Obvious Christian slant, but considering birds’ hidden or symbolic meanings is a form of augury, or divination by the appearance and movements of certain animals. Augury specifically with birds is called ornithomancy.
Opinion by Debbie Blue, special to CNN
(CNN) — As long as humans have been breathing, they’ve invested birds with meaning.
They fly all over the Bible — from beginning to end — and they have a prominent place in the founding narratives of almost every culture and religion. They are not just bones and feathers. They are strength or hope, omen and oracle.
In the Bible’s first book, Genesis, God hovers over the face of the water like a dove, the Jewish sages suggest in the Talmud. In its final book, birds gorge on the flesh of the defeated “beast” in Book of Revelation.
Birds are the currency of mercy, sacrificed to God in the hopes of winning blessings or forgiveness. They bring bread to the prophets. Abraham has to shoo them away from his offering, and a pigeon accompanies Jesus on his first visit to the temple.
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