Strange Superstitions About Feathers

My granddaughter is constantly finding feathers. When she was small I repeated to her what I had been told, that when you find a feather, it means that someone who died is thinking of you. She often finds them in groups of three. She is certain that they are from her great-grandmother and two great aunts. They were very important to her and now she feels that they watch over her.

This is a superstition, right? What if it isn't? I began to
wonder if there are more tales involving feathers. I did some research and I will share what I found.

White feathers signify either a guardian angel or a loving message from a loved one who is not alive. If you are gifted with a white feather you should save it and keep it close for good fortune. 

Peacock feathers are considered to be bad luck, especially in the house. Actors and circus performers do not allow them in the tents or on stage. Some believe that the "eyes" on a peacock feather are synonymous with the evil eye and can even be a sign of impending death. In the Mediterranean the feathers are associated with Lilith the she-demon said to be responsible for killing children.

In Greek mythology Argus was a monster whose body was covered with 100 eyes. Hera changed him into a peacock and his feathers were covered with eyes. The feathers symbolize the vault of heaven and all-seeing knowledge. Roman mythology sees peacocks as Juno's birds. The coins they appear on are to denote the female lineage of princesses.

The peacock is associated with Lakshmi for Hindus. The feathers represent fortune, compassion, kindness, and patience. Kwan-yin in Asian culture is a similar figure and the feathers have similar meaning. Buddhists associate peacock feathers with openness because of the display the peacock makes when spreading its tail. Because peacocks eat poisonous plants their feathers are considered to sustain the ability to thrive in times of suffering.

Resurrection, immortality, and renewal are what Christians see in peacock feathers. They also symbolize an all-seeing church. In Persia and Babylonia peacocks are thought to be guardians of royalty and feathers adorn thrones. Muslim legend uses feathers as a symbol in temples, the royal garden, and at the gates of paradise. Mongol warriors wore peacock feathers which caused Eastern Europe to view them as bad luck.

Sleeping on a bed that has peacock feathers will bring death to the person sleeping. Some women get tattoos of peacock feathers to show that they are protective of their children. Another myth says that peacocks slay serpents and transform the venom into solar iridescence that is seen in the feathers. Feathers of the peacock are used as adornment on clothing and hats. Those who wear them are considered to be vain. One last thing about peacock feathers... they are said to be bad luck if they are in the room at a wedding.

Just before 1880 a house was demolished in England. Found in the attic were a chair, four brooms, and a string of feathers. It was announced to be the house of a witch. The chair was for resting, the brooms for flying, and the string was called a witches ladder.

The witches ladder was speculated to have several uses. It was one and a half meters long and made of cock's feathers. It may have been used to help the witch to cross the roof. It may have been used to cause deaths. It was most certainly used to take milk away from neighboring cows.

Some thought that it was not a witches ladder, but a sewel. A sewel would be held in the hand to turn back deer while hunting. A second string of feathers was found with much newer feathers. And finally another form of witches ladder was found. It had feathers fastened loosely in a line of black wool.

Each feather was said to represent an ill feeling or bad wish. It was to be thrown into a pool where the feathers would eventually loosen and pull away from the wool, releasing the bad wishes and ill feelings. They would appear as bubbles in the water. Modern witches are said to use witches ladders for good wishes instead of bad.

A pillow with feather stuffing is believed to hold a dying person in this world. Replacing the feathers with another type of pillow will allow a peaceful passing.

The Voodoo religion makes wide use of feathers. Pillow magic is the practice of placing objects into the pillow of a person to cause wasting sickness and even death. Feather pillows are the best type to use because of feathers' magical properties. By using secret spells the "Voodoo" can cause bird or animal monsters to take shape out of the pillow feathers. It will grow slowly and only at night. When it is completely formed the person who has been sleeping on the pillow will die.

In another form of Voodoo pillow magic, a living bird is torn apart and portions of the wings are put into the pillow. Or charms or fetiches made of concoctions containing feathers, bones, hair, rags, and string are used.

Some believe that placing kernels of corn in a child's pillow will keep it from growing. Many Voodoo charms are made using feathers.

Many people associate feathers with Native Americans but they mean different things to different tribes. Even then it depends on the kind of bird the feather came from. Many Indians use feathers only as decoration. Plains Indian warriors were awarded a feather when they took coup or were particularly brave in battle. The females probably did not wear them at all.

The Crown of Feathers is another object having to do with pillows. They are made of down feathers of the same size, all swirled into a circle, and all joined at the center of the circle. When a person dies on a feather pillow and goes to heaven, the angels leave a crown of feathers in the pillow. The older the person, the larger the crown.

