The Significance of the Ibis
The ibis is:
1. A symbol of team work and collaboration.
These birds feed in groups throughout wetlands, forests and plains, searching the mud for food with their long, curved beaks. One food item they particularly enjoy is a certain kind of water snail that’s prevalent in the Nile River. Should human beings come into contact with this snail, they run the risk of being infected with a fatal liver parasite. However, in pools of water in which the ibis has been feeding, humans can safely bathe or drink from the Nile. As a result, the ibis became a sacred companion and collaborator for the people of Egypt. You could argue that, in this sense, these birds helped to form one of the greatest civilizations that ever existed.
2. A symbol of writers and scribes.
As the ibis dips their beak into water, it resembles a scribe dipping their pen into ink. However, the relationship between writers and the ibis has much deeper roots than that. It begins with the god Thoth, whose original name - Djehuty - literally means, “he who is like the ibis.” According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Thoth was believed to have created the alphabet, invented writing, and composed every work of every branch of knowledge, both human and divine. And, without his words, it was believed that the gods could not exist. To honor this power of the written word, scribes would often keep pictures of Thoth (or even just the ibis) in their office, indicating dedication to their craft.
3. A symbol of learning and measurement.
As the ancient Greeks absorbed the mythology of the ancient Egyptians, Thoth became Hermes, the messenger of the gods. However, during this shift, Thoth was reduced to the role of divine messenger, as opposed to record keeper, wise counselor, persuader, and lover of wisdom (represented by Seshat). In fact, Thoth was originally believed to be the reckoner of time and seasons, and a mediator between the forces of good and evil - not a mere messenger boy. As the god of equilibrium, he was believed to have made the very calculations for the establishment of the heavens, the Earth, and everything in it. He was the arbiter of divine law; the author of all works of science, magic, philosophy, and religion; and the inventor of mathematics, medicine, botany, astronomy, and the very science of numbers. And through their association with Thoth, writers were seen as those who maintained wisdom and created new and exciting worlds through the power of words.
4. A symbol of the self-begotten and self-produced.
It was also believed that Thoth was self-made, having created himself out of nothing. And it was through his pursuit of knowledge that he became a master communicator eager to probe the universe for answers. As entrepreneurs and business owners, we try to channel these energies as well. We believe that whoever learns the fastest wins; therefore, we follow our instincts, ruthlessly pursue knowledge, and push ourselves to grow and learn as much as possible each year. In this way, the ibis has become a symbol for questioning the world around us, finding the path towards success, making sound decisions, and transforming our lives for the better. And since the ibis is a team player, we strive to help our clients do the same.
5. A symbol of bravery and creation.
According to a certain legend associated with the University of Miami, the ibis demonstrates profound bravery in the wake of a hurricane, as it is the last animal to take shelter and the first to re-emerge once the storm has passed. It’s this bravery in the face of chaos, and a willingness to get back to the daily grind as soon as possible, that we revere most in the ibis. And as a symbol of fertility, we also believe this strange looking bird represents fertile ground for ideas, creativity, and innovation to thrive. Finally, the ibis represents the strength to face ugly truths, difficult facts, and the struggle that comes with creating a world for yourself, and by yourself. If this ancient bird can face a hurricane head on, then we can surely face our own doubts, fears, and insecurities with equally bold determination.
For these reasons and more, we couldn’t be prouder to have the ibis as our logo for Words by Sørensen.
If you feel that you would like to channel some of these energies in your own content, contact us. We’re always eager to collaborate with fellow entrepreneurs out there who are fighting to make a difference in a world of chaos, even if it’s only one water snail at a time.