“One for sorry, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, seven for gold, eight for a secret never to be told”.
Magpie’s may be quite common birds. But, their contrasting monochrome plumage is nonetheless striking. Especially when a sunbeam reveals a burst of pelagic turquoise hiding within the blackness of their wing and tail feathers.
We humans share a special affinity with magpies, partly due to their incredible intelligence. Which is why they have such a prominent role in symbology and folklore around the globe.
In fact, almost anywhere you travel, magpies are invariably positioned within the crucible of the local people’s superstitions. But more interesting than their spiritual ubiquity is the sheer range of meanings we associate with them. Such meanings are both resoundingly good, and woefully bad.
Magpie Spirit Animal
Spirit animals are those that appear to us suddenly in times of desperation or strife. If the magpie has revealed itself to you recently, you should consider your relationship with materialism.
Shiny things famously attracts magpies, often pinching them from people if given half a chance. It can feel like theft, but can actually be a blessing in disguise.
Perhaps success or objects has driven you as of late. Driven to the point you may have lost scope of what really matters in life. Perhaps, deep down, you know that your drive and passion have alienated you. And you’ve left loved one’s feeling as if they’re playing second fiddle to your material or professional goals.
Now, it’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay! It’s a sign that you’re a strong, intelligent person, with tons of self-control. But focusing too much on this side of life leads only to despair. This is why the magpie unburdens us!
The magpie tells you to commune with the warmth of the world, and to spend more time immersed in nature. It asks you to spend a few minutes of each day banishing desire from your heart, for you are already whole!
Hauntingly beautiful, the magpie also reminds you of your own worth. It wants you to know that physically, mentally, and spiritually… you are enough.
Magpie Totem Animal
Those born with the magpie totem are entwined with the spirit and character of these magnificent birds. You are likely an extremely intelligent person with a keen wit and a likable disposition.
A born leader, those close to you listen to your words attentively. They do this knowing they’ll learn something and you never one to disappoint. You always have something insightful or informational to impart.
Everything you do is based on a balance between instinct and intellect. Usually, this garners miraculous results. But sometimes, if you’re not careful, the balance goes into flux, and you can become too calculating. You are, however, aware of this when it happens.
Cognizant of your own shortcomings, you’re quick to try and reestablish balance. Make amends with those who witness the darker side of your high intelligence.
Magpie Power Animal
Invoke your magpie power animal when you are feeling disconnected from what’s truly important in life. This mythologized bird will guide you back to the path of natural wonder, and reintroduce you to your spiritual side.
Your magpie power animal will also help to sharpen both your ears and tongue. Thus, encouraging you to listen closely to others in order to respond in an eloquent and meaningful manner.
As a result, this will reestablish your connection to those around you. Further, it helps you to feel more grounded and linked to the oneness of being. This reminds you that all else is ultimately folly.
Magpie In Native American Symbolism
There is a duality to the magpie in Native American symbolism and folklore. To some tribes, the magpie is an unwelcome and nosy character that enjoys gossiping and spreading half-truths, while others regard the magpie as a form of spiritual scout that will warn people of approaching perils.
The Cheyenne Tribe, for instance, reveres Magpie as a messenger of the Creator, a go-between between the physical and spiritual realm.
In the folklore of the Hopi Tribe, on the other hand, Magpie is more of a guardian of the land than a messenger, a watchful eye over creation’s eastern quarter.
Magpie In Celtic Symbolism
In Celtic and Germanic folklore, magpies can be a good or terrible omen, depending on the number of them seen together. It’s from the age-old beliefs of these cultures that the nursery rhyme I mentioned at the very beginning of this article finds its roots.
Soon after the emergence of these numbered associations with magpies came an extended superstition detailing how to avoid the effects of witnessing that lone unlucky fowl. The process has a number of variations, including:
- Saluting the magpie
- Saying “Hello Mr. Magpie; how’s your wife?”, “Morning, Captain”, or “Good morning, Mr. Magpie”.
- Doffing a hat
- Spitting over your shoulder
- Imitating a magpie to make a lucky two rather than an unlucky one.
Norse mythology offers a far less ambiguous view of this striking animal. Their black and white plumage represent the sacred union of the masculine and feminine. As such, people considered the scene of magpies nesting as a sign of excellent luck.
In Norse folklore, the magpie is also associated with Skadi, Priestess of the Magpie Clan and daughter of a giant.
Magpie In Christianity Symbolism
It’s possible that the uncertainty regarding the meaning of the magpie in European civilizations is derived, in part, from the Church of England.
People often preached that, when Jesus Christ was crucified, two birds came to perch on either side of the horizontal bars of the cross. One, a dove, grieved for the executed savior, while the other, a magpie, did not.
This pejorative tale spread like wildfire through Christian communities, possibly even leading to the more Christian-leaning re-writing of the original nursery rhyme…
One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a funeral,
Four for a birth,
Five for heaven,
Six for hell,
Seven for the devil, his own self.
The magpie(s) of your dreams could mean many things, depending on the specifics of their appearance. Most commonly, they’re a symbol of communication and artistic spirit.
