Feather Symbolism by Bird and Color, Feather Magic and More
You’re walking down a familiar path when something catches your eye. It’s a large feather. You were having an awful day, but somehow finding a feather on the ground has elevated your mood. That is the innate magic of the feather. Feathers come from birds and so are magical by association. Birds have long been regarded as messengers of the gods, as they carried messages to and from the heavens. Finding a feather on the ground is a gift from Spirit—a spirit guide, angel, or deceased loved one. There is something special in every found feather. Let’s explore feather symbolism, feather magic, and more!
Feathers: Type of Bird
If you’re finding feathers on the ground and can’t identify the birds, don’t fret. You don’t have to know the type of bird it came from to tap into its magic. But if determined to identify the feather’s bird-owner, you can start by doing your research. Look at what kinds of birds live in your area. Then identify the size of the bird and the feather. You can narrow down your search to a few birds, if you try hard enough. Or you can ask Spirit to show you the bird in a dream or meditation.
Feather Symbolism by Bird
Each bird has its own feather symbolism, its own special magic. Birds have a direct link with Spirit and will bring you divine messages.
To get started, here is a list of birds and feather symbolism:
- Blue Jay Feathers – while many people say blue jays are a nuisance, I have found them to be very powerful guides. Their message is simple – protect family at all costs.
- Blackbird (Crow, Raven) Feathers – there are many kinds of blackbirds but their general message can be broken down into: magic, mystery, intuition
- Ibis Feathers – the ibis is found in the Southeastern U.S. and is directly connected to Thoth the Egyptian god of Wisdom and Writing. The ibis reminds us to tap into our creative side and gain wisdom from the universe.
- Seagull Feathers – the seagull can be found almost anywhere along the coasts. It is a scavenging bird and is connected to the sea. A seagull feather symbolizes humor, silliness, and using resources wisely.
- Cardinal Feathers – the cardinal has such beautiful and vibrant red feathers that symbolize vitality, life, power, faithful romantic love, and are a sign that an ancestor is present
- Parrot Feathers – parrots remind us to be aware of our surroundings and heal us through color therapy.
- Dove and Pigeon Feathers – doves and pigeons are in the same family. Dove feathers symbolize peace, love, and family.
- Mockingbird Feathers – mockingbirds remind us to sing our own songs, to be our own unique selves.
- Owl Feathers – Owls have connections to ancient deities. Owl feathers symbolize magic, intuition, seeing in th dark, developing psychic awareness and more.
- Hawk Feathers – Hawk feathers remind us to connect with Spirit, stay focused, and fly high.
- Flamingo & Roseate Spoonbill Feathers – flamingoes and spoonbills are pink birds with personality. When seen in nature, they remind us of the importance of self care, femininity, and friendship
- Peacock Feathers – believe it or not, some cultures believe having a peacock feather in your home is bad luck. Some believe it’s good luck and wards off the evil eye.
Feather Symbolism by Color
If you don’t know the kind of bird, look at the color. The color of the feather has special meaning, since there is magic in every color. Here’s a simple feather color guide:
- White Feathers: a sign from recently passed loved one or angel; a message that you are on the right path
- Black Feathers: a call to spiritual action and self-exploration; sometimes signifying an initiatory period for magical practitioners
- Red Feathers: a sign of passion or love in the near future, and also that an ancestor is visiting you
- Gray Feathers: could be a time of mourning, but a time of peace is coming
- Blue Feathers: a sign of communication, peace, and protection; a sign of healing
- Brown Feathers: a sign of home life and importance of grounding
- Pink Feathers: a reminder to care for yourself and promotes self love, as well as femininity and friendship
- Green Feathers: indicate a need to accept and give love to others, earth magick, the fae are present, and also when a peacock’s feather may ward off the evil eye
What Part of the Bird Did the Feather Come From?
If we want to get into the details of feather symbolism, identify what part of the bird the feather came from. The part of the bird has spiritual meaning and magic. Ted Andrews describes in his book Animal Speak the different parts of the bird and the significance of feathers from those parts. Here is my take on the parts and feather symbolism:
Wing Feathers: send a thought or prayer to another or to Spirit. Wing feathers are stiffer than other feathers to support the bird in flight. And so it will support you in your endeavors. The technical name for these feathers are remiges.
