Like chickens and ducks, geese are among the world’s most commonly domesticated birds, kept for their eggs, meat, and feathers. A domesticated goose can lay up to fifty eggs a year, and therefore the goose is often associated with fertility and fecundity. In a fairy tale about a goose who laid golden eggs, its greedy owner grew impatient with the daily gold and killed the goose to access what he expected to be a treasure trove. Instead, all he got was a dead goose. The story’s moral is that patience is its own reward.
The Norse goddess Freya was said to be goose-footed, and sacred geese guarded the temple of Juno in ancient Rome. The white goose is also associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. The tales of Mother Goose, the mythical creator of a collection of nursery rhymes, are actually a translation of the stories by the fictional storyteller from Charles Perrault’s seventeenth century work Contes de ma Mere l’Oye (Tales of My Mother the Goose). The name Mother Goose may have been inspired by the French queen Bertha, called “Goosefoot,” mother of Charlemagne and a patron of children. The goose was also a sacred bird of Berchta, a Germanic earth goddess.
Omens and divinatory meaning: If you see a goose, you should examine several areas in your life. Abundance of some kind may be coming your way (and remember, abundance doesn’t always mean wealth). You might become more watchful for an attack of some kind, small or significant, and think about what is precious to you in order to protect it. Finally, take a look at your current passions, obsessions, or hobbies. Are you on a wild goose chase about something? Have you thought out your path and plan of attack carefully? What’s your focus? Have you collected as much information and data as possible to make a balanced and informed decision? Do you have a clearly defined goal?
Canada geese share leadership roles in their migratory flights, trading off the point position. Take a moment to look at how you work within a team. Can you step up and assume a leadership position when necessary, and then step back again when someone else’s strengths would better serve the group’s needs? The migratory aspect of geese could indicate upcoming travel.
Excerpted from Birds: Explore the Symbology and Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers (Adams Media, a division of F+W Media, Inc.; January 2012), by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
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