Feathers – Symbolism & Meanings
The symbolic meaning of feathers shares some similarities with the interpretation of birds, such as ascending via flight and looking at the world from a higher, more encompassing perspective – a “bird’s eye view”. In addition to all of the traits that accompany birds, feathers are also in possession of their own spiritual values and symbol meanings, including truth, speed, and lightness/airiness.
Feathers – Native American Symbolism
Feather symbols convey a particularly strong message in Native American cultures. Tribal chiefs wear feathers both on their bodies as well as on elaborate headdresses to demonstrate their wisdom and connection to the great spirits. Feathers also symbolized the strength of the thunder gods, in addition to the power the air and wind. The Pueblo Indians of the American southwest honored a “feathered sun”, which symbolized the center of the cosmos and all existence. This was a highly revered and worshiped symbol, used in ceremonies and prayer. The Pueblo also used feather sticks in their rain dances and other solstice rituals.
Feathers – Celtic Meanings
The Celts also understood meaning in feathers. Druid priests decorated their ornate robes with them. They donned these robes in spiritual ceremonies aimed at communicating with the sky gods and gaining knowledge of the spiritual realm. Celtic cultural beliefs assumed that, along with the presence of the sky gods, the beautiful cloak of feathers would allow the priest to go beyond the basic Earthly reality and enter the celestial realm. Thus, the garment was considered most holy and could only be donned by those who were deemed worthy and existential.
Feathers – Egyptian Symbolic Meanings
In ancient Egypt, most animals and objects held symbolism, and feathers were no different. The feather was thought to be symbolic of the sky gods there, as well. In the afterlife of ancient Egyptian culture, the feather was used as a measure of weight. Once the souls of the newly dead entered the underworld, Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice, would weigh their hearts against the weight of a feather. This trial was thought to determine the worthiness of the soul, and the verdict was based on its results.
Feathers – Christian Symbolism
Later, holy behavior were signified by feathers in the Christian faith. Believers who considered themselves virtuous wore rings imprinted with a symbol made from three feathers symbolic of hope, charity and faith. The signet rings were also used as wax seals after dipping the symbolized side into hot wax. The ring would be pressed against documents or envelopes to seal them shut. Once dried, the wax would display the symbol of the three feathers. The recipient would then know that the documents were sent by a virtuous (and Christian) person. Although it may seem a bit self-righteous and pretentious, those were the ways of the world in the past.
Spiritual totems often come to us while we sleep, offering their advice and messages through our unconscious mind. When we see feathers symbol in our dreams, they are typically reminiscent of our ability to move freely in life. Maybe it is advising you to take a trip or relinquish something’s hold on you that is preventing you from true freedom.
Additionally, the color of the feather is also important for accurate interpretation. Most obviously, a white feather indicates an innocence that is inherent in all of us. In the cutthroat world that we live in, sometimes it is important to remember that innocent and chaste part of souls. The white feather can also be an omen that you will receive the opportunity for a fresh start in life. Recognize this opportunity and take it. Your body and mind will ultimately feel rested, refreshed and reborn, ready to overcome obstacles and maneuver your way through life with grace, humility, and a genuine care for more than just yourself.