There are so many bird medicines. They are complex and tricky to describe. I have hesitated to write about them. Then the idea came that it would be better to start by sharing a few and then adding other stories later. The one’s I know are from personal experience and training.

Water Birds
These are the birds that dive to the bottom of lakes and rivers and deposit on the shore the medicines we need for healing. Water birds are one of the important and significant medicines of the Native American Church or Peyote Way.

Song birds
These are the birds that give us songs and enhance our voices with power to heal and strengthen the people. Some of these birds are the Blue bird, the Eagle and Finches.

The eagle has many uses in traditional Native American life. When it comes to singing they bring songs to the singers. That is why northern singers such as the Lakota sing at a very high pitch. They are imitating the sound of the eagle.

Warrior Birds
These birds are generally birds of prey such as eagle, owl, and hawk. Eagle takes our prayers and thoughts up to the higher realms where the "helper" spirits live and also is great protection. Hawks deal more with the earthly realms in areas such as food and shelter. Owls are not just messengers, they have healing ability in their talons, and they guard us.

There are individual types of birds that give us medicine. Their medicines usually come through the usage of their feathers, rather than their songs or behaviors.

Flicker – Flicker feathers from the tail, because of their sharp point at the tip, are used in doctoring to open the area on the body that needs something removed. Such as a blood clot, tumor, or a foreign object. I use the term “foreign object” rather than what Indian people know as “Bad Medicine”. Bad Medicine is when a person “shoots” something into another’s body or sends a spirit or other type of entity to make the target victim ill, to make them die, or to cripple them. Unfortunately, this is quite common.

Flicker feathers are also known as “Love Medicine” which supposedly brings a lover into someone’s life or finds a “soul mate”. This type of medicine is considered lower level of usage of a powerful medicine. I often call this type of use, “manipulative magic”. Because of my lineage and training I am forbidden to use this sort of medicine. I can never change, alter or influence a person’s life without their permission and the permission of the “Tunkasilas” ancient spirits. Manipulative magic doesn’t ask, it invades and is very harmful.

Raven - Raven is a “trickster”. Raven appears in a variety of forms making us think they are another type of bird. Their voice can make us think they are human. They often appear to be another color instead of black. The “trickster” keeps us alert and aware. Honing our skills of observation and broadening our personal perspectives. If we communicate with Raven it is best to remember that they are true “tricksters”. Sometimes the answers they give are straightforward and other times the messages are the opposite of what it should be. The listener must be very in tune with which type of message the Raven is giving. Raven will show us the brighter side of life with sparkling and shiny objects in its beak or when it dives repeatedly at a shiny object on the ground. When raven does this, it is such an uplifting experience and so necessary for our well being in this illusionary world. To read more see my article and personal story of the Raven Heart Woman.

Author's Bio: 

Paula Bidwell of Native Talisman Art - I am an American Indian artist and jeweler. I am also considered an Indigenous Healer and spent many years on the reservation learning. I combine both worlds into my art. I draw, paint and illustrate the visions, dreams and mystical experiences I’ve had. This work is gratifying because it resonates with so many other people. I also believe strongly that we are all related and there is very little separation between us. When making jewelry or creating traditional crafts I use materials and symbols that have meaning and substance in a spiritual sense.