In England cock fights used to be great sport. Certain cocks with white tail feathers would show their white feathers and turn from the fight. They were said to be cowards. During World War I any male of appropriate age who was not in the military was also considered to be a coward. The White Feather Society was made up of women who would approach any such male and present him with a white feather to show that she thought him to be less than manly. The practice is thought to have begun during the Boer War.

If you find a white and black feather after a prayer, it is believed that the feather is a sign your prayer will be answered.

Feathers from a wren are used by sailors to prevent shipwreck. The wren must be chased, caught, and killed on Christmas Eve. Then it was carried on top of a pole with its wings outstretched. For a coin one feather was bought. At the end of the day so many sailors would have purchased a feather that the wren was practically featherless. It would then be buried on the seashore. The sailor would keep the feather on his person in order to make it home safely.

In East Anglia, it was a custom that anyone carrying a split goose feather must be given help and protection by the Fenmen. During the English Civil War King Charles I and his soldiers escaped by showing their split goose feathers to local Roundhead soldiers. Oliver Cromwell took no action against his soldiers for honoring the custom. However when King Charles was again captured, he sent a message to Cromwell along with his split feather asking for clemency. Cromwell ignored the plea and the King was executed. Cromwell suffered from guilt for the rest of his life.

Carrying the feathers of the kingfisher is good luck. It will protect you from negative energies and bring good health.

Pigeon feathers in a feather bed or pillow prolong the pain and agony of dying.

A swan's feather sewn into the husband's pillow will ensure that he will be faithful.

Wren feathers protect you from drowning.

The magical qualities of a feather can depend on its color. Here is a list of some of the magical properties by color.

WHITE: Purification, spirituality, hope, protection, peace,
blessings of the Moon.

GREEN: Money, fertility, growth.

BROWN: Health, stability, grounding, the home.

ORANGE: Attraction, energy, success.

YELLOW: Intelligence, blessings of the Sun.

RED: Courage, good fortune, life.

PINK: Love

GRAY: Peace, neutrality.

BLUE: Psychic awareness, peace, health.

BLACK FEATHERS: Not recommended.

RED AND BROWN: Healing animals.

BROWN AND WHITE: Happiness.

GRAY AND WHITE: Hope, balance.

BLACK AND WHITE: Union, protection.

GREEN AND RED: Finances.

BLUE, WHITE, AND BLACK: Change.

BLACK AND PURPLE: Deep spirituality.

The last thing to remember is that many birds and all of their parts can be subject to laws. In some cases it is illegal to possess a feather even if you find it on the ground. Make sure you know which feathers are okay for you to have before you decide to make a collection.

Do you have any feather beliefs that I did not find? I would love to hear them.











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Comments

  1. Pretty interesting, I had never heard of this

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  2. Thank you. I did not realize there were so many until I did some research. I told my granddaughter about the feathers because I thought it was fun. But she finds three feathers at a time constantly. Coincidence???

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  3. Extremely interesting and informative. I never knew superstitions to be associated with feathers. Thank you.

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    1. You are welcome. I had a good time learning about this too.

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    2. Concidering fir a birthday party, peacock headdress, unsure now, a gatsby theme. Definately for a wedding theme now, the irish in me cannot tempt fate. The cristian dont give in, this should not be so hard. Wonder if feathers are mentioned, are white dove for peace.
      Interesting food for thought, tks.

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  4. Emma, I have studied this subject. Your article is excellent. The only addition info I can add is that some myths consider having any bird feather in your home as bad luck. Go figure?

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    1. I did not find that information. Thank you for letting us know.

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  5. Any myths on if a feather lands on you? I was driving this morning and a grey feather flew in the window and landed right on my chest, on my heart!

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    1. I do not know of any. If I were to guess, I would say that it was from someone who wanted to touch your heart. That person must have loved you very much. Thank you for commenting and let us know if you receive any more feathers.

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    2. I have a "crown of feathers" taken from my grandmothers pillow after her death some fifty years ago. I knew there was some kind of superstition about it. Thanks so much for the information. Great article!

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  6. I have a crown of feathers said to have belonged to my great grandmother who died in 1918 after giving birth to twin girls. It is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter and about 1 1/2 inches thick. The underside appears to be (naturally) centered around a course, dark thread; but, I don't want to risk damaging the crown to explore the thread. I've been fascinated by this object my entire life. Do you have any thoughts on the dark thread?

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  7. Hi, My wife found a white feather just after her mother had passed on, there is a site in the UK that I am a member of, THE Answerbank, I posted a "Strange but true" topic on there on Sunday night & the ridicule I received was not very nice, I am not the inventive type with Links! Could you possibly go on that site ( Free of charge) & post your item on feathers just so the NON Ignorant belivers can view your letters.

