Much of my work is influenced by Medieval imagery and as of late I ran onto the story of the Frog, that I thought I’d share here.
If you think about it, in the Old Testament the frog is not seen as the most positive symbol, as well, it is one of Moses’ plagues. But seems the followers of Christ in the 2nd and 3rd century saw the frog in a very different light.
Many frogs have this funny habit of burrowing themselves into mud to hibernate during the winter months and then come up out of the ground in the spring. The frog consequently takes on the appearance of something that dies in the ground and then comes to life again. The early Christians in Egypt saw the frog as a natural symbol of the resurrection.
Part of this ties into Egyptian beliefs before Christ. Many secular if not outright pagan symbols were”redeemed”. Thus naturally the frog-like goddess Heqet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heqet) who symbolized fertility and renewal was seen as a precursor to the Christian belief in the resurrection.
Frogs were a common motif to put on Christian oil lamps in the early centuries. One such lamp that can be found in the Louvre and in the Turin Museum shows a frog with the cross on its back, and the inscription ego eimi anastasis: “I am the resurrection.”
So…. Happy Easter!- Maybe… we should have the Easter Frog instead of Easter Bunny!? It seems a bit more historically accurate for the Christian church. Just a suggestion!
(For more info see Lous Charbonneau-Lassay’s book: The Bestiary of Christ)