Spiritual Meaning of a Magpie (The Good, The Bad & The Sinful)

The spiritual meaning of a magpie may vary depending on who you ask. Magpies symbolize protection, GOOD FORTUNE, and prospects of change. But they can also represent death.

Welcome to my collection of magpie spiritual meanings and symbolisms.

Most people know this bird for their stunning plumage and mischievous attitude, but did you know magpies are hosts of symbolism?

This article shares various the meaning of magpies from the perspective of different religions, mythologies, countries, and ethnic groups.

Are you dreaming of magpies? The interpretation of that is included too.

Did you see 2 magpies? 3 magpies? The symbols behind those sightings are also included.

Let’s just GET TO IT.

Magpie Symbolism in Christianity/in the Bible

Magpies have a terrible reputation within the Christian community.

In Christianity, the spiritual meaning of a magpie is based on sin and greed.

Christian legends suggest that magpies refused to sing at the crucifixion, making it the only bird that didn’t sing when Jesus died. This combined with the black and iridescent sheen on their tail feathers suggests a link to death.

Magpie Symbolism in Far Eastern Nations

Contrary to western philosophies and the ill omen saddled on magpies, Eastern cultures consider the spiritual meaning of a magpie as positive. (Finally, some respect for the magpie).

In the east, their presence is a positive omen. Their allure has strong links to magic, mysticism, divination, prophecy, and witchcraft.

Determination

Magpies stimulate the intuitive side that brings us on a spiritual growth journey. A magpie motivates us to defy failure by teaching us the value of winning through persistence.

Intelligence

Ranked among the most intelligent animals, magpies recognize their own image in the mirror. This unique intelligence and a magpie’s talent for copying sounds invite people to summon their courage to explore spiritual growth and communication.

Bravery

Many scientific experiments dismantle the unfounded lie that magpies steal shiny objects. It simply isn’t true. Like most birds, magpies avoid glittering items. What remains a fact is that magpies aren’t afraid of people.

A magpie wisely teaches us to reach beyond our barriers, overcome fear, and replace it with determination. 

Daring and Bold

It’s all in the strut. Magpies exude confidence and boundless energy. And like all creatures on earth, magpies also face dangerous adversaries. Watching a magpie’s behavior, one sees the daring bravado as it doesn’t back away. 

Humble

A magpie stands its ground to attain its goals simply by being a magpie. It follows its instinct and awakens our potential through humility, balance, and discipline to gain personal growth.

Family

Magpies know the value of family. They mate for life and have a unique compassion for their extensive network.

Adaptable

Magpies seize the opportunity. This lesson teaches us to assess our current situation and adapt. It also enforces the lesson that life is difficult for every creature. Only the wise and strong harness the possibility and breach barriