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The links for the 22 pages in this Tools & Crafts section
Feathers are an important part of
shamanic practices throughout the world, some of which will
restrict the use of those feathers to ceremonial leaders only.
Whether they appear in dreams, visions, or the physical reality
they offer us much. Not only do they facilitate flight but they
insulate the body and protect it. Feathers/birds hold the healing
spiritual secrets to the element of Air through breath and lifting
thoughts so that we can heighten our vision and creative inspiration.
These feathers are from creatures of the Air, and the element
itself is within us in the form of breath...like the wind it
pushes, gusts, and carries things.
By breathing/blowing on a feather
we can literally employ its essence and send it out to the world
in a focused direction. Breath has been a big part of Medicine
and Magical teachings throughout the ages, and how we breathe
is very different depending on the work we do.
It's important to remember too that
feathers balance well with Fire Medicine as we use them to fan
the flames or smoke from our smudge pots or incense infusions.
They are also water repellant, and hence can be used to sweep
through Medicine Bowls to bless the water, sprinkle it over
patients for healing purposes, etc. In the element of Earth
they can be used as writing quills for sacred work such as journals
or inscribing things. Feathers are multi-purpose tools.
Each type of bird has a unique flight
pattern and by observing the species, how those feathers are
used will indicate a lot about how you can use them too. Those
that soar and ride the thermals can teach how to reach greater
heights of awareness, ride the energy vibrations of that higher
consciousness and take in that which is shown to you.
Working with feathers is a way of
connecting spiritually that promotes a rather rapid manifestation
of results. Feathers represent balance between the forces of
Air and land, between that which is seen and that which is unseen.
They are an easy and readily available tool even for the novice.
The usage for feathers is wide, and
some of those applications are: for prayers or direct communication
to Spirit; the Medicine of the particular species; links to
other dimensional realities and entities; omens and signs, alignment
with specific forces in nature; representatives of changes that
are new, including new levels of consciousness.
How they are worn will often carry
a message of its own, for instance a feather pointing downward
indicates a person of peace and upward it indicates a warrior
or warring nature. Be it a feather or wing or fan there are
many variations that can be applied but all tend to indicate
the element of Air and connection to Spirit. As we work with
a feather and come to understand the traits of the species from
which it comes those forces begin very quickly to manifest in
life around us.
Wing feathers are naturally the
flight feathers which are stiff, veined, and larger than the
other body plumage. If a veined blood-feather is broken a bird
can easily bleed to death in a short amount of time, minutes.
So broken wings can mean loss of life rather than only crippling.
Primary flight feathers tend to be
shed equally balanced from both wings of a bird. They are replaced
before the next set falls out insuring the continued ability
to fly at all times.
Feathers growing along the forward
edge of the wing are called coverlets as they thicken the wing-edge
and cause air to dynamically flow over the wing. These are often
used for projection of the inner spirit or OBE's. Contour feathers
are those most commonly found and those that are located on
the body giving it its "contour". Below the contour
are found the downy feathers, those fluffy little ones that
tickle the nose or are used in bedding and external clothing
items. These feathers muffle the sound of wingbeats, often applied
for their Medicine and ability to work undetected or in secret,
or to soothe and quiet the emotions.
As the down feathers deteriorate
they form an oily powder that is good for conditioning the skin
and hence it is used for healing purposes, stimulating the sense
of touch as in psychometry or empathy. The tail feathers help
the bird navigate like a ruder on a boat, so they are used to
steer flight or stop it. In Medicine they can be used to direct
or block energies.
Feathers empower our thoughts as
we invoke a link to nature. they activate a connection to the
spirits of Air almost instantly and you should feel their presence.
If you don't, try blowing on the feather or waving it gently
in the air to mimic a wing in flight and see what happens. Holding
a feather in your hands will allow you to attune to its energy
and depending on the species that Medicine will become available
to you whether for healing, journey work, or simply channeling
Feathers are often fashioned into
tools such as fans for smudging, aura dusters (to cleanse the
aura before and after working on someone, or as a daily form
of cleansing one's own aura), to breathe through them for healing,
as a fetish, worn on costumes or in the hair, mixed in dream
bundles, as well as being placed on Prayer Sticks, Staffs, and
Wands. If you are interested in feathers and how to work with
them, Ted Andrews' book: Animal-Speak has a wonderful section
in it on care, use, and maintenance of feathers.
The Eagle Fan is used in ceremonies
that empower and seed life.
The Parrot Fan represents Grandmother and is used in
ceremonies to call forth abundance. The Parrot Clan is a woman's
society of Seers and Healers.
Hawk Fans are for invoking messages or smudging in the
Sweat Lodge as well as the Moon Lodge.
The Raven Fan is used to enter within oneself or for
The Owl Fan can be used to seek the Spirit World, clear
away deception, or for stealth.
The Turkey Fan is used for Give-Away and any time thanksgiving
is being offered.
The Swan Fan is used for grace and intuition.
The Blue Jay Fan for playfulness and fun.
Hummingbird Fans are used for intimacy and love.
Crow Fans are used to tap into ancient knowledge.
