The Meaning of White Feathers: Analyzing the Symbolism

Published January 8, 2021
Woman holding white feather cupped between her hands

The white feather meaning related to death is believed by many to be a form of communication from the deceased. Other people believe that a white feather is an angelic message of love and encouragement.

White Feather Meaning for the Bereaved

The sudden appearance of a white feather as though bestowed to the grief-stricken brings instant comfort and hope of an afterlife. A white feather may float down from the sky and fall on the person in mourning.

Is Appearance of White Feathers a Coincidence?

The floating white feather may at first feel like a coincidence, but many people report finding several white feathers during their time of mourning and beyond. They often report sensing the presence of their deceased loved one. Inexplicably, something as simple as a white feather often gives the person a feeling of peace.

What Is the Symbolic Meaning of a Feather?

Many Christians believe the appearance of a white feather has an angelic connection. Some believe their guardian angel is communicating with them and offering a message of love, comfort, hope, and peace. There can also be a strong feeling of angelic energy associated with the presentation of a white feather, especially when it has no logical reason to be where the person finds it.

What Does It Mean to Receive a White Feather?

A white feather from a guardian angel is believed to be a gift of encouragement. The recipient often views it as a pat on the back, a spiritual hug, or a message to have faith. When the person receiving the white feather is grieving, it may be perceived as a direct message from their deceased loved one.

white feather floating into woman's hands

Sudden Appearance of White Feathers

The harsh reality of a loved one dying is that they vanish from your life. Their absence leaves you with feelings of insecurity and emotional pain. Finding a white feather inside the refrigerator or on the dining room table where your deceased loved one sat will certainly get your attention. White feathers showing up in these unlikely places, especially inside your home, are often interpreted as little messages from the deceased or angels on their behalf.

Places People Report Finding White Feathers

Finding a white feather outside isn't considered that unusual, unless it becomes a common occurrence. Some of the places people report finding white feathers make even the staunchest skeptic pause to consider the possibility the feathers are spiritual messages. Places where white feathers have been found include:

  • Inside shoes
  • On car seats
  • Inside purses or wallets
  • In a coat pocket
  • In a silverware drawer
  • When replacing a book on a shelf
  • On the deceased's favorite chair

What Should You Do When You Receive a White Feather?

One of the things that people do whenever they receive a white feather is to thank the angel or deceased loved one. Some people engage in a conversation with the angel messenger or directly with their deceased loved one.

Keep a Record of Each White Feather

You can keep a journal about each white feather to see if there are any commonalities, such as you find the feather at the same time of day/night. You should make note of what you were doing and most importantly, what you were thinking when you discovered the white feather. Most people report that they were thinking about their loved one when the white feather appeared.

Several feathers collected and held in open palms

Ways to Keep White Feather Collections

It's rare that a person only receives one white feather. Most people report receiving quite a few. In fact, some people end up with a collection of various sizes of white feathers. Some of the things you can do with your collection of white feathers include:

  • Collect the feathers and keep them in a special box or container.
  • Create a collage out of the collected feathers to display in your loved one's favorite places in your home.
  • Design a necklace using the feathers and display in a black velvet shadowbox.
  • Sew onto a headband or hatband to wear on special occasions.
  • Make a scrapbook using the feathers with photos of your loved one and keep on your coffee table.

Other Meanings of White Feathers

White feathers have garnered a negative meaning in the British Empire. The white feather was used by the Order of the White Feather in 1914 by Admiral Charles Fitzgerald as a way to shame British men into joining the military during World War I.

Organized Effort to Shame Men

This group organized women to bestow white feathers to any man that hadn't enlisted. This shaming mechanism often backfired when a woman gave a white feather to an enlisted man on leave who was wearing civies. As a result, most men in the military disliked the practice.

Peace Pledge Union

The British pacifist organization, Peace Pledge Union, used white feathers as badges. The group sold these badges in 1937 as peace symbols.

American Symbol of Courage

A US Marine Corps Sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, turned the white feather into a symbol of not just courage, but one that stood for his persistence and amazing marksmanship as he terrorized the Vietnamese during the Vietnam war.

Taunting the Enemy With White Feather

The defiant Marine wore the white feather in his hat when the Vietnamese put a bounty on his head to make sure a sniper could easily recognize him. He received the Silver Star for his service.

Exploring the Symbolism and Meaning of White Feathers

The symbolism and meaning of white feathers outside of war falls into two categories of communication. One is contact by angelic beings and the other is communication from deceased loved ones.

The Meaning of White Feathers: Analyzing the Symbolism