Pigeon Symbolism, Myths & Spiritual Meaning Explained

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Pigeons are a part of daily life for people all across the globe, whether we choose to curse their droppings or to appreciate their kind and peaceful ways. For many individuals, however, the pigeon is much more than just a bird. This essay will reveal the rich history of symbolism associated with these prolific avians.

Discover the significance of pigeons by reading along with us!

Pigeons’ Historical Significance

The globe is home to around 350 species of doves and pigeons, yet only one, the Rock Dove (Columba livia), has been around for 5,000–10,000 years. It should come as no surprise that humans have such a profound symbolic connection to these birds given their extensive history.

We eventually discovered the pigeon’s amazing homing ability, which was helpful for both sport and communication, after they were first tamed for food. These birds, who have won our hearts, are avian athletes that come in a variety of forms, sizes, and colours thanks to selective breeding.

Their reputation has been greatly impacted by their function as devoted messengers, which has elevated an unimpressive bird into a revered war hero. These birds were recruited long into the previous century to serve in the First and Second World Wars. They have been used to carry messages since at least the 12th century in Central Asia and the Middle East.

A cluster of Homing Pigeons is shown. These birds, who have won our hearts, our avian athletes that have been sculpted by selective breeding into a wide variety of forms, sizes, and colours.

Pigeons as Peace Symbols

The symbolic of peace embodied by Pigeons is maybe the most lasting. Often depicted as an all white bird, many are familiar with the tale of Noah’s Dove, who took out from the Ark and returned with an olive branch in its beak, signifying that it had discovered land and that the suffering of all those who had been living on it may now come to an end.

The pigeon is regarded as a pure animal in Islam. By sending a couple of pigeons to nest outside the cave where the Prophet Muhammad and his companion were hiding and deceiving their pursuers into thinking the cave was uninhabited, it is stated that the pigeon rescued the Prophet Muhammad and his companion from being captured.

Even still, pigeons are ceremoniously released at weddings and other celebrations as a gesture of peace. Soldiers would often release these birds at the Olympic opening ceremony; this custom dates back to 1920. But this custom was abandoned in 1988 after a regrettable occurrence in which a few people were burnt at the cauldron lighting ceremony in Seoul, South Korea.

Pigeons in Passion and Loyalty

Since pigeons have strict monogamous breeding practices, they are intimately linked to faithfulness and love. As loving parents, they both help to take care of their young pigeons. Still, they show amazing devotion even when they are not in the nest.

Since pigeons have strict monogamous breeding practices, they are intimately linked to faithfulness and love.

In folklore and mythology, pigeons

Many civilizations all throughout the world have long seen doves as symbols of compassion, love, and peace.

In “The Dove and the Ant,” one of Aesop’s fables, a kindhearted dove witnesses an ant drowning in a stream. To allow the ant to ascend to safety, the Dove throws a blade of grass into the water. Later, the ant repays the hunter’s kindness by biting his foot as the Dove is about to be killed.

An image of a white dove. For a very long time, doves have been associated with love, compassion, and peace in many civilizations all over the world.

Pigeons in Literature and Art

For millennia, pigeons and doves have been portrayed in literature and art. They are well-represented in literature and poetry as a bird with deep symbolic value, such as in a moving poem by English romantic poet John Keats.

Pigeons are featured in a number of ancient paintings from the 14th century BC that are housed at the Egyptian North Palace of Armana. Pigeons are a popular subject in modern art because to the recent prolific paintings of the birds by Pablo Picasso and his father, José Ruiz Blasco.

These birds have also been used in other visual arts works, most notably in the photographs of the French artist Henri Matisse and a street scene by renowned street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

International Views on Pigeon Symbolism

Pigeons are symbolic of both ancient and contemporary civilizations worldwide. To find out more about a few noteworthy instances from throughout the globe, keep reading:

Greek

One of the representations of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, fertility, and beauty, is a pigeon or dove. In ancient ceramics and art, she is often seen beside these birds.

Indigenous Peoples

Native American cultures valued pigeons for their food and religious significance. The Blackfoot people revered the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) as a sign of protection, whereas the Seneca believed that the now-extinct Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) gave of itself to generate offspring.

Chinese

China has been familiar with pigeon symbols at least since the pre-Qin era (pre-700 BC). These birds began to stand for filial piety, or the reverence and care for parents and the elderly, during the beginning of the Han Dynasty.

A mourning dove is shown. In Native American cultures, pigeons had a significant role in both religion and food production.

Dream Interpretations of Pigeons: Symbolic Meanings

A pigeon appearing in a dream might mean various things, even though pigeons are often considered lucky birds. Among the interpretations that might be made are:

A period of restored tranquilly
a yearning for autonomy and change
A favourable shift in luck and fortune
You’ll find the solutions you need.
Pigeons as Totems or Spirit Animals

While these birds undoubtedly have good intentions, the pigeon may not be the most remarkable spirit animal. People who have a mission and a message to impart might be perfectly embodied by the kindness and tranquilly of the pigeon spirit.

The Pigeon’s Modern Symbolism

Pigeons have lost popularity with many people in the current day, but breeders and racers throughout the globe still love them.

Our rich history with pigeons is eroding as a result of their frequent unfavourable portrayals in the media, including calls to turn them into “rats with wings.” Our shifting attitudes towards these birds are mostly due to worries about their potential to transmit illness as well as the large amount of droppings they leave behind in our towns and urban regions.

Pigeon examples in contemporary media include:

The logo of the well-known personal care and toiletry business Dove is a stylized version of the word “Dove.”
Doves is an English indie-rock band that put out many albums between 2000 and 2020.
“Valiant,” an animated film from 2005, tells the tale of a squad of messenger pigeons during World War II.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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