With nicknames like “water-belcher,” “stake-driver,” and “thunder-pumper,” you may image one thing resembling an historic Norse deity or a beastly monster from a forgotten fairytale. While the Bittern is actually neither of this stuff, I’d hesitate to say that it could disappoint your expectations. Known for its sounds that are also known as “booming,”
“clucking,” or “bellowing,” the Bittern is an uncommon member of the heron household whose look usually appears to match the famously perplexing sounds which it creates. Elusive and extra usually heard than seen, when noticed Bitterns are sometimes present in an uncommon inflexible pose with neck outstretched and head pointed to the sky. This is completed to utilize the Bittern’s spectacular camouflage which permits it to vanish into the marshes. Because of the distinctive method wherein the Bittern’s eyes focus, these birds additionally generally undertake a goofy cross-eyed expression. (1)

Although the Bittern is probably not fairly the beast one may count on primarily based on its voice, this heron species is way beloved by birders around the globe. Furthermore, the Bittern has earned a particular place within the folklore of many cultures as a result of its cry has usually impressed spine-tingling tales of monsters lurking in swamps and marshes.

Bittern Symbolism and Meaning

Bitterns are greatest recognized for his or her noise. The Bittern symbolizes the significance of elevating your voice and talking your thoughts even when the outcome is probably not stunning or polished. The Bittern is a small chicken which dares to command big stretches of marshland by projecting its voice out throughout the land.

Bitterns are recognized to face fairly nonetheless when noticed. They stretch their necks in direction of the sky with their payments going through straight up. This posture helps them to mix into the reeds which make up their habitat. The Bittern can thus signify ingenuity, spirituality, or persistence. This chicken’s intelligent adaptation permits it to remain alive by gazing on the heavens. (2)

A Bittern may additionally symbolize fluidity, acuity, silliness, focus, or surprises.

Bittern Native American Symbolism

In Native American symbolism, Bitterns are very carefully linked with water and rainfall. These birds may also be regarded as representing the solar due to the posture they often assume. The title for Bitterns in numerous languages means “sun gazer.” (3)

Image by mat_breiten from Pixabay

Bittern Christianity Symbolism

In the Bible, the Bittern is linked with the untamed wilderness in addition to the ideas of destruction and desolation. Isaiah 14:22-23 describes the destruction of Babylon as such:

“For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.
I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.”

— Isaiah 14:22-23 (4)

The King James model of the Bible makes use of the phrase “Bittern” whereas different variations translate this passage with “owl,” “osprey,” and even “hedgehog” as an alternative. Whether Bittern is actually probably the most correct translation or not, the presence of this animal in Babylon is supposed to display that the town has been reclaimed by nature and is inhabited by wild beasts quite than folks. (5)

Bittern Celtic Symbolism

In most Celtic symbolism, birds are consultant of varied ideas together with the otherworldly realm of the supernatural. The Celtic Otherworld is a spot of transitions and liminal areas which is commonly linked with water as nicely. The Bittern simply embodies these traits and might be understood as a guardian of the transition between worlds. This is amplified by the bizarre look of the Bittern and the famously eerie sounds that this chicken is understood to make. In many Celtic tales, water birds are the kinds taken by shapeshifting ladies. (6)

Bittern in Dreams

Dreaming of the elusive Bittern could point out that there’s a difficulty lurking simply beneath the floor of your ideas which it’s good to handle. The Bittern may be heard and felt even in locations the place it hasn’t but been seen.

Bittern desires may also act as a reminder to contemplate the probably clarification on your state of affairs. When you hear a daunting noise, it’s straightforward to imagine {that a} monster is close by. In some instances, although, the issues that alarm us are literally easy and innocent. The monster you’re afraid of could grow to be nothing in any respect.

Bittern Encounters and Omens

Encountering a Bittern is a reminder to not worry the unknown. What appears alien and horrifying may really be somethin acquainted or comforting considered via the lens of tension. The Bittern reminds you to plunge into new conditions with braveness and optimism. Remember that when at risk the Bittern seems to be to the sky. Your core beliefs will carry you braveness and assist you to face no matter threats seem.

Bittern in FlightImage by Henk van Dorp from Pixabay

Bittern in Mythology & Folklore

Bitterns are current in folklore from around the globe for a lot of causes and in a lot of roles. In many instances, the distinctive cry of the Bittern is the first trigger for its place in mythology. This cry has been related to something from magical beasts, to haunting spirits, to cryptids. In The Hound of Baskervilles, it’s urged that the unusual sounds on the moor which the locals have attributed to the the fearsome Hound may really be the booming name of a Bittern:

“A long, low moan, indescribably sad, swept over the moor. It filled the whole air, and yet it was impossible to say whence it came. From a dull murmur it swelled into a deep roar, and then sank back into a melancholy, throbbing murmur once again. Stapleton looked at me with a curious expression in his face….

“Bogs make queer noises sometimes. It’s the mud settling, or the water rising, or something.”

“No, no, that was a living voice.”

“Well, perhaps it was. Did you ever hear a bittern booming?”

“No, I never did.”

“It’s a very rare bird—practically extinct—in England now, but all things are possible upon the moor. Yes, I should not be surprised to learn that what we have heard is the cry of the last of the bitterns.””