Down Feathers: these soft and fluffy feathers provide warmth to the bird. Use them to comfort and protect your spirituality.
Outer Feathers: these are called contour feathers and are the outermost feathers, or the ones that you see the most. These feathers help wick water and are the most colorful. Contour feathers can bring a sense of self appreciation and protection.
There are others: tail feathers (rectrices), border feathers (coverts), below the contour feathers (afterfeathers), and bristles. You can find out more about the types of feathers by going here.
Feather Magic: Ways to Use Feathers in Your Spiritual Practice
For thousands of years, our ancestors all over the world have used feather symbolism in their spiritual rituals and daily life. Here’s how you can use feather magic in your spiritual practice today:
Smoke-cleansing: is an ancient spiritual practice. It is the use of smoke from a dried herb (such as cedar, rosemary, white sage) to rid an area or person of negativity. It is a rite of cleansing. A larger feather can be used to fan the smoke in different directions. The feather itself lends to the power of the ritual. Feathers can be bundled together and made into a “smoke-cleansing wand”. You can watch tutorials on how to make your own on Youtube.
Accessorize: feathers can be worn on the body. This is a powerful form of feather magic. Natives have worn feathers in their hair and on their clothes for centuries. You can wear your favorite feather by making it into a hair piece or as a piece of jewelry. Carry the feather with you and the spiritual significance will stay with you. Wearing feathers also lend to the concept of shapeshifting.
Meditation: hold feathers during meditation. Blow gently on the feather to send out your spiritual intent or to put yourself into a trance. Hold a specific type of bird’s feather to contact your bird spirit guide and to take on the likeness of that bird
Dream Bags and Pillows: if you are not allergic to birds/feathers, place a feather into a small sachet with other herbs to induce lucid dreams. Tuck the feather under your pillowcase at night to help transform yourself into the form of a bird in your dreams.
Magical Arrangements: place your favorite feathers between your favorite crystals and stones in a small clear vase and put somewhere special in your home. This keeps the spiritual powers of the feather flowing throughout your sacred space. Plus you can admire their beauty any time!
Adornments: you can adorn yourself with feathers or you can use feathers to adorn your spiritual tools. Just as our ancestors did, you can use feathers to decorate wands, rattles, drums, staffs, altar cloths, and more!
Divination With Feathers
I know a very special person who uses feathers as a means of divination. Yes, we can read the messages of a feather’s symbolism whenever we find feathers. But what about collecting feathers and using them as their own form of divination similar to runes or cards? Put them in a jar (painted black so that you can’t see inside), then pull a feather out of the jar to answer your question or receive a message. Whatever color, bird, or type of feather emerges is your answer. You can also throw the feathers into the air and read how they land.
Gods and Goddesses: The Feather Connection
In addition to the type of feather, what kind of bird it came from, and casting feather magic, research if the bird is connected to a god or goddess. For instance, the seagull is connected to the Celtic sea god Manannan Mac Lir. The Ibis is connected to Thoth, the Egyptian God of Writing. The vulture is connected to the Egyptian Goddess Nekhbet. The Morrigan, an Irish Triple Goddess, is connected to the crow. And the list goes on. It’s highly likely if you continue receiving the same feather from the same kind of bird that it might be a god or goddess calling to you.
More BIRD Magic:
- Bird Omens and Signs
- Augury: Bird Divination, How to Read Flight Patterns
- The Owl Spirit Guide and Mythology
MargaretAugust 6, 2021 at 7:26 pm
I’m so great ful. I have found my goddess thanks to THIS article. Nekhbet is my goddess, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
AnonymousMarch 26, 2022 at 5:12 pm
Same here! I found a virtue feather but sadly my dog ate it I was so devastated
MargaretJuly 29, 2021 at 2:41 am
My sister said a Brown Jay was following her. Is it the same as the Blue Jay or different?
MargaretJuly 29, 2021 at 2:47 am
By the same as a blue jay I mean the meaning.
Amber MccallisterJuly 24, 2021 at 11:25 am
A couple of months ago a bird flew in my home. I ended up getting it out safely, but was scarred of the symbol behind it. I decided to just let it be moved on. This week while sitting out front of my home I hear birds (not uncommon) however two of those days a feather flys down directly in front of me. I never seen the bird but the feather was very small fluffy white with a small amount of gray. The second a bit larger white on one side gray on the other more solid with one end fluffy. The bird in my home small gray brown and maybe some white.
