Have you ever had a power animal want your attention so badly that it continued to show you sign after sign after sign, to the point where the symbolism couldn’t be ignored? If you’re anything like me and you pay attention to these signs in daily life, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. That said, today I bring to you the National Bird of India: the Peacock.
Peacock was everywhere in my life this month. Feathers on journals while browsing Barnes and Noble, feathers on the phone case of someone I just met, peacocks in movies (anyone else see The Jungle Book?), peacocks appeared in conversation, peacocks on my Facebook news feed (the viral video of that white peacock, though!) — you get the picture. Peacock, I figured, held true to his name as a rather cocky bird, and wouldn’t quit until he got my attention.
Peacock is actually the name that describes the males in the peafowl species. Females are referred to as peahens. Peahens, though not as vibrant, carry their own diverse symbolic meaning, so for the purpose of this article, I am exclusively focusing on the Peacock himself, in his brilliant sheen of blue and green.
When I made the decision to accept Peacock’s presence in my life this month, I envisioned him standing before me and shaking his tail feathers wide open, reaching his feathers completely around my body until I was enveloped in a cocoon of eyes. There was a part of me that wanted to escape this endless iridescent sea that I could hide nothing from. Every flaw, every scar, every weakness, everything I considered a negative character trait bubbled to the surface under Peacock’s careful scrutiny.
Love yourself there, Peacock said.
You see, Peacock is cocky — but in the best possible way. Let’s face it, in our Western society, it is almost expected that we look down on ourselves. We’ve been socialized to diminish ourselves and not accept compliments.
“That sweater looks amazing on you!”
“This? Oh … I don’t really like the way it fits me, but it’s laundry day, so …”
Peacock, like the king he is (he even has a crowned crest atop his head), might say: “Thank you! That’s why I picked it out!”
Peacock’s feathered fan of one hundred eyes brings a message of doing your shadow work with grace, compassion, and beauty. The eye spots symbolize universal truth, so if Peacock is coming into your life, it means it’s time to meditate in the center of those feathers and examine yourself, in all of your strengths and weaknesses. I once had a professor who used to say: “Love your weakness as your greatest strength.”
Can you ever really love yourself if you only love the things you consider “good”? We all have a shadow side, and that side is just as much a part of us as the light. Find your shadow. Create an awareness of it. Love it. It’s part of what gives you your unique flavor. When someone criticizes you, shake out your feathers and know that that person might be seeing something in you that they don’t love within their own self. Our perceptions of others are merely reflections of our perceptions of ourselves, after all. Does that mean you should beat yourself up over their criticism? No! Does it mean you should brush it off and judge them for not being as awesome as you? No! It simply means to bring awareness to it, and if you feel the need, show that part of yourself some love.
Self-love. That’s the message of peacock in one word. If you feel like you can benefit from a healthy dose of self-love, hold a peacock feather in one hand, and the crystal bornite, also known as Peacock Ore, in the other (emerald works too!). You may want to meditate on deities associated with Peacock lore: the Hindu Saraswati, the Asian Kuan Yin, the Yoruban Oshun. What do these three goddesses have in common? They are each associated with love, grace, and compassion.
Look upon yourself with loving and compassionate eyes. And the next time someone compliments you, love yourself enough to accept it with grace.
Wishing you beauty in all you do,
– Jessica Lee