For the Birds

A bird is seen as a symbol of the soul, especially as it ascends to heaven after death, in eastern and western art, culture and religion.  The image of a bird and snake fighting represents the conflict between heavenly and earthly powers.  Individual species have been given various and multiple meanings: blackbird, the devil; crane, vigilance; crow, hope; cuckoo, unrequited love; dove, peace; eagle, sight; magpie, married bliss; owl, wisdom; peacock, pride; pelican, charity; quail, poverty; raven, Satan; swallow, Resurrection; vulture, rapacious lust; and woodpecker, heresy.  The seagull appears to have no traditional cultural meaning; today it might be associated with anti-social behaviour.

Photo: Brundenell Hotel, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, July 2018

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