Feathers! Magical, mystical, incredible feathers! Feathers of all shapes, sizes, varieties, colors. Throughout history, feathers have served as spiritual symbols for shamans and priests, as symbols of royalty for kings and chiefs, symbols of healing, or symbols of sacred power for cultures as far back as ancient Egyptian, Asian or Celtic eras. These cultures possessed abilities to communicate with nature in ways that have been overlooked or forgotten in our own time.
Yet feathers are more than history. For many, they are mystical signs, messages, or opportunities. They are scraps of synchronicity in the flowing patchwork of universal meanings. They appear in unlikely places as assurances of well-being, as a comforting sign of abundance in the universe, and as unmistakable messengers of hope and encouragement. Their ephemeral grace makes them the perfect emissaries of spiritual and emotional freedom.
Symbol meaning of feathers deal with ascension and spiritual evolution to a higher plane. Feathers were worn by Native American Chiefs to symbolize their communication with Spirit, and to express their celestial wisdom. Also in the Native American Indian culture, feathers represented the power of the thunder gods, along with the power of air and wind.
Native American Pueblo Indians would pay homage to the Feathered Sun which is a symbol of the cosmos and the center of existence. Another symbol meaning of feathers also revolves around prayer, and the Pueblo use feather sticks as they dance in prayer for rain during solstice rituals.
As a Celtic symbol meaning, the feather was worn by Druids in the form of ornate feathered robes. Celtic Druids donned these robes in ceremonies to invoke the sky gods and gain knowledge of the celestial realm. It was believed that the feathered cloak along with the presence of the sky gods would allow the Druid to transcend the earthly plane and enter the ethereal realm.
The Egyptians believed that feathers were symbolic of sky gods too. Ma'at, the Egyptian goddess of justice, would weigh the hearts of the newly dead in the underworld against the weight of a feather to determine the worthiness of his or her soul.
In Christianity feathers represented virtues. In fact, an image of three feathers were made into signet rings - each feather symbolizing Charity, hope, and faith. These rings were worn as a symbol of a virtuous soul - they were also used as wax seals. The ring would be dipped in warm wax then pressed against documents to seal the closure. The recipient would know the documents came from a virtuous man by the indication of the three-feather symbol in the wax.
In dreams feathers mean travel or the ability to move more freely in life. White feathers in dreams indicate innocence or a fresh start in a spiritual sense.
A quick summary on symbol meaning of feathers:
Feather tattoo ideas are often centered around a Native American themed, but not always. In most tribal wisdom, feather meanings deal with the power of birds. Native Americans used feathers in ritual because they knew the spirit of the bird was represented by the feather. Bird spirits are extremely powerful in purifying the spirit and cleansing the energetic environment. Waving a feather over a sacred fire with pure intent is a way of uplifting the soul and expressing gratitude to bird spirits.
Native American wisdom relates to the feather as an embodiment of bird spirit. For example, eagle feathers had special meaning and were given to warriors as a tremendous honor of bravery and courage. It indicated nobility of the heart and allowed the recipient to take flight easily on journeying (both in a spiritual sense and a life-journey sense).
Feathers in Native American minds as well as many other cultures deals with communication. Feathers are often viewed as messages from the spirit world, and feather tattoos will convey powerful ideals about holy exchange. Indeed, many schools of thought believe seeing feathers on our path is a direct message from a loved one who has transitioned into the spirit side of life (deceased).