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The Spiritual Meaning of Feathers

The Meaning of Feathers plays a vital role in the belief system of Native people and the ancient ways our ancestors related to the animate and inanimate world.

Feathers are sentient portals of wisdom.

Animism and Shamanism embody the spiritual idea that all natural things within the universe, including birds and their feathers, have a spirit and vibration and are bridges into specific prayers and connections.

The generalized meaning of feathers signified honor & connected the chosen owner with the Creator and the bird the feathers came from. In many traditions, spiritual healers and individuals were awarded feathers by the Creator and the community when they did specific deeds as a reward or when a particular feather was needed to pursue their spiritual quest and work.

Angell Deer Turkey Feather

I learned from my Elders and teachers that we don't take a feather that we find on a random walk or from dead animals unless the feather fell from the sky where it carried the vibration of life or appeared following a specifically crafted "feather prayer ceremony" or intention placed in the fire with tobacco.

We do not take; we receive. And to receive, we have to give something first. This is core to our sacred relationship understanding and our way of life.

Feathers are gifts from the birds, the sky, the land, and the Creator.

Feathers can arrive unexpectedly, but only with purpose and a connection to our path and prayers.

Birds were revered as bringers of messages and symbols of change and often symbolized light-hearted freedom, and their feathers have many spiritual, ceremonial & ritual uses.

Decorated feathers were sometimes attached to sacred pipes or prayer sticks. In many ancient cultures, the meaning of feathers is inextricably tied to the belief that as spirit guides, birds walk through different stages of life with a person, teaching and guiding them and sometimes protecting them.

The meaning of birds and their feathers are of great significance as they possess supernatural powers that can embody, attach, and influence a person, empowering them with the bird's powerful traits, attributes, and characteristics.

The following list describes the meanings of some feathers, providing information on the significance of each bird, together with its meaning, attributes, characteristics, and symbolism.

Those are not to be taken literally, as the meaning of certain feathers might be different for you or others.

The best way to understand their meaning is to ask the feather (in a shamanic journey, prayer, ceremony, vision quest, etc) or to witness how this feather answers your gifts and prayers.


A feather from a bluebird symbolizes happiness and fulfillment. It can also connect to the throat chakra and our voice.


A feather from a crow symbolizes balance, release from past beliefs, skill, and cunning. It connects to ancestors, the magic of the land, and ancient wisdom.


A feather from a dove symbolizes love, gentleness, and kindness. It can also represent freedom and liberation in the path of self-awakening.


A feather from an eagle symbolizes great strength, courage, leadership, and prestige. The bald eagle and the golden eagle were considered sacred birds by most tribes.


A feather from a falcon symbolizes soul healing, speed, and movement. It represents the necessity for deep focus and agility.


A feather from a hawk symbolizes guardianship, strength, and far-sightedness. It is connected to Christ's consciousness and some potent medicine for awakening the Self into Love.


A feather from a heron symbolizes patience, grace, and confidence. It can open us to see more clearly and remove confusion.


A feather from the hummingbird symbolizes love, beauty, intelligence -

A Spirit Messenger and Stopper of Time, the hummingbird often comes to remind us of the sweetness of life and how to focus our prayers.


A feather from a kingfisher symbolizes luck, patience, speed, and agility. It awakens dormant powers in us and invites us to the sacred warriors of the Heart.


A feather from an owl symbolizes wisdom, the ability to see things in the dark. As a creature of the night, she knows about silence, agility, and being at ease in the unseen world.


A feather from a raven symbolizes creation & knowledge - the Bringer of the Light. Connected to ancient wisdom, the old Gods, it is a feather that can be powerful to carry yet requires deep medicine work experience.


A feather from a turkey symbolizes abundance, pride, and fertility. Turkey is the land caretaker; as such, their feather can help us reconnect to the land, show us how to walk on the land, stay grounded on our path, and guide us on the discovery of the proper sacrifice.


A feather from a Woodpecker symbolizes self-discovery, perseverance, and connection to sound (especially the flute) and brings strength to our lives. They can help us stay focused and deepen the work into our own hardwood (mind beliefs, and bones).

Please remember that most bird feathers are protected, and many are illegal to have, so check the local regulations regarding the feathers you find for your spiritual work.

Praying for good prayers and good feathers,

Angell Deer

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