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*Lady Stearn Robinson & Tom Gorbett/The Dreamer's Dictionary:
A dream of these strutting birds is an omen of contrary containing
a warning of possible loss of
status or failure due to vanity and/or overconfidence; it sometimes
*Wordsworth's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:
A peacock in his pride is one with his tail fully displayed.
"By the peacock" is an obsolete oath
which at one time was thought to be blasphemous. The fabled
incorruptibility of the peacock's
flesh caused the bird to be adopted as a type of the resurrection.
There is a story that when George III had partly recovered from
one of his bouts of "insanity" his
Ministers got him to read the King's speech, and he ended every
sentence with the word peacock.
The Minister who drilled him said that peacock was an excellent
word for ending a sentence,
only kings should not let their subjects hear it, but should
whisper it softly. The resulting pause at
the close of each sentence had an excellent effect.
The peacock's feather is an emblem of vainglory, and in some
Eastern countries a mark of rank.
As a literary term the expression is used of a borrowed ornament
of style spathchocked into the
composition; the allusion being to the fable of the jay who
decked herself out in a peacock's
feathers, making herself an object of ridicule. The peacock's
tail is an emblem of an Evil Eye, or
an ever-vigilant traitor; hence the feathers are considered
unlucky. Cp. Argus-eyed.
Zolar/Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens, and Superstitions:
According to a Hindu legend, Hindra, the God of Thunder, Rains
and War, became a peacock in
order to escape the demon Ravana. As compensation, he was endowed
with a thousand eyes in
his feathers, the ability to rejoice when the rains come, and
the power to kill snakes.
Legend holds that the peacock dances happily when he sees clouds
or hears thunder. One of the
108 postures of classical Hindu dance signifies being "sportive
like the peacock." Aristotle refers
to the peacock as "the Persian bird." alexander the
Great imposed severe penalties on anyone
killing Indian peacocks. Sacred to Hera, one legend relates
how the goddess sent Argus, the
hundred-eyed giant, to guard her husband's mistress, Il. When
Zeus sent Hermes to charm and
kill Argus, Hera was said to use the giant's eyes to decorate
the peacock's tail.
For Christians, the peacock was adopted early as a symbol of
the Resurrection, as, after molting,
it once again becomes clothed in splendor. St. Augustine believed
its flesh was incorruptible.
Possibly from this arose the belief that peacock feathers placed
with objects preserves them from
decay. In many medieval paintings, angels' wings are portrayed
as peacock's plumes.
A 15th C. manuscript "Hortus Sanitatis" states it
is a sign of rain when the peacock "mounts on
high." At the same time in England, the belief that peacock
calls frightened away serpents and
other poisonous insects was commonplace. During the 16th C.,
peacock feathers were often
given to those caught cheating or lying.
In India, since the peacock killed snakes, a belief arose that
its bile and blood acted as antidotes
against poison. In the Punjab, persons bitten by snakes were
often smoked in peacock feathers.
Similarly, travelers were advised to carry a peacock to ward
off snakes. In Ireland, calls of the
peacock are believed to forecast rain.
Other folklore relates that body parts of the bird can effectively
cure disabilities, including
tuberculosis, paralysis, asthma, catarrh, headaches, and infertility.
Hindus and Moslems often
wear peacock feathers to ward off evil spirits. On special occasions
umbrellas of peacock plumes
are often carried by royal personages. In India, the mere sight
of the bird is said to be an omen of
good luck and peace.
In China, tradition holds that a general of the Chin Dynasty,
taking refuge from his enemies, was
so grateful for not being betrayed by the peacocks, he thereafter
presented peacock feathers to
those who had shown bravery in battle.
Although generally held auspicious, in Java the bird is associated
with the Devil. In Northern
Iraq, the Yezidis hold that the Devil is not evil. They refer
to him as the "Peacock Angel."
Yet another explanation as to why displaying peacock feathers
is said to bring bad luck is that
Greeks and romans used the feathers to decorate the holy temples.
Such was done with the
injunction that no one but the priest could touch them. Should
one break this taboo, death was
the punishment dispensed.
Tradition holds it unlucky to display peacock feathers and that
bad luck will follow anyone who
does so. Some believe the eye appearing at the end of each feather
may itself be an evil eye,
causing things to happen that one does not desire. No doubt
this tradition comes from teh Greek
legend of Argus.
The North American Indians say the peacock "has an angel's
feathers, a Devil's voice, and a
thief's walk." Indians also believed wearing the bird's
feathers made a person vain, arrogant, and
Commonplace among actors is the belief that bringing a peacock's
feathers on stage, or even into
the theater, will mean disaster for the play.
