As totems, birds are of the elements Air (Thoughts) and Earth (Grounding), and deal with dreams, aspiration, spirituality, and that which lifts us into higher states of consciousness.
Although pheasant is an air totem, it rarely flies. This is significant of the “medicine” it carries, bringing to light your ability to reach ever-increasing heights in your spiritual understanding, as well as a reminder of the need to also be grounded.
Barred Rock Hen (female chicken)
Most cultures regard the chicken as a sign of enlightenment and illumination. As a spiritual totem, chicken brings many realizations and messages for understanding energy exchanges on your spiritual journey, and the wisdom to encourage you to “scratch around” and seek out more information so you can see the bigger picture.
As a spirit guide, hen is a potent protector when it comes to negative energies that threaten to enter your world, and will serve you when you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsafe.
As spirit animals, guinea fowls are considered to be excellent guardians and protectors. Spotted feathers are symbolic of the need to release the things from your past that are no longer serving you. Guinea “medicine” is about recognizing that life is not always black or white (right or wrong/good or bad) - there are a lot of gray areas too. Clarity will come when you connect with your higher self.
Pheasant Barred Rock Hen Guinea Fowl
Bird Totems: Spirit Guide “Medicine”
When smudging, feathers are used to “fan” and direct the sage smoke around your body, throughout your space, and/or into specific areas of a room. This also has the effect of “combing” the human aura for cleansing. In addition, if the sage is burning but not smoldering, fanning it will produce more smoke. (Always fan gently so you don’t stir up the sand or blow the sage out of the shell. Whole clusters burned outdoors may need to be fanned more aggressively.)
Feathers are sacred gifts from our winged friends and bring their energy into the smudge. By using a feather from a bird that was killed by accident or slaughtered for food, you bring honor to its life and sacrifice to sustain others by utilizing part of its remains for a sacred purpose. Prior to each use, bless (give gratitude for) and smudge your feather by passing it through or holding it over the sage smoke. This shows respect for the feather and honors the bird.
Every feather has it’s own energy and spirit that you can connect with. It “chose” you – it came to YOU, and it will serve you well as both guide and protector once you’ve developed a sacred relationship with it.
To smooth out a feather when it gets tattered or frayed, hold it by the quill (base of the shaft). With the other hand, use your thumb and pointer finger to gently pinch the frayed section (barbs or “branches” of the feather). Start close to the shaft and stroke outward toward the edge of the feather, repeating the process until the barbs “zip” back together. When preening, birds transfer oils secreted from the uropygial gland to their feathers, which keeps them from drying out. The natural oils in your skin serve the same function. For severely frayed barbs you can also use steam, carefully shaking the feather over a kettle or pot. (You may want to use gloves so you don’t get scolded.)