In both China and Japan, a pair of Mandarin ducks symbolizes wedded fidelity and happiness, because Mandarins are among the few species of duck that mate for life. The Mandarin duck can also be used as a symbol with which to work on problematic relationships.
A statue found in northern France depicts the Celtic goddess Sequana standing in a duck-shaped boat, perhaps a nod to the duck’s ability to navigate waterways, or perhaps to its association with fertility and feminine virtues. In Egyptian hieroglyphs, the duck symbol represents “son.” Additionally, the flying duck hieroglyph literally means “to fly.” To hear a duck quacking is said to be a good omen, particularly in regards to prosperity. To see one fly is also a good omen, for it offers hope and signifies that you will rise out of whatever difficulty you may be experiencing.
Omens and divinatory meaning: Seeing a duck can alert you literally or figuratively to duck, to keep your head down and stay out of the way for a little while. Something may be coming that could ruffle your feathers or disturb your customary smooth sailing. Alternatively, a duck sighting may prompt you to look at your responsibilities: Are you trying to duck out on anything? If you’re handling something complicated, are you sure that you have “all your ducks in a row”? A duck’s physical shape and webbed feet help it stay afloat and navigate waters with ease. The energy of the duck may help you keep afloat and enable you to go with the flow. Tap its buoyancy to bob atop rough waters.
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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