An interesting Islamic belief is that a peacock opened the wicker
gate of Paradise to admit the
For a woman to see a peacock in the park is an omen that she
will soon marry. For an unmarried
woman, keeping peacock feathers in her house will drive her
*Barbara G. Walker/the Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets:
Bird of Juno, mother of the Roman gods. The peacock's iridescent
tail-feather "eyes" symbolized
the Goddess' watchfulness, her many-colored veils, and her plumes
of justice, against which the
hearts of men were weighed, as against the plumes of Maat in
Egypt. The peacock belonged to
Juno when she was still the Etruscan Goddess Uni, the Great
Yoni. It also belonged to the Hindu
Goddesses Saravanti and Maya, and their Argive counterpart Hera.
Juno's priests and priestesses in their sacred processions carried
tall peacock-feather fans called
flabelli. These articles were taken over by Christian popes
and are still displayed at papal Easter
services. They are now said to represent "the many-eyed
vigilance of the church."
Because it was a matriarchal totem originally, the peacock tended
to attract the same opprobrium
as black cats, opals, ladders, pentacles, mirrors, owls, and
moonlight. Christian superstition
generally viewed the peacock as a bird of doom. St. James's
Gazette reported in 1888: "Nobody
who has not gone exhaustively into the subject can have any
adequate idea of the amount of
general inconvenience diffused by a peacock. Broken hearts,
broken limbs, pecuniary traverses,
and various forms of infectious disease have all been traced
to the presence of a peacock."
According to some legends, the peacock became a bad-luck bird
because it was the only one who
consented to show Satan the way to paradise--an echo of the
pagan belief that the peacock was
In the Orient, however, the peacock remained a Bird of Paradise.
Peacocks were encouraged to
wander about the precincts of any Hindu temple and in the royal
gardens. Like doves in western
Europe, peacocks were considered soul-birds and emblems of good
fortune, sometimes even oracles.
*D.J. Conway/Animal Magick:
Native to the East Indies and southeastern Asia, the peacock
is an unusual bird. The male has
long tail-feathers with "eyes." A very vain bird,
it has a disagreeably shrill cry like a pearson
screaming. The peacock is actually a large pheasant of the genus
Pavo. The blue peafowl, P.
eristatus, is native to India and Sri Lanka, while the green
peafowl, P. muticus, lives in IndoChina
and Java. The males may measure seventy-eight to ninety inches
from the head to the tip
of their long, trailing tail.
There was a Peacock Throne in ancient Babylon, where these birds
were kept as sacred
creatures. Up until the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, that
country also had a Peacock Throne. In
Persia, the peacock specifically denoted royalty.
The largest bird in the Old World, next to the ostrich, the
peacock is shown in Egyptian art as a
companion of Isis. It was also sacred to the goddess Hera/Juno,
and before her the Etruscan
goddess Uni. The Greeks and Romans said that the "eyes"
on its feathers symbolized the fifty
priestesses who served each temple of this goddess. Juno's priestesses
had fans of peacock
feathers (flabelli) that they carried to denote the goddess.
The peacock was a sacred bird in China and Japan, representing
dignity, rank, and beauty. As an
emblem of the Ming dynasty, the peacock feather was awarded
to show imperial favor and high rank.
As a Bird of Paradise (soul-bird) and a symbol of good luck,
the peacock was, and still is,
allowed to wander the grounds of Indian temples and royal gardens.
There is an old Hindu
saying that the peacock has angel's wings, a devil's voice,
and a thief's walk. It is, however,
considered to be a lucky bird because it warns of danger and
Sometimes the Hindu goddess Sarasvat was shown accompanied by
or riding on a peacock. This
was also true of the god Brahma and the goddess Lakshmi. When
the god Kama was portrayed
riding this bird, it represented impatient desire. The peacock
is said to dance when rain is coming
and to hate gold.
During the sixteenth century in Europe, liars, cheats, and traitors
had to wear a peacock feather.
Superstitions: The folk saying "strutting like a peacock"
or "proud as a peacock" refers primarily
to males, but can apply to women wh dress in flashy clothes
and act as if they are the center of
The bad luck associated with peacock feathers originated from
the peacock's status as a protected
and revered creature of the Great Goddess. A great many actors
believe that peacock feathers
bring bad luck to the play and will not allow them in the dressing-rooms
or even in the theater.
In much of England, to bring a peacock feather into the house
is to bring an illness and death.
The "eye" on the feather is associated with the evil
eye which can cause terrible things to happen.
The peacock's flesh is so hard it won't rot.
Magickal attributes: Dignity, warning, self-confidence. Use
the symbol of the peacock "eye" to
see into the past, present, and future.
*Mary Summer Rain/On Dreams:
Peacock emphasizes arrogance.
*Denise Linn/The Secret Language of Signs:
This can be a sign of pride and vanity. Are you being cocky?
Is someone you know preening like
a peacock? This can also be a sign of extreme confidence. Are
you ready to show your true
colors? In many ancient cultures, the peacock was revered and
was assigned various exalted
meanings. In Hindu mythology, the peacock was said to represent
the stars and the firmament
because of the patterns on the iridescent feathers. In roman
times, the peacock symbolized the
deification of princesses. Some Christian art forms depicted
the peacock as the symbol of
immortality. In Persia, two peacocks on either side of the Tree
of Life represented the polarity of
man being sustained by cosmic unity.
*Patricia Telesco/The Language of Dreams:
Outward displays of vanity or conceit. Expressing yourself in
a manner that others see as
boastful. Pride, dignity, or self-respect (e.g., being "proud
as a peacock"). In Babylonia and
Persia, an emblem of regality. Similarly in the East, peacocks
represented rank and having
obtained the favor of powerful people.
Buddhist: Compassion and fidelity. It was believed that Kwan
Yin, the protectress of children
and mothers, took this form, and that peacocks would die of
loneliness if their mate passed away.
A warning that bragging will eventually bring sadness. This
bird foretells rainfall by its dancing.
Keynote: Resurrection and Wise Vision (Watchfulness)
Cycle of Power: Spring and Autumn
The peacock is a bird which has stirred much lore and myth in
every society. This bird with its
beautiful plumage fascinates all who encounter it. As with many
birds, the male has the brighter
feathers and is more ostentations. The peahen is no less magnificent
in its own right. It is a
protective and powerful bird.
Probably the peacock's two most outstanding features are the
feathers and its eerie and raucous
calls. The call has a kind of laughter quality to it, as if
the peacock is a reminder to laugh at life.
One story I have heard in connection to its vocalization s is
tied to the appearance of its feet. The
peacock has ugly feet, and there is a story that it screeches
every time it catches sight of them.
For anyone with a peacock as a totem, an examination of the
mysticism and symbolism of feet
should be examined. The feet are our support system; they are
at the foundation of our structure.
They enable us to move and to be upright. What are the feet
of the peacock saying about you and
your life? An examination and use of foot reflexology is beneficial
to study for anyone with a
peacock as a totem.
The feathers have been used for ritual and for decorative purposes.
The colors and patterns of its
feathers reveal why such mysticism has arisen in connection
with the peacock. The blue-green
iridescence creates a sense of awe. The bluish-green tint has
often been associated with royalty.
The "eyes" within the feathering have often been associated
with greater vision and wisdom.
This idea of watchfulness is found in Greek Mythology. Argus,
a watchman for the goddess
Hera, had a hundred eyes. When he fell asleep during his duty
and was killed, Hera placed his
eyes in the peacock--her favorite bird.
Of all birds, the peacock most resembles the traditional descriptions
of the phoenix. The phoenix
is the legendary bird of resurrection that is sacrificed in
the fires of life and then rises from the
flames out of its own ashes. The peacock, as a reflection of
the phoenix, has touched many
societies. In Chinese mythology the plumage is a blending of
five colors that have a sweet
harmony of sound.
In Egypt it was linked to the worship of the sun god, Amon-Ra.
Even in Christianity it was a
symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus. In Egypt, the
peacock was associated with the all
seeing eye of Horus. To the Hindu, it was associated with Hindra,
the god of thunder who
became a peacock to escape the demon Ravana, thus being endowed
with 100 eyes in the
The peacock was often considered sacred in that it destroyed
poisonous snakes. In Egypt it held a
position second only to the ibis in this category. Because of
its many eyes, it has been associated
with wisdom and vision--heightened watchfulness. It has also
been associated with immortality.
Partly this is due to its similar appearance to depictions of
the phoenix. This idea also arises from
an old belief that its flesh would not putrefy.
An examination of these and other myths associated with this
bird may reveal possible past-life
connections for those with this totem. It will shed insight
into the role it will play in your life.
The lore associated with the peacock is closely tied to characteristics
and behaviors, and it will
help you see how other societies were able to draw connections
and make correspondences.
*From my notes:
Years ago a friend had a wild game farm of exotic animals, and
she kept peacocks. I used to take
my daughter there when she was around 5 years old to see them
and it was one of her favorite
stops when we were out and about. One time, during mating season,
they were particularly
active. When the male is trying to excite the female he fans
his tail feathers, rattles them
profusely and makes the eyes dance for her. It's beautiful to
watch. He also shouts or calls out
with a harsh voice and it sounds like a human calling out the
My daughter turned to me and said: "Oh Mommy, look he needs
help. He's hurting." I had to
laugh and nodded saying he certainly was. LOL Their voice is
very distinctive and they do get
vocal. They are good watch-birds for property as they do announce
visitors immediately and
loudly. But they can also be aggressive and are good at pecking
too. So when around them do not
get too close too fast. If you move slowly they are more apt
to accept you and feel comfortable.
They are beautiful creatures, that's for sure.
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