What could this all mean?
Deborah BoyettAugust 21, 2021 at 10:57 pm
Do some research on your color place you found feather. Take into consideration your mindset when locating feather….I went to Google and found ALOT!!!!
Cheryl LukshaApril 3, 2021 at 3:40 pm
I found a Macaw Blue and Gold tail feather on my front lawn this morning! I cannot find any meanings for this. I always have feathers show up since my mother passed away. I asked her out loud a few months back to leave me a purple feather. well surprisingly when I hold this (over a foot long) feather downweighs- its purple looking! I live on Long Island Ny – we do not have Macaws flying around. We do have green parrots though.
LFebruary 2, 2021 at 2:45 am
I had a large brown hawk feather i found as a child and have kept until now (35 yo)—it fell into my candle tonight and burned. What does this mean?
Leya bonyaJanuary 31, 2021 at 10:08 pm
Please am leya, I have been seeing a white fluffy little feathers under my pillow.initially ,when I was in shs I taught I was exaggerating .but when I came to university am still seeing them right under my pillow and the colours are Brown and white.now am really confused because I didn’t have any encounter with a bird not fowl .pls help.what is happening.
AmbyApril 15, 2021 at 9:35 pm
It’s your pillow 😳
AndrewSeptember 21, 2020 at 12:31 pm
I found two raven feathers sticking upright out of the pink gravel at the bus stop i wait at, anyone know what it means when feathers are sticking up out of the ground?
JoannaSeptember 12, 2020 at 7:31 am
Hi! So I have a porch door in my bedroom and I have been gone for a couple days, my roommate ventilates my room daily just to keep it cool for when I returned. When I came back today, I noticed small fluffy white feathers along with some white and grey feathers near my altar and surrounding a small corner of my room near the door. Do you think it means anything? Or am I over thinking it? I mean it’s quite a few feathers- around 15..
MAugust 18, 2020 at 7:43 pm
Hi, what does a yellow feather mean?
AnonymousAugust 18, 2020 at 1:07 am
Someone put feathers all around my car. What does this mean? Something evil?
adminAugust 18, 2020 at 11:03 am
What color? What kind?
lilyJuly 15, 2020 at 11:20 pm
im also getting preminitions withc are scary to me
KarenAugust 7, 2020 at 4:36 am
A few days ago outside my front door a mainly black feather, i think a pigeon , landed straight upright , stuck in the ground, does this mean anything?
lilyJuly 14, 2020 at 9:44 pm
okay I’m kind of scared because I found a hawk feather on my familiar paths and owl feather on a familiar path so im scared im to young realy young
TaraAugust 24, 2020 at 4:31 am
Owls are signs of wisdom and hawks encourage you to look at the bigger picture 🙂
Nancy JacksonJuly 3, 2020 at 4:35 am
I find feathers every where all the time and have an extensive collection. If I think it’s from a guide i put it in a jar
ChrisJuly 6, 2020 at 4:39 am
One time my grandma was finding feathers throughout her house and she was worried that someone had put a curse on her. Is that a possibility? Well, it turned out the feathers were from her slippers but she was very freaked out at the time.
adminJuly 7, 2020 at 11:55 am
I don’t ever see feathers as a curse. They are typically our guides or angels sending us signs from above.
AnonymousJune 27, 2020 at 12:12 am
What if someone found a feather and gave it to you?
Nancy JacksonJuly 3, 2020 at 4:36 am
It found its way to you, I have only been given 1. That is how I took it
RebeccaJune 3, 2020 at 11:44 pm
I found the 7th primary wing feather of a great grey or horned owl-it was about 12 inches long. I was trekking without trail through a wooded valley and stopped to do a bearing scan of where I was. After scanning the valley I looked down to see what plants were around me and this feather was there about 4 inches from my right foot in perfect condition. I looked for others but saw none. On my way back to the trail I had left I saw a very black and shiny bear who saw me and walked slowly away from my path without any fear or aggression towards me
Lissette LopezMay 14, 2020 at 5:52 pm
Hello, I found 5 feathers in a strange position and was wondering if it meant anything special.
