Spiritual Meaning of Black Feathers

So you found a black feather? Naturally, you might be wondering what it means. Read on to learn about the spiritual meaning, signs, symbols, and omens associated with black feathers.

Feathers Around the World

Before examining the specific meaning of a black feather, we should consider the meaning of all feathers. Asking “what do feathers mean?” is opening a real can of worms! This is because feathers are inherently fascinating to us. After all, these objects are so foreign to us. As mammals, we have no such feature on our bodies. Also, the organization of a feather’s structure captures our human appreciation for order—i.e. a central shaft from which delicate and often colorful strands grow.

By Soldier of Wasteland – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

So, naturally, cultures around the world—ancient and modern—attach varied and powerful meanings to feathers. For example, in the West, we associate them (especially white feathers) with guardian angels. But, the theme of connecting the earth with the heavens runs through many cultures. Some Native American cultures believe feathers to be a bridge between Mother Earth and the Spirit World.

Feathers Represent a Gift of Freedom

The sighting of a bird—especially when it feels significant—is often a message of freedom. This is because the bird, being able to soar above the earth and leave its problems behind, represents ultimate freedom. As such, when you encounter a feather, it is a gift from the bird to remind you that freedom is there for the taking.

birds flying symbolizes freedom
By Nasser Akabab – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

In terms of advice for you: reflect on your life and consider where you might have spurned opportunities to grasp freedom. Then, think about how you can get freedom back. While it’s important not to be reckless with decisions, it is equally important to understand the benefits of embracing, feeling, and appreciating freedom.

But What Does a Black Feather Mean?

Okay, so feathers represent a connection with the celestial world. But, what does a black feather mean specifically? Well, a black feather conveys several meanings. But, most of all, black feathers are a sign of supernatural protection and wisdom.

Black Feathers – Sign of Being Watched Over

In the West, we associate feathers with angels. This is because of the symbolism of their feathered wings. While, typically, we link white feathers with angels on account of the notion of purity through the color white. However, this doesn’t mean that black feathers should be associated with the devil or demons. In fact, quite the contrary. Black feathers are also connected with angels.

By Shadster – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

But, feathers are not associated with angels in the same way that white feathers are. This is because the color black is connected with strength, power, and—most of all—protection. According to Japanese tradition, the color black absorbs malicious spirits, thereby protecting you. So, you can use a black feather as an emblem of protection.

Black Feathers, Crows and Wisdom Symbolism

Above, we considered the color black’s association with power and, specifically, protection. But, that’s not the only positive trait link with black feathers—black feathers are also powerful symbols of wisdom!

Where this association came from is not clear, but when we think about crows, then perhaps the answer becomes obvious? This is because crows are very intelligent birds. So, it isn’t a stretch the imagine spiritually-minded people the world over making a connection between black feathers and wisdom.

Yatagarasu – Japan’s Three Legged Crow

According to Japanese mythology, the appearance of a three-legged raven or a jungle crow is taken as a sign that some divine power is intervening in human affairs.

While the three-legged crow represents divine intervention, it more accurately represents guidance from the divine. For example, it is believed that the yatagarasu was sent to aid legendary Emperor Jimmu.

And, you might be wondering, what divine figure does the three-legged crow represent? Well, yatagarasu is an incarnation of the Shinto moon god, Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto.

Other Feathers
Further Reading

Original photo for header image taken by
Photo by Stany Dederen, CC BY-SA 4.0,