Protection, Renewal, and the Peacock

peacock, christian symbol

Peacock in Resurrection Window, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis. Via

For centuries, peacocks have been focal symbol of legend and art, standing for immortality, renewal, and protection  “…[W]e find paintings and mosaics with the peacock as early as the 3rd century on the walls of the catacombs of Rome, a symbol of the exchanging of the mortal earthly body for the glorified body and eternal life of the glorified soul in Heaven.”

Ancients believed that the peacock was incorruptible – Aristotle claimed that their flesh did not decay after death, a belief later echoed by St. Augustine.  Thus, they came to represent life eternal and early Christians used their feathers to cover the bodies of the dead.  Since male peacocks shed and regrow their plumage each spring,  this majestic bird also became a symbol of renewal.

With this springtime renewal and life everlasting, peacocks are also a common symbol of the Resurrection.

Mosaic with a Peacock and Flowers. 3rd–4th century. Roman or Byzantine. Tesserae mounted in metal frame. Via

In Hinduism, the peacock is commonly associated with Lakshmi, the deity of patience, compassion, good luck, and benevolence. “They [also] have a special connection with Lord Krishna as these feathers adorned his head and flute as well. It is believed that the peacocks themselves presented him the feathers.”

They are also an emblem of love in Asian spirituality, associated with the compassionate, nurturing, and kind Kwan-yin. “In Egypt the Peacock was associated with the sun god and the eye of Horus. […] Another reason the peacock was so revered in Egypt is because the peacock destroyed poisonous snakes.”

“In Babylonia and Persia the peacock is seen as a guardian to royalty, and is often seen in engravings upon the thrones of royalty.”

Many also hold the peacock as a symbol of God’s omnipresence.  When the male bird displays his tail, the circular design on the feathers looks like many eyes watching over you.  In Greek mythology, the peacock was created by Hera from Argos, whose hundred eyes were transposed onto the tail feathers.  To Hera, the peacock was meant to be an all-seeing protector and  “Because of this, the peacock has been associated with the all-seeing eye of God Who sees all actions and all people…”

With their pure incorruptibility and beauty, peacocks are also said to guard the Gates of Paradise, which inspired Gallery Byzantium’s Peacock Birds of Paradise Collection.  This Byzantine design features two beautifully handcrafted peacock guards entwined with an ancient scroll design.

Peacock Symbolism and Meaning –
Peacock Spirit Animal –
What is the symbolism of the peacock? –
What does the peacock feather symbolize –
Symbols of the Christian Faith –
Peacock Symbol –
Symbolism of the Peacock –
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categorized in: