Excerpts from Hieroglyphika


When they wish to symbolize a god, or something sublime, or something lowly, or superiority, or victory, or Ares, or Aphrodite, they draw a hawk. A god, because the hawk is fecund or long-lived. And again, since it seems to exist as a symbol of the sun, beyond all other birds in the sharpness of its sight, because of the rays of its eyes. And for this reason the physicians use hawkweed for eye-trouble. And since the sun is the lord of sight, they draw him sometimes in the shape of a hawk. And sublime things, since the other birds, when they wish to fly upwards, proceed on a slant, it being impossible for them to rise directly. Only the hawk flies straight upwards. And lowliness, because the other birds cannot fly directly downwards. And superiority, because they seem to be superio to all the other birds. And blood, because it is said this bird drinks not water, but blood. And victory, because this bird seems to conquer every other. For when it is oppressed by a stronger beast, it betakes itself to the air and, turning on its back, prepares for battle with its talons extended. It is impossible for any other anima fighting against it to do this, and thus its opponents are driven to defeat. – 1.6

That the hawk is a symbol for the soul is clear from the interpretation of its name. For the hawk is called by the Egyptians Baieth. If this name is divided it means “soul” and heart”. For bai is the soul and eth the heart. And the heart, according to the Egyptians, contains the soul. Hence the interpretation of the combined name is the “soul-in-the-heart”. Wherefore the hawk, since it has the same character as the soul, never drinks water, but blood, on which the soul is nourished. –  1.7



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