The peacock is a gorgeous bird, not only for its vibrant colors but also for what it represents. If you like Peacock Art, see my Peacock Painting!
Since a very young age, I have been interested in the spiritual journey, reading all sorts of religious and new-age books. I was convinced I had telepathic abilities, and if there was some sort of ritual, I would certainly be interested in trying. No wonder I ended up being a resident at a meditation school and a Buddhist temple in my twenties.
That was when I first heard of my very favorite meaning of the peacock.
You will find the peacock feather in many religious items, in many different cultures. And why would that be?
Did you know that it is by ingesting poison that the peacock creates the beautiful colors in its feathers?
That is the reason it represents a guru (or teacher), and it has such a spiritual connotation. A spiritual teacher will transform the poison from the student into knowledge and beauty.
Peacock Wearable Art
Commonly referred to symbolize integrity, truth, honor, beauty, and strength this bird is a part of the pheasant family but also has references to
- Spiritual Awakening
- Long Life
- Leadership Skills
- Enjoying Life
- Being Well Balanced
Peacock in Religion and Mythology
SOME PEACOCK RELIGIOUS MEANINGS
The peacock is native to Southeast Asia and countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, China, and Sri Lanka. Many religions even consider them to be sacred and are considered to be a good sign and omen. Here we take a look at how some beliefs around the world look at this pheasant bird:
When open, a fully flaunted peacocks tail looks like a huge Chinese hand fan. This symbolizes openness and acceptance to Buddhists. One of the references a peacock symbolizes is long life or immortality. This is because the peacock was well known to eat plants that were poisonous in nature and would kill if consumed by humans. Buddhists thought that because of this, peacocks could not only live but do so with ease, even though they were enduring significant suffering. To the Buddhists, the peacock signifies purity, hence why their feathers are often used in purification ceremonies.
In the Hindu religion, there are two well-known figures known as Lord Krishna and Lakshmi. The goddess Lakshmi in Hindu signifies having a compassionate heart, being kind, virtue, patience, and good fortune. Lord Krishna was well known to garnish peacock feathers all around his head and were decorated on his flute. Some even said that the peacocks personally gave their feathers as a gift to Lord Krishna.
A peacock is the symbol of purity. Christians believed that once someone has passed, their soul rises and goes to heaven. This is why early Christians would spread the feathers of a peacock over the deceased since it symbolized a pure soul that was immune to corruption. The feathers were used as a measure to prevent the decaying of the human body as well. The peacock represents immortality, resurrection, and the spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ and the Christian church.
In Greek mythology, the peacock has associated with Hera, the wife of Zeus and the queen of the Ancient Greek gods. Legend has it that Hera transformed her guardian Argus who had a hundred eyes into a peacock. Argus’ feathers were a mark of heaven’s beauty, and its eyes represent the stars in the firmament. This is why, for the people of Greece, the peacock represents heaven, and it’s all mighty all-seeing vision, wisdom, and knowledge.
In certain parts of Asia, there was a mortal known by the name of Quan Yin. The peacock is associated with Quan Yin and her great qualities of charity, compassion, integrity, and good faith towards her fellow man. Quan Yin was very well known because she could become immortal. However, she deflected to stay mortal for the greater good of humanity and to assist with their personal and religious growth.
Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants (typically blue and green) known for their iridescent tails.
COMMON NAME: Peacocks
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Afropavo, Pavo
GROUP NAME: Muster, ostentation, pride
Just as the peacock was immune to poisonous plants in China, the same is so with snakes in India. Known as the “Snake Slayer” they are thought to be immune to the poison contained in a snake’s venom. It is believed that when a snake is killed and eaten by a peacock, the venom travels into the feathers providing a unique radiance.
Peacocks are ground feeders that eat insects, plants, and small creatures. There are two familiar peacock species. The blue peacock lives in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma). A more distinct and little-known species, the Congo peacock, inhabits African rain forests.
Peafowl such as the blue peacock has been admired by humans and kept as pets for thousands of years. Selective breeding has created some unusual color combinations, but wild birds are themselves bursting with vibrant hues. They can be testy and do not mix well with other domestic birds.
Characteristics of a Peacock Bird
Peacocks are actually the males of a species called peafowl, which are native to Asian forests. Peafowl are a type of pheasant and are capable of flight. Female peafowl, called peahens, have brown feathers and shorter tails, which camouflage them and help them fly more easily than males. Peacocks unfold their tail feathers in order to impress females, though most of their displays go ignored.
Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants (typically blue and green) known for their iridescent tails. These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird’s total body length and boast colorful “eye” markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues.National Geographic
What Are the Colors in a Peacock’s Feathers?
Unlike most birds, peacocks do not derive their colors purely from pigments, but from a combination of pigments and photonic crystals. This combination causes the feathers to reflect different wavelengths of light depending upon the angle of the light and the spacing of the crystals. The result is the iridescent shades of blue, green, brown and yellow commonly found in a peacock’s train.
Distinctive Tail Feathers
These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird’s total body length and boast colorful “eye” markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues. The large train is used in mating rituals and courtship displays. It can be arched into a magnificent fan that reaches across the bird’s back and touches the ground on either side. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, color, and quality of these outrageous feather trains.
Types of Peacocks
Peacocks are the male of the species of peafowl, birds known for their showy plumage. There are only three species of peafowl: Indian, Green, and Congo. They are distinguished by their color and size.
Through selective breeding and mutations, peacocks exist outside of the normal realm of Indian and green peacock coloring. The white peacock is not an albino, but rather a product of leucism (dimming of skin and feather pigments) and is entirely white from crest to train. Other breeding variations include peacocks that are black, brown, yellow and purple; all are simple variations or mutations from standard green or Indian peacocks.
How To Tell If A Peacock Is Male Or Female
Males vs. Females
The term “peacock” is commonly used to refer to birds of both sexes. Technically, only males are peacocks. Females are peahens, and together, they are called peafowl. So, there is not really a peacock female.
Suitable males may gather harems of several females, each of which will lay three to five eggs. In fact, wild peafowl often roosts in forest trees and gather in groups called parties.
A peacock, like a rooster, is always male. Just as a female chicken is a hen, a female peafowl is a peahen. Peafowl (spp. Pavo) are part of the pheasant family and have long been prized and even venerated. Hindus considered the Indian peafowl (P. cistasus) sacred, and it is still the national bird of India. The green peafowl (P. muticus) isn’t as well-known in the west, but it can fill the air with the same earsplitting cawing as its cousin. Male peafowl are the ones with the impressive tails, more properly known as trains, and there’s a good reason peahens don’t have such showy coloration. They have to keep a low profile so they can raise their young without attracting predators. The young are known as peachicks.