Chances are if you are interested in this book, you are a bird enthusiast. As I write this review, I am listening to a chorus of songbirds outside my window at my bird feeders. Birds have mystified and enchanted humans from ancient times to modern. The author covers everything from the historical myths to modern day bird spiritual wisdom and knowledge.
The book is broken down into thirteen chapters that include: The Language of Birdsong, Planting the Gardens of Eden, The Divinity of Eco-Farming, The Cosmic Egg, Flight of the Soul, Milky Way Migration, Birds, Serpents & The World Tree, The Seasons of Sex Death & Rebirth, Beckoning to Birds The Prayer of Geoglyphs, The Neanderthal Church of Birds, Sacred Birds in Judaism Christianity & Islam, Eagles Nations & The Fury of War, and Emptying Skies. The book also includes an appendix: World Trees: Ecological Traits and Religious Symbolism.
One of my favorite sections is where the author is talking about birds being the bringers of spring. Migratory birds delivering exotic seeds across the globe delivering literal gifts to the people. This helped ancient people learn to follow these patterns to discover plentiful food and water sources. The book does a deep dive into these migration routes and the history of where the various species went and were discovered etc. For those interested in the data, this provides quite a bit! While some of the book is speculative, it still offers interesting possibilities of ancient man and the how they saw and interpreted birds.
The majority of Church of Birds covers the historical side but does include modern day symbolism of birds as well. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in following the various eco-history of the connections between man and our flying friends in the sky!
~review by Amber Barnes
Author: Ben H. Gagnon
Moon Books, 2023
pp. 248, $19.95