Animal, Insect, and Bird Omens and Meanings
There is hardly anything that moves, flies or crawls that has not at one time served as a sign of a good or bad omen. And human activity throughout time has often had a superstition stamped on it. For example people often place their beds at a certain angle to attract good luck.
For riches to come to the family, the bed should be placed facing east. For a long life, south, and so on. Even stranger, money was supposed to be coming your way if you sneezed to the right!
If you picked up a pin then good luck would come to you. And if you met the same person twice in one day on your travels then you would get the same good luck. How that one works I have no idea, but you get the point.
So why are we so superstitious? There are many footballers who will only wear the same shirt, even if its dirty, to make sure that they win their game. Others touch the mantel above the tunnel entrance and then kiss a Cross that they are wearing. Of course there are many people who will just laugh at such silly superstitions. But I bet they still won't walk underneath a ladder!
Whether you call it superstition, fate, God's will or just habit, there are many Omens and Signs out there that people around the world still believe in.
In this article we will take a look at Animal Insect and Bird Omens.
Fate, Omens and superstition are very closely related. Back in history we didn't have the knowledge that we have today. Science was a thing of the future. Medical health literally was a case of trial and error.
Not knowing or understanding the concept of germs, virus or diseases caused by bacteria caused the population to be completely bewildered at why they were suddenly struck down with these unknown illnesses.
Human nature being what it is, they realised that there must be a reason for their bad luck but couldn't find a way to express it. So religion and fate took the brunt of the blame.
To counteract the bad we had to find a way to make good luck happen. Hence Omens, Oracles and Signs were born.
The strange thing was that even though it was through pure instinct many people did actually 'hit the nail on the head' so to speak. Certain plants were prayed over and picked under a full moon for example.
These days we know that the Wise Women back then were right. If we pick the plants leaves late at night the chemicals in the plants actually are much more potent. Instinct seems to have won out.
Back in the day, many tribes of people would choose a particular person, usually a woman, to be their Oracle.
The Web Definition of Oracle states that:
1. A priest or priestess who acts as a medium whom prophecy or advice was sought from the God or Gods.
2.Or a place at which such advice or prophecy was sought thereafter.
In other words, the Oracle could either be a person or a place. Either way, it was there for people to try to understand what was happening to them.
Most Oracles were very clever people. They would use the world around them to understand Signs and portents.
For example, they would understand such things as weather patterns, therefore giving advice on whether it was safe to travel at a certain time, or would the gods be bringing down torrential rain.
Most people would think the information came from the gods, when really it was a case of trial and error, luck and knowledge or the surrounding world.
So what were the Signs?
These could be anything from cloud patterns, a breeze blowing a certain way or even birds flying low in the sky. Sometimes the Signs would in fact show something that today we would see as real science at work. For example if we see flocks of birds falling from the sky, we would realise that that particular flock could possibly have bird flu. Or as in a recent case of doves dying in Italy last year which had flown too high and frozen to death due to hypoxia.
Back in the past, the locals would see this event as a sign of bad luck, but not really know why or what was going to happen. We all know the story of Pompeii, where the local populace believed that the volcano was a warning from the gods. Of course these days we all realise that it is a natural occurrence.
To live with so much superstition must have been hard. Each step that was taken must have been like walking blindfolded through a dark room with holes in the ground. But we have to realise that actually the Signs, Oracles and Omens were also a comfort to the people. Knowing that the gods were keeping an eye on them was a way to keep them grounded and safe at a time when the world around them was a strange and terrifying place.
Let's Take A Look At Some Of The Omens.
- Bat. Bad luck, especially if it cries while flying.
- Cat. A black cat may be good luck or bad. Back in the old days it was said to all depend on whether you had done bad deeds or good before you saw it. To kill a cat was meant to signify disaster. And if one leaves your home then disaster will strike. Maybe this was because cats have a six sense and know when something bad is going to happen to the house.
- Dog. Not really a sign of bad luck unless you walk past one and it howls at the moon.
- Goat. Good luck.
- Hare. Bad luck if one crosses your path.
- Hedgehog. Good fortune, especially if you meet one going in the opposite direction.
- Horse. Piebald is a good omen. But if you see its tail first, then bad luck will befall a friend.This omen probably started because someone stood behind the horse and got kicked.
- Mouse. A white or brown mouse is good luck, especially in love. A grey one however is said to bring bad luck.
- Sheep. A flock of sheep are really good luck.
- Rat. Good if white, bad if its black.
- Pig. A bad omen. Especially if you meet one immediately after getting married.
- Squirrel. Happiness will be found soon after seeing one of these.
- Crow. A bad omen, especially if seen to the left of the person.
- Cuckoo. Not seen but heard foretells of good luck, especially if heard in the right ear.
- Dove. A happy Omen. Particularly for those about to wed.
- Gull. If touched by a gull, this is said to portray the death of a friend. Unless you are on a boat, then seeing one land near you is good luck.
- Hawk. Powerful enemies are about to threaten you. especially if you see the bird to your left. Left is and has always been the sign of the devil.
- Kingfisher. A big scandal threatens.
- Magpie. One is an omen of bad luck even death. Especially seen on the left. Two, are very lucky, and shows that good luck will appear within three days.
- Owl. Always bad luck. If he hoots three times, be extra careful.
- Robin. Good luck.
- Sparrow. Bad luck. Except for lovers.
- Swallow. Very good fortune. Especially in early Spring. Even better luck if they build a nest under your room. Bad luck if you kill one.
- Wagtail. Fortunate luck, especially if approaching from the left side.
- Wren. Good luck. But never hurt or frighten it, at your peril!
- Ants. A nest near your home is good luck. But to be bitten by one means arguments and quarrels.
- Bees. Good luck if it is inside your house.
- Cockroach. If seen in a strange place then it foretells a death of a friend.
- Cricket. Very good luck. But if they leave the house or garden then bad luck will follow.
- Grasshopper. Good luck and very good news.
- Ladybird/bug. A good omen.
- Spider. Bad luck all round. If seen in the morning, grief. Afternoon, anxiety. Evening, bad luck with money. Never kill one as this brings bad luck. To see a spider spinning its web shows that people are plotting against you. If its found on your body, then its good luck.
- Wasp. Danger caused by jealously.
Human nature is such that we have always found ways to try and bring good luck to ourselves and those around us. Many of the above Omens possibly started out as coincidence. A plague of locusts descending on a village, a spider bite or even a flock of birds falling from the sky. These stories would have been passed down through the family and incorporated into the myths and legends of the time.
Even today in this age of science and technology, we still have the same subconscious fears that make us superstitious. Maybe one day we will be confident enough in our world to set aside these Signs and Omens. But I doubt it purely because I believe we need these Signs to hang onto. Its part of our Psyche, and lets face it, it makes the world and interesting place!