Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fable part 2: bird symbolism

Myths Series
Myth making: my plan
What are myths, legends, and folklore? Definitions (Quotes)
Joseph Cambell : Myths
Mythology: How they are created

Myth #1: Blood and Water - Begin
Myth #2: From them, all become
Type of Myth #1 & #2; Fable #1: part 1
Fable part 2: bird symbolism

In the last post I discussed the desire to create my first fable. But first I wanted to research how others made fables.

First I look at the 'bird'.

What have birds symbolized?

Often, bird tracks symbolize good omens and authority for Native Americans. Crows that meant wisdom and eagles that meant courage and strength. The hawk might have meant natural forces or protection from evil spirits.

Past Fables

Aesop, Greek fable storyteller, has several bird related tales.

In "The Crow and the Pitcher," the crow unable to drink from the low sitting water uses stones put into the pitcher to bring the water up until it could drink.

In "The Farmer and the Nightingale," after being caged by the farmer, the bird tricks the farmer. The bird does this by promising things that seem more than what the farmer really receives.

In "The Ant and the Dove," the story shows a good karma effect where the dove saves the ant. The ant then saves the dove.

In "The Fox and the Crow," the story shows not to trust flatterers.

In most of the other tales listed, the either the bird's song, splendor, or wisdom - very similar to Native American beliefs.


Christian bird symbols
In Christianity, the dove stood for one member of the trinity of gods.

The eagle is used as a symbol of Christ, John the baptist, and baptism.

The pelican is used as a symbol of atonement and redemption.

The phoenix has been used as a symbol of the resurrection.


Chinese bird symbols
In Chinese tales, birds sometimes bring help or visit virtuous people. Owls may be a sign of ill omen.

The hen is one of the Chinese zodiac animals. It may represent wisdom, courage, loyalty, and determination.

The crane symbolizes longevity and wisdom. The crow is a symbol of filial piety. It's call can be considered an ill omen.

A dove is a symbol of long life and fidelity.

Ducks are symbols of happiness and the mandarin duck is loyalty.

An eagle symbolizes strength and lonely struggle.

The phoenix is a symbol of joy and peace.

Birds in dreams

birds in dreams
Birds in dreams can represent goals, aspirations, and hopes.

Next post

In the next post I'll look at the snake.


  1. Also, psychopomps!

    Looking forward to this series, I'm a big fan of bird myths.

  2. Spirit guides. Cool. As you can probably tell, I'm just learning about mythology and fables. It's just scattered fragments and possibilities so far.