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Author Topic: The Bird with the Cake in its Mouth  (Read 1223 times)

NibbleKat

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The Bird with the Cake in its Mouth
« on: August 17, 2012, 01:57:04 pm »
In Celtic symbolism, both between the Insular Celts and the Continental, there's a theme seen with birds that hold something in their beaks/bills.  I think the most famous one is of Sequana (one of my patron goddesses), who stands on a duck boat, the duck having an offering cake/sacrifice/something in its bill.

Now, I'm exploring what that means;  for the Celts, the duck was a solar symbol, and connected the Otherworld with this one and the Heavens, since it could fly and sit upon the water at the same time (water being an Otherworld 'gate', for lack of better term).

Is the thing that the duck holds in its beak an offering from the worshipers? Is it something it dipped into the Otherworld and has come up with to give to the worshipers?

What are your ideas?

I get a bit of both-- I see a duck with its bottom up in the air, bringing things up from the bottom of the river/pond/water source, but I also see it as maybe an accepted object from the worshiper, meaning that the goddess has accepted the gift brought...

I'd love to know what else you get from this.

http://www.goddessaday.com/images/Sequana.jpg
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Maps

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Re: The Bird with the Cake in its Mouth
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2012, 04:49:00 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;69523
In Celtic symbolism, both between the Insular Celts and the Continental, there's a theme seen with birds that hold something in their beaks/bills.  I think the most famous one is of Sequana (one of my patron goddesses), who stands on a duck boat, the duck having an offering cake/sacrifice/something in its bill.

Now, I'm exploring what that means;  for the Celts, the duck was a solar symbol, and connected the Otherworld with this one and the Heavens, since it could fly and sit upon the water at the same time (water being an Otherworld 'gate', for lack of better term).

Is the thing that the duck holds in its beak an offering from the worshipers? Is it something it dipped into the Otherworld and has come up with to give to the worshipers?

What are your ideas?

I get a bit of both-- I see a duck with its bottom up in the air, bringing things up from the bottom of the river/pond/water source, but I also see it as maybe an accepted object from the worshiper, meaning that the goddess has accepted the gift brought...

I'd love to know what else you get from this.

http://www.goddessaday.com/images/Sequana.jpg

 
The old Maya tradition resembles that of the Celts insofar as there is the three-tiered cosmos with bodies of water representing openings into the underworld.

The first thing that springs to mind is the question of what Celtic lore has to say about what the underworld has to offer to the upper worlds. AFAIK with the Maya, no one ever descended and returned with anything more than intangibles, namely wisdom and prophecy.

Are you sure it's a cake?

NibbleKat

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Re: The Bird with the Cake in its Mouth
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2012, 05:51:28 pm »
Quote from: Maps;69553
The old Maya tradition resembles that of the Celts insofar as there is the three-tiered cosmos with bodies of water representing openings into the underworld.

The first thing that springs to mind is the question of what Celtic lore has to say about what the underworld has to offer to the upper worlds. AFAIK with the Maya, no one ever descended and returned with anything more than intangibles, namely wisdom and prophecy.

Are you sure it's a cake?


No, not sure! It could be a pearl, a bean, anything-- mostly, when it's seen in a bird's mouth (sometimes it's a raven, which does have Otherworld connotations), it's just a  round... something.  An offering cake might be what it is, but there's nothing I've read that has said that archaeolgists know what it is.  

I used to have a link to a thesis that had several duck-boat-with-thing-in-beak pictures in it, and Miranda Green's Gods of the Celts has a photo of the ravens with the same, but I can't find anything on the web to share. :(

I think that exploring what the Underworld has to offer is a good idea, and I've leaned toward that, as well; I'll definitely have to research that.  I like that Maya tradition has similar ideas/beliefs about water!
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Maps

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Re: The Bird with the Cake in its Mouth
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2012, 10:33:33 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;69557
No, not sure! It could be a pearl, a bean, anything-- mostly, when it's seen in a bird's mouth (sometimes it's a raven, which does have Otherworld connotations), it's just a  round... something.  An offering cake might be what it is, but there's nothing I've read that has said that archaeolgists know what it is.  

I used to have a link to a thesis that had several duck-boat-with-thing-in-beak pictures in it, and Miranda Green's Gods of the Celts has a photo of the ravens with the same, but I can't find anything on the web to share. :(

I think that exploring what the Underworld has to offer is a good idea, and I've leaned toward that, as well; I'll definitely have to research that.  I like that Maya tradition has similar ideas/beliefs about water!


Yeah I looked at the picture and it looked way too spherical to be something like a cake or food offering... what significance do pearls have in Celtic mythology? Though the idea of the bird taking it to rather than from the underworld is an interesting one. :B

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Re: The Bird with the Cake in its Mouth
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2012, 05:53:46 pm »
Quote from: Maps;69609
Yeah I looked at the picture and it looked way too spherical to be something like a cake or food offering... what significance do pearls have in Celtic mythology? Though the idea of the bird taking it to rather than from the underworld is an interesting one. :B

 
You know, I don't have any idea-- I don't know if there is any information out there regarding Celts and pearls, but I will look it up.  It might also be deliberately ambiguous, as many things are in Celtic renderings (vs. Roman).

I... still draw a blank.
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Juniperberry

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Re: The Bird with the Cake in its Mouth
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2012, 07:12:20 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;69825
You know, I don't have any idea-- I don't know if there is any information out there regarding Celts and pearls, but I will look it up.  It might also be deliberately ambiguous, as many things are in Celtic renderings (vs. Roman).

I... still draw a blank.

 
It could be an egg. There's a European fairytale about a brother stealing an egg from a duck's mouth and it represents (supposedly) the underworld and rebirth. In fact, eggs/birds are usually linked that way in a lot of cultures (African, Egyptian, Indian, etc).
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NibbleKat

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Re: The Bird with the Cake in its Mouth
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 11:48:22 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;69838
It could be an egg. There's a European fairytale about a brother stealing an egg from a duck's mouth and it represents (supposedly) the underworld and rebirth. In fact, eggs/birds are usually linked that way in a lot of cultures (African, Egyptian, Indian, etc).

 
Now that is an interesting idea.  I'd already ruled out the sun, which would have doubled the duck/solar symbolism, but wouldn't have explained the instances of ravens with them in their beaks-- and Celtic suns were usually rosettes in shape or solar wheels.

An egg is an interesting idea-- I've read it's also a symbol of the womb (cosmic womb or otherwise), creation, etc, so that's a wonderfully interesting tack to take. I like it!
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