One of the best places to learn is in a library. In this case, in the unparallelled Library of Congress in Washington D.C. As the world’s largest library in the world with over 120 million items in the collection, the wealth of human knowledge is held within the walls.
While wandering the hallways of the Thomas Jefferson building, I began to notice quite a few owls within the artwork. So many, that it brought cause for thought. Was it a symbol of the Freemasons? After all, it is well known that many of our founding fathers were members of the Masonic lodge. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Hancock to name a few. Throughout the nation’s capital, symbols of the freemasons are found in many buildings.
So what does one do when in a library? You…
So what is with all the owls that I see on the walls and ceilings of the library I ask. The answer was unexpected. See, owls represent wisdom and is a symbol and sacred bird for Minerva. Minerva, the Roman goddess of Wisdom.
A beautiful mosaic of Minerva stands guard to the entry of the Great Reading Room. Created in Italy and brought to the library for installation, this goddess of wisdom greets all who walk the halls.
The story of Minerva is surprising in its own right. Minerva is said to be the daughter of Jupiter and his sister Metis. Jupiter feared that this child would become stronger than he and disrupt his rule, he removed the child from his sister Metis’s womb and ate her. Minerva was then born from Jupiter’s forehead with weapons in hand.
In this rendition, the American painter Elihu Vedder (1836-1923) shares Minerva standing ready to the guard to the country she protects.
You never know what you may learn in the library. In this case, even the walls spoke. Isn’t it time for you to go and visit your local library?