Monday, August 01, 2005

A Gift of Feathers

While on a walk, I found a crow tail feather. I have a collection of crow, pigeon, and blue jay feathers. I use them to fan sage with when I cleanse my home. Feathers are magical and are a gift from the birds themselves.

Most people prize eagle and hawk feathers since they represent spirituality and bravery. However, in the U.S., it is illegal to possess such feathers without a permit. Also treaties cover migratory birds such as herons and the possession of their feathers. I write this since in the late 1800s and early 1900s, thousands of birds were slaughtered for their feathers. Women's hats, at that time, were decorated with heron and egret feathers.

Back to crow feathers, these like the birds are sooty black. They are used for mourning and for letting go of situations. For followers of the Norse religions, crow and raven feathers have symbolic meaning as well. The two ravens of Odin told him of the happenings in the world. Among the Arapaho of North America, crow feathers were widely used in their Ghost and Crow Dances for making ceremonial items.

I have a personal connection with crows. When I am looking for direction or advice, they drop feathers on my head. Sometimes, they will come and eat my lunch or at least try. When I do listen to them, I have to think quietly of what they are saying to me. Sometimes, I get it and sometimes, I don't. However, the crows seem to understand and try some more. That is the way between people and animals sometimes.

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