Native American feathers are an important symbol of the Indian way of life. It is used to represent freedom, power, wisdom, honor, trust, strength, and much more. Feathers were seen in wardrobes, headpieces, adorning their homes, and tattooed on their bodies.
One must complete a brave deed in order to be given one of these feathers. For example, coming back from battle after conquering the enemy or returning from a hunt with food for the tribe would most likely earn a Native American feather. The feather could only be worn once the Indian has retold their story of bravery in front of an assembled tribal court.
Being given a feather of any kind was considered a gift. Native Americans believed prayers and messages were carried to the Great Spirit on the wings of birds. Many believe that birds have a special knowledge to communicate with other animals. Therefore, feathers hold a special higher power in communications for humans and represent symbols of prayers, sources of ideas, creative force or marks of honor and are taken from birds with the attribute for which they might be used.
The feathers of Bald and Golden Eagles are considered the most prestigious. This is because Native Americans believe that because these eagles soar so high in the air they have a connection with the heavens. Eagles are believed to be sent by the gods. Eagles are the most important of all Native American feathers, because they are supposed to be the superior species of bird. The eagle is the leader of all birds because they fly high, and see better than the other birds.
The creature most loved by the Great Spirit was the eagle, for he tells the story of life. The Eagle, as you know, has only two eggs, and all living things in the world are divided into two. Here is man and woman, male and female in animals. All things have children of two kinds so that life may continue. Man has two eyes, thow hands, tow feet. he has a body and soul, substance and shadow.
The Eagle feather is divided into two parts, part light and part dark. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death.
Once a Native American feather is given to a tribesman it must be displayed proudly. It can be hung in the home, or attached to an article of clothing. It is considered disrespectful to place the feather somewhere it can not be seen.
The individual in possession of the Native American feather is also responsible for it well being. It must be cared for and kept out of harms way. It should be seen a s a daily reminder of how one should behave. It should be kept clean and never touch the ground for any reason.
Symbol meaning of feathers deal with ascension and spiritual evolution to a higher plane. Feathers were worn by Native American Chiefs to symbolize their communication with Spirit, and to express their celestial wisdom. Also in the Native American Indian culture, feathers represented the power of the thunder gods, along with the power of air and wind.
Native American Pueblo Indians would pay homage to the Feathered Sun which is a symbol of the cosmos and the center of existence. Another symbol meaning of feathers also revolves around prayer, and the Pueblo use feather sticks as they dance in prayer for rain during solstice rituals.