In Native American culture, feathers have a great and high standard of what it represents. It’s more than just something that falls from a bird. Since it comes from an animal that is highly valued, the feather is very sacred.
Why are feathers valued?
Feathers are associated with birds since it comes from the animal. Therefore, the significance of feathers come from the meaning of birds and how Native Americans view the animal in their society.
Birds have often been related to the gods and goddess due to their ability to fly at high altitudes, especially the eagle. Many Native Americans believe that if a feather is given to them, it is a sign from above.
In various Native American tribes, feathers are used sacredly. The Iroquois used the feather during a ceremony called the Great Feather Dance. It is used to give thanks to their bounty and placed everywhere; in their hair, tied on animals and even made of robes.
Receiving a Feather
As mentioned, when a feather is given to someone, it is a sign from above but it takes a lot to receive one. The only way an indigenous person can receive a feather is if a brave deed is done. Once the feather is given to them, the person must never wear it unless they are going up to their tribal court and retelling the story.
The feather then is treated with much respect and care. It is usually hung up in a household in a place where people can see it displayed and must never be dropped.
Only chiefs, warriors, and braves have had the privilege to be awarded a feather.
Meaning of the Feather
The feather has been a symbol of giving thanks and appreciation. It also is related to many other meanings like truth, travel levity and fertility.
When it comes to fertility, feathers are attached to oneself, animals, plants and so on, which is a ceremonial act intended for growth and abundance.
Due to the connection with gods and goddesses, feathers have been a symbol of heaven. There has been a belief that feathers have the power to communicate with those above. Feathers are waved in the air when saying a prayer to connect to the celestial energies.