Dove, Symbol and Totem
Birds and winged creatures in general have similar spiritual and mystical associations. They are usually seen as messengers of the gods, angels or spirits. This is why angels are depicted with bird’s wings, demons are depicted with batt wings and the God Hermes has bird wings on his sandals and travelling cap.
Shamans of such places as Siberia, Indonesia and Central Asia believed that communication with the dead for prophetic visions could be achieved by turning themselves into birds and flying to the otherworld.
The bird or other winged creatures are also often symbols of freedom. The ancient Egyptian hieroglyph of the “ba” part of the soul, is a bird with a human head, this is the part of the soul that is free to come and go from the tomb.
Many cultures believed that birds were vehicles for departed souls. The Greek word aves meant both ‘birds’ and ‘ghosts’. This is also why birds were thought to bring messages from the dead and omens. A bird tapping at your window or flying into your house, especially if the bird is white, was thought to be an omen of death. In the Australian Aboriginal culture, if a willie wagtail stopped in your path and tweeted at you, it was a sure sign that someone you loved was going to die.
Other winged creatures such as butterflies are also thought to be a symbol of the soul. There is also an omen that if the first butterfly of the year you see is white; someone you love will die that year. It is probably best not to look.
A white dove is used as the symbol of the soul in Christianity because white is the colour of divinity and a bird is a symbol of freedom.
The dove was used as a messe
nger of hope in the first testament when it brought back an olive branch for Noah, which was a sign that there was land to be found. The dove has always been a symbol of innocence and virtue, not a symbol of peace. The olive was the symbol of peace and because of the story of Noah, the dove also became a symbol of peace.
To the ancient Syrians and Babylonians white doves were considered messengers. At the Phoenician temple at Eryx, the dove was protected and honoured as a sacred companion to the goddess Ast
arte. Many goddesses have been shown holding doves or symbolised somewhere in their attire. The Syrian goddess Atargatis held a sceptre topped with a golden dove, the dove was also sacred to the Greek goddess Aphrodite and there was a wooden statue of her found in Arcadia with her holding a fish in one hand and a dove in the other.
The dove as a symbol in itself is one of hope, communication and femininity. If a dove is one of your totems you will find that you become more communicative, maternal and more in communication with the spirit world. If you see a white dove as an omen it could be a loved one that has passed and wanting to communicate with you, or it could be a sign of hope and new beginnings.
Brad & Saskia
July 14, 2011 Thursday at 8:28 am