Transformation With Feather Symbolism

A feather is synonymous with the soul, metaphorically speaking. They are light in weight and are the only means by which a bird is able to fly. Similarly, the soul is extremely lightweight in comparison to the dense physical body that houses it; when free from restrictions, a soul can fly uninhibited.

Unclip your wings, and let your soul rise to meet your goals in this lifetime! Here is inspiration from feathers and myth:

In Greek mythology Icarus and his father, Daedalus, were trying to think of ways to escape from the labyrinth, a palace with intricate corridors, in which they were imprisoned, and they came up with an idea after watching some birds fly past. They collected all the bird feathers they could find and, using wax from candles, they fashioned a pair of wings for Icarus.

When Icarus flew out of the labyrinth and away to freedom it looked as if the plan was going well, but Icarus flew too close to the sun, causing the wax to melt and the feathers to fall off, and he came crashing down into the sea below, where an island formed to mark the spot. Icarus, with wings like a bird, represents the soul, and the labyrinth in which he was imprisoned denotes the physical body; once free of the physical body, the soul is able to fly to higher realms.

The sun represents the Light or creative forces of the soul, and the air represents the mind. The soul knows what is best for us in any given moment, and by aligning our minds with the creative forces of the soul, we can allow a higher order to guide us through life. If we allow our egos to set our sights and ideals too high, we can get our “wings burned” and be brought back to earth with a bump.

Shamans symbolically use feathers to assist their souls to rise above the material world. Feathers reflect the fact that no matter what physical obstacles are put in our way during our life’s journey, we all have the capability to rise above our fears and limitations and, in so doing, we will be able to rise to new levels of understanding.

In Egyptian mythology, Ma’at was the goddess of truth, justice, and the underworld, and it was her job to evaluate and judge the souls of all those who had just died. She weighted each soul against a feather; if the soul was too heavy it was sent to the underworld, but if the soul was as light as a feather it was allowed to proceed upwards to the heavens. Ma’at was often portrayed wearing an ostrich feather on her head, a symbol of truth in Egypt.

Birds that have feathers but cannot fly, like ostriches and penguins, are also significant. They symbolize the fact that we are souls living on the physical plane, and also that we have to be grounded to Mother Earth so that any spiritual guidance can then, in turn, be grounded into our conscious minds.

We all know how it feels when we add an extra few pounds of burdens and worries onto ourselves–we feel energetically weighed down. But as soon as we release these unnecessary burdens, we feel light as a feather, because we are allowing the lightness of our soul to flow freely through us.

Adapted from Birds, Divine Messengers, by Andrea Wansbury (Findhorn Press, 2006). Copyright (c) 2006 by Andrea Wansbury. Reprinted by permission of Findhorn Press.
Adapted from Birds, Divine Messengers, by Andrea Wansbury (Findhorn Press, 2006).


Marianne B.
Marianne B5 years ago

Beautifully stated, thank you

Rosemary Rannes
RosemaryRannes H5 years ago


KS Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.