Squirrel

Regarded with suspicion by many cultures. In Ancient Germanic cultures, it represented slander and wickedness. In the Cristian imagination the squirrel is seen as a symbol of Satan and evil in general. It can also have a reputation for greed and avarice. It has also been represented as a pet, especially in portraits of women from the fourteenth century onward.

Seashell

botticelli-birth-of-venusThe myth tells us that the goddess of love Venus was born out of sea foam and carried on a conch-shell to Cyprus. In Christian culture the seashell represents man’s grave before resurrection. In Renaissance paintings the shell is pictured as an attribute of Mary, John the Baptist uses it for Christ’s baptism as a possible allusion of Christ’s future Resurrection.It is also an attribute of the Saint James, the patron of pilgrims.

As related to Water element, the seashell is a symbol of fertility, the Moon and the Woman.

Swan

Swan
Swan

In Roman mythology Jupiter himself changed into a swan to seduce Leda. Helen of Troy and her brother Pollux were born later. It is a sacred animal to Apollo, as the god of music, attribute of the muses Erato and Clio. Swan also lead Venus’s chariot. Since antiquity it has been associated with the music, it was believed that swans sang sweetly just before dying. In contrast with the crow, which symbolizes night, the swan represents the light of day. In medieval bestiaries the swan was a symbol of hypocrisy because of its black flesh in contrast of white plumage. The main meanings are love, purity, virtue, hypocrisy. In the Tarot card The day of Judgment, the closest constellation to this enigma is the Swan of Leda, the final Conjunction. In Alchemy, swan is considered as a symbol of mercury. It represents the mystical union of opposites (water-fire), the Androgyne.

Owl

As owls avoid light they symbolise sadness, obscurity, melancholy.

In Greek mythology it is an interpreter of Atropos (Morta as Roman equivalent), one of the Fates who cuts the thread of the destiny. As a symbol of wisdom, it was a bird of Athena.

In Egypt it represents cold, night and death.

In Baltic mythology, owl is a bird of the Death Goddess Giltine (from the verb gelti – to sting). In the beginning, Goddess had the form of this bird. Owl’s scary voice predicted disasters: death, fire, birth of an illegitimate baby. The owl was also a bird of darkness, night, the Goddess of the Moon. On the other hand, the owl was a sacred bird, wise, solving important human problems.

In Rigveda the owl was the prophet of death and the bird of the dead.

Scorpion

In Egypt scorpion represents one of the first hieroglyphs and gives his name to on of the predynastic rulers – the King Scorpion.

In Greek tradition, scorpion is the avenger of Artemis and of Diana in Roman mythology. Offended by Orion, the Goddess sent scorpion to sting his heel. After death, Orion was changed into a constellation. For this service, scorpion also deserved to become a constellation. Accordingly, Orion constantly escapes from Scorpion.

In astrology, scorpion is the eighth sign of Zodiac (23 October – 21 November). At this time Nature prepares to a new form of existence. Scorpio is the symbol of resistance, fermentation and death, strength, hardness, struggles. This part of sky is presided by the planet Mars.

Scorpion evokes the fall of nature and vegetation, the return of raw material (Materia Prima) into chaos until the humus prepares the rebirth of life.

Jesus said in the Gospel: “Behold, I have given you power over unclean spirits to treat upon serpents and scorpions and every diabolical power and to cure every decease and every infirmity [Lk. 10:19 and Matt. 10:1].

Turtle (tortoise)

The tortoise represents the whole universe, it is the carrier of the world. It is a female and a male symbol at the same time.

In one of the pictures of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili a woman holds in her hands a tortoise and a pair of wings. This hermetic symbolism compares and opposes chthonic and ouranian features. The wings could represent Mercury and the tortoise could be the matter from which he produced his zither. This transformation from the tortoise to the zither resumes all the Art of Alchemy. It is the primal matter of the Work as well as Saturn or lead. It represents the beginning of the spiritualisation of the matter and the wings represent the finalisation of the Work. Continue reading Turtle (tortoise)

Lizard

The symbolism of lizard could be related to the snake. Different nations possess these expressions: lazy as lizard or lazy as grass-snake.  Snake is an eternal rival of man, but lizard, in contrary, is seen as a friendly animal. In Egypt the image of lizard signified benevolence and kindness.

In the Bible the lizard is called a tiny creature but very wise. His long immobility enjoying the sun is the symbol of contemplative ecstasy.