August 9, 2020
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IBISSSSThe ibis is its sacred bird, which ages ago was observed to have the curious habit of standing on one leg for long periods of time, and to the fertile imagination of the ancients this suggested the absorption in profound meditation. In Yoga practice there is a posture called the Ibis wherein the practitioner balances himself on one leg. The rituals, moreover, adress Thoth as “O thou of the Ibis head.”[38] The ibises are a group of long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae. They all have long down curved bills, and usually feed as a group, probing mud for food items, usually crustaceans. Most species nest in trees, often with spoonbills or herons. The word ibis comes from Greek and Latin, and probably from the Ancient Egyptian. According to JosephusMoses employed ibes against flying serpents during a desert campaign into Ethiopia in his early life.[39] Pliny the Elder also recounted, “The Egyptians invoked [ibes] against the flying serpents.”[40]

The African Sacred Ibis was an object of religious veneration in ancient Egypt, particularly associated with the deity Djehuty or otherwise commonly referred to in Greek as Thoth. He is responsible for writing, mathematics, measurement and time as well as the moon and magic.[5] In artworks of the Late Period of Ancient EgyptThoth is popularly depicted as an ibis-headed man while consumed in the act of writing.[5]

At the town of Hermopolis, ibises were reared specifically for sacrificial purposes and in the Serapeum at Saqqara, archaeologists found the mummies of one and a half million ibises and hundreds of thousands of falcons.[6]

According to local legend in the Birecik area, the Northern Bald Ibis was one of the first birds that Noah released from the Ark as a symbol of fertility,[7] and a lingering religious sentiment in Turkey helped the colonies there to survive long after the demise of the species in Europe.[8]

The mascot of the University of Miami is an American White Ibis. The ibis was selected as the school mascot because of its legendary bravery during hurricanes. According to legend, the ibis is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to reappear once the storm has passed.[9]

A short story “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst uses the sable-hued bird as foreshadowing for a character’s death and as the primary symbol.[10]

The African Sacred Ibis is the unit symbol of the Israeli Special Forces unit known as Unit 212 or Maglan in Hebrew: מגלן.

Moses used the Ibis to help him defeat the Ethiopians. [11]


[38] From ‘’Liber Israfel’’, The Invocation of Thoth, from the manuscript of Allan Bennett, as published in Aleister Crowley’s The Equinox, Volume VII (Samuel Weiser Inc.) p. 21-27.

[39]Josephus, Flavius and William Whiston. The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, “Antiquities” 2.246

[40]Josephus, Flavius and William Whiston. The Works of Josephus : Complete and Unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, “Antiquities” 2.246, footnote referencing Natural History (Pliny) 10.28.


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