Bird God Graffiti in New York City and the Celestial Northern Cross
As The New York Postreported a few weeks ago
“A vandal stole a cherry picker and tagged Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza arch with a massive piece of graffiti Sunday that read “Bird God.” Videos and photos from social media show cars driving around the arch in Prospect Park as onlookers watched and cops tried to coax the vandal down. The graffiti writer, though, got stuck high above the traffic and had to be helped down by the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit, according to cops….Cops were unsure what the tag “Bird God” referred to.”
I don’t find it surprising that the police didn’t know what, or who, ‘Bird God’ was.
When I read the story I laughed and immediately thought of Gobekli Tepe, the 12,000 year old temple in Turkey. We will come back to Gobekli Tepe in bit!
Certainly you have heard of the old piece of folklore of a stork delivering newborns. This isn’t just a piece of old prurience of not wanting to speak of the very human ways that babies come into the world. It is a remembering of something very, very old indeed. If you look online you’ll get some references to Hans Christian Andersen and if you look further you might find some references to the mother of Charlemagne, the great king from the 8th century who is called ‘The Father of Europe’. His mother was allegedly had ‘goose foot’ as her nickname. Seems unlikely, a bit of a Mother Goose story…but Mother Goose has the same origins.
Let’s go further back than that. To a time where people felt profoundly connected to the night sky and felt a lived relationship with the firmament.
Right in the center of Milky Way is the constellation called Cygnus. Cygnus is also known as the asterism known as ‘The Northern Cross.’ The word ‘cygnus’ is the Latinized Greek word for ‘swan’ but other ancient peoples called the very same constellation ‘The Great Bird’, ‘The Heron’, ‘The Vulture’, and ‘The Stork.’ Somehow these old cultures all saw a big winged bird in sky in the very same spot. Interestingly enough we find that all of these cultures that saw a great bird on the plane of the Milky Way considered all human souls came from, and returned to, that very spot in the sky. And so these people had an understanding of ‘as above, so below’….if there was a great bird in the heavens that was wrapped up in human souls somehow then that meant that the actual birds on earth must be involved with finishing the job.
Hence we can now see the connection between between storks and delivering babies. The storks were the business end of the heavenly soul-bound bird. And Mother Goose makes sense too – this birthing figure who tells stories to children being connected to this constellation.
Let’s go back to Gobekli Tepe, this 12,000 year old temple in Turkey. It is remarkable and massive temple complex with huge stones, enclosed spaces, and parts of it aligned with certain astronomical features like solstices, equinoxes and the like. But all throughout the complex are carvings of many animals but very prominent amidst them all are etchings of giant vultures and bored holes in the pillars in the form of the constellation Cygnus. Which is amazing because it makes it very, very likely that people who were living in the Middle East 12,000 years ago were dedicating massive resources to move and carve giant stones to build spaces in devotion to animals and the part they had to play with the making and returning of human souls.
There is so much to say about this complex and its significance and if you are itching for that you can read Andrew Collins’ book ‘Gobekli Tepe: The Genesis of the Gods’ which is a fascinating wondering about the relevance and impact of this building. The first half is all you need if you are going to read it.
Now, all the way back to Brooklyn and the guy who stole the cherry picker to graffiti ‘Bird God’ in Grand Army Plaza. I don’t know what this guy was thinking. I’m quite certain he wasn’t thinking of Cygnus or Gobekli Tepe or any of this stuff. Of course not. There is no way.
And yet maybe The Great Bird in the Milky Way has been longing to be remembered and misses the songs and the prayers and the smoke directed towards those light years wide wings. And perhaps that bird has sighed a blue sigh and sits with a heavy and transiting heart at the birds dying at a precipitous rate all over our world and threw out a crazy sign that someone caught imperfectly and didn’t know what to do with it beyond what he did.
All that came to me in a flash when I read about this story.
No matter your theology the notion of ‘god’ or ‘gods’ -from the anthropocentric perspective – has to do with making the world and making humans.
I’m pretty sure that this graffiti is an occult event. One that is begging for us to remember that the hand of the non human world, the animal world, has everything to do with our comings and our goings here. And that we must court a relationship with them to burnish our human credentials up a bit.
This is part of the remembering work of Primal Derma. To do the hard looking in the world for signs that our lives and well being are connected with the non-human world and in remembering that it invites us into a different relationship with our days and the place we find ourselves inhabiting.
Thank you so much for reading and going on these wonderings about culture and folklore with your friendly neighborhood tallow based skincare company.
We are lucky to have you!
Until soon enough,