    Regards

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    1. I have not seen anything about the black thread. If you find an answer I would be very interested.

      I will look into THE Answerbank to see if I would like to participate. Thank you for the information.

      Thank you to all for your comments.

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    2. Ent black feathers is bad luck

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  8. I purchase a peacock feather nd gave it to my aunt, eversince bad luck happen to me, I dont what to do to stop it! Pls help

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  9. Thank you for this - very interesting and informative. I'm generally not superstitious but did remove a vase of peacock feathers from my parents' room after Mum had a stroke and Dad was diagnosed with a malignant tumour - both are still with us and doing great today.
    I also had a single magpie fly over my head or across my car on two occasions on the day of being advised of a relative passing...coincidence? Who knows.
    I'll pay more attention in future, as I do often find feathers around the house. Plus you posted this on my birthday, so I am taking note ;)

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  10. Well I'm not usually superstitious, but I found this page after a friend today mentioned her bad fortune turning good after throwing away a peacock feather she had in the house. I also have peacock feathers, a vase full of them, I've had them years, and those years haven't been the easiest, so today after a week of stressing about this and that, I threw them away. Lets see if anything changes, hope so.


    The white feather is interesting, I lost my Mum 5 years ago, when my friend drove me to the hospital, a small white feather landed on the windscreen, it sat there resting on the windscreen wiper the whole journey, and when she drove home alone, from an unfamiliar town, the feather stayed on the windscreen. Was it guiding her home? I've had a few white feathers since.

    Like I said I've never been a believer in superstition, I believe what will be will be, but I do believe there are energies which can be good or bad, like when you 'get a feeling' about something. Theres been too much negative energy in our home, disturbed sleep, arguements, general grumpiness, financial struggles and worries, the vase of peacock feathers was on the landing between the two bedroom doors...it'll be interesting to see if interesting to see if getting rid of them makes a difference. Heres hoping... :)

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  11. I truly believe in signs from nature and beyond. I have had a few crazy things happen to me over the years. I have been really sad since my parents died. I have plenty of family and friends but I miss my mom and dad. After my mom died I was capturing orbs in photos of my new home. Wast his my mom visiting? Before my dad died there were many of these bright white orbs in my back yard. After he passed they seemed to disappear. I believe that was a sign he would soon pass. I have been asking for a sign that my parents are able to hear me. I need some answers about the negative energy I have been feeling about a sibling. This morning there was one large light brown feather in front of the window where I sit every morning. I feel it was the sign I needed. They can hear me and maybe my feelings are justified. Any feedback on meanings of the orbs and this large brown feather?

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  12. You helped convince my mother in law about the bad if peacock feathers

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  13. My Goddaughter keeps seeing her father who passed in a dream under a tree. However, the leaves are whispy flowing peacock feathers. This has been a consistent dream and so real to her. I have tried researching what this means or what he is trying to say to her. I am not finding any solid translations. Does anyone have any information regarding this or dream interpretation?!! Thanks in advance!

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  14. I'm confused there was a lady who wore a peacock feather and killed children but mothers get peacock feather tattoos to symbolize their motherly protection? Hmm.
    Resourceful information though.

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  15. Lately I've been having intense back pain.. Today I talked to my aunt who has fibroids, and thought what if that's the cause of my pain. So I began to research fibroids, and majority of the symptoms matched mine. I weeped, and cried out to GOD. "GOD if I can't have kids, I don't want to live anymore" While I was crying I felt compelled to stop, as if someone was comforting me. I looked up and there was a white feather on my pillow. My pillows are not made of feathers. I knew GOD heard me, I know someone is watching over me.

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  16. I just found 1 white feather in our living room it was just after I hover.I was just wondering what it mean so I search it through net and found this site,Very informative! Before I clean our living room I am watching news about missing plane Malaysian airline.I chant about saying LORD please help those people (search team)who is Giving thier time to find the missing plane now,pls comfort all those family who is in heart breaking.Well I hope they find it soon.And my wish will be granted. Thanks

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  17. I had found a brown and white long bird feather not to long ago , finding it just gave me some happiness but only for a moment so when I found it as I wasn't even looking I just noticed it lying in the grass so wow that was very cool so i'm going to keep it always :)

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  18. How funny to find such a site as this one, recently I found lg. brown feather near my steps...yesterday found white tip, little bit of dk brown and lower half almost a gray color at my door...today i found one close to bottom step of my front door that was a soft gray...last two were much smaller...whats up with feathers and me,,,anyone know...Starr

