Why 'The Wise Hippo' is the perfect name.

Apr 8, 2023 by Tamara Cianfini

me with hippo

The Wise Hippo book that comes as part of your course will explain the many reasons behind the name however here is some additional information, explaining the connection between the hippo and childbirth.

The hippopotamus, a majestic creature that inhabits the waterways of sub-Saharan Africa, holds a unique place in the cultural history and symbolism of fertility and childbirth.

For centuries, communities living in close proximity to these animals have been captivated by their strength and beauty, leading to the attribution of special symbolic significance to them.

This article delves into the various ways in which the hippopotamus is connected to fertility and childbirth, exploring its symbolism in ancient Egyptian culture, African mythology, and modern-day interpretations.

Ancient Egyptian Symbolism

In ancient Egyptian culture, the goddess Taweret was depicted as a pregnant hippopotamus, often portrayed with the limbs and tail of a crocodile, and the mane and face of a lioness.

Taweret was revered as a household deity, particularly associated with fertility, childbirth, and the protection of pregnant women and young children. She was considered a guardian and protector, warding off evil spirits and misfortune that could befall expectant mothers and their unborn children.

Many artifacts from ancient Egypt, such as amulets, statues, and pottery, feature the image of Taweret, highlighting the central role she played in the lives of the people. Her pregnant form symbolized the life-giving power of water, as well as the abundance and fertility of the Nile River. Moreover, the hippopotamus's ability to give birth in water reinforced the connection between the animal and the life-giving properties of water, thus solidifying its link to fertility and childbirth.

African Mythology

Beyond ancient Egypt, the hippopotamus has also been revered in other African cultures for its connection to fertility and childbirth.

The Yoruba people of Nigeria and the Bambara people of Mali, for instance, view the hippopotamus as a symbol of maternal care and protection. In their traditional stories, the animal is often portrayed as a nurturing figure that embodies the life-giving and sustaining qualities of water.

In some African folktales, the hippopotamus is considered a bringer of fertility to the land through its association with water and its ability to transform the landscape by creating channels and pools.

As a result, the animal is often linked to agricultural abundance and the blessings of a bountiful harvest. This connection between the hippopotamus and fertility is further emphasized by the observation that female hippos give birth to only one calf at a time, investing heavily in the care and protection of their offspring.

Modern-Day Interpretations

In contemporary society, the hippopotamus continues to serve as a symbol of fertility and childbirth.

The animal's association with water and its ability to give birth and nurse its young in aquatic environments resonate with the themes of life, renewal, and nurturing.

As a result, representations of hippos are often found in art, literature, and even popular culture as symbols of fertility, motherhood, and the power of nature.

In modern art and design, the hippopotamus is sometimes used to symbolize the strength, resilience, and nurturing qualities of motherhood. For example, decorative sculptures or paintings featuring hippos may be gifted to expecting parents as a symbol of the new life and journey they are about to embark upon.

Moreover, the image of the hippopotamus has also found its way into children's literature and cartoons, often portrayed as a gentle and caring figure, reinforcing its symbolic connection to motherhood and protection.

Furthermore, the hippopotamus has become a popular motif in fertility-related rituals and ceremonies. For instance, in some African communities, offerings are made to the spirit of the hippopotamus during fertility rites or to ensure a successful pregnancy and safe childbirth.

These practices pay homage to the long-standing cultural significance of the hippopotamus as a symbol of fertility and protection for mothers and their children.

The hippopotamus, with its impressive size, strength, and connection to water, has long been associated with fertility and childbirth across various cultures.

From ancient Egyptian mythology to African folklore and modern interpretations, the animal has consistently symbolized the life-giving power of water, maternal care, and the nurturing qualities of motherhood. As a result, the hippopotamus has earned a unique and enduring place in the symbolic language of fertility and childbirth, serving as a powerful reminder of the profound connections between nature, culture, and human experience.

Did you know we also have a real life mascot here at The Wise Hippo and her name is 'Relief'. We not only chose this hippo to represent us because of her name but she has had many calves and is a very protective mother. She is apart of the Turgwe Trust in Zimbabwe and we look forward to receiving monthly updates on how she is getting on out there in the wild. Here she is.....

We feel blessed to have such a powerful and Wise animal represent what we do here at The Wise Hippo and we hope you feel safe and secure knowing that The Wise Hippo is here to support you every step of the way.

With Love

The Wise Hippo