Being aware is a double-edged sword. One can see that the future Brexit path looks dangerous, and this country faces a potentially horrendous future for its young people. I find myself imagining what might happen to the poorest amongst us… and then these thoughts remind me that (some bloke called Dan Zadra said) ‘worrying is a misuse of the imagination’.
That’s the moment when I do a bit of spiritual wandering. The conflict and uncertainty give way to contemplation, and the contemplation takes one to a place that is not so much escapist, as a world of reality. It puts things in a different place and reminds one that everything that provokes passionate feelings, is a matter of perception. It’s a point of view, and it’s time to step outside of it all. And this week I visited ‘The Spirit of the Wayward Feather’, a dreamy pattern of thought that can take one all over the place, like a floating feather.
Very often when I’m doing things around the house, like sitting down to write, making a bed, doing a bit of cooking… a feather, such as one might find in a pillow, or in a garden, will float down. Feathers are objects of enormous power. They are reminders, comments and connections with reality, imagination, dreams and above all the subconscious, the deepest most beautiful self. For a start feathers are ancient and useful. They evolved like skin and horns, and they are an essential part of birds, the plumage, but they were also part of the outside covering of dinosaurs as well. They are useful, like pullovers only better – they aid flight, keep things warm, help diving birds to whizz about underwater and are beautiful and very decorative. Some feathers are rare and exquisite and highly valued.
Everything in this world has energy and spirit, and the spirit of a feather carries many messages. Meditating on a feather could take a lifetime. The structure is enormously complex, depending on the size and function of the feather itself; it includes shafts, barbules and hooks and all sorts of things. But I am looking at the spirit of the feather, the wayward small floating things that drift down from a corner of the house, or the garden and offer a thousand ideas. If the feather could speak it would say — I have been worn in battle, giving the wearer the power of the bird that I belonged to; I have been shoved into pillows and used as a pen, a tool to write with, wielded by the greatest minds and the greatest poets and playwrights; and that pen was mightier than the sword, as we all know. I have been part of the most delicious eiderdown you might want, but I am also a reminder, a powerful messenger.
It’s no coincidence, that angels who are messengers with wings are invariably equipped with feathered wings. Having worked on the Angel Year in our City, gathering images from age groups across the board, if I hadn’t come to recognise the importance of angel feathers by now, I would be a dim-wit. People young and old associate angels with feathery wings, and this crosses all faiths and many interpretations. Feathers belong to birds and equally to angels. So…Are wayward feathers messages from angels?
Most importantly when you have forgotten about feathers, they come to you. They float down from nowhere. Many people believe that they are messages in themselves, reminders of people who have died, loving communications that empower one to recall somebody who is elsewhere. Many, many times, I have been told that people recalled a loved one because of an inexplicable feather that floated out of nowhere. The Egyptians reckoned that a light heart was something to do with being a goody, so they did a nice metaphoric weighing of a heart on the one side and a feather on the other. The word light, has so many meanings, and presumably light meant a few things in hieroglyphs as well. And with this in mind, it’s time for us all to be light as a feather. To be frivolous. To tickle ourselves with a feather. To honour the tickling stick. To accept a good message from the feathery realms, and smile, remembering that if you start to be aware of the spirit of the wayward feather, you must also appreciate that feathers come from a glorious variety of birds – from the grand and dangerous birds of prey, to the smallest and most beautiful hummingbird – and the messages they give us should remind us at all times that we are of this world, and should therefore love and protect this world and its birds, just as we are part of other worlds, where messages, ideas and dreams spring from objects that simply float out of the sky.