— The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (7)

In the folklore of the United States, it has been believed, at instances, that Bitterns have a weird and inexplicable means to emit mild. This is just not true, clearly, however claims of Bitterns with beams of sunshine of their chests have floated across the U.S. since a minimum of the nineteenth century. Take, for instance, this quote from an 1836 academic e book for women entitled The Young Ladies’ Book:

“It is called by Wilson the great American bittern, but, what is very extraordinary, he omits to mention that it has the power of emitting a light from its breast, equal to the light of a common torch, which illuminates the water so as to enable it to discover its prey…. I took some trouble to ascertain the truth of this, which has been confirmed to me by several gentle-men of undoubted veracity, and especially by Mr. Franklin Peale, the proprietor of the Philadelphia Museum.”

— The Young Ladies’ Book (1836) (8)

Native American Mythology:

In the mythology and folklore of Native American teams, the Bittern is firmly linked with water. The iconic neck-outstretched posture of the Bittern is typically used as a Native American image for water. This posture can be a probable candidate for the origin of the widespread Native American title for the Bittern. In many various Native languages, Bitterns are known as “sun gazer” or “one who looks up at the sun.” (9)

Athabaskan flood myths embrace variations the place the Bittern is chargeable for saving the world from a catastrophic flood. In these tales, the Bittern gulps up the entire flood waters and spits them out in lengthy flowing streams which change into the earth’s rivers. (10)

Hidden BitternImage by Zhu Bing from Pixabay

Slavic Mythology:

In Slavic mythology, there’s a monster referred to as “Drekavac” which suggests “the screamer.” This creature is claimed to be a twisted monster born from the undead souls of sinful males. The look of the Drekavac is claimed to predict loss of life and catastrophe. Much like Arthur Conan Doyle’s proposition that the booming Bittern might be mistaken for a murderous ghostly hound, the favored quick story, Brave Mita and the Drekavac From the Pond, encompasses a younger boy who tries to assist his village by capturing the Drekavac whose frightful cries have scared the entire fishermen away from the pond. When Mita captures the supply of the cries, he finds a Eurasian Bittern quite than the monster that he was anticipating. (11)

Egyptian Mythology:

Egyptian mythology attributes particular roles to the marsh birds which dwell alongside the banks of the Nile. In Egyptian fable, the human soul is split into a number of elements, a number of of that are represented by marsh birds. The Ibis is very essential and is the logo of Thoth, the god of data. Bitterns should not specified as significantly essential amongst the marsh birds of the Nile, nonetheless they do seem in a number of the tomb artwork which has been uncovered within the tombs of pharaohs. Furthermore, as Nile birds these birds may be convincingly linked to the religious realm and the dominion of the lifeless. (12)

European Mythology:

Nixie, Nakk, and Nokk are simply a number of the names given to the mythological water spirits that are present in Germanic and Scandinavian folklore traditions. These creatures are normally described as shapeshifting spirits which inhabit water and sometimes foretell or trigger drowning incidents. In some traditions, the Nixie are benevolent spirits who produce enchanting music and are keen to show their songs to people. In others, they’re otherworldly monsters able to destruction. Often Nixies take the type of horses, very like the Scottish Kelpie. In any case, these mysterious supernatural entities are typically linked with Bitterns. The nickname “Bull o’ the Bog” exemplifies the position of the Bittern as a haunting voice heard inside the marshes. (13) (14)

The “Bull o’ the Bog” nickname is typically utilized in reference to the “Boobrie.” This Scottish cryptid is claimed to be a fearsome shapeshifting chicken which preys upon cattle and points a haunting cry. While many imagine that this creature relies on sightings of the now-extinct Great Auk, the bizarre sounds and look of the Bittern has made this chicken a potential candidate as nicely. (15)

One specific unusual piece of Medieval heraldry from Medieval European bestiary manuscripts depicts a monster known as an “Ass-Bittern.” This weird hybrid is strictly what it appears like: a freakish amalgam comprised of a donkey or “ass” and a Bittern. (16)

Bittern Spirit Animal

If the Bittern is your spirit animal you then’re a one-of-a-kind soul who’s shy and secretive whereas additionally being daring and expressive on the similar time. These could seem to be contradictions, however the Bittern embodies each traits.

People with the Bittern spirit animal usually desire to mix in with the background and don’t take pleasure in consideration. If they really feel too ignored or uncared for, although, Bittern spirits will elevate their voices and communicate their minds. Because they’re so shy however so taken with self expression, Bittern spirits are sometimes artistic varieties.

Bittern Totem Animal

People with the Bittern totem animal have a particular expertise for protecting secrets and techniques. Used to hiding and liable to having fun with privateness, the Bittern totem animal holds on to secrets and techniques at nearly any value. They are the favourite confidant of their mates as a result of they may take a good friend’s secret to their grave. This makes them particularly reliable. If a Bittern totem shares its personal secret with a good friend, they have to belief their good friend fully. Betrayal is unacceptable to these with the Bittern totem.

Bittern Power Animal

The energy of the Bittern is affect. People with the Bittern energy animal have a particular expertise for affecting others. The voice of the Bittern usually strikes worry into folks’s hearts, but this chicken’s foolish expression can be a supply of laughter. Individuals with this energy animal have to be cautious to not manipulate others and should solely put their expertise to make use of in benevolent methods.

Bittern Tattoo Meaning

A Bittern tattoo could signify something for spirituality to humor. In some instances, a Bittern tattoo could stand for the necessity to conquer one’s fears. Like the Bittern, many of the issues that scare us should not as dangerous as they appear.


Who would have thought that one little heron may encourage so many mysteries and monsters. The Bittern is the last word Scooby Doo villain, by no fault of its personal in fact. Beneath the masks of many cryptic beasts lies a lovely wading chicken whose voice instructions respect! That voice, together with the Bittern’s many different fascinating qualities, has impressed humankind for hundreds of years.

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