Feather Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)

Tori Rhodes
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Feather symbolism and meaning

Feathers symbolize life, strength, flexibility, and beauty.

Given their importance to bird migration, flight, and socialization, feathers have an obvious connection to the sky.

Flight and the sky are also linked to degrees of separation from the earth and therefore, life.

Feathers, therefore, symbolize the journey of life.

In Native American culture, feathers are worn on special occasions by shamans and believe control the weather and communicate with the spirit world.

Feather Native American symbolism

To the Native Americans, the symbolism and meaning of Native American feather varies. Tribal feather is a symbol of humility, strength, courage and trust.

Take the Cherokee tribe, for instance, the native people believe that feather helps in producing a calm mind.

Other tribes like the Hopi’s believe that Native American feather is a symbol of happiness.

Feather symbols often reflect their reputation. One example is the Native American Bald Eagle which is believed to be one of the most important tribes.

Just like the Eagle feather, the symbolism here is that of power, strength and freedom.

Native American feathers hold a deeper meaning for certain tribes.

Virgin eagle feather as an example is a symbol of wisdom.

Men from the Native American tribes used feathers as a declaration of their courage during war.

These warriors also felt quite honored to wear feathers to battle.

As they believed that wearing feathers, would make their spirit stronger.

Feather Christianity symbolism

Feathers usually don’t come to mind when thinking associations with Christianity. But as we investigate a little bit, we quickly find the mention of feathers in the Bible used as symbols.

Nowhere else does the Bible mention the cross as a symbol of Christianity.

Instead it refers to the “feather” instrument of torture for self-mutilation.

The Cross “Patibulum”

The Patibulum ", the cross with two outstretched arms, was reportedly created by the Israelite tribe of Hyksos, who ruled Egypt during the early years of Egyptian history. In Egypt, the barbarian invaders used the cross-shaped torture instrument to kill troublesome family members for the cruel Pharoah.

Jews and Christians also used to be tortured and killed on the cross.

Hence, the two most ancient forms of death attributed to Christianity are torture and murder. Two things completely un-Christian.

Feather Celtic symbolism

The Celts were great travelers and they left a rich heritage in numerous artifacts and relics as far west as Western France, Northern Italy and as far east as the Ukraine.

Celtic warriors often wore the feather on their helmet or on their sword sheaths and sometimes even in their hair. The Celts believed that the first feather came into being from the great Eagle of Lug… a symbol of courage, keen sight and helpfulness.

The Celts were an ally with the Eagle and it is said that at the beginning of a battle, a single Eagle would fly fly into the enemy’s camp while the warriors were still preparing, scatter them with a blast of icy wind and cry out “Look, your enemies are coming!”. The Celts felt that the winged messenger possessed all the powers of the gods. The Celts believed that the Crow was the greatest of all birds and that the cawing of the crow held the secrets of creation.

For Druids, the cawing of the crow meant that you needed them. The Crow was devoted, faithful and able to hide its true feelings. The Crow was a revered animal to the Celts. “Only the crow can hide the sun.” they say, which means an important person has arrived.

Feathers in dreams

Because feathers play such a significant role in flight, they have long been used to represent freedom, as well as the spiritual journey as a whole. Feathers are a powerful symbol of the soul.

This is why feathers are often used in shamanic, aboriginal and traditional cultures around the world to represent the journey to freedom.

To the ancient civilizations, feathers represented long life and good health. They were often used in headdresses, by healers, to bless people and as offerings to the Great Spirits.

The feathers are part of the realm of Spirit, the soul, and flight.

Feathers symbolize dramatic changes and progress. Feathers are closely connected to special and unique changes in one’s life. A dream about feathers may signify your going to undergo some significant or dramatic change, a new life direction, or an important event, such as a graduation or the birth or adoption of a new baby.

Feathers are known to offer comfort and courage to the dreamer.

Feathers can also be seen as an attribute of a spiritual guide or animal helper. If you dream of a feather, you may be need to seek spiritual guidance and wisdom. A dream about feathers may signify that you need to make changes in your life to find inner peace. Connecting to your spirituality is a powerful way to reduce stress and find your direction.

Feather encounters and omens

A feather encounter is a meaningful chance sighting of a white feather. These sightings are often initial omens of something big in your future, very often something that will have a profound effect on your life.

Feathers are also symbols of beauty, power, and freedom.

They also are a very common animal totem. As such, they act as a messenger.

The sighting of a white feather can have very different meanings. Read on to see if the meaning described below fits best with the sighting you had:

“A white feather may be a sign of love”

Owls are often associated with love and passion as they mate for life. In addition, the “language” of love is also often linked to the language of birds like mating calls.

The white feather is a common messenger of love and even though you may have not seen or heard an owl, your sighting of a white feather may be communicating to you that someone is going to be wooing you soon!

