Thursday, 27 March 2008

I saw what I took...

... to be a grey heron today. I looked around to see if anybody else had seen it or shared my wonder, but it didn't appear so. Appropriately, an online article had the following to say about this particular bird and its use as a Christian symbol.

'Since this bird is sacred to the Greek sea-god Poseidon, it is an emblem of Atlantis, the lost island paradise thought to be populated by his children. Like the crane, the heron's habit of standing on one leg earns it a reputation for contemplation, vigilance, divine or occult wisdom, and inner quietness. Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, employed a heron as one of her divine messengers. Native American legends tell of wise men who, having died, visited the earth in the bodies of herons.

... During medieval times, herons were thought to fly above the clouds to avoid getting rained on. This supposed habit led them to become symbols of the righteous who avoided the storms of this world by placing their hopes and treasures in heaven.

Herons are considered melancholy birds. White ones symbolize innocence while ash-gray ones symbolize penance. Early Christians, believing that herons shed tears of blood under stress, made this bird an emblem of Christ's agony in the garden and the sweat of blood He endured there (Lk 22:44). Like many wading birds which eat snakes, frogs, and other symbols of the evil one, herons are images of the eternal struggle of good against evil and of Christ's battle against the Devil. The purple heron is associated with the phoenix and the Benu and brings their symbolic meanings of resurrection, regeneration, and renewal to the heron family.'

No comments: