What Does the Falcon Symbolize in the Second Coming: Unraveling its Spiritual Significance

In the famous poem “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats, the falcon symbolizes rejuvenation, power, and control. The poem is infused with dark imagery and themes of chaos and destruction, yet the falcon stands out as a symbol of hope and renewal. This majestic bird represents a force of nature that cannot be tamed or controlled, but it also embodies a sense of purpose and direction that can be harnessed for good.

According to Yeats, the falcon is a beacon of light in a world that is spinning out of control. It represents the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and find meaning in the midst of chaos. The falcon is also a symbol of control and mastery over one’s own destiny. Just as the bird can soar high above the earth and survey the landscape with a keen eye, so too can we rise above our own limitations and gain a fresh perspective on life.

Ultimately, the falcon symbolizes the possibility of transformation and rebirth. As the poem suggests, the present world may be falling apart, but a new world is waiting to be born. The falcon reminds us that even in the darkest of times, there is always a glimmer of hope and a chance for redemption. Whether we are facing personal struggles or societal upheaval, we can look to the falcon as a reminder of our own resilience and our capacity to soar above our circumstances.

The Falcon Symbolism in “The Second Coming”

William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming” is full of powerful imagery and symbolism, including that of the falcon. The falcon is a bird of prey well-known for its hunting skills and regal appearance, making it a fitting symbol in a poem about the chaos and destruction that follows a collapse of civilization.

  • In the first stanza of the poem, Yeats describes a falcon circling in the sky, unable to hear its master’s call. This image represents a loss of control and order, as even the trained falcon is no longer beholden to its human counterpart.
  • Later in the poem, Yeats likens the falcon to a “rough beast” slouching towards Bethlehem, a phrase that has become one of the most famous lines in all of poetry. This comparison is particularly ominous, as it suggests that the falcon, once a symbol of strength and grace, has become corrupted and now represents a force of destruction.
  • However, there is also an element of hope wrapped up in the falcon’s symbolism. Just as the falcon was once a symbol of order and control, it could regain that role in a new, post-apocalyptic world. As Yeats writes, “Surely some revelation is at hand; / Surely the Second Coming is at hand.” The falcon could represent a new order rising from the ashes of the old one, a beacon of hope in a chaotic world.

The falcon symbolism in “The Second Coming” is just one example of the poem’s rich imagery and allegory. By using this regal bird of prey to represent both destruction and rebirth, Yeats creates a powerful metaphor for the cyclical nature of history and the possibilities for renewal even in the midst of chaos.

The Importance of Animal Symbolism in Literature

Animals have been used as symbols in literature since ancient times. From the powerful dragon in Beowulf to the white whale in Moby Dick, animals play an important role in shaping the storyline and characters of various works. Animal symbolism is often used by writers to convey deeper meaning and evoke emotions in their readers. Here are some reasons why animal symbolism is so vital to literature:

What Does the Falcon Symbolize in The Second Coming?

  • The falcon represents power, strength, and freedom. It is also a symbol of nobility and royalty, likely because of its association with hunting. In The Second Coming, the falcon symbolizes the powerful force that is about to be unleashed on the world, as foretold in William Butler Yeats’ poem. The falcon’s flight is described as “turning and turning in the widening gyre” which shows the cyclical nature of history and the chaos that is about to ensue.
  • The falcon can also be seen as a Christ figure, as it is often depicted as a bird of prey that sacrifices itself for others. In the poem, this interpretation is reinforced by the image of the “rough beast” which is slouching towards Bethlehem. The falcon’s sacrifice can be seen as a sign of hope, as it foreshadows the arrival of a new, more enlightened era after the destruction of the old one.
  • The falcon’s association with hunting and birds of prey also ties it to the concept of the hunt, which is a common theme in literature. The falcon’s flight represents the hunt for knowledge, power, and meaning, and its eventual descent is a sign of the dangers and temptations that come with the hunt. This can be seen as a warning to the readers to be careful what they pursue as it may lead to their downfall.

The Role of Animal Symbolism in Literature

Animal symbolism adds depth and complexity to literary works by allowing writers to use familiar and recognizable imagery to convey more abstract or complex ideas. Animals are powerful symbols because they are universal, appearing in art and literature across cultures and throughout history.

Animal symbolism is also useful because it allows writers to use non-human entities to represent human characteristics and experiences. By doing so, writers can explore topics such as love, death, and morality in a way that transcends human experience and helps readers connect to the themes on a deeper level.


The use of animal symbolism in literature is a powerful tool for writers and readers alike. By using animals as symbols, writers can create more layered and complex stories that resonate with readers on a deeper level. As readers, we can appreciate the beauty and symbolism of these animals and the stories they help to tell.

Animal Symbolism
Dragon Power, strength, danger
Raven Death, decay, mystery
Butterfly Transformation, rebirth, beauty

Whether it’s the falcon in The Second Coming or any other animal in literature, animal symbolism serves as a powerful tool for writers to explore complex themes and evoke emotions in their readers.

The Significance of the Falcon as a Bird of Prey

The falcon is a remarkable bird of prey that has been revered and feared throughout history. It has held a significant role in mythology, culture, and symbolism, and it is often used as a symbol of power, freedom, and authority. The falcon is a master predator with incredible speed, agility, and precision, making it an exceptional hunter and a fierce warrior. The following is a detailed discussion of the significance of the falcon as a bird of prey.

The Falcon as a Symbol of Power and Authority

  • The falcon has been used as a symbol of power and authority by various cultures throughout history. In ancient Egypt, the falcon was associated with the god Horus, the god of the sky, war, and hunting. Horus was depicted with the head of a falcon, and he was considered the protector of the pharaoh and the embodiment of divine power and authority.
  • The falcon was also used as a symbol of power and authority by medieval knights and nobility. The falconry was a popular hunting sport among the elite, and it was a status symbol to own and train falcons.
  • The United Arab Emirates also uses the falcon as its national bird and a symbol of power and authority. Falcons are trained and used for hunting and falconry, and they are highly valued and respected.

The Falcon as a Symbol of Freedom and Independence

The falcon is also a symbol of freedom and independence. It is a free bird that soars high in the sky, unburdened by the constraints of the earth. The falcon represents the pursuit of freedom and the desire for independence.

The Falcon’s Predatory Nature

The falcon’s predatory nature is the hallmark of the bird. It is a master hunter with incredible speed, agility, and precision, making it one of the most fearsome predators in the world. Its instincts are perfectly honed for catching prey, and it never misses an opportunity to strike. The falcon’s predatory prowess represents the importance of survival in the animal kingdom.

Falcon Facts
Speed The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird on earth, reaching speeds of over 240 mph in a dive.
Agility The Falcon’s pointed wings and aerodynamic body give them incredible agility in the air, allowing them to make sharp turns and catch prey in mid-air.
Precision The Falcon’s sharp eyesight allows them to spot prey from great distances, and they are able to make precise calculations to catch it.

The falcon’s significance as a bird of prey is evident in its representation of power, freedom, independence, and the importance of survival. It has been revered and feared throughout history and continues to hold a prominent place in myth and culture. Its exceptional predatory abilities make it a remarkable bird and a worthy symbol of strength and prowess.

The History of the Falcon and its Association with Royalty

The history of the falcon is closely linked with royalty and aristocracy. For centuries, falconry has been associated with the ruling classes and the sport was a symbol of power, wealth, and prestige.

The word falcon is derived from the Latin word “falco” which means “hook-shaped”. This refers to the distinctive shape of the bird’s beak. The earliest historical records of falconry date back to around 2,000 BC in the Middle East. The sport soon spread throughout Europe and Asia, becoming increasingly popular among the nobility.

The Falcon as a Symbol of Royalty

  • The falcon became a popular symbol of royalty because of its association with power, strength, and nobility.
  • Falcons were only allowed to be owned and trained by the wealthy and aristocratic classes in medieval Europe.
  • In the Middle Ages, the sport of falconry became an important part of court life and was often used as a means of impressing visitors and foreign dignitaries.

The Falcon in Literature and Art

The falcon has been featured in literature and art for centuries, further cementing its association with royalty and power. In medieval times, falcons were often depicted in illuminated manuscripts, tapestries, and paintings.

One of the most famous depictions of a falcon in art is in a portrait of Henry VIII, which shows the king holding a large falcon on his arm. The painting, which dates from around 1540, is now housed in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The Falcon’s Role in The Second Coming

In W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming”, the falcon is used as a symbol of power and nobility. The falcon in the poem is a representation of the powerful forces at work in the world, forces that are beyond human control.

The Falcon in The Second Coming Interpretation
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer” The falcon represents chaos and disorder, while the falconer represents order and control. This line suggests that the world is spiraling out of control and the forces of chaos are becoming more powerful.
“The falconer cannot hear the falconer / Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” This line suggests that the established order is breaking down and that chaos is taking over. The falconer’s inability to control the falcon is a metaphor for the breakdown of societal structures.

The falcon in “The Second Coming” is a powerful symbol of the forces that govern our lives. It is a reminder that the powerful forces that shape our world are often beyond our control.

The Role of the Falcon in Medieval Hunting and Falconry

The falcon has long been a symbol of power, speed, and precision, and this majestic bird played a crucial role in medieval hunting and falconry. Here’s a closer look at the role of the falcon in these pursuits:

  • Hunting: Falcons were highly valued by medieval hunters for their ability to catch prey in the air. They were especially effective at catching birds, such as pheasants and partridges, by swooping down from great heights at incredible speeds. In addition to offering an efficient way to hunt, falcons were also a status symbol, as only the wealthy could afford to keep and train these birds.
  • Falconry: Falconry, also known as hawking, was a popular pastime among the nobility in medieval Europe. Falcons were trained to hunt and retrieve prey for their owners, who would release them to pursue game and then call them back using specialized signals and equipment. Falconry required great skill and patience, as well as a deep understanding of the behavior and instincts of the birds.
  • Training: Training a falcon was a complex and time-consuming process that required a great deal of knowledge and expertise. Falcons had to be taught how to hunt, how to respond to commands, and how to return to their owners. Training typically began when the falcon was still a young bird and could take several years to complete. However, once a falcon was trained, it could be a loyal companion for many years.

Overall, the falcon played a vital role in medieval hunting and falconry, serving as both a powerful hunting tool and a sign of wealth and status among the nobility.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history and techniques of falconry, there are many resources available that can help you get started. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or simply fascinated by these majestic birds, falconry can be a rewarding and engaging pursuit.

Falconry Term Definition
Bating When a bird of prey flaps its wings aggressively while tethered to a perch or glove
Hooding The act of placing a hood over a bird of prey’s head to calm it down and prevent it from becoming agitated
Manning The process of training a bird of prey to become comfortable around humans
Mews A building where falcons are housed and trained

By understanding these terms and the history and culture surrounding falconry, you can gain a greater appreciation for this ancient art and the role that the falcon has played in human society.

The Falcon as a Symbol of Power and Authority in Art and Mythology

The falcon holds a significant place in art and mythology due to the many qualities it represents. Among them, the falcon symbolizes power, speed, and authority. Whether in ancient Egyptian art or in modern European heraldry, the falcon has been a popular choice to represent these qualities.

One of the earliest known depictions of the falcon as a symbol of power and authority comes from ancient Egypt. To the ancient Egyptians, the falcon was a representation of the god Horus, who was considered to be the god of the sky and protector of the Pharaoh. Horus was often depicted with the head of a falcon, and his worshippers would often place small falcon statues in their tombs to help guide their souls to the afterlife.

  • In medieval European heraldry, the falcon was a symbol of nobility and power. Knights would often use the bird as an emblem on their shields or banners, as it represented their status as warriors who were swift and deadly in battle.
  • Even in modern times, the falcon remains a popular symbol of strength and authority. In the United States, for example, a stylized falcon is used as the mascot for the US Air Force Academy, reflecting the US Air Force’s commitment to aerial power and superiority.
  • Similarly, a falcon is used as the logo of the Falcon company, named after the bird, which produces high-performance and luxury sports cars. The use of the falcon in the logo reflects the brand’s values of power, speed, and excellence.

In art, the falcon is often used to represent power and authority as well. This is seen in ancient Greek and Roman art, where the god Apollo is often depicted with a falcon or hawk at his side. The falcon represents Apollo’s status as a god of prophecies and divine knowledge.

Additionally, the falcon has been a popular subject for artists throughout the ages, particularly in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Many famous artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, painted portraits of falcons and incorporated the birds into their artwork as a symbol of power and nobility.

Artwork Artist Description
The Lady with a Falcon Leonardo da Vinci A portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of the Duke of Milan. The painting is an example of a portrait incorporating a falcon as a symbol of nobility and power.
St. John the Baptist Andrea del Verrocchio The painting features St. John the Baptist with a falcon perched on his arm. The falcon symbolizes John’s ability to see things from a higher perspective and his spiritual authority.

Overall, the falcon holds an important place in art and mythology as a symbol of power, authority, and nobility. Whether as a representation of the god Horus in ancient Egypt or as a popular emblem in modern heraldry, the image of the falcon continues to evoke a sense of strength, speed, and excellence.

The Spiritual Significance of the Falcon in Different Cultures and Traditions

The falcon is a bird of prey that is revered and symbolic in numerous cultures across the globe. Its impressive hunting skills, swift flight, and sharp eyesight have led to a spiritual significance that is often associated with power, speed, and intelligence. Here, we explore the spiritual significance of the falcon in different cultures and traditions, including its link to the number seven.

The Number Seven

  • The number seven is often associated with perfection and completeness in various cultures.
  • In Christianity, God rested on the seventh day, which is why it is considered a sacred number.
  • In ancient Egyptian mythology, there were seven souls that accompanied the deceased into the afterlife.

Similarly, in falconry, the falcon has been associated with the number seven, particularly in regards to the seven years it takes for a wild falcon to become an adept hunter.

Moreover, in Islam, the Prophet Muhammad is said to have used a falcon to teach one of his followers about the importance of patience. He commanded the follower to release the falcon only after it had rested on his hand for seven days. This story has led to the falcon being associated with divine patience and perseverance.

Culture/Tradition Spiritual Significance of Falcon
Ancient Egypt Symbol of the sun god, Horus; protector of Pharaoh
Islam Symbol of divine patience and perseverance
Native American Symbol of spiritual growth and evolution
Chinese Symbol of success and victory; mascot for military leaders

The falcon is also a symbol of spiritual growth and evolution in Native American culture. It is believed that the falcon possesses special powers to assist in the spiritual journey towards enlightenment and higher consciousness. Additionally, in Chinese culture, the falcon is seen as a symbol of success and victory, making it a mascot for military leaders and those seeking to attain high levels of success.

Through exploring the spiritual significance of the falcon in different cultures and traditions, we see how this majestic bird has been embraced as a symbol of power, speed, intelligence, patience, perseverance, and spiritual growth in diverse belief systems. Its association with the number seven further emphasizes the falcon’s unique link to spiritual and divine significance

The Use of Falcon Imagery in Heraldry and Coat of Arms

In heraldry, falcon symbolism has a deep history and is commonly used to represent qualities such as nobility, courage, and wisdom. The falcon’s swift and powerful nature also makes it a popular choice for coat of arms designs, especially for families and individuals who wish to display their strength and dominance.

  • One example of this is the Coat of Arms of the House of Plantagenet, which features a golden falcon with its wings spread wide in flight. This design is meant to symbolize the family’s power and strength, as well as their authority over their respective territories.
  • Another example is the Coat of Arms of the House of Bourbon, which features a golden falcon with a crown atop its head. This design is meant to represent the family’s royal status and their connection to the French monarchy.
  • Falcon imagery is also prevalent in military insignia, such as the emblem of the United States Air Force Academy which features a falcon perched on top of a fighter jet. This design represents the Air Force’s focus on strength, speed, and precision.

The use of falcon imagery in heraldry and coat of arms has evolved over time, with different designs and meanings emerging in various cultures and regions. However, the common thread that runs through all of these designs is the idea of power, strength, and nobility, making the falcon a timeless symbol of strength and authority.

Below is a comparison table of the falcon’s symbolic meanings across different cultures:

Culture Symbolic Meaning
Ancient Egypt Divine wisdom and protection
Native American Power, freedom, and vision
Medieval Europe Nobility, courage, and strength
Islam Speed, agility, and liberation

Overall, the falcon’s rich history and symbolic meanings continue to make it a popular choice for heraldry and coat of arms designs, as well as a powerful symbol of strength and authority across various cultures and regions.

The Evolution of the Falcon Symbolism in Modern Times

Throughout history, the falcon symbol has been associated with various meanings and messages. In modern times, the symbolism of the falcon has evolved to reflect society’s changing values and perspectives.

One of the most significant aspects of the falcon symbol in modern times is its association with power and strength. This is especially true in popular culture, where the falcon is often portrayed as a fierce and formidable bird of prey. This association with power and strength can be seen in the use of falcons as mascots for sports teams and as symbols in corporate branding.

Another aspect of modern falcon symbolism is its connection to the natural world. As people become more attuned to environmental issues, the falcon has come to represent the need to protect and preserve the natural world. This is reflected in conservation efforts focused on falcon populations and the use of the falcon symbol in environmental campaigns.

  • The falcon is also associated with speed and agility, making it a fitting symbol for industries that value these characteristics, such as the automotive and technology industries.
  • Additionally, the connection between falcons and hunting has given rise to the symbol’s link with strategy and precision. This is particularly noticeable in the use of the falcon symbol in military and strategic planning contexts.
  • Falcons are also sometimes associated with leadership and nobility, likely due to their long history of use in falconry by royalty and the aristocracy.

The falcon symbol has also undergone a transformation in terms of its gender associations. Historically, the falcon was often associated with masculinity and traditionally male virtues such as strength, courage, and power. In recent years, as gender roles and expectations have evolved, the falcon has become a neutral or even feminine symbol. This can be seen in the use of the falcon symbol in women’s sports and as a representation of feminine power and strength.

Finally, the falcon symbol has also taken on a more spiritual meaning in some contexts. This is particularly true in Native American cultures, where the falcon is seen as a messenger from the spirit world and a symbol of intuition and higher consciousness.

Symbolism Meaning
Power and strength Shows the embodiment of control over situations. Able to see bad things far off and have a higher chance of protecting oneself. Falcon symbolises democracy rather than autocracy, as it is workable in groups.
Nature Representative of the need to protect and preserve the natural world.
Speed and agility In corporate branding of industries that value these characteristics such as the automotive and technology industries.
Strategy and precision Due to their long history of being used as a weapon in falconry, and hence their ability to seek out prey with precision, they have been associated with strategy and precision.
Leadership and nobility They are associated with royalty and aristocracy as they have been used by them in falconry.
Spiritual In Native American cultures, where the falcon is seen as a messenger from the spirit world and a symbol of intuition and higher consciousness.

In conclusion, the symbolism of the falcon has evolved over time to reflect changing cultural values and perceptions. The modern falcon symbol can represent power, speed, and agility, environmental awareness, strategic thinking, and even feminine strength and spirituality.

The Falcon’s Connection to Prophecy and Foretelling the Future.

In many cultures and ancient societies, the falcon has been a symbol of prophecy and the power to foretell the future. Here are some of the ways in which the falcon has been associated with prophecy:

  • In ancient Egyptian mythology, the god Horus was often depicted as a falcon or having a falcon’s head. Horus was known as the god of the sky, war, and hunting, but he was also associated with prophecy and the ability to see into the future. His connection to the falcon made it a sacred animal, symbolizing the sun and representing divine kingship.
  • In medieval Europe, the falcon was a popular hunting bird and was often used by kings and wealthy nobles. The birds were highly valued, and it was believed that they possessed magical powers and could foretell the future. It was also believed that if a falcon flew high into the sky, it was a sign of good fortune, and if it flew low, it was a sign of bad luck.
  • The Native American Hopi tribe believed that the falcon was a messenger between the living and the dead. They associated the bird with higher awareness, vision, and spiritual insight. They believed that the falcon could see through illusion and was a guide for people on their journey through life.

The falcon’s connection to prophecy and foretelling the future is also evident in its behavior. Falcons have keen eyesight and the ability to see their prey from great distances. They are also fast fliers, capable of reaching speeds of up to 240 miles per hour. Falcons’ hunting behaviors suggest their focus and accuracy in pursuit of their prey, which many people believe to be related to their abilities to see into the future.

The falcon’s connection to prophecy and foretelling the future is also reflected in numerology. In many cultures, the number ten is associated with the falcon. The number ten is seen as a symbol of completion, representing the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. The falcon’s association with the number ten is thought to represent its ability to see into the future and to help people navigate the changes in their lives.

Symbol Meaning
Falcon Prophecy and foretelling the future
Horus (Egyptian god) Divine kingship and power, sun, war, and hunting
Number ten Completion, end of a cycle, and new beginnings

The falcon is truly a symbolic creature with a powerful and mysterious connection to prophecy and the ability to foretell the future. From ancient mythology to modern-day beliefs, the falcon has been revered and respected for its keen vision, accuracy, and ability to navigate through life’s changes.

What does the Falcon Symbolize in the Second Coming?

Q: What is the significance of a falcon in the Second Coming?

A: Falcons are often associated with strength, speed, and precision – all traits that may be necessary in the Second Coming.

Q: Does the falcon have any religious significance?

A: In many cultures, falcons have been revered as symbols of the divine. In ancient Egyptian mythology, for example, the god Horus was often depicted as a falcon-headed man.

Q: Why do some people believe that falcons will be involved in the Second Coming?

A: There is no direct biblical reference to falcons in the context of the Second Coming. However, some people believe that these birds may symbolize certain qualities or events that will be relevant during this time.

Q: What other animals or symbols are associated with the Second Coming?

A: There are many symbols that are associated with the Second Coming, including lions, lambs, trumpets, and rainbows.

Q: What does it mean if a falcon appears in a dream or vision related to the Second Coming?

A: This would depend on the individual’s interpretation and beliefs. However, it may be seen as a message or sign from a higher power.

Q: Can anyone own a falcon during the Second Coming?

A: The Second Coming has not yet occurred, so it is impossible to say. However, in general, falconry is a highly regulated sport that requires special training and permits.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to explore the symbolism of the falcon in the context of the Second Coming. While there is no definitive answer to this question, it is fascinating to consider the ways in which different cultures and individuals have interpreted this symbol throughout history. If you enjoyed this article, please check back again soon for more thought-provoking content.