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  19. Today I came home from shopping and I found a teal yellow and grey feather on top of my pillow is this something anyone would know about

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  21. OK please someone tell me what is happening...I have a difficult year with failure and I slipped into depression...so the day before yesterday I took out the laundry from the dryer and there amongst the dried clothes was a small brown and white feather I didn't think much of it and I think I threw it in d trash...this evening while ironing I found a pure white feather among the clothes again and I checked every single cloth no one had any feather on it so I thought maybe it came from the dryer...then I prayed this evening begging God for something I really needed..I played on the couch and was watching TV I turn the throw pillow around and there is a small white feather again I unzipped the pillow and nothing shows that there is something bringing the feathers and earlier this week I was sitting alone praying in my mind when I feel this tingling sensation throughout my body and this warmt I cannot even explain I hope this is God speaking to me I really hope because I've bin so down to the point I thought of killing myself.

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    1. U should ignore that creepy stuff. You'll get sucked in. You've probably been abused and somebody's trying to make you lose it. I've had forces yank me at walls and had change warmed in my pocket and found trinkets in my living room and watched clouds turn into animals becoming suicidal. I relived horrible child abuse after that. Even books opened on my kitchen table with piems unwrapped boxes materializing. I lost it.

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  22. I found a white little feather in my hindu temple after praying inside my house. Wat does that mean?

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  23. Wow I never knew this but it kind of makes sense, right after my grandmother passed away a few months ago, I found a group of about 20 feathers but no sight of a dead bird anywhere. I took a picture of them. I wonder if I was her.

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  24. In one of the adaptations of "The Secret Garden" there is mention of Dicken planting feathers for good luck.

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  25. This is sooooooo crazy. We just moved into a new home and my 10yr old daughter wants to do her room in peacock decore and I thought of covering an old desk in peacock feathers. Well this post has seriously made me uneasy and second guessing this idea. I'm usually not superstitious but I seriously have a wierd feeling about this now.

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    1. Peacock feathers were used by my witchcraft practicing abusive stepmother in a gaudy Victorian home. They're really pretty but the remind me of violence and traditional creeps.

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  26. A pretty girl pigeon with hazel human looking eyes who I feed at my window stayed behind the rest of the flock facing me a few evenings ago. She looked right at me and dropped a tail feather on the ground took a step and flew away. It was right under my window. It looked like a rose somebody leaves. It made me cry. It looked like a thank-you or a gesture of kindness. I'll save it forever.

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  27. Oh wow!! Last year in a Renaissance Festival...I bought some Peacock Feathers thinking that they were "lucky" feather. Oh my....the following month, my ex-husband passed away, the following month, my father passed away and had such a difficult difficult year with financial problems. Coincidence? Well...tomorrow they are going in the garbage. Thank you :)

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  28. So we were viewing a home to possibly purchase. Completely empty except for what looks almost like a duster. It has a bunch of bird feathers in a neat row attached to some sort of bone or huge shark tooth with teal beads hanging from it. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Really freaked me out considering that was it!!!

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  29. I found white pigeon's feather as soon as I opened my balcony window today.

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  30. Found a black crowd feather

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  31. Found a crowd feather black

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  32. reading about white feather because the last 6 weeks ive found at lest 50 around me even one stuck in my 3 year old grandaughters hair she lives with me ..i am a middle class working mother of 6 3 at home and raising my grandaughter money is tight but we are ok we survive lol then i won £10.000 pounds on a bingo site and 3 days later another 10.000 pound ... shocked isnt the word .. and still the feathers are around honestly some thing strange in good luck is happening to me im always grateful of my house my children my wonderful man but things are so good it scares me ...to much good luck ????anyone had the same happen to them ??xxx

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  33. As you read there are more superstitions of the peacock feather meaning good than there are of it meaning bad so I assume it would have more to do with the person and what they choose to think or believe than it has to do with the actual feather. My opinion. I try to find the positive or a positive in every single thing, person, situation, etc.

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  34. Reading this article really amazed me. I just found a small white feather while I was walking on the streets. Before I found my feather I was thinking about my life and what my purpose is and the things will truly make me happy then a white little feather fell right at me really really slow as if it really was destined for me to catch it. First I didn't knew what that was all about then I realized I was holding it for hours, seemed it had a purpose and a meaning. I think I just found my lucky charm and will promise to keep it forever :)

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  35. After being in my house all day with no windows open i was in the kitchen i turned to go into my handbag on the stool and laying on top of my bag was a white feather i have no idea where it came from but since finding it i feel so calm and peaceful its so strange i will be keeping this feather close to me

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