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Animal Symbolism, By Witchipedia

Magpie: Folklore, Symbolism, Associations & Magick

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Indeed the magpie is a very magickal bird. It is a corvid, like a raven or a crow, and many of the folklore associated with these originated with the Magpie including the traditional “counting crows” children’s rhyme.


Magpies have been central figures in folklore around the world, often associated with both good and bad omens, including predicting death or delivering messages from the spirit world.

Symbolically, magpies are linked to duality and balance, as they are known for their black and white plumage, representing the yin and yang of life’s contrasting forces.

In witchcraft, magpies are invoked for their connections to divination and communication with the spirit realm, making them powerful allies for practitioners seeking insight and guidance.

The magpie’s penchant for collecting shiny objects has led to its association with attracting abundance and wealth, making it a popular symbol for prosperity spells and rituals.

Magpie’s Folklore

There are several versions including the following:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told


One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
And four for death


One for sorrow,
Two for luck; (or mirth)
Three for a wedding,
Four for death; (or birth)
Five for silver,
Six for gold;
Seven for a secret,
Not to be told;
Eight for heaven,
Nine for [hell]
And ten for the d[evi]l’s own sell!

And check out this hopscotch board! (I am going to need one of these for my garden)


Magpies are gregarious creatures. To see a single magpie is significant. One foraging alone in the springtime foretells bad weather and one resting on a house, particularly near a window, foretells a death in the household.

European FolkloreIn European folklore, magpies are often associated with both good and bad luck. They are believed to bring messages from the spirit realm and can symbolize either good fortune or misfortune.
Chinese FolkloreIn Chinese folklore, magpies are considered highly auspicious birds associated with joy and happiness. They are believed to bring good luck, symbolize successful relationships, and represent opportunities for growth and prosperity.
Native American LoreIn Native American traditions, magpies are regarded as clever and resourceful creatures. They are seen as messengers between humans and the spirit world and are often associated with intelligence and adaptability.
Table 1: Folklore and Mythology

Symbolism and Associations

IntelligenceMagpies are often associated with intelligence and cunning due to their problem-solving abilities and complex vocalizations. They are seen as keen observers and are believed to possess wisdom and knowledge.
CommunicationMagpies are seen as messengers or communicators, often delivering important spiritual or symbolic messages to humans. They are believed to bridge the gap between the physical and spiritual realms.
Dual NatureMagpies represent duality and balance. They are associated with both light and dark aspects, symbolizing the coexistence of positive and negative forces and the need to find harmony between them.
AdaptabilityMagpies are known for their adaptability and survival skills. They can thrive in various environments and are seen as symbols of resilience, flexibility, and the ability to navigate life’s challenges.

Associations and Magick

Magpies are also associated with the Hulder, beautiful Scandinavian & Norwegian nymph-like spirits of the forest.

Here are some links to some good articles on the subject for your further exploration

Regarding feathers specifically: Generally, when animal spirits leave physical parts of themselves around for us to find, they are trying to send us a message to connect with the animal that they come from. For growth, or to learn a lesson.

Magickal PurposeInterpretation
DivinationMagpies can be utilized in divination practices, such as observing their behavior, calls, or patterns, to gain insights into the future or receive guidance from the spirit realm.
CommunicationMagpies are believed to enhance communication with spirit guides, ancestors, or deities. They can be incorporated into rituals or meditation to establish a stronger connection.
ProtectionMagpies can be used in protective spells or charms to ward off negative energies or to provide spiritual defense.
ManifestationMagpies can be invoked or represented in manifestation rituals to attract opportunities, abundance, and positive changes in various areas of life.
Table 3: Magickal Uses

Also, magpie feathers can be used in spells designed to attract the sort of energy magpies exemplify, curiosity, trickery, thievery, gregariousness, creativity, and communication. They’re kind of Gemini.

(Note: This article originated as a response to a specific question. It will need to be cleaned up and made more general.)

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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