Sparrow Symbolism: Omen of Death??
I found a dead sparrow in my basement. I buried it, and said a few words to honor its life. I'm no stranger to death, but something about this tiny sparrow really struck me.
I did some research. I read somewhere (NOT on your website) that the sparrow symbolism is an omen of death. The website said that if I see a dead sparrow, then someone I love will die. This freaked me out.
After I calmed down, I realized that the death sparrow symbolism is kind of nonsense. At least I hoped it is nonsense. I want to believe sparrow meaning has a more hopeful spin to it.
I want to believe that that sparrow symbol of death thing is just a superstition. The other website did not give any resources, or facts in myth or legend to substantiate that death claim. I read your post on "Symbolism vs. Superstition" and was relieved to read it.
I also read your page on sparrow symbolism, and found it very uplifting.
Avia, can you share why this sweet bird could earn such a somber reputation of being an omen of death? Any kind of light you can shed on my experience would be very appreciated.
Avia's Response to
"Sparrow Symbolism - Omens of Death?"
Thank you for sharing your tender experience with the sparrow. I'm so glad to learn you gave the sparrow's body a proper resting place to continue the cycle of life. I further appreciate your spoken word to help the sparrow's soul move easily into its next transition through life.
Death is inevitable. It's going to happen to everything alive at some point. It's not an easy transition...especially for the ones left behind still living in this dimension. I approached death and loss from a symbolic view here, if you're interested in reading it.
Rachel, you've rightly identified the difference between organic, intuitive symbolic interpretation versus vapid superstition. I'm glad you read that post on superstition to get clear on the difference.
Interpreting an experience in our lives as a symbolic event requires thought, heart and intuition. Contrarily, superstition requires mindlessness, laziness and lack of curiosity about the world around us.
That sounds pretty harsh on superstition, doesn't it. Believe it or not, I think there is a purpose for superstition. When we pull the thread of a superstition, we begin to unravel the reason behind the irrationality.
Often, a superstition is born from a valid source. Sometimes it's not. What's neat about these odd notions is learning about the myth, legend and origin behind the twisty belief.
For example...Sparrow symbolism as an omen of death? I can shed some light on how that notion got started.
Back in the old days, finches, sparrows and other small birds were used as sensors to indicate oxygen levels in potentially toxic locations.
Specifically, these birds were recruited in old mining expeditions in which the bird was lowered in a cage into deep caverns. Upon raising the cage, if the bird was alive the crew had the assurance to continue with the expedition. If deceased, the bird obviously indicated unfavorable conditions (lack of oxygen, toxic air) and the miners would find alternate routes.
This is one source explaining the sparrow as an 'omen of death'.
Another source might be the sparrow's willingness to sacrifice. I have seen a sparrow give its life to indicate a warning for its feathered clan. No other sparrow will go near a fallen member as it indicates trouble or danger (a sign or omen) of death nearby. If a sparrow sees another of its kind dead, it's not fool-hearted enough to follow the same path as its fallen kin.
In a way, these origins of sparrow-death-meaning offer us deep symbolism. These accounts reveal the sparrow as a symbol of warning, protection and concern for the welfare of others.
On a lighter note, sparrows are also symbolic of:
Turn a cheek against this somber side of sparrow symbolism. It's human-wrought anyway.
We are far better served by observing sparrow's bright beauty in her natural light - a light of positivity and joy.
I hope this offers insight into your experience with sparrow and sparrow symbolism. I further hope these observation dispel any kind of discomfort about the sparrow symbolism of death.
Special thanks to Dave Crotty for sparrow image.
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An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!