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Eagles and the Sun
The Aztecs have a story that tells about the jaguar and the eagle fighting
over who would be the sun during the creation of the world. The eagle
threw himself in to a fire and became the sun. The jaguar had spots
on his coat that showed he had been only partly burned, so he became the
On the other side of the Atlantic the belief was that the eagle was the only animal that could look directly into the sun. Aristotle and Pliny wrote that the eagle tested their young by facing them toward the sun and if the eaglet turned away it's mother rejects it. In the twelfth century Book of Beasts, the eagle was given the power of eternal youth:
"When the eagle grows old and his wings become heavy and his eyes become darkened with a mist, then he goes in search of a fountain, and, over against it, he flies up to the height of heaven, even into the circle of the sun, and there he singes his wings and at the same time evaporates the fog of his eyes in ray of the sun. Then at length taking a header down into the fountain, he dips himself three times in it, and instantly he is renewed with a great vigour of plumage and splendour of vision."
Stephen Friar, A Dictionary of Heraldry, quoting the translation of T. H. White
Christians have compared the eagle looking into the sun as Christ looking at His Father. The eagle gaining youth by plunging into a fountain is compared to Christians being baptized.
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