Beauty with a Purpose: The Force Behind Native American Feathers
Posted on March 24 2016
Beautiful things aren’t calculated. We judge beauty by a hunch, by familiarity, or by feeling. Most of the time, what we find beautiful isn’t just an instinct, but has a deep-rooted meaning all along.
When we see how it’s made to be, beauty leads to truth. And when we know what’s real,
everything seem to makes sense!
The Native American feather is one of those things that speaks to us directly and captures our hearts. It graced the world of fashion, pop culture, and arts without its legacy being begged to be told. We know it’s beautiful in a bat, but once you learn it’s more than an embellishment, you’ll know why you loved it in the first place!
Ready to dig in?
Indian Feather as a Legendary Symbol
For Native American tribes, to be given a feather means being gifted or rewarded by a high official. It may symbolize wisdom, peace, power, and many more depending on the kind of bird it is from. Being given a Golden Eagle feather means an Indian had shown an act of bravery like commanding a victorious war or saving a life. They can only put in on their Indian headdress at a tribal court as they retold their triumph. And as a reminder of their victory, they should take utmost care and always wear it for the whole tribe to see.
The majestic meaning behind the Native American feather also came from their belief in
Animism which means everything in the universe have souls or spirits and that it exists not only in humans, but also in plants, animals, and natural phenomena. Thus, everything is alive! So, when a feather falls from a bird, they see it as a vessel of all the energy carried by its former owner transcended to the recipient deserving its honor.
Since it naturally falls off at any given time, it’s perceived as a gift from the sky bearing a
spiritual purpose that’s to be immortalized only by praiseworthy members of the tribe. Now you see, it isn’t just an accessory, it is actually divine!
Kinds of Birds and Meanings
Birds were celebrated as messengers and spirit guides that appears in different points of one’s life to bring wisdom and protection. With each feather comes a unique interpretation. The owl is the “messenger of the night”, while the hawk is the “day messenger bird”. The Black Raven symbolizes the second level warrior for the West and it’s put on top of a totem pole as the Tlingit/Hadia say that it created man.
Crow tail feathers are for young boys that want to be a warrior, while the black or white osprey is given to a high ranked warrior. Much like many cultures, doves mean peace, and the wild or brown turkey is revered as a wise bird that fathers are used to create a “fan of honor.” But the most prestigious of them all is the feather of bald and golden eagles as Indians believe they are connected with the heavens as they soar the highest in the sky.
As the superior in the species of birds, they’re believed to be sent by gods. Warriors who are given such a feather are required to feed it by wearing it at rituals and ceremonies for it to be recharged with sacred energy. Nowadays, it’s illegal to own and sell eagle feathers, so turkey feathers are painted to look like one. Still, its worth wouldn’t go unnoticed as turkey feathers also hold significance implying pride and abundance.
Feather Colors and Signs
Colors contribute in how we think, feel, and act. For Native Americans who associate everything with a purpose, the different colors of feathers are also given great means. Just like how we perceive colors now, Indians referred to them as signs. Getting signs means a good connection the Spirit. The Native American culture has flourished for centuries guided by such depictions.
So, if ever a feather falls on your path or if you’re gifted with one, take note of the color and see where it will lead you!
Orange is rooted in the sacral chakra denoting physical love, energy, creativity, optimism, and success. Pink signifies romance, friendship, compassion, empathy, kindness, and inspiration.
While red is connected to the root chakra meaning life force, passion, courage, good fortune, and emotions. Blue linked to the throat chakra embodies communication, peace, knowledge, and spiritual protection.
The crown chakra governed by purple is the universal consciousness, higher thought, and heightened spirituality. Black doesn’t always means death, it can also represent growth, protection, closing a chapter, and when the feather is shimmering, it means “high mystical insight”. As for white, it is ultimately meant for peace, purification, faith, and the heavens much like how it is perceived in most cultures around the world.
Native American Feathers as Tattoos and Accessories
One of the most popular tattoo designs for women is the Native American feather. Some
connect it with a dream catcher, an arm band, while arrows are usually pegged by men. The feather symbol are also used as a decoration and fashion accessory. A talking feather is held by the person allowed to talk in a spiritual circle or meeting. Some are placed on bags, shoes, and virtually anything under the sun.
It’s a great way to depict a centuries old meaning as tattoos and accessories are meant to express, if not one’s self, but something more. When words fail, these life imprints paint a picture for us and exists as a reminder of what is great. And even if they’re unconsciously inked for petty reasons, finding out their majestic meanings wouldn’t hurt at all. If anything, wherever it’s seen, it will only do good and never ignite the bad.
Such symbols and regalia are especially made for and given to the Native American bloodline, but for those who deeply admire the tradition, they’re more than what meets the eye. Many have acquired them for fad, but same with accessories, the Indian headdress and other Native American regalia is relived in other cultures as an appreciation for its mere beauty.
The Glory and Naiveté of the Indian Headdress
Speaking of the Indian headdress, Native Americans wore their feathers through a war bonnet or head band. The more abundant the feathers, the higher the rank the warrior is in. The Native American headdress can hold many colors in one and the band tying it all together is commonly made of deer sinew or leather. It is tied at the back so as to be adjusted to fit the head. Only high ranked men may create the headdress. Women are usually seen with a band bearing one to a few Indian feathers, but never a headdress as it is only intended for the chief or an honored warrior.
Every time they show a brave act, another feather is added in their headdress. In some tribes, warriors even fast and meditate for many days to justify that they deserve a feather headdress.
It goes to show how regal it is in their tradition and seeing an Indian wear one today says so much about their towering history that anyone outside the bloodline wearing it just for trend is bashed as culturally inappropriate.
The Indian headdress is deemed as the ultimate uniform of the festival nation for several years now. Parading an iconic piece in a festival meant to unite people in music may bring no harm, but it is usually photographed hosted by bikini-clad girls and half-naked, drunken men. Native
Americans were appalled to see their sacred headdress being worn without respect. This has led to the ban of the Indian headpiece in some festivals, including the world renowned Glastonbury Festival.
Those who understand the tradition and adapt it for mere admiration debate that it should be allowed to be worn in a spiritual manner so as to connect with the semblance of the historical insignia. Some just want to feel as courageous as the warriors and that glorified feeling manifest into a braver spirit for the wearer – all because of culture blend.
Novum Crafts Indian Headdress
Novum Crafts offer a collection of Indian headdresses adorned with the most beautifully crafted Native American feathers by a talented group of indigenous artists in Bali, Indonesia. Each feather tells a story and are handcrafted as modest adaptations of the Native American headdress. Balinese master craftsmen have honed their art for decades that they can transform a piece of driftwood into a thing of beauty.
The legend of the Native American feather comes to life in an Indian headdress-inspired
homage to their admirable culture. Novum Crafts aim to reach people from different corners of the world who are astounded by its beauty, but fall short on understanding its legacy. We want you to know that the most beautiful things in the world are meant for something bigger – beyond aesthetics and sensation.
This time beauty is intended. It isn’t just a feeling as it comes with a purpose.
Visit indianheaddress.com to get inspired.