Should you hear one or more of these birds speaking in your dreams, it’s a reminder that you should be paying more attention to people and the world at large.
If the magpie has revealed itself to you in the form of a spirit animal, its infiltration of your dreams and speaking within them urges you to pay more attention to the presence of magpies in your life as of late. You perhaps aren’t heeding their guidance.
Seeing a magpie in full flight usually symbolizes good fortune on the way, but there are many magpie dream formats that don’t impart such happy news.
For example, if you dream of catching a magpie, it means you may not reach the goal you’re currently striving for, and that it might be time to redirect your efforts.
A dead magpie in your dream may reflect the dying embers of a relationship or marriage. It is not symbolic of an end. Rather, it is a sign that great efforts must be taken to nurture the faltering connection in your life.
Fighting magpies may reflect the state of your family affairs, urging you to work hard on finding a resolution.
These birds getting inside your head when you sleep could also signify that you’re keeping yourself under wraps, perhaps due to self-doubt, but the outward brilliance of the magpie reminds you of your own self-worth… It might be time to realize and reveal some of your magnificence to the world.
Far Eastern Magpie Symbolism
Far eastern nations do not share the uncertain view of magpies held by Europeans. This part of the world always sees them as a sign of good fortune.
In China, this good fortune refers specifically to happy marriages and long lives. Moreover, the song of a magpie often links to the travel of friends and family to your homestead for a lovely visit.
People in certain regions across China also hold the belief that if a magpie appears to you, it’s the reincarnated soul of an ancestor.
These positive associations are why, in this nation, it’s seen as incredibly bad luck to kill a magpie. They’re, by all means, considered sacred animals.
Koreans have a similar view of this monochrome bird, believing they represent luck and joy. Much like certain Native American tribes, they see the magpie as a messenger of sorts, but for good news exclusively.
In Japan, magpies are known as “Kakawari”, and if one or more reveal themselves to somebody, it’s said that they will have an encounter with an old friend or receive gifts.
Mongolians have a slightly different take on the magpie, associating them with intelligence, and, in some stories, are capable of controlling the weather.
Magpie Tattoo Meaning
Magpies in tattoos typically represent either joy or sorrow, but as they mate for life, their inky depiction on somebody’s skin could also refer to strong family ties, devotion to a spouse, or love in general.
I’d also suggest that many may get magpies inked as a general celebration of superstition and the numerous meanings we humans anchor to these beautiful birds.
Magpie Spiritual Meaning
Spiritually, magpies symbolize balance, especially where communication is concerned. These animals encourage us to be mindful of our words and remind us that words have great power.
Perhaps you talk a lot or not much at all — the magpie alerts us to these extremes, so we can work on finding equilibrium between simple self-expression and idle chatter.
Magpies are incredibly resilient creatures, capable of adapting to a number of contrasting habitats. Our spiritual sides recognize this and see it as a sign that we should be a little more open to change.
If you have any future plans you’ve been putting on hold, the presence of a magpie could well be a green light from the universe to quit stalling and follow your dreams.
That said, it’s important not to get carried away with the positive spiritual connotations of the magpie and shoehorn them in where not appropriate.
Magpies can also prophesize deception and manipulation, so thinking carefully about your own actions and how you’re treated by others will help to determine the nature of the magpie’s presence in your life.
With their love of all things shiny, magpies can also signify a fractured spirit, broken in pursuit of material possessions. They remind us that less is often more.
As they mate for life, magpies also bring to mind love, devotion, and equality.
Magpie In Astrology And Zodiac Signs
For all their appearances in folklore and symbolism around the globe, magpies don’t get a single mention in astrology and are not listed among the ranks of the zodiac signs.
Greek Myth Symbolism Meanings
In Grecian culture, the magpie is considered something of a party animal, a joyful drunkard that exists in a perpetual state of tipsiness, and, as such, is deemed sacred to the ancient Greco-Roman god of wine, Bacchus, and the Greek goddess of wine, Dionysus.
Magpie In African Folklore
The African magpie shrike is different from the magpies found in the western and eastern world, but they’re just as important culturally.
King Shaka’s (founder of the Zulu kingdom) favorite bird of all, the magpie shrike played a huge role in warfare and post-war ceremony.
Associated with victory and ruling, Shaka referred to them as “the scatterer of enemies”, and he and his soldiers wore their feathers in their headdresses and on their upper arms.
Australian Magpie Symbolism
To the Aboriginal people of Australia, the white of the magpie breaking through the blackness of their peripheral feathers is said to represent the splitting of daylight into the darkness when a new dawn arrives.
In Aboriginal folklore, it was magpies who first introduced light to the world by taking sticks in their beaks and using them to shove the darkness away.
Magpie Symbolic Meanings
- Good fortune
- Good news
- Artistic expression
- Will power
To say the magpie is a prolific presence in our collective histories, spirituality, cultures, and symbology would be a massive understatement. These birds are positively saturated with meaning, so if they’re making themselves known in your life, it’s important that you pay attention.
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