It was four feathers next to each other vertical and one horizontal
l l l l –
They were black with a little white on them. They seem like the stiffer wing feathers.
Thanks love your site
Nanci HaaseMay 13, 2020 at 1:23 am
A Sand Hill Crane left his very large white feather a few feet from my dining window and the bird feeder this evening…I brought it into my home and while looking up what the feather meant I heard my sons voice calling my name… He passed away almost a year ago… Hopefulness came than I was enveloped with such sadness… The Cranes have been coming for the past 4 years now & have never found a feather till now…
DeShawn JacobsApril 11, 2020 at 11:38 pm
Ive been seriously into all kinds of spiritual stuff from numbers to coins & feathers. Question i really really need to know, just a week or 2 ago i stumbled upon a grip if feathers, possibly 10-15 all within perhaps a 7′ radius. Looked like a bird fight but bc i like feathers & well, simply, the spiritual ways of living. Wish i was better at it & knew more. What or DOES finding a lot of different feathers in my path mean anything?
SodapopMarch 4, 2020 at 9:40 pm
What about an eagle feather? It’s black and white??
What does that one mean? Cause I found one near my house where an eagle flys around.
BeverlyJanuary 3, 2020 at 11:49 pm
I was walking near my home on a path; i had prayed earlier that day for a sign that God was near me and communicating with me since that is how i often feel. Then on the path i found directly in front of me a very beautiful feather, perfectly intact, mostly brown and light brown, about 4″ long with an ORANGE SPINE! I gasped because I was so surprised! I have never seen a feather like it before or since. The main color of my spiritual teacher is orange, so i took this as a direct sign from him. I was thrilled. Do hawk feathers have orange spines?
Pixi EagleheartJanuary 13, 2020 at 10:32 pm
Not that I am aware of. However, Flicker feathers do have an orange Rachis (stem) They are part of the woodpecker family. Perhaps google images?
LindaNovember 21, 2019 at 2:12 am
What kind of stones should I use in the vase with the feathers also what color satchet should I use to put the feather in to place under my pillow
adminNovember 21, 2019 at 4:18 pm
Any stones go with feathers. As far as a color sachet, purple is best for dreams.
Ann DownsOctober 25, 2019 at 4:06 pm
What would you say about a feather from a woodpecker?
adminOctober 29, 2019 at 2:47 pm
Tap tap tapping to get your attention. To find life in dead things.
Pixi EagleheartJanuary 13, 2020 at 10:35 pm
Woodpecker connects us to the heartbeat of the earth and signals a time of abundance.
BrooksSeptember 28, 2019 at 10:23 pm
What about a bird of prey? I know you had hawks but I found a giant feather and I’m not quite sure what bird it came from.
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AnonymousAugust 31, 2019 at 12:12 pm
This was a wonderfully informative article and I love the responses. My husband and I communicate through feathers-he is now in heaven, or on his way after finally crossing over
AndiAugust 15, 2019 at 11:25 pm
I had 8 feathers appear right in front of me today. I have had been finding at least one every day for the past two weeks. Except yesterday was the 1st day one hasn’t appeared. And today there’s 8! I’m going through a spiritual awakening too.
Jon EichAugust 4, 2019 at 11:02 am
Last year wile camping with my wife to be, I awoke to find what appeared to be white chicken feathers all over the ground around my van… Not around my wife’s car, or near the tent, just around my van. She has friends with whom practice witch craft, and one did not like me at all. I suspected it was one of my wife’s friends.. can you decipher this for me?
Barrie BarrettNovember 24, 2019 at 10:38 pm
WHITE – White feathers symbolize purification, spirituality, hope, protection, peace, and blessings of the Moon.
I would consider this a protection
Pixi EagleheartJanuary 13, 2020 at 10:36 pm
JenniferJune 1, 2019 at 5:28 pm
what is with my weird aunt saying that you can be cursed through hair or if u have a feather pillow .does yhis have a significance??
adminJune 2, 2019 at 5:02 pm
i don’t know what the feather pillow thing is, but yes some hoodoo and conjure practitioners use people’s hair, nails, etc. in curses and spells.
ChrisJune 11, 2019 at 7:08 pm
What about finding a Vulture feather?
Pixi EagleheartJanuary 13, 2020 at 10:38 pm
Vulture is about purification and transfomation.
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