Metaphorically speaking, a feather is synonymous with the soul. Sacred since the beginning of time, feathers have symbolically represented spiritual evolution, truth, speed, lightness, ascension, and flight—freedom of the human spirit.
Native Americans wore feathers to symbolize their communication with Spirit, and to express their celestial wisdom. They also represented the power of the thunder gods, along with the power of air and wind.
Celtic Druids wore ornate feathered robes in ceremonies to invoke the sky gods and gain knowledge of the celestial realm. They believed the feathered cloak along with the presence of the sky gods allowed them to transcend the earthly plane and enter the ethereal realm.
Egyptians believed that feathers were symbolic of sky gods too. Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice, would weigh the hearts of the newly dead in the underworld against the weight of a feather to determine the worthiness of his or her soul.
In Christianity feathers represented virtues—faith, hope, and charity. An image of three feathers were made into signet rings, and then worn as a symbol of a virtuous soul; they were also used as wax seals.
In dreams feathers mean travel or the ability to move more freely in life. White feathers in dreams indicate innocence or a fresh start in a spiritual sense.
The Path of the Feather is the simple practice of going inward and embracing your source of power. It’s a daily journey of spirit that transforms, empowers, and heals. It’s sacred awareness. It’s BEing aware. It’s BEing awake.
Sacred Feathers—The Power of One Feather to Change Your Life by Maril Crabtree is an excellent book. In the introduction she says, “Feathers! Magical, mystical, incredible feathers! Feathers of all shapes, sizes, varieties, and colors. Throughout history, feathers have served as spiritual symbols for shamans and priests, as symbols of royalty for kings and chiefs, as symbols of healing, or a symbol of sacred power for cultures as far back as the ancient Egyptian, Asian, or Celtic eras. These cultures possessed abilities to communicate with nature in ways that have been overlooked or forgotten in our town time.
“Yet feathers are more than history. For many, they are mystical signs, messages, or opportunities. They are scraps of synchronicity in the flowing patchwork of universal meanings. Feathers appear in unlikely places as assurances of well being, as a comforting sign of abundance in the universe, and as unmistakable messengers of hope and encouragement. Their ephemeral grace makes them the perfect emissaries of spiritual and emotional freedom.”
I happen upon feathers all the time—they seem to throw themselves at me out of the clear blue sky. Have you ever happened on a feather, or has a feather ever happened upon you?
Important Note: Under the current language of the eagle feather law, only individuals of certifiable Native American ancestry enrolled in a federally recognized tribe are legally authorized to obtain eagle feathers. Unauthorized persons found with an eagle or its parts in their possession can be fined up to $25,000. The eagle feather law allows for individuals who are adopted members of federally recognized tribes to obtain eagle feathers and eagle feather permits.
Additionally, most migratory birds found in the United States are protected by international treaties as well as U.S. laws. No part of protected birds, live or dead, including feathers, claws, bones, skins, or taxidermy-mounted birds can be possessed without an appropriate permit, which is exceptionally hard to obtain even for legally acquired birds or bird parts.
Each of the traditional elements—earth, air, fire, and water—is associated with traits, meanings, and a direction on the compass. The information in this post is for readers in the Northern hemisphere. For my friends in the Southern hemisphere, please use the opposite correspondences:
Earth is associated with the north, the season of autumn, and the colors green and brown. Zodiacally speaking, the element of earth corresponds to Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo. Considered the ultimate feminine element, the Earth is fertile and has the aspects of birth, life, death, and rebirth. The Earth element is thought of as nurturing, stable, and full of strength and endurance.
Air is associated with the east, the season of spring, and the colors yellow and white. Zodiacally speaking, the element of air corresponds to Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra. Considered the ultimate communication element, this masculine energy is wise and has the aspects of intellect, focus, and telepathy. It supports the powers of the mind—intellect and claircognizance.
Fire is associated with the south, the season of summer, and the colors red and orange. Zodiacally speaking, the element of fire corresponds to Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Considered the ultimate masculine element, fire is associated with strong will, vitality, and endurance. Fire creates and destroys; it can heal or harm; it purifies. And like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, it can transform.
Water is associated with the west, the season of winter, and the color blue. Zodiacally speaking the element of water corresponds to Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio. Considered the most cleansing of the elements, this feminine element (Goddess energy) is associated with emotional healing. It is used in many spiritual traditions for consecration—setting something apart as holy.
