The History of Feather Tattoos

Feathers have had a deep and significant place in history. This is why feather tattoos have such popularity in modern Western culture.

Throughout history, different civilizations would use feathers throughout their rituals. The Celtic druids would wear robes adorned in feathers for their ceremonies, while Native American warriors would adorn themselves with eagle feathers for their deeds in battle.

In ancient Christianity, feathers would be made into rings symbolizing the virtues of charity, hope and faith. Being signs of a virtuous soul, these rings would sometimes be used to seal envelopes.

In some countries, feathers would often be used in traditional medicine. In South America and India, for instance, feathers would be used in medicine that was said to treat snakebites and coughs.

Despite the amount of significance that feathers have given to these past civilizations, none surpass the amount given by the Native Americans.

From artwork and ornamentation to religious ceremonies, feathers are an important part of Native American culture. Their uses would differ depending on the species of bird the feather was from.

Being a sign of respect and honor, feathers are also held in high regard. Eagle feathers, in particular where notably held in high regard. Given to warriors for their heroic deeds, these feathers are highly respected and honored.

With their rich and vibrant history, it's no wonder why so many people choose to get feather tattoos.

Woman's Feather Tattoo

Woman's Feather Tattoo

Meaning Behind Feathers and Feather Tattoos

The symbolism behind feathers would change throughout history as different civilizations would give them their own differentiating meanings.

The ancient Egyptians, along with ancient Greece, would use feathers to represent wind, air, and even thunder gods. Ma'at, the Egyptian goddess of justice would use a feather to weigh the hearts of the recently deceased.

For some civilizations, feathers were though to contain mystical powers. The Celtic druids, for instance, believe that feathers held the power to send them into a new earthly plane of existence.

Ancient civilizations are not the only ones to place significance on feathers. Even today feathers can mean anything from playfulness to prayer to even a new sense of enlightenment.

Specific types of feathers can change the meaning even more.

A white feather could show innocence or a new spiritual rebirth.

Feathers from different species of birds can have meanings ranging from the vanity of a peacock to a sea-gull's love of the sea. Even mythical birds like the phoenix, which represents immortality, can have their own meanings.

Feathers in dreams also have their own meaning. A feather in the air could mean a life of comfort or ease, or maybe even confusion and hastiness. Seeing a feather could also mean a desire to be close to someone. On the contrary, it could also show a need to break away from the masses.

A feathers meaning is not necessarily set in stone. What one person sees in a feather, can be the exact opposite that someone else sees in it.

Feather Tattoo Designs

Modern Feather Tattoos

Feather tattoos are most common on women these days, although it's not uncommon for men to have them either. They can either be a lone tattoo or incorporated into a more intricate design. Often people get them to represent freedom, so many often get them after a major life event such as a relationship breakup, breaking an addiction or a graduation.