The Lucky Feather: a great Native American symbol

When we think of Native American culture, the symbol of the feather quickly comes to mind.

Whether it is the large war headdresses that legendary chiefs may have worn, the arrows typical of certain clans or even traditional outfits which, today, light up the eyes of the little ones during popular folkloric shows, The feather is definitely a major cultural element of Native American civilization.

In particular, it is often said by the elders of these peoples that a soul, a spirit is hidden at the bottom of everything, that even objects could hide powers and a certain form of wisdom.

As we will see together, this is entirely true when it comes to the lucky feather.

Contents :

The reason for such a Native American symbol

The uses and meanings given to feathers

Who could receive a lucky feather?

Some special feathers

Native American dream catcher made of white feathers.

The reason for such a Native American symbol

First of all, you should know that most (in fact, the overwhelming majority) of primitive societies in North America practiced animism in one form or another.

This type of spirituality is described by the belief that everything in the universe has a soul or spirit.

This applies to humans, obviously, to animals, but also to plants, rocks, rivers, mountains… and lucky feathers!

Yes, for most Native Americans, feathers possessed a soul or, at least, a sliver of the essence of that of the bird that once wore it.

Now, a second thing to know is the very special character of birds. These beings in fact live in the sky, and therefore in some way symbolize higher spheres of consciousness, spirituality and connection.

Truly, the Amerindian civilization and the different peoples who were able to compose it had something special, and in particular knew how to develop a unique spirituality. If this subject interests you, here is a collection of jewelry and symbols that you should appreciate.

In short, for members of Native American tribes, birds were very special indeed.

When one of their feathers fell to the ground, shamans described it as a sort of receptacle containing a part of the energy and experiences that its carrier bird accumulated throughout its life.

When we also know that, like many other cultures, certain Native Americans believed that a supreme and creative being inhabited the heavens, another link is established by itself: in fact, birds live precisely in the sky.

Clearly, the mediation is as follows:

  • A supreme being lives in the heavens
  • The skies are the domain of birds
  • Birds have feathers...
  • …which sometimes fall and are recovered by men

To learn more about religion and the vision of the divine among American Indians, here is a post from the site ledevoir.com which should interest you.

In short, it is in some way a fragment of the primordial energy of the world which, according to the clan shamans, is found in the lucky feather.

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The uses and meanings given to feathers

We now understand the strong spiritual, almost religious meaning that the symbol of the lucky feather may have had.

However, there are other, more down-to-earth reasons for using it, reasons that we will now discuss together.

Already, the feather is a great Native American symbol, and has been for millennia now. It therefore constitutes a leading sign of recognition and identification.

Concretely, wearing lucky feathers can mean that you come from the native communities of North America, that you identify with their values ​​or simply that you appreciate them.

These values ​​in particular are simple but terribly powerful. Honor, strength, freedom and virtue are just a few.

Native American civilization spanned an entire continent, so it makes sense that there would be great differences and variations in beliefs from region to region.

Many clans, however, agree on the existence of a creative being, the one we spoke to you about in the previous point.

More than simply being a fragment of his power, a feather could therefore be a symbolic gateway, a bridge connecting us directly to him.

This hypothesis is also supported by a number of shamanic rituals during which feathers may have been used.

Generally, feathers were also seen as powerful good luck charms.

Craftsmen hung them on arrows so that they reached their target, on cradles to protect children from bad dreams, or at the entrance to huts and tipis, to prevent evil spirits from entering.

In short, as a general rule, the symbol of the lucky feather was used by Native Americans to represent protection, the divine, wisdom, honor, and a whole bunch of other positive things.

The more precise interpretations actually depended heavily on the species of bird from which the feather came...

We will talk about this in a few moments, but first let's try to learn more about how honorary feathers were awarded.

Woman wearing a Native American war headdress decorated with lucky feathers.

Who could receive a lucky feather?

In Native American culture, being offered a feather was a true honor to which few individuals were entitled.

In most clans, the only way to obtain one was to demonstrate one's worth through a heroic act of bravery.

Some fought against bears, wolves, or even against excessive enemies.

However, this was not enough: to receive his pen, the warrior had to go before a court composed of the chiefs, wise men and elders of the community and tell the story of his fight.

If the epic seemed sufficiently fabulous, he then officially entered the history of the clan, and thereby obtained a lucky feather as a reminder and symbol of his exploits.

It doesn't stop there. Once the feather of honor was received, it had to be taken care of.

Even if most brave people simply hung it in their homes, it should be noted that putting it in a drawer or cupboard was seen as an unacceptable act of disrespect.

Regardless, it was also common to see the heroes of the tribe wearing their feathers on their clothing or hats.

In short, seeing a man wearing such a feather clearly indicated to us that we were dealing with someone exceptional, and that we had to show him the respect he had deserved.

Not so long ago, Native American warlords saw feathers as true military decorations.

Over the years, the tradition of wearing them as headdresses even developed, as this article tells us about: we are talking here about the famous feather headdresses that we all know from Hollywood westerns.

No doubt with the influences of modernity, the war headdress has gradually been abandoned by the descendants of Native Americans of our time, who today prefer necklaces of this type.

Two feathers in front of a sunset.

Some special lucky feathers

We mentioned this a moment ago but, yes, each type of feather represented something different. In short, there is not a single Native American symbol here, but several.

The raven feather

Raven tail feathers, for example, were often given to young boys who wanted to become warriors, as a symbol of balance and protection.

The dove feather

As in many cultures around the world, the dove represented peace. His feathers therefore basically carried the same message.

The turkey feather

The turkey, through its link to the earth, was associated with ideas of abundance and fertility. It was therefore common to hang some of its feathers next to the hearth when a family wanted a child.

The hummingbird feather

The hummingbird, a bird full of lightness, symbolized beauty, love, but also liveliness of mind. His pens were therefore particularly appreciated by artists and poets.

The falcon's feather

Considered very powerful, falcon feathers were used as healing vectors to treat the sick.

The eagle feather

Here we have saved the best for last: the eagle, and in particular the golden eagle, was seen as the Native American symbol of honor, courage and strength par excellence. Its feathers were therefore reserved for the leaders and the most valiant fighters.

Lucky charm featured in this article

Necklace decorated with a feather of honor

Necklace decorated with a feather of honor

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author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.