Sunday, September 30

The Hawk, the Snake and Homer's Superstitions

A Homeric omen: A Greek wine cup with a scene of an eagle battling a snake

Last month I saw, on two separate occasions, a hawk flying with a snake caught in its talons. I found it strange, living most of my life in semi-rural areas, that I had never seen this before. The first occasion was driving back to my Grandparents house after picking up the take-out chicken bar-b-q from the Prattsburg Flower Festival. The hawk flew across the road in front of our car with a dead snake dangling from its claws.

The second occurrence happened a couple of weeks later at my parents house as the little man and I were walking down the driveway to meet Grandpa. It flew from the floor of the woods that run the length of the driveway and up to a thick branch where he eyed us menacingly. He wanted to enjoy his meal but did not want to take his eyes off of us, just in case. He flew away after a few minutes but I found it odd that this was the second time I had seen this predator and prey scenario in as many weeks.

Normally, I am not one for signs. Or omens, premonitions, or blatant superstitious behavior. But sometimes, very rarely, something just strikes me as so odd or so coincidental, that I can not help but think there must be something else going on.

A little research turned up that in mythology, the eagle and the snake represent the conflict of opposites. Ok, the eagle hunts and eats the snake. Predator and prey - you can't get more opposite than that.

Hawks have the keenest vision of all the birds therefore, they are seen as visionaries and messengers.Snakes represent transformation death and rebirth (growth). Am I going to experience some big changes soon? Is the hawk bringing me the message that I will go through some sort of rebirth (hopefully not death!)? What does the vision of a dead snake mean?

Homer’s description of a high-flying bird carrying a snake in its talons was an omen the Trojans saw as they attacked the Greek forces. Homer's snake was still alive and was dropped by the eagle before it could be eaten, whereas my snake was most definitely dead. Polydamas warns Hector to heed the omen and not attack the Greek ships. What attack should I call of or be wary of? The only attack I was planning would be the one against the wasps making a large nest inside one of my storm windows. Surely someone is not telling me to go ahead and let a hoard of wasps into the house when I close up my screens?

A warning of some sort, it must be. How serious the situation or result remains to be seen. All I can do is to pay attention to things around me, if I am taking this seriously at all.

All I can say for certain is that the hawk ate well that night and I was made to think about something a little deeper.


  1. Replies
    1. interesting. Would not take it too seriously though! It is mother nature

  2. My husband and I saw a hawk fly across the road in front of car carrying a snake today...first time either of us had ever seen that. And my Google search for the possible meaning or symbolism of such an occurrence led me here. Thanks for your thoughts. :)

  3. Today I seen two hawks, each one carrying snakes in their talons. They were in different locations. (90 miles apart) In the past, I heard that if a hawk pass over your path it represents danger was ahead and to be careful. So naturally, I searched for this sighting as well. Thanks.