It seemed appropriate that my first entry here should center around something that is very dear to me: the Hawk.
To begin with, Hawks are not as popular in mythology as some of their peers, such as Eagles and Falcons, though occasionally Hawks and Falcons can be sort of “interchanged”. This is something that I’ve always found frustrating, because a single source can describe Horus as a falcon-headed man and then also refer to the hawk of Horus (in regards to the form of his head). I find it helps to keep in mind that most of the old mythologies (especially ancient Egypt) spanned long periods of time and great distances, were not all written down, and were revised again and again. But I feel like that might be verging on another topic, so let’s get back to the Hawk, shall we?
Across the board, Hawks are seen as messengers from the spirit world. Whether they bring tidings of good or bad omens, the message borne on their wings is important and should be listened to carefully.
Collectively, Hawks are associated with: attention, brilliance, clarity, courage, energy, focus, healing, intensity, intuition, leadership, observation, optimism, power, prophecy, protection, spiritual awareness, strength, unification, vision, and wisdom. Depending, of course, on who you ask.
As far as myths are concerned, Hawks are solar birds, and often associated with sun gods.
As mentioned above, the Egyptian god Horus was often pictured with the head of a Hawk (or Falcon). In hieroglyphs, the name Horus looks like a Hawk (or Falcon). One of the forms of Ra (or Re) was also a man with the head of a Hawk (or Falcon), as well as Mentu (or Montu, god of war), and Seker (or Sokar, a funerary god).
The Norse goddess Freya had a magical feathered cloak which she could use to transform into a Hawk. During one instance, she lent this cloak to Loki who was sent to rescue Idunn from the giant Thiazi.
In Greek myth, Apollo was sometimes associated with the Hawk. In one instance, Apollo transformed Daedalion into a Hawk when the man threw himself off a cliff after his daughter, Chione’s, death.
Polynesian and Native American mythologies also feature Hawks as important beings of prophecy and protection, respectively.
One thing I found recently regarding the symbolism of the Hawk, was its role in the Celtic Zodiac. Now, the Celtic Zodiac is something new to me, but from what I’ve seen so far, there are a couple variations. One has the Hawk associated with March 18 – April 14, another has it November 25 – December 23, and another still has it omitted from the rankings all together. Either way, they all include some of the associated characteristics listed earlier. Astrology isn’t really one of my focuses here, but I thought it was interesting and worth mentioning.
And there we have it. A brief exploration into the Hawk in mythology and symbolism.
Until next time, farewell.