More Eagle Myths
Didn't learn enough about Eagle myths last time? Wish I'd focused more on the Eagles and not their deep rooted feuds with snakes? Well, this time I'll be focusing on just the majestic birds we associate with the Ravenclaw house.
This one's not exactly myth. The Romans really did use the eagle as a symbol of the Roman legion. The Aquila was known throughout the lands as a sign of the Roman military. Typically made of silver or bronze, it topped the staff carried by the standard-bearer. Much later, this ancient practice would continue and be modified to have two heads, symbolizing the Empire's dominance over the East and West.
The eagle was also symbolic of Jupiter, the supreme deity in Roman myth. Many kings would use the eagle as their symbol as well to imply they too, were divine.
Last time we covered the Eagle that resides atop Ydgrassil. But this is not the only eagle prevalent in Norse myth.
In Helheim, one of the nine worlds, the giant Hraesvelg sits at the edge of the world in the form of the eagle. With the flapping of his wings he makes the wind blow across the worlds. His children are sent across creation in similar fashion, their wings adding to the winds of the universe.
There is also well known tale where the giant Thiazi few to Midgard in the form of an eagle. The gods Honir, Loki, and Odin had just hunted down and ox and were cooking it.
The eagle asked for some of the meat, and the gods agreed. But he became greedy and ate so much that Loki stabbed him through with his staff. Thiazi flew away, Loki still holding onto the staff, and kept flying until Loki had no choice but to agree to the eagle's conditions. What Thiazi wanted, was the goddess Idun, for she cared for the apples of youth, and Thiazi wanted to stay eternally young just like the gods of Asgard.
Loki did return to Midgard and convinced Idun to travel to Midgard where Thiazi kidnapped her in the form of an eagle once more, taking her to his castle in Jotenheim. Upon return to Asgard, he admitted to helping the giant and faced with death if he did not return the apples and restore the youth to the gods and goddesses of Asgard.
In Finnish tradition, Puhuri, the North Wind is often personified as a eagle.
The eagle actually shows up several time in Finnish myths, including laying an egg to sprout other forms of birds. Also, an eagle was said to help clear the lands by burning the trees to clear land for growing oats.
An eagle was also said to rescue Väinämöinen, a Finnish god from the sea because he had previously spared a tree for the birds to perch on when clearing the lands for farming.
Eagles adorn tombs in Syria, representing the guides that lead souls to heaven. This belief is repeated in several other cultures, including the previously mentioned Romans, who would release an eagle at a ruler's funeral for it to lead the spirit of the deceased into the heavens. In similar fashion, Australian aboriginal beliefs have the eagle as a guide through the Dreamtime.