Wednesday, May 30, 2012


BIRDS have long been a symbol of the soul as they fly free of the earth-bound body seeking the heavens.
They represent a passage between the physical world and the spiritual.

The DOVE is the most depicted bird in religious art as it represents the Holy Spirit, and is usually seen in the Baptism of Christ and the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
In the Old Testament (especially in the Canticle of Canticles) it stood for purity and innocence.

In the story of Noah and the flood, it represented peace.
Many saints are depicted with the dove, such as Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila and the Benedictine Pope, Gregory the Great.

St. Gregory the Great

The PEACOCK was believed to be incorruptible, so represented immortality.

The EAGLE, reputed to have the power of looking directly at the sun, was a symbol of Christ gazing on the brightness of God the Father. St. John the Evangelist's symbol is the eagle.

Mike Beeman

 The SPARROW represents the love of God for even the "least" among us. Twelve sparrows can represent the twelve Apostles.

Early Christians, noting that the NIGHTINGALE sang with increasing joy as the dawn approached, made this bird the symbol of the holy joy of the righteous Christian soul, singing in the darkness of this world.

Nightingales- Tina Bone

Stephen Filarsky

 A white DUCK swimming with swans or other water birds often symbolized the spread of Christianity among the heathens.

V. Crivelli- Madonna & Child with goldfinch (detail)

The GOLDFINCH frequently appeared in pictures of the Christ Child.
It became associated with His Incarnation.

Because of its fondness for thistles and thorns it has also come to represent the Passion of the Lord.

One of my favorite bird artists, Floy Zittin

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