The pigeon may be the world’s oldest domesticated bird, appearing in both ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian records. Pigeons belong to the same family as doves, but have very different cultural associations. Whereas doves are perceived as blessed or pure, pigeons are often perceived as dirty pests.
Pigeons have an excellent navigational ability, and have frequently been employed for communication in various situations. Julius Caesar used them, as did the Arabs during the Crusades. In World War II, certain pigeons even received decorations for bravery. Pigeon racing, a challenge in which domesticated birds (sometimes referred to as carrier pigeons or homing pigeons) are released to find their way home and the winner is the one who accomplishes this within the least amount of time, has been (and still is) a popular sport.
Omens and divinatory meaning: The pigeon is a determined creature. It will stay in an area as long as there is food, despite attempts by humans or other birds to chase it away. The pigeon sighting can encourage you to be stubborn and hang in there, regardless of what challenges are thrown in your path.
The pigeon also has strong connections to house and home. If a pigeon appears to you, take a look at your relationship with your home. What does it represent to you? What would you like it to be for you? If these things don’t match up, you know you have work to do. The pigeon is safest in a flock. Don’t discount the strength and support found in a community. Furthermore, remember the importance of communication within that community; don’t assume people know things just because you do. Make sure everyone is in the loop regarding important information.
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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