Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January 17, 2015

The silence of the heron

In ancient Egypt, for example, the Bennu bird –– a mythical phoenix, the ba (manifestation or soul) of Re (the sun god) and a symbol of regeneration –– was sometimes portrayed as a heron. Not only was the heron a symbol of the rising sun, but it also represented life’s renewal on account of its habit of flying away from the rising water over neighbouring fields at the time of the Nile’s annual, ground-fertilising inundation. 


In Christian tradition, the heron may represent Christ, for it preys on eels and snakes, serpentine symbols of Satan. Its probing beak has furthermore prompted comparisons with the search for hidden knowledge, and consequently with wisdom (or, less grandly, with nosiness).