Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Animal Archetypes –

Artists have used birds in their paintings to represent the soul, in many cultures birds represent all the departed souls of the world or God’s love for all creatures no matter how small, for centuries. For example did you know; Cranes are associated with Christ’s resurrection, immortality or healing – Chickadees’ are representative of purity of soul and clarity – Blackbirds are good omens or symbolize magic or mysticism?

I use a lot of birds in my story and am ashamed to say I knew little about their mythology until I did some research.

In my novel, Once A Warrior, there is a Raven. In Native American Indian lore Ravens symbolize metamorphosis, transformation, healing and are the bearers of magic, and harbingers of sacred messages from the heavens and ancestral spirits. This Raven symbolizes everything my main protagonist goes through.  
Here’s a weird twist; since I began writing Raven into the novel (3 years ago) we’ve had crows, ravens and various large black birds inhabiting our yard. They sit on the fence line, in the trees or along the rose garden and stare at me or swoop through the yard when I’m gardening. I’ve been in this house for a decade, gardened this yard the same way for a decade, and never had crows or ravens until I added them into my story. Now we’re surrounded. I’ve taken to putting a few scarecrows in the yard, to keep them from lopping the heads off my chrysanthemums and roses, and since they don’t like anything with eyes larger than their own, I placed a few bug-eyed metal birds, frogs and so in delicate places. Now they no longer bother the flowers and I’ve been able to remove the tacky toucan and scarecrows. Anyway….
If you use animals in your writing, then do some research regarding the symbolism; deepen your story by understanding your character’s world as reflected in the objects and creatures around them.

Oh, and don’t be surprised if they start to show up in your real life.
Check out this great chart of Bird’s and theirmeanings.

2 comments on “Animal Archetypes –

  1. Jo Barney
    February 14, 2013

    Hello! Stephen Hayes said I'd enjoy your blog and I do. I like the personal stories, the attention to not only the literary but the people in you life. You might enjoy my blog also and if it is appropriate, I'll give you its address: I definitely did not choose that address, but I didn't know someone would choose it for me if I didn't fill in the blanks correctly. I'm glad to meet you. Jo

  2. Stephen Hayes
    February 11, 2013

    Very interesting. I know that storks are often depicted in religious paintings behind the Madonna and Child because storks were once thought to stab themselves with their beaks to feed their babies blood when no other food was available–foreshadowing of Christ's sacrifice. As usual a very interesting post.

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