Spirit is sometimes referred to as the fifth element. Spirit transcends, yet is part of all the other elements; it has no direction, yet encompasses all directions; it’s beyond seasons and times, yet is all seasons and time. It is the source of human love and compassion.
Depending on the culture and tradition, elements are used in ceremonies, rituals, meditation, and Zen practices. And while sometimes identified differently than I’ve described here, the basic meaning is the same.
Which of the elements do you resonate with the most?
The University of Life – Gratitude Course Description
Similar to meditation, gratitude can be something we practice periodically throughout the day, or it can be a lifestyle—viewing life through the lens of sincere appreciation—of thank you. When we make gratitude a regular part of our daily experience, we set the stage for living more deeply connected to Spirit. As Melody Beattie says, Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.”
Gratitude is something that can be cultivated and grown. When we feel grateful for things we might ordinarily take for granted—things like our body, the air we breathe, our home, the sky—it’s a good indicator that our spiritual health is in order. When we don’t feel grateful, it’s a clue that we’re “off” and it’s time to make a correction.
Gratitude isn’t only for a select few; for those who have everything going “right” in their lives. It’s for everyone. It’s for when we’re facing adversity; especially so. In fact, loss can sometimes be a bridge to gratitude. Through the practice of gratitude, we can move forward, come what may, whether it’s in joy or sorrow, gain or loss, birth or death.
The beautiful purple tulips in the photograph are from a client who gifted them to me as a way of showing her gratitude.
University of Life – Divine Grace Course Description
“There but for the grace of God go I.” I have a difficult time with this familiar phrase. In my experience, it’s usually said by someone when they observe a person in an unfortunate circumstance. To me, those words mean, “I’m somehow special—elect—and don’t have to encounter that type of thing.” As if God imparts some people with a healthy dose of favor and leaves others to flounder.
Grace. We all have it. We’ve all been endowed with this innate gift. But what is it? Some say that it’s compassion or divine love; others say it’s the protection of God. I define it as the immediate presence of Spirit. One of my clients offers this definition, “Grace is the breath of God.”
The famous Latin writing, “Bidden or unbidden, God is present,” means that God is everywhere—not just with a select few—but with everyone in equal measure in the University of Life. We’re all here to gain understanding. Most of us learn by making mistakes. Some of us are taking basic courses; while others are in accelerated programs. Regardless of the level of difficulty, the classrooms have an ever-changing terrain. Having a strong and secure internal foothold—divine grace—helps us to stay the course.
If love is an act of compassion, then grace is divinity in action. The next time we see a person and think, “There but for the grace of God go I,” let’s put our divinity into action instead and be the immediate presence of Spirit for that individual; giving them a smile, a word of encouragement, or lending them a hand. Grace not given is grace lost.
Our physical body systems are interdependent with our emotions, thoughts, and spirit. They operate as a whole. What we think, how we feel, our actions, what we ingest, where we work, the people we associate with, and our environment all have an impact—positive or negative—on our inner ecology.
Inner ecology includes the mind (thinking), emotion (feeling), and spirit (essence).
I believe that when we make the time to explore and nurture our inner landscape—cultivate our inner terrain—some of the many dividends include peace of mind, a healthier physical body (the package we currently reside in), and inner wealth.
We may not have large sums of money, but we are rich beyond compare.
It is my personal belief that each of us has an undeniable responsibility to our self and the rest of the world to be our personal best – to put our best foot forward – on any given day. The ripple effect is far too-reaching to do otherwise. I have a client who has determined her purpose to “Be Extraordinary.” She says, “Being extraordinary is not being a ‘bigger’ person. It’s a soul-based life that keeps Spirit in the driver’s seat. It’s waking up in the morning and saying, ‘Thy will be done through me.’”
My favorite thing on the planet is trees. Next is laughter. I love to laugh! It’s a great antidote to stress. As a Holistic Health Practitioner, I can share this fact with certainty: of the 206 bones in the human body, the most important one is the funny bone.
We’ve all heard the saying that “Laughter is the best medicine.”It really is. Just like a spoonful of sugar, laughter is easy to take. Possessing the same positive impact as inspiration, love, generosity, tolerance and respect, laughter is one of the many characteristics of Divine Love—Spirit. Simply put, laughter is good for the soul.
By the way, if you take the time to listen, you can hear the trees laugh too …