peacock

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A peacock is a male peafowl, which has very long tail feathers that have eyelike markings and that can be erected and expanded in display like a fan.

Peacock Opening its Feathers HD & Bird Sound

Episode Reference

In episode 109.17, after Ben regains consciousness after being thrown to the ground in an explosion, he sees a peacock spread its feathers. Before and after he sees this vision he mumbles Cal, Cal, Cal.

In episode 113.17, while Ben is speaking with Olive one of her school books drops. When Ben picks it up, he sees a picture of a peacock and has a flashback to the day of the Red Hook explosion. Ben says he did research and learned that they are an early symbol of resurrection. Olive tells him that they are messengers for the goddess Juno.

Significance

Peacock as Symbol for Eternal Life

Early Christians associated the peacock with eternal life because according to an ancient legend it’s flesh does not decay. Later the saw the peacock as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection because it sheds it old feathers to grow newer and brighter ones every year.

Ben see’s the peacock and mumbles Cal’s name over and over is very significant. Recall that in episode 102.8 a zealot woman grabs Cal and says, “He is risen. He is not here.” If Cal is Christ, that makes little sense in that Christians believe Christ is present everywhere. But that does not rule out Cal having risen, like the other passengers, in the sense of having entered eternal life. The reality that he is back from the dead is out of place. It almost suggests that his resurrection is not yet complete, or in process.

Whether all of this should be taken literally or figuratively remains to be seen. In the same episode that the writers make this cryptic association between Ben’s vision and Cal’s name, they also have Grace describing what it’s like to have her son die, and now that he’s back she does not want to lose him again (109.20).

Peacock and the Roman Goddes Juno

Several myths are associated with Juno that give us some understanding of her personality as a goddess and explain some of the symbols she is frequently depicted alongside. One such story tells of the origin of the spots on a peacock’s tail. Juno had a servant whose name was Argus. Argus had one hundred eyes and this, as you can guess, made him an excellent watchman. Juno asked Argus to watch over Io (who had recently been turned into a cow) because Jupiter wanted to steal her. Mercury was sent to steal Io and killed Argus in the process. Juno was so sad at the death of Argus that she took all of his eyes and scattered them over the tail of her favorite bird – the peacock. In paintings and sculpture, Juno is frequently depicted with that peacock.1

Peacock in India

In Hinduism, the image of the god of thunder, rains and war, Indra, was depicted in the form of a peacock. A story in the Uttara Ramayana describes Indra, who after being cursed with a thousand ulcers was transformed into a peacock with a thousand eyes.2

In Buddhist philosophy the peacock represents wisdom. 3


Just as peacocks are no ordinary birds when they spread their feathers, Cal is no ordinary ten year old boy.  He may look ordinary when playing video games and shooting baskets, yet hidden within him is a brilliance which only Ben and a few others have witnessed. I am sure viewers were just as surprised to see the peacock in episode 109, as  Ben was surprised to see Cal and his drawing just before the explosion at Red Hook warehouse showing the exact location of the missing passengers (109.13). Other times when Cal shown similar brilliance occurred when he drew a picture of Carlos with Evie’s heart (107.26), and when he led Ben through NYC subway to Thomas (i.e. 105.14).  Whenever Ben and Michaela have seen Cal do these incredible things, it is like a peacock who spreads its tail-feathers. There is a magnificence that shines forth.

Although hundreds of people saw Cal walk down the street (102.8), and from all external appearances, he was an ordinary boy carrying a box of Lego’s his mother bought for him. And yet, there is more here. The zealot woman saw it. Ben see’s it. And everyone who is watching the show can’t help but speculate what other hidden splendors might await for Cal in future episodes.

Although other passengers have received callings, there is still something unique about Cal. After all, he was the only person who looked out of the plane’s window and saw the light (105.28).  Has he experienced a transformation that the other passengers have not received?  Is there anything unique about Cal’s experience?

Endnotes:
  1. https://study.com/academy/lesson/juno-roman-goddess-of-marriage-importance-mythology.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_peafowl#In_culture
  3. https://www.speakingtree.in/allslides/peacock-the-national-and-sacred-bird-of-india

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peacock (Wikipedia)

Peafowl
Temporal range: 3–0 Ma
Late Pliocene – recent
Peacock at udaipur.jpg
Indian peacock resting at Udaipur lake city of Rajasthan
Scientific classification
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Species

Pavo cristatus
Pavo muticus
Afropavo congensis

The peafowl include three species of birds in the genera Pavo and Afropavo of the Phasianidae family, the pheasants and their allies. The two Asiatic species are the blue or Indian peafowl originally of the Indian subcontinent, and the green peafowl of Southeast Asia; the one African species is the Congo peafowl, native only to the Congo Basin. Male peafowl are known for their piercing calls and their extravagant plumage. The latter is especially prominent in the Asiatic species, which have an eye-spotted "tail" or "train" of covert feathers, which they display as part of a courtship ritual. The term peacock is properly reserved for the male; the female is known as a peahen, and the immature offspring are sometimes called peachicks.

The functions of the elaborate iridescent colouration and large "train" of peacocks have been the subject of extensive scientific debate. Charles Darwin suggested they served to attract females, and the showy features of the males had evolved by sexual selection. More recently, Amotz Zahavi proposed in his handicap theory that these features acted as honest signals of the males' fitness, since less-fit males would be disadvantaged by the difficulty of surviving with such large and conspicuous structures.

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