“A White Feather May Be a Sign that You Are Going to Travel”

Travel is all about birds! Owls are already mentioned as sign of a love message. But they also have a more general association with travel.

If you do see an owl, you may be thinking about or expecting a trip.

Feather mythology and folklore

Many cultures see the feather as a symbol of courage and strong leadership. This is the reason why ceremonial headdresses are adorned with elaborate feather designs and why plumes are given to victorious soldiers.

Feathers symbolize justice and truth in Lakota culture, while they are a symbol of power and freedom in the culture of the Hopi. Feathers in fairy tales are often associated with royalty and are said to contain magic powers. Ornaments with feathers represent freedom and spirituality.

The Quakers in the UK are famous for their anti-war stance. Back in the 17th century, they started wearing plain hats to represent inner goodness, while the hats of other protestant churches were adorned with fancy feathers.

Many Native American tribes give their children ceremonial headdresses adorned with feathers to signify the wisdom of the community leaders and to motivate the children to be humble and respectful, and to listen to their elders.

The eagle feather is considered sacred among the Natives, as the eagle is seen as being connected with the Creator or the sun. Having an eagle feather in a dream means surviving a near-death experience. Let’s break down some of the most common meanings associated with a feather:

At the most basic level, a feather can be seen as a representation of a vision quest or a near-death experience.

Feather sign

Other than representing flight, the feather can represent:

Red is the most powerful symbol, closely associated with courage. It's also the color of passion. If you see it, you will soon be thinking of something or someone you’ve lost.

Yellow feathers: If you see yellow feathers, you will become the manager of the company or find yourself at the top of your field.

Blue feathers: These are the most spiritual feathers. If you see them, think about your spiritual growth.

White feathers: These are very sacred, associated with angels and sign of divine love.

Turquoise feathers: There’s rebirth and healing involved. You’re in a good place. You need to keep being kind to yourself.

Black / Grey feathers: When you see black and grey feathers you could internalize depression. This isn’t only your own sadness that you’re seeing, but someone else’s sadness, too.

Bronze / Copper feathers: These feathers mean money is coming your way.

Olive green feathers: This is a very impactful vision, associated with a new beginning.

Feather totem

Feathers are widely used in Native American cultures and have many symbolic meanings attached to them.

Feathers are important in Native American culture because they represent a link between heaven and earth.

The feather symbolizes the transition from the physical realm to the spiritual realm.

They represent the connection between the people and the animals, as well as harmony of all beings.

So whether it’s horse feathers, or eagle feathers, they are universally seen as a symbol of power, courage, wisdom, and respect.

Feathers are associated with fertility in many cultures, including the Greek and Roman civilizations.

The Chinese also saw the rise of feathers when it came to love and sexuality, where feather-clad dancers used them to express eroticism.

These days, feathers are widely seen as symbols of good luck, and as a powerful symbol of spirit and strength.

Colors of feathers and their meanings

On this planet, each color has its own symbolism & meanings. It’s the same with the feathers of the birds as well. The color, the markings, the contrast, everything is connected with the feathers and thus has a particular meaning.

And the color of the feathers of a bird is not just an accident of nature, someone designed them this way, and it’s not just to look beautiful, it’s there for a particular reason.

White symbolizes innocence, purity, and perfection. The feather of a young person is yellow and then becomes white as they age.

The white feather can also symbolize a warning. If you are angry with someone you can toss a white feather at them and they must do as they are told. However if you are throwing a white feather at them for approval they will either leave or let you pass.

Feather tattoo meaning

People have been living and thriving for the past 30,000 years. One of the ways they have done this is by learning to adapt to the environments and living organisms around them. Adaptation has made it possible for them to use animals for survival, as well as imitate them in construction and decoration.

In fact, the first draw of man that we see depicted in the early paintings is the birds. People first picked up the idea, the idea of the birds and the beauty of them flying through the sky. This idea is something that we still live with present day.

Feather tattoos, particularly eagle feathers, still hold their place in the modern day society and membership to many. To many, the bird feathers are a beauty, a special piece of themselves and or what makes them different. This is something that is difficult to place a specific meaning of, but may be a good talk on with the right tattoo artist.

Feathers are not just a work of art, but it is also a way to show your affiliation to a group of people. The feather is worn by many in the Native American communities as a way of demonstrating their connection to the natural world. Feathers represent courage, strength and enlightenment in many North American tribes.

Feathers can also be used to symbolize peace and purity, sometimes because they are so delicate that they are one of the main ingredients for the nests of other birds.


The bird feather is a wonderful symbol and its meanings are very powerful, too. The feather has a very inspirational and motivational meaning. The feather brings hope and peace to the soul of the person and represents the spiritual growth and protection.