Falcons are great birds who are revered across many cultures and traditions as spiritual entities. In truth, the falcon represents different things across diverse cultures and traditions. However, in the midst of the different perceptions of falcon symbolism, there are certain aspects that transcend spiritual, cultural and social differences. In this article, we would explore the symbolism of these birds of prey across different cultures and their spiritual implications.
What Does a Falcon Symbolize?
Historically, we find that falcons represent different things to different people. For many, drawing on cultural and spiritual inclinations influence the symbolism of falcons to them. A few examples are highlighted below-
Among the Germans, it is known that the falcon is a hunting bird, remarked to possess certain aspects of the All-Father Wodan, Loki the trickster god, and the goddess of wisdom, Frigg. When considering this in a unified light, we find that, for them, this bird is a symbol of leadership, vision and purpose.
For those dwelling in the Celtic regions of Europe,the falcon represented prestige and authority. And for this reason, commoners were not permitted to own these birds. It was restricted to the wealthy and members of the aristocracy. It was so ingrained in the aristocracy of the Celts that the royalty had specific kinds of falcons assigned to them. For the king, a GyrFalcon was the bird. The princes could own the Peregrine falcon, knights were given the Saker Falcon and Dukes, Rock Falcons.
All over the world, falcons have always represented the strength of leadership and the (bird) vision of a hunter; the uncanny ability to see beyond what may present to others as reality and to channel self-leadership and independent thought.
The Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine falcons may be popular for their physical endowments but these aren’t the most significant attributes of the bird. Peregrines are symbolic in ways that transcend the physical to hold deeper truths.
The peregrine falcon, for its high intellectual capabilities in judging and outsmarting its prey is a symbol of deep mental prowess; deep enough to enable one to connect with their higher self and display signs of spiritual sensibilities. The peregrine falcon is strategic and analytical, thereby signifying an uncanny ability to focus deeply on the things that move the mind and spirit.
For its strength and agility, the peregrine falcon acts as a symbol of martial skills and aggression. It’s no wonder it has been used as an emblem of war among ancient germanic tribes. Peregrine falcons can migrate over thousands of miles in search for food. This is a symbol of determination and strength.
Different parts of human settlements have adopted the peregrine falcon as their official animal. Chicago city in the United States chose the peregrine as the official animal of their city. The same applies to the United Arab Emirates who declared the peregrine as the national animal of the U.A.E.
For many people, across diverse spiritual inclinations, the falcon is no ordinary bird. It invokes deep spiritual connotations and this is with good reason. The falcon is a highly spiritual bird. For this reason Ra, the Ancient Egyptian sun god was often depicted as a man with the head of a Peregrine Falcon decorated with the solar disk.
The falcon symbolizes victory. And in a spiritual sense, it is translated to salvation for those believed to be held in emotional, spiritual or moral bondage. Interestingly, in ancient Egypt, falcons were released at the burials of Pharaohs. The Falcons were expected to guide the spirit of the deceased kings to the great beyond. This emphasizes the ancient view of falcons as some sort of middle force between the mortal earth and the divine and eternal heavens.
As falcons, especially peregrine falcons are known to travel long distances, migrating for food and mating, in a spiritual sense, falcons could represent a wandering spirit. It may be important to recognize if this is a part of you that needs some level of attention.
The Falcon As a Spirit/Totem Animal
People have different means of identifying their spirit animals. Some people believe that the spirit animal is connected to zodiac signs. And so, 12 animals are assigned to the signs of the zodiac. Some others believe that true knowledge of a spirit animal comes from a personal journey into self-discovery. And so they recommend that to discover one’s spirit animal, one should do any of the following:
- Examine your connection to certain animals in the course of your life – this is recommended because it is believed your spirit animal could be an animal that has been connected to you in some ways, e.g. a pet.
- Consider your dreams – chances are you could be seeing your spirit animal in your dreams but you have not been sensitive enough to identify the occasions of this occurrence. So it is believed that if you pay attention to your dreams, you could connect with your spirit animal.
- Keep a record of animals you connect to – it’s possible to feel drawn to certain animals, and so it’s recommended that you document these connections and return to review them after a while to identify the strongest connection.
However, if you have already identified the falcon to be your spirit animal or your totem animal, then you have already surpassed the identification stage. Having a falcon as your spirit animal creates a consciousness of your potential. This knowledge propels you to take the initiative and move steps ahead of your peers.
If your totem animal is a falcon, you could be given to enduring patience. This proves useful for when you need to take a step back to reassess a situation to make an informed decision. You are able to focus keenly on tasks and sometimes leads to you requiring a level of privacy to enable you to focus on your strategy.
The falcon totem is full of energy. So falcon people make great scouts and as they get older, they tend to be revered mentors by others who share a curiosity and thirst for discovery.
Symbolism to Native Americans
Falcons are a great part of the Native American bird culture. They feature greatly in different aspects of the Native American cultural expression. For Native Americans who dwell in the Mississippi region, the falcon is one of their most powerful birds. They believe that the falcon and other powerful birds ruled the earth before men became kings. For this reason, many of their tools and weapons bear the emblem of the falcon as a homage to the great bird who lived as a supernatural deity in the upper world among the sun, moon and stars.
According to the beliefs of Native Americans, the upper world(the heavens) is connected to the lower world(mortal earth) by the sky and the falcons were able to navigate both realms of consciousness as messengers of the gods. The Mississippi natives employed the use of dance and sound to symbolize the power of the falcon. The falcon was also regarded as a great advocate in times of warfare.
Falcons in the Bible
In the bible, the falcon is not given a one-dimensional representation. Mainly regarded as a predator bird who preys on its weaker victims; victims that require saving. Reference can be made to Job 28:7 which says, “The path no bird of prey knows, Nor has the falcon’s eye caught sight of it.” This further expounds on a safe place where people could not be harmed. The analogy being used attempts to depict a falcon and its prey and uses it to refer to a weaker human and their enemy.
Symbolically in Christianity, the wild bird is regarded as a lost soul given to materialism, and sinful tendencies. But the tamed bird represents a convert who is casting aside their sinful ways and pursuing righteousness.
What Does It Mean When You See a Falcon?
Seeing a falcon, most especially in dreams could mean different things. It could be a sign of victory. Not necessarily over other people, but over yourself and the things that hold you back from reaching true potential. Seeing a falcon is also a call to mindfulness. The perfect opportunity may be knocking but if you are not channeled into your inner focus, there’s the possibility that you could miss out on this opportunity. Mindfulness would also show you opportunities that may seem to be great, but really have no good ending.
So when next you see a falcon, you may want to take out time to patiently focus on what is going on in your life.