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The Bird Catcher and Mozart

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The Bird Catcher and Mozart

Bird catching is equivalent to controlling the forces of chaos. In Mozart’s Masonic Opera, The Magic Flute, the free spirit Papageno traps wild birds. This is purely Egyptian symbolism, because for the Ancient Egyptians, each bird (such as the falcon, vulture, stork, phoenix, goose, etc.) symbolized various spiritual qualities. Each species of bird represented a wild spiritual aspect that must be trapped, caged, sometimes tamed, and other times offered to the neteru in sacrifice.

Of special interest is the consistent showing of an adult with his son, wearing the sidelocks of youth and carrying the hoopoe. The scene here is from Abydos, but similar scenes are found in tombs and temples since the Old Kingdom, 4,500 years ago.

In the Sufi mystical poem “Conference of the Birds”, the hoopoe is chief of a troop of birds who set out looking for the Simurg or divine principle. In this Sufi allegory, the hoopoe is feminine.

The bird netting scene is predominant since the Old Kingdom Era, as found in numerous tombs in Saqqara.

Hunting and fishing are also equivalent to controlling chaos. The example on the outer walls of the Edfu temple illustrate this concept very clearly, for the net includes fish, birds, wild animals, and “foreign prisoners”.

[Excerpt from The Ancient Egyptian Metaphysical Architecture by Moustafa Gadalla]