Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day to the Harbingers of the Sun

Roosters may be missing from neighborhood backyards throughout the United States due to their loud morning crow, but they've never been banned from literature or religion. In fact, roosters have held a prominent place in history for thousands of years.

Below are some of the ways in which roosters have been symbolized:

Greek Mythology

The rooster or cock played a major role in the story of the great love affair between Ares (the god of war) and Aphrodite (the goddess of love and beauty). Alectryon is a youth whom Ares appoints to keep watch outside the bedroom door while Ares and Aphrodite consummate their love. Alectryon falls asleep while at his duty and Helios, the god of the sun, walks in on the couple. Proverbial mythological hell breaks loose. As punishment for dereliction of his duties, Ares turns Alectryon into a rooster. The rooster, as we know, crows the coming of the sun. 


The Gnostics believed in the god, Abraxas, a rooster-headed god with the torso of a man and legs that were serpents.  "To the early gnostics. . . Abraxas was 'the rooster-headed god with serpent feet, in whom light and darkness are both united and transcended.' The cock will always be a totem of great power and mystery." (Ted Andrews, Animal Speak)


According to some Bible translations, Jesus said that Peter will deny Jesus three times before the cock crows twice. A rooster on a weathervane is found on many churches throughout Europe and North America is supposed to symbolize a vigilant watch against evil. 

Chinese Astrology

The rooster is also one of the twelve Chinese astrology symbols and is said to represent loyalty, frankness, honesty, enthusiasm and humor. Roosters are known for their colorful and eccentric displays. 

Celtic and Norse Lore

The rooster is a symbol of the Underworld. It is a messenger that calls out warnings. In Irish folklore, if a rooster crows at your door, visitors are coming.


The rooster heralds the dawn as well as represents wisdom and spirituality.

I like to think of roosters as the harbingers of the sun. Although I am not allowed to hear their mighty crows each dawn because of city noise ordinances, I do get to see their mighty strut when I visit ranches in the valley. To me, they symbolize learning how to survive the darkness to see the dawn.

Today, on this special day, I would like to recognize the "roosters" of our lives: the men who have weathered their often rough and rocky journeys in order to become our inspirational "suns". It is their histories, their stories of coming to age and surviving all that was expected of them, that have created the fathers that they are today: wise, understanding, loving, compassionate souls. 

Although my two greatest inspirational "roosters" are no longer physically here, they are still alive in so many ways. My grandfather and father instilled in me their strength of character, honesty, loyalty, wisdom and dedication to others. They taught me the importance of playing fair. They instilled in me the strength to be me, and they gave me the courage to tell my own stories.

On this Father's Day, I would like to cluck my thanks to them as loudly and as noisily as I can (to heck with the neighbors)! For they were truly my guiding lights, the harbingers of the sun.

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