Very often we can glean symbolic meaning and life-metaphors from stories, myths and parables. The falcon has tons of symbolic lessons for us. This is a neat story to illustrate how parable and myth can serve as a powerful message. It also illustrates how the majestic falcon reminds us of our own potential majesty.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away lived a king who received two Peregrine falcons as a gift.
This was a very honorable offering as the falcons were exquisite, and would make noble companions as the king hunted his royal grounds.
The king passed the falcons off to his gamekeeper and instructed him to train the raptors for next hunt.
The gamekeeper set about training the two Peregrine’s. One bird performed exceedingly well. However, the second bird excelled not at all. In fact, the bird never moved off its branch!
The gamekeeper was flummoxed, so he recruited the advice of an avian expert. After inspecting the bird who would not fly, the expert diagnosed it as perfectly healthy and sound. He was baffled as to why the bird would not fly.
Left with no other choice, the gamekeeper approached the king about the flightless falcon. Never turning down a good challenge, the king sent out an announcement to every village, town and rural residence within the kingdom. He set a high reward to anyone who could make his grounded falcon take flight.
Hundreds came to surmise the flightless falcon. Some tried luring the bird off its branch with bits of meat. Others chanted and sang in hopes to inspire the bird to fly. Still others poked at the bird (which was a big mistake as the falcon bit the fingers that poked at him!).
After many days of challenges and many disappointments, all attempts to prompt the raptor to fly off its branch failed.
Then came an old woman from the furthest outreaches of the kingdom. Since she kept to herself, cloistered in her small hovel, few residents in the kingdom knew anything about her. She was weathered, disheveled and smelled faintly of bog water.
As the old woman approached the falcon, she drew out a wicked-sharp blade from the folds of her garment. The crowd gasped. Would she kill the king’s falcon!?
Hardly. She used the blade to hack off the end of the branch the falcon had been stubbornly sitting upon all this time.
In a flash, the falcon’s wings unfurled, and it took off into the skies with stunning glory, grace and power.
The king marveled over the sight!
‘Woman, how did you know? How did you know my falcon would take flight if you cut the branch?‘ The king asked excitedly.
From leathery lips, the wizened woman replied:
‘Some souls need to be reminded they have wings.‘
A dear friend of mine shared this story with me and I loved it because it spoke to me of how certain perspectives can limit our views concerning potential.
What do I mean by that? Let me answer this question with a few other questions that may weave deeper meaning into this parable.
• Does complacency limit how far we travel?
• Are comfort zones prohibiting our expansion & development?
• What kind of reminders can we heed about our potential?
• What motivates us to excel and succeed?
• What have we forgotten about our divine, authentic selves?
• How can we break the spell of lackluster limitation?
These are just a few questions this Peregrine parable prompted me to ask. What kind of symbolic messages come up for you in this story?
By the way, if the falcon really seizes your attention, maybe this regal bird can serve as a source of inspiration for you. Take flight into a few symbolic suggestions for the falcon here.