The Wren - King of Birds. The wren has always been a King as its name in European languages indicates: Latin, Regulus; French, Reytelet.
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The Wren - King of Birds - Mythology and Folklore - The White Goddess

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Wren - King of Birds

The Wren - King of Birds

Wrenning Day.  St Stephen's Day (26th December) used to be so called, because it was a local custom amoung villagers to stone a wren to death on that day in commemoration of the stoning of Saint Stephen.  It was believed that the wren's song betrayed St. Stephen, hiding from pursuit, to martyrdom. Thus on St. Stephen's Day, December 26, a wren was traditionally killed, and a group of boys would carry it in procession from house to house.

Wren Mythology
"He who shall hurt the little wren
  Shall never be belov'd by men." - William Blake Auguries of Innocence

A Robin and a wren
Are God Almighty's cock and hen.- Old Distich

I never take away their nest nor try
To catch the old ones, lest a friend should die
Dick took a wren's nest from his cottage side.
And ere a twelvemonth past his mother dy'd!- An Old Poet


The wren has always been a King as its name in European languages indicates: Latin, Regulus; French, Reytelet; Welsh. Bren, king; Teutonic, Koning Vogel, king-bird; Dutch, Konije, little, king." In Manx, Dreain, from druai dryw, the Druid's bird. Other Names for the wren include: JINNIE, JINNIE WRAN. Manx, Drein, Drean (M. S. D. and Cr.); Dreeain (M. S. D.). (Cf. Irish, Dreathan, Dreoilin; Se. Gaelic, Dreollan, Drethein.)

1. Considerd a "most sacred bird" 
2. Called: Drui-en or Druid bird in Irish Gaelic.  In Welsh the word Dryw means both druid and wren.
3. The wren is as is the Druid known to be cunning. The wren could soar to heights while also navigating hedges and underbrush.
4 It is said that the Druid's house was the wren's nest and that the wren's nest was protected by lighening.
5. Whoever tried to steal wren's eggs or baby wrens would find their house struck by lightning and  their hands would shrivel up.
6. The wren was hunted and killed in a ritualistic way, enacting the idea that the death of a god bestows strength on his killer, a variant of the belief that in the killing of the old king, his powers will be passed on to his successor.
7. The wren symbolised wisdom and divinity. It is difficult to actually see a wren. At New Year it is said that  the apprentice Druid would go out by himself into the countryside in search of hidden wisdom. If he found a wren he would take that as a sign that he would be blessed with inner knowledge in the coming year. Finding a creature small and elusive to the point of invisibility was a metaphor for finding the elusive divinity within all life.
8.Auguries were drawn from its chirping. The direction from which it calls is highly significant.
9.The bird was sacred to Taliesin.
10. In Scotland it was the Lady of Heaven's Hen and killing it was considered extremely unlucky.
11. In Ireland it was known as 'Fionn's doctor'. 
12. Lightning was the weapon of the thunder bull-god Taranis, who often inhabited oak trees, and the wren was sacred to Taranis.  

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