Preface: by 'Traveling', I mean it in the mundane sense of departing from home to a far-off destination. :)
For the last three years, I notice bird feathers whenever I travel long distances. Their appearance follow a pattern:
- The cycle always has three sightings, with the first feather sighted on the day of my departure, and the last one seen during the last 48 hours of my trip
- The feathers are always white or very light-colored
- They are in an unusual or very obvious location
Harboring a lifetime of unbridled enthusiasm for traveling, in my excitement for the upcoming journey I always forget about the 'traveling feathers'...until I see the first one. The first feather is almost always in the airport itself: one time it was a large seagull feather in pristine condition that had blown through the terminal door and landed right next to my foot as I waited to check in for my flight. One time it was a plume under the only available waiting seat at my aircraft's boarding gate. The only instance when the first one sighted didn't fall precisely into the pattern was as I was leaving a friend's house enroute to the airport (the friend was a professional pilot).
On my recent trip, however, a new phenomenon caught my attention.
In a bathroom stall at the airport terminal, there werec two feathers at eye-level, stuck via static-cling to the wall of the stall. There was one light feather and one dark feather, positioned a few inches from each other. My instant perception was "Looks like someone's goose-down jacket was leaking." It took a few moments before my brain suggested that they could be new incarnation of the traveling feathers saga. Refusing to commit to any conclusions, I made a mental note and moved on.
Two flights and one train ride later, I finally arrived at my destination. Exhausted from over 36 hours without sleep, I did a double-take when I saw two feathers- one dark, one light, only a few centimeters from each other- perfectly in line with my path from the vehicle to the house's entryway. My internal pattern recognition system gave a pronounced 'blip' that time, and at this point filed the observance into the "Shouldn't Be Ignored" category.
A few days later, less than 48 hours before I was set to begin the long journey home, I came across the third and final set of feathers. These were larger specimens, considerably more banged-up than any other travelling feathers I've seen, their shafts still delicately connected at the base. They have since become separated, but here they are:
The other members here who I've spoken to about this immediately noted a strong theme of duality. Although I haven't had the time, energy, or environment to seriously dwell on that interpretation, I do agree that the concept of duality is unmistakable.
What confuses me is if, how, and why duality would (or did) pertain to my travels. Was it an indicator that this trip was my first real "test" in my ability to remain true to my Path while maintaining discretion- and was the final pair of feathers confirmation of the feeling I already had of successfully completing the test? Was it a visual manifestation of the new, distinct boundaries I've intsalled with longtime loved ones: a wonky admixture of separating-yet-blending my core "witchy" self with my "mundane" social persona? Or was it as simple as the Universe assessing my interactions with a parent-type friend on the trip, offering a little validation as I finally learned the value of picking my battles, being unapologetic and unashamed about who I am, and being more generous with empathy towards authority figures?
So many possible interpretations, yet so little time. A witch's introspection is never complete.