Over the years I have done a LOT of hiking out in nature. And as I hike I will often find remnants of our four-legged and winged friends. A skull, a bone, or a fallen feather always catch my attention and will be adopted into my home, once disinfected, cleansed and blessed. Often these findings end up becoming part of my “medicine bundle” of various healing tools.
Although I have an affinity to particular birds, I am willing to accept gifts of feathers from any of the bird family. I am one who feels the strongest pull toward owls, ravens, hawks and crows. So you will find a lot of those types of feathers in my space. With that strong an affinity, one cannot help but to attract that type of gift from our feathered friends. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to have human friends who also create things out of feathers and wings and then gift those to me. I am always so incredibly honored to have something like that as a gift. It shows me that they see me for who I am, honor that, and go to the time and trouble to create something that will serve me well in the Shamanic work that I do.
Feathers are, of course, related to the element of Air, which is my main element, personally speaking. As such, they become very useful in the movement of that element of air, but also in the movement of subtle energies. If I use a feather or a wing to sweep across a person’s energy field, that energy moves immediately, releasing things that are no longer useful and bringing in energies that are more conducive to their health and well-being. Feathers and wings can also be used to sever toxic energies from the energy system and to draw down energy from the stars to enhance the energy flow and the universal consciousness. Feathers can be so powerful that they can actually move physical objects. Often when I say that people won’t believe it, and frankly it is something that has to be seen to be believed. However, with feather in hand, my mother (who was no bigger than a minute) was able to, with a wave of the feather, blast a man twice her size across the room. I saw that for myself and was completely in awe. Later, she showed me how to do that. Although to date I have not had to do it, I know that if that time ever comes I will know how.
Feathers move energy so efficiently that nothing can stand in the way of it. How forcefully it happens will depend on what the need is. When my mother moved the man with a feather he was drunk, beligerent, and aggressive. But when I work with the energy system it is often soft, gentle and comforting. The feather will match the circumstance. We often think of feathers as fragile. But truthfully they are extremely strong when used correctly.
I should also mention at this time that any witchy tool that comes from an animal needs to be given freely, not taken. By that I mean that if you find a feather on the ground, it is freely given and therefore sacred. If you find an antler that was shed, it is freely given, therefore sacred. Thus the power of that object is exponentially stronger. If I were to buy a feather, I may use it in a sacred way, but the mere fact that it went from a “gift” of nature to a commodity of economics diminishes the sacredness of it. A gift is not a piece of acquired property. A gift is a bond between the giver and the recipient. When something is purchased it is an equal exchange of property for monetary reward. But if that same thing is given to a person, then that thing (even if the recipient doesn’t particularly like the object) creates a bond between the two people. The same can be said of nature. If a braid of sweet grass is given, then the exchange is sacred. If it is purchased, then it is not sacred. When nature gives us things we have a sacred bond. We then care for nature in return. When something of nature is simply taken from nature, whether or not nature intended it to be taken, then there is no actual loving exchange. Instead it is reduced to a harvest or a hunt. Did we ask the plant if we could eat it? Did we ask the animal if we could take its life? Yes, in some ways we can give thanks after the fact, but that does not create the same energy flow as if it was freely given by nature. Walking down the street and talking with a friend (I do a lot of talking with my hands) an eagle feather dropped from the sky right into my hand. That is a sacred gift. But if I were to climb to an eagle’s nest and pluck a feather from its wing or tail (should I even survive such an encounter) it would not be a sacred exchange. It falls more into the category of the rape of nature. Yes, we can purchase a feather in a craft store and bless and cleanse it. But it then takes an extremely long time to create the sacredness of exchange because it was a commondity, not a gift. And it may never be as strong or as sacred energetically as a feather that was shed by a bird and given to the earth to find its way to your hand and your heart. This is why I am very careful about what I purchase vs what I am given. And when something is given to me I am profoundly touched by the sacredness of that.
I have also had the unfortunate experience of people coming to see me professionally, gift in hand, and then expecting that said gift is equal to the fee I charge in order to put a roof over my head and food on my table. If someone arranges a trade like that in advance, I may be open to it depending upon where I am at financially (usually not though), but when it is assumed that this is a trade when it was presented as a gift it simply sullies the entire experience. So I tend to not accept gifts from clients. That way there can be no fogginess when it comes to the transaction.
The gifts that I give and receive tend to be more with friends, family and nature. I like it that way. It increases the bond between the giver and receiver and creates a more sacred energy. This does not mean that I don’t purchase anything. I am not that radical. But what is purchased may mean something to me on a different level than something that is given or received.
Not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to be gifted feathers or wings like I have been. This does not mean that you cannot use something like this to move energy in healing sessions. I have found that in a pinch when feathers and wings are not immediately available I have been able to utilize things such as Asian fans. Yes, the ones that I have were given to me, but you can also find those at various outlets. Using them to brush off the energy system is quite cleansing and then using them to smooth the energy system is deeply relaxing. The thing is that it is not the tool, it is the intent when it comes to using them for healing techniques. The most magical aspect of the work is YOU, not the tool that you are using.
I have often said that the tool is not as important as the practitioner’s belief in him/herself. That self-confidence cannot be bought. It is something that is earned over time. Through practice and patience with oneself, anyone can become excellent at what they do. Magical practice is no different. That is why it is called “practice.” The more one will practice, the better one will get. I can assure you, the reader, that after 60 years of practice there are still things that I encounter that have not been in my wheelhouse or in my past experience. This does not mean that I will not address it. It simply means that, with that 60 years of experience, I have a lot of knowledge, wisdom and tools in the bag to figure out how to address it in the best possible manner. It does not matter if you are an elder or if you are a child. What matters is your willingness to try, even if at first you fail and have to try again, and to just go for it with the confidence that you can succeed. There will always be many opportunities to try again if success alludes you. But don’t ever think that, because you failed in the past, you cannot ever do it. You can. So pull up your spiritual boot straps and march on!