The Vulture Fan is used to ward of trouble-making spirits.
Roadrunner Fans are used to bless the traveler.
Parakeet Fans call forth song by clearing the throat
Attuning to your feather can be
done by preening it just as a bird does. It places your body
oils from the hands onto the feather as well and that conditions
it while attuning it to you. They need to
be handled gently, but they need to be handled. Breath is akin
to the element of Air, the association very clear, and it can
be part of your feather work.
By breathing on a feather we activate
its energy and by breathing through it we send that energy out
to the person we are working on for healing purposes. Visual
images of the particular bird the feather came from will enhance
your work, as it summons that essence to you. When held in hand,
the sensations of tingling, the feather growing warmer, pressure
etc. are often felt as that energy activates.
I'd like to close this article by
sharing what a few others have to say about them.
*Lady Stearn Robinson & Tom Gorbett/The
Dreamer's Dictionary: If your dream featured many small feathers,
or a cloud of them, as from a pillow fight, it signifies an
exceptional stroke of luck which will enhance your prestige
as well as your income. Ornamental feathers, or articles made
of them, such as ostrich feather fans, boas, or feathered hats,
indicate an increase in social popularity for a woman or personal
power for a man. To dream of gathering or sweeping feathers
up or picking them off clothes or furniture predicts a life
of many small joys. Other than the foregoing, a dream of feathers
can have as many meanings as there are varieties of feathers,
or it must be interpreted by correlating its action and other
factors to the color of the feather/s.
*Denise Linn/The Secret Language
of Signs: In many native traditions, feathers are thought to
be the connection between man and the supreme being. They symbolize
the flight to spirit and to the heavens above.
The feathers on the headdresses worn
by Native Americans connected the wearers with Great Spirit.
To the ancient Egyptians, feathers
represented the winds and the gods Ptah, Hathor, Osiris, and
Amon. In Christianity, St. Gregory stated that feathers symbolize
faith and contemplation and a quill signifies the Word. Finding
a feather can signify an important message from the Creator.
This can be a sign of something
that is soft or "light as a feather." Enter into the
receptive state of softness. When you have a "feather in
your cap," this means a job well done. You can congratulate
yourself. You have done well.
*Zolar/Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens,
and Superstitions: To the ancient Egyptians, the feather was
associated with the delicate balance between truth and fabrication.
Maat, Goddess of Truth and Justice, was often depicted in hieroglyphics
as a feather. After death, the deceased journeyed to the underworld
and entered the "hall of judgment." Presiding over
the hall was Osiris, God of the Underworld, clad in a robe of
feathers (his emblem of righteousness), and forty-two judges,
each one wearing a "feather of truth" on his head.
Tradition held that the heart of the deceased was placed in
one pan of the scales and the feather (symbolic of Maat) placed
on the other to test for truthfulness. Only if the two pans
balanced did Osiris grant admission to the underworld.
Among American Indians, a feather
was added to one's head-gear for each slain enemy. Since birds
were held as links and mediators between men and gods, feathers
were often used ceremoniously.
In Hungary, during the fifteenth
century, only one who had slain a Turk was permitted to sport
Feathers of a wren were said to preserve
one from shipwreck for an entire year, according to an Isle
of Man tradition. Required was the fact that the wren be chased,
caught, and killed on Christmas Eve, and, afterward, carried
aloft on a pole, with its wings outstretched. Those desiring
a feather could obtain one in return for a coin. At the end
of the day, the bird, usually featherless, was buried on the
seashore. After this, the feathers were a potent charm against
Turning a feather bed over on a Sunday
was said to result in fearful dreams for a week. Should one
turn a feather bed on a Sunday, according to another tradition,
death would be brought into the house. Likewise, should the
feathers of the bed come from pigeons or game birds, no one
could die happily or painlessly on that bed.
*Mary Summer Rain/On Dreams: Feather
stands for free-spirit thinker; applies to an open and expanding
intellect; deep wisdom. A feather bed suggests a down-to-earth
perspective regarding one's personal attainment of wisdom. A
feather duster denotes the use of wisdom to make determining
decisions; discerning intellect.
*Patricia Telesco/The Language of
Dreams: Spiritual purity and truth: In ancient Egypt, the soul
was weighed upon death against the Plume of Maat, whose name
means truth. Similarly, the Hopi regard the gift of an owl's
feather as a means of helping the recipients be true to themselves.
Less directly this may pertain to honesty in communication.
Lifting of guilt or burdens, or someone who is a truly free
spirit (e.g., being "light as a feather").
Changeability: Feathers equate to
the air element that shifts directions without any forewarning.
A prognostication: In ancient Greece, people used found bird
feathers as portents of their travels and the future. Consider
the feather's color, where it lands, and the type of bird from
which it comes for expanded interpretations.
Akicita Madigan posted this on
The Eagle is a Winged Symbol
for the Lakota People because it is seen as the strongest and
bravest of all the birds. For this reason the Eagle and its
feathers have been chosen as a symbol of what is highest, bravest,
strongest and holiest. An Eagles feather are treated with
great respect and given to another in honor. They are worn with
dignity and pride. Hokahey
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