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Your Country : Wales

PostSubject: The Healing Wisdom of Birds   Mon 17 Jan 2011 - 16:58

The Healing Wisdom of Birds: The Spirit of the Dove

This article was written by Lesley Morrison
posted under Self-Help
dove is one of those birds whose imagery seems universal. It is a
symbol of hope, purity, and faith, but many people would never think to
look any deeper into its complex and ancient past. While researching
for my book, The Healing Wisdom of Birds,
I poured through a vast pile of mythologies, goddess images, and
religious associations centered upon birds and found a history of the
dove much more intriguing than the modern day archetype.

If we cast an eye back toward the civilizations of ancient Crete, Egypt,
and Greece, we can see the dove predominate as a cultural icon,
harmonizing the apparent duality of sexuality and spiritual love.
Although revered as a symbol of peace in many places, the dove was
usually seen as the embodiment of the Goddess and her divine powers. In
Mycenaean iconography, the dove and goddess motif appeared as early as
the 16th century BCE. This icon later spread throughout Greece,
eventually evolving into the Greek goddess Aphrodite, the world’s
favorite deity of amour. Aphrodite (Venus in the Roman
pantheon) had the dove as her primary bird companion—not as a symbol of
hope or faith, but as the profound essence of fertility that springs
from sexual and emotional love.
In the ancient Minoan pantheon, the goddess who overruled fertility and
procreation had the dove as her sacred bird. The dove personifies the
idea of union with the source of life that sexual energy and
spirituality both strive to fulfill. It is an enduring symbol of the
soul but at the same time reveals the connection between earthly love
and the human need to reunite with the divine. Doves, like the goddesses
they adorned, have brought together the fundamentals of the human
experience in mythologies, art, and many religions, unifying divine love
with erotic love into one spiritual experience. This reveals to us the
undeniable relationship between the two aspects of human nature.
But later cultures downplayed the dove’s role as the sacred image of
sexuality and, as time passed, alienated the dove from its primal
symbolic foundations. The dove remains a lingering presence in the
modern world, adorning holiday cards and church paintings, but the dove
carries such a complex wisdom that is long-cherished and universally
celebrated. As the epiphany of Aphrodite, the dove was a potent force of
fertility and higher love. Later, this bird came to be the sacred bird
of Bacchus, the Roman god of fertility, wine, and ecstasy. Many of these
associations are distant today, and frowned upon by more "conservative"
organizations and religious belief systems.
But why the dove? How does a quiet, ground-feeding little bird come to evoke such potent imagery from culture to culture?
It is not a high-flying predator like the hawk, or an entertainer like
the blue jay, or a graceful swimmer like the swan. And yet its
mythologies abound and its presence celebrated for its quiet, humble,
and unrivaled purity. The dove mates for life, expressing that
old-fashioned ideal of loyalty and true love. They are affectionate and
amorous birds, and demonstrate unconditional love toward their
companions and their young. The dove reminds the universal mind of the
contentment and joys of domestic bliss.
But it seems to signal something higher and more esoteric than just
domestic simplicity. It is a purpose to be found, an ideal to pursue,
and a gentle nudge toward the light of something more divine than
ourselves. There are, of course, many such birds that inspire the human
heart to inner exploration, but the dove carries a unique place in the
grand sphere of bird symbolism. In the Tarot, the dove is seen nesting in the goblet on the ace of cups
card, gracefully depicting the everlasting life of the spirit and the
quest for the Holy Grail. When we look at history’s spiritual avatars,
like Buddha, Christ, Mother Mary, and many powerful deities in
comparison, like Zeus, Inanna, Venus, and Hachiman, we find the dove
perching nearby as a loyal companion and sometimes, an alternate form.
Many stories of divine visitations include a radiant white dove as a
symbol of God, or alternately, the spirit of God. In the Bible, John the
Baptist commented how the spirit of God descended upon him like a dove
(Matthew 3:16), and most people know of the dove’s role on Noah’s ark,
signaling dry land after the flood. Many cultures, even today, have
symbolically released doves as a gesture of freedom, hope, and most
predominantly the release of the spirit from the confines of physicality
after death. A more contemporary ceremony involves the releasing of
doves at weddings to signal the promise of fidelity, love, and a
peaceful home (although this is not a practice that holds the doves'
best interests in mind).
Although the dove has such an extensive symbolic past, the bird’s fame,
particularly as the symbol of peace, was solidified in 1949 by Pablo
Picasso, when the World Peace Congress in Paris chose his lithograph, La Colombe
("The Dove") as its emblem. From that point, the dove became the
symbol of the peace movement, and has remained such an integral part of
the human psyche ever since. Many people in the busy modern world walk
by such birds, indeed all birds, with very little thought as to what
they once stood for. Researching over forty birds for The Healing Wisdom of Birds,
I was cast back in time when everything had some kind of otherworldly
meaning, when each individual bird was once a god or goddess, or carried
a powerful message to the human spirit.
I hope the distant past of bird symbolism finds a new light in the
world. As they inch closer and closer to environmental disaster, birds
need a voice in the desolate wilderness of civilization. So the next
time you wander outdoors, cast an eye upward to see what wise and
ancient creature may be watching you from its perch—it may just be a god
in feathered guise.

Witchcraft ... Is a spiritual path.....  You walk it for nourishment of the soul, to commune with the life force of the universe, and to thereby better know your own life.

CHRISTOPHER PENCZAK ~ The Inner Temple of Witchcraft )O(

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Your Country : United States

PostSubject: Re: The Healing Wisdom of Birds   Mon 17 Jan 2011 - 17:04

Thankyou for this.
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Your Country : Wales

PostSubject: Re: The Healing Wisdom of Birds   Mon 17 Jan 2011 - 17:42

You're welcome

Witchcraft ... Is a spiritual path.....  You walk it for nourishment of the soul, to commune with the life force of the universe, and to thereby better know your own life.

CHRISTOPHER PENCZAK ~ The Inner Temple of Witchcraft )O(

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