- Physical Description: The heron is a large, thin bird with a long, narrow neck that can be pulled back into an S shape. The legs are delicate with four-toed feet, three pointing forward and one back. Herons look similar to egrets, but are much bigger. The great blue heron measures approximately 46 inches long, has a wingspan of about 70 inches, and weighs roughly 5 pounds.
- Geographic Distribution: Heron species are found worldwide except for Antarctica. Many species are migratory. The great blue heron, the most common species in North America, is found in southeast Canada, all of the United States, and Central America. The great white heron, the white equivalent of the great blue, is found in southern Florida, the Caribbean, and the Yucatan
- Environment: The great blue heron is mainly found in coastal areas and by inland lakes.
Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations
One of the folk names for the heron is “henshaw.” When Hamlet said he could still tell a hawk from an handsaw (a corruption of “henshaw”), he meant he could distinguish between a hawk and a heron, two birds that were said to be enemies.
Indian folklore says that a heron landing on your house is a sign of good fortune.
One of Aesop’s fables tells of a heron that strolled next to a river in shadow, watching for food. It passed up several small fish, and ended up going hungry when the sun slowly shifted, and the fish moved to cooler water, out of the heron’s reach. The moral indicates that waiting for something better may put you in a position where you end up with nothing.
Omens and Divinatory Meaning
Seeing a heron can be a message to be patient and to choose the correct moment. Stand, watch, and ambush when your moment arrives. On the other hand, waiting too long, like the heron in the Aesop’s fable, means you can miss your opportunity.
The heron wades through water, stirring up silt and mud to find food. Sometimes you have to stir up some dirt in order to get information to rise. The heron may also be telling you to do some legwork in order to turn something up. Things don’t just come your way; you need to get out there and put in the basic effort to lay the groundwork for future success.
Associated energies: Patience, self-reliance, observation, focus, concentration
Associated seasons: Summer
Element association: Air, water
Color associations: Grey, white, blue, black, brown
REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
“Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.”Susan Sontag
Let’s see what focus and concentration will help me achieve this weekend to complete 18 posts in the A2Z challenge. 😉 Expect bird posts in bulk. Sam’s Club meets Sa’s Club!
I used to see herons when I used to walk around White Rock Lake, a beautiful lake in Texas known for all sorts of wildlife. As the sun was setting, the water glistened as the herons glided across the water. It’s nice to go here when one needs a break for a few hours. The lake attracts all sorts of visitors: photographers, painters, joggers, hikers, body builders, bikers.
I think it’s funny that a flock of herons is called a “siege”. In relevance to the divinatory meaning, I take it to mean to surround your target and seize the opportunity when you have the chance!
“We know that attention acts as a lightning rod. Merely by concentrating on something one causes endless analogies to collect around it, even penetrate the boundaries of the subject itself: an experience that we call coincidence, serendipity – the terminology is extensive. My experience has been that in these circular travels what is really significant surrounds a central absence, an absence that, paradoxically, is the text being written or to be written.”Julio Cortázar, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds