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Symbols - What does heaven look like

Griffin

from "Alice in Wonderland"                                     A griffin drawn by William Blake..

 The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a symbolic creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; and the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet.

The symbolism is viewed today as positive by those in power and many choose the griffon on their coat of arms or in insignia and crests, but the symbolism is actually negative in the climate of today.  It is entirely masculine, the Eagle as the symbol of the empire builder has been paired and suppresses the Lion as the Intellect and Conscious self, [which in itslef is rather terrifying - empire building without reason!] but what has been lost is all the feminine – the Subconscious has been obliterated. 

The symbol is thus ideally suited to warlike men of power who believe themselves to have been chosen or to be guided by God.  ‘I feel the hand of fate on my shoulder’.  It is the natural symbol of an empire builder.  There is the implied aggression of the Lion and the Eagle – the talons and the claws – the ruthlessness of the war making leader.  In heraldry, the symbol was used to denote lack of fear - courage and boldness, MARS qualities, as well as strength, military courage and leadership.  But as we have seen, not a great deal of Intellect applied to this, the Lion takes second place.

In British heraldry, the male griffin is shown covered in tufts of formidable spikes, with a short tusk emerging from the forehead.  It thus combines some of the symbolism of the Unicorn.  Occasionally a female griffin is used, only female griffins should have wings, to be symbolically correct.

In some cultures, the aggression and masculinity implied in the symbol was used, and the griffin was made the equivalent of a dragon – a guardian of anything divine and precious.

The Hippogriff in contrast, another legendary creature, was the offspring of a griffin and a mare.  Thus in this symbol we have the masculine paired with the feminine of a female horse, producing a legendary creature with a great deal more appeal.

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