The Hawk is an animal present on most continents. So many civilizations have handed down myths and legends over the centuries. For centuries people admired it because of its beauty, grace, exceptional speed and hunting abilities. It is one of the fastest animals in the world, a powerful predator, an attentive observer.
The ancient Egyptians, in fact, associated him with the figure of the god Horus who was represented precisely with the head of Hawk. In this text we will learn more about the symbolism of Hawk in Christianity but also what this animal represents in general symbolism of many cultures.
Biblical meaning of Seeing a Hawk
To see a hawk was always considered to be a message of support and as a sign from the sky. This powerful bird carries an important symbolism which is sending us the message from the higher forces that we should incorporate in our lives. Seeing a hawk was perceived as a sign that it is okay to take the next step and endure the challenges in front of you.
Among the unclean birds is found in Lev. 11.16; Deut 14:15 there is also a bird called neṣ (Luther Bible: “Sparrow hawk”), which is probably the hawk. The suffix “according to its species” shows that neṣ can be a genus name for the various hawks native to Palestine.
These include e.g. the tree and the kestrel, but also the desert and the forest hawk. The characterization in hi 39,26, according to which the hawk “spreads its wings to the south”, is an indication that it is a migratory bird. Hawks were hunted by the Assyrians for their speed and maneuverability.
In addition to pictorial documents, Ominate texts indicate that ravens were apparently being hunted with hawks: “If … the hawk and the raven fight in front of the king, and the hawk kill the raven, the king’s weapons will go against his Enemies rage “.
In Hi. 28: 7 the Luther translation reproduces Heb. ‘Ajjāh with hawk. However, this is a bird of prey that cannot be determined in detail, which is also found in Lev. 11:14; Dtn 14,13 (Lutheran Bible: “Consecration”) in the list of unclean animals.
Hawk – Symbolism
The Hawk is an animal present on most continents. So many civilizations have handed down myths and legends over the centuries.
It is one of the fastest animals in the world, a powerful predator, an attentive observer. The ancient Egyptians, in fact, associated him with the figure of the god Horus who was represented precisely with the head of Hawk. Initially a god of hunting, he was later worshiped primarily as the god of heaven and the sun. Like the Hawk, Horus had incredibly developed visual skills. These were added to supernatural gifts such as clairvoyance and a high state of consciousness.
These qualities, in turn, allowed him to have absolute control over the four Natural Elements, namely Water, Fire, Earth and Air. The Greeks considered him the messenger of Apollo. In European civilizations it was associated with hunting deities such as the Germanic one whose name corresponds to Wodan.
Symbolically, the Hawk expresses the power of vision, of determination, but also the transition that can be personal (spiritual) or professional.
People whose totems are represented by the Hawk are generally individuals characterized by a strong determination to achieve their goals. You are ready for changes, with a strong spirit of observation and extreme intuition. In short, true leaders! These are enterprising, vigorous, hyperactive, optimistic, but also dreamy and passionate people. In love they look for the important story and can be very possessive and jealous.
They expect a lot from their partner and often come into conflict with the people with whom they have relationships. This is due to their impulsiveness and lack of touch. Their enthusiasm pushes them several times to change direction. In fact, they usually lack the patience necessary to see their projects realized.
Hawk – Totem Animal
The Peregrine Hawk (Falco peregrinus) is an amazing medium-sized bird of prey known since ancient times for its flight mastery. It distinguishes it in fact a type of agile flight, powerful and prodigiously fast. The name Peregrine derives from the fact that it is a cosmopolitan species, that is present in all continents except Antarctica, but probably also from the fact that some races are long-time migrants, true sky nomads capable of flying up to 25,000 km the year. In Italy there are two races, the typically Mediterranean (brookei) and the “middle-European” (peregrinus).
The Peregrine, in addition to being the fastest creature on the planet, is also an iconic and charismatic animal under many points of view: religious-cultural, historical-hunting, ecological-naturalistic, and even for the history of environmentalism. Among the ancient Egyptians he embodied Horus, the divinity of the sky and the sun, while the Greeks considered him the nuncio of Apollo. Il Peregrine has also always been the predatory bird of hawk hunting.
At the top of the natural food chain, the Peregrine is an excellent indicator of the order. Following a dramatic collapse occurred between the 50s and 70s, when the Peregrine was about to become extinct from industrialized countries due to the massive use of DDT in agriculture, this species became the protagonist of a spectacular demographic recovery, made possible by the announcement pesticide, strict protection measures and various captive breeding programs and reintroduction.
Since the 1990s the Peregrine has even begun to colonize urban environments all over the world, a new and interesting phenomenon. The Peregrines are present in some cities, such as in Florence since the early 90s, since when they were observed to use as inaccessible perches the sides of the monuments, which evidently “interpret” as cliffs or overhanging rock walls, their natural habitat beloved.
After a decade of acclimatization, the Peregrinos, who initially resided in Florence only outside the breeding season (July-February), decided to elect the historic center of Florence as a nesting site. These birds of prey are predatory “ornithophages”, or they feed exclusively on birds that hunt in flight, often in a highly acrobatic manner, with vertical strikes that allow them to exceed 300 kilometers per hour.
The hawk in history – Symbolism
The art of hunting with birds of prey is a practice with ancient roots. The hawk is much more than the proud predatory animal that pounces at high speed on the designated prey: it is a pure image of power; it represents the prince himself in his nobility, intelligence, skill, elegance, beauty.
Hunting is not only a game, a fascinating and spectacular pastime, but it is also an exercise in power, an affirmation of prestige, ostentation of power and strength. The earliest evidence of hawk hunting dates back to 800 years before the birth of Christ, thanks to what was left by a Chinese ruler.
In this era, China was much more advanced, compared to Europe and the Middle East, in the domestication of animals. Many artifacts (drawings and paintings) dating back to the Hang Dynasty (206 BC) show us hawk hunting scenes. We must not forget that Chang-an (current X’ian) represented, under the Hang dynasty, a flourishing trade with foreign countries: from that city caravans departed for many parts of the then known world.
As for Italy, Hawk hunting comes to us through two roads. From Sicily through the work of Arabs and Normans, and the other path is through Germany. The union of Swabian and Norman fuses the two streams of Hawk hunting. First Norman cult of Hawk hunting in Sicily was Roger II, but also Federico Barbarossa was an excellent Hawker.
The god Horus was the god of hunters and was represented by a hawk.
This deity was later linked with the sun, which made it a symbol of nobility, pharaohs of the the higher class of society. Horus became the deity of the above world or the heaven and his eyes (each one) represented the sun and the moon.
As a deity, Horus was clairvoyant which allowed him to see the future, and become very aware of every situation that was about to happen or that already happened. He controlled all the natural elements and was linked to the color yellow. Many people still use the eye of Horus as a talisman and protection against bad karma but also as a good luck symbol.