicorn horn would bring luck and fortune.
5) The Powers of the Unicorns
Unicorns also represent healing, no doubt because of their pure white colour. According to the myths surrounding the unicorn, the historian Ctesias believed that unicorn horns were used by Indian princes to be immune to poison. It was also believed that unicorn horns were used to purify polluted waters. Other stories tell that unicorns had the power to prolong life, which can be seen in popular culture today, for example in Harry Potter at the School of Wizards where Voldemore is seen drinking unicorn blood to keep himself alive, even if it comes at a price.
In the Middle Ages, nobles were prepared to pay staggering sums of money to buy unicorn horns, which were nothing more than tusks of the Narwhal, the Unicorn of the Seas. The explorer Martin Fribisher gave one to Queen Elizabeth, who kept it preciously among the crown jewels. Subsequently, narwhal horns were torn out across Europe at great cost to make plates and bowls that were believed to have the power to purify food.
Unicorns have always been regarded as non-aggressive creatures, even though they were fierce fighters if they were threatened. In the Middle Ages, they were seen as a symbol of power, which is still somewhat the case today. They are only rarely depicted as wicked or aggressive creatures, even though they may attack to defend themselves or protect other innocent animals. In general, unicorns are not a threat, but rather tend to protect and heal.
6) The Unicorn : Female and Masculine
Throughout history, unicorns have represented both femininity and virility, which may seem contradictory. In the beginning, this legendary horse was seen as a symbol of virile strength. That is why it was described as a creature vaguely resembling a goat, sometimes even with a beard. Some paintings showed unicorns as ferocious as lions or other dominant creatures.
Today, unicorns are rather associated with femininity (perhaps a little too much ?). We see unicorns with sequins, roses, rainbows, with eyelashes and just look at the unicorn products to see who they are addressed to 😉. The link between unicorns and girls probably comes from the idea of purity of virginity, and that according to the legend, unicorns can only be tamed by virgins.
Even if today's society tends to feminise unicorns, it must be borne in mind that unicorns represent both the masculine and the feminine. One can hope that this will return in time, because everyone deserves to share the admiration for unicorns !
7) The Unicorn : an LGBT Symbol
Today, unicorns are associated with the LGBT movement, there's no doubt about it ! This is perhaps due to the feminine and masculine character of the unicorns we saw just before. We can also note that both are also strongly linked to the rainbow, the emblem of LGBT people.
Unicorns are symbolic of many different things that emanate from LGBT people, such as difference, individuality and acceptance of who you are. They allow us to proudly acknowledge the existence of everyone !
8) Meaning of the White Unicorn
White unicorns bear all the classic characteristics of unicorns (such as bringing happiness, for example), and a few others as well.
Their pure white colour has led them to be associated with Christ and Christianity. The presence of the Unicorn in the Bible can be seen. Their purity and healing capacities naturally link them to the resurrection of Christ. Generally speaking, the white unicorn represents virginity and purity, and also acts as a sign that all is well in your life. They come to guide us when something goes wrong in our lives, and are companions that lead us on the right path. White unicorns have only positive connotations ! 😊
9) Meaning of the Black Unicorn
If you see a black unicorn, they generally bring the same omens as unicorns of other colours : luck, happiness, health, etc. If you have already had a dream with a black unicorn, do not hesitate to consult our blog article on this subject to see what it can mean !
Although it is true that nowadays black unicorns can have some negative connotations. Think of the superstitious people who are afraid of black cats 😺 ! Black unicorns are also synonymous with power and strength, but can also be associated with death and bad luck. In other words, as a sign of bad luck. These are the rare unicorns that can have negative interpretations, but don't worry : in general, the meanings they are given are the same as those of the white unicorn !
10) Join the Young Unicorn Movement !
As we have seen, unicorns have lived alongside humans since the dawn of time. They have taken many different forms and have been given many meanings. Unicorns can mean just about anything you can imagine, and they bring luck and happiness to young and old alike by bringing them a touch of magic.