“Wings of the Gods: Birds in the World’s Religions” by Peter (Petra) Gardella and Laurence Krute

"Wings of the Gods: Birds in the World's Religions" by Peter (Petra) Gardella and Laurence Krute

"Birds have a larger place in religions than any other non-human animal, from their role as messenger between humans and gods among the ancient Mayans, to the Christian Holy Spirit taking flesh as a dove. More than symbols, birds gained divine status by guiding humans to water and food, replanting forests after ice ages and fires, and living with humans as they settled into farming and urban life. With the natural world facing multiple crises—climate change, epidemics of disease, pollution, famine—Peter (Petra) Gardella and Laurence Krute argue that humanity needs a new religion, a religion of nature in which birds and other animals are treated as equal inhabitants and citizens of Earth, to save the beauty and wonder that has inspired belief in God.

Wings of the Gods surveys the many roles that birds have played in the development of religions, from legends, rituals, costumes, wars, and spiritual disciplines to the current ecological crisis. It also explores the relations between birds and humans from an evolutionary perspective, starting with the roles of birds in creating the human world. Gardella and Krute, both scholars and birdwatchers, transcend a narrow focus on humanity to instead explore the agency of birds in world history."