Myth and Superstition about the Peacock

 Peacocks and Peacock Feathers

Anyone who witnesses the magical spectacle of the beautifully decorative and coloured peacock displaying his feathers in dance to impress his rather dowdy mate, cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer beauty of the majestic display.

There are many superstitions about the peacock and peacock feathers. Some say that the peacock is an incredibly lucky symbol of prosperity and wealth. Others say that peacock feathers symbolise the third eye, spirituality and psychic protection. The peacock is also said to represent fidelity as it pairs up for life with the peahen.

Whereas others consider the peacock and particularly peacock feathers as bringers of bad luck. But whether lucky or unlucky the peacock is an incredibly beautiful bird.

The Peacock in Greek Mythology

Here is the story from Greek mythology to explain the beautiful pattern and design of the peacocks feathers:

The powerful Greek god Zeus, although married to the Greek goddess Hera, had many dalliances with other women - whether mere motels or immortals. One such lustful relationship was with the nymph Io, a princess of Argos. To keep Hera in the dark about the affair, Zeus blanketed the world in a thick cloud. This rose Hera's suspicions about her husband's fidelity and she began to disperse the clouds. Aware of Hera's actions, Zeus transformed the beautiful Io into a pure white heifer. Hera insisted that the heifer be a gift for her to keep from her loving husband. Zeus, dutifully obeyed his wife's demands and gave Hera the heifer. Hera had the cow sent away to be guarded by her servant Argus who had a hundred eyes and could sleep while always leaving some eyes open. This made Argus the ideal watchman. Hera instructed Argus to tether the cow to an olive tree.

Zeus, angered by his wife's actions commanded Hermes to disguise himself as a shepherd and trick and slay Argus. This meant that Io, the heifer was freed to wander the earth, although tormented by gadflies (sent by Hera)  that drove her to madness.

Hera had the hundred eyes of Argus preserved forever, in the peacocks tail to memorialize Argus' service and sacrifice.

Drawing of an image from a 5th century BCE Athenian red figure vase depicting Hermes slaying the giant Argus Panoptes.

Myth and Superstition about  Peacocks and Peacock Feathers

Keeping Peacock Feathers Indoors

Personally I was always led to believe that keeping peacock feathers indoors was extremely bad luck.

The Victorians were very strong believers in the symbols and signs of nature and assigned to flowers, gemstones, birds and animals interpretive meanings.

It was considered extremely lucky to keep a peacock on the land but not to bring the peacock feathers indoors.

The superstition of keeping peacock feathers indoors meant that people believed that it would bring loss, misfortune, illness and death.

Another myth of keeping peacock feathers indoors indicated that single women in the household would be forever spinsters and remain unmarried.

A Peacocks Display

It is thought to be extremely lucky to see a peacock displaying his feathers, but hearing the cry of a peacock is considered to bring bad luck.


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