• "The vice from which all other vices arise is called a capital vice", writes St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologiæ. He lists seven: vainglory, envy, anger, sadness, avarice, gluttony, and lust.
    Seven birds were chosen here to represent each of the capital sins.
  • Tristitia: Sorrow/despondency
    St. Thomas Aquinas lists Tristitia in place of Acedia (Sloth). The two are related: in despondency, one loses interest in life, and this was seen as "not using the talents give by God"--a spiritual laziness. It may be interesting to list the modern counterpart of this capital vice as depression, for the blame of laziness is too often thrust upon its sufferers.

    The Common Raven, Corvus corax, was chosen for its obvious symbolism as the harbingers of despair and unfortunate news.
  • Avaritia: Avarice, greed
    Avarice is the pursuit of material posessions. Thomas Aquinas calls this the root of all sins, from which all the capital vices arise.
    The genus Pica includes several species called a Magpie in english. A well known habit of the Magpie is that it has a fascination with shiny objects and will often collect it for the ornamentation of its nest.It is not an unusual story for one to raid a magpie's nest in search of a lost jewel, much to the protest of the magpies, and the jewel will invariably be found there.
    Pica sericea is the species commonly termed Korean magpie and shows a bright blue-purple iridescence.
  • Invidia: Envy
    St. Thomas Aquinas describes envy as the "sorrow for another's good".
  • Gula: Gluttony
    Gluttony is over-indulgence and selfishness, consumption and the waste of food. It is the sin of the modern eating habits.
    The domesticated turkey, as with other poultry birds, are kept in boxes with an overabundance of feed from the moment they hatch until they are butchered. Their only purpose served to be fatter and fatter, not for the sin of the bird but for the desire of man.
  • Ira: Anger/wrath
    Uncontrollable, violent and self-destructive; a sin of power, or powerlessness, for the anger can also be directed  inwards, to the hatred of the self, its final destructive force culminating in suicide.
  • Luxuria: lust/lechery
    Although it began as a general term for desire, Luxuria came to be associated with sexual desire.
    One tale for the origin of the word "cocktail" states that a cock's tail was used to either stirr the mixed drink, or used as a garnish. A disputable legend at best, but a drink stirred with a cock's feather was said to have aphrodisiac properties.
  • Superbia: Pride
    Pride is the obsession with oneself, while vainglory is the obsession with one's reputation. A truly proud person would be so self-obsessed that they would not care about how they appear to others.
    The peacock is a traditional symbol of pride, perhaps for their beauty.
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