Ornithomancy is the practice of observing the flight of birds and bird calls (via Amino). Going all the way back to ancient times, people sought meaning in the appearances of certain birds and attributed divine messages and meanings to each of them.
The way birds fly also holds meaning for those who believe in bird-specific omens. For example, seeing a bird flying horizontally means you will reach your destination, while a bird flying straight towards you indicates your situation will improve. Flying high and fast or flying directly upwards means major success is fast approaching for you.
Just seeing certain birds can carry significant meaning, as each can represent a variety of spiritual realms, traits, and fortunes. For instance, high-flying birds of prey like hawks and eagles are often associated with the higher perspective of the divine and our own higher selves because of their clearer view of the world from their vantage point. Eagles are particularly impressive to witness in person simply because of their size and beauty, but if you believe in augury, seeing an eagle is an especially big deal.
Eagles have positive symbolism
Eagles are, in essence, the kings of the birds of prey; they are the largest and are ably to fly the highest (via Wild Birds). As such, they are associated with the divine, resilience, rebirth, and new beginnings. They are also associated with leadership, honesty, and wisely-wielded power.
Native American cultures also covet eagles as positive and important signs. For them, both the golden and bald eagles were sacred as they fly the highest, making them the closest to heaven and to the divine creator. They also believed that eagles were responsible for delivering prayers of the people directly to the creator, making them spiritual messengers of the highest order. Holding an eagle feather while taking part in prayer was sometimes done to represent this connection.
The eagle is also essential in Christian symbolism, especially in The Old Testament (which means it is significant to Jewish people as well). One passage likening eagles to the divine in The Bible says that God treats his people as an eagle treats its young: “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings” (via Wild Birds). So if you are dealing with difficult times and see an eagle while you are out for a hike or taking a drive, take heed; things may just be improving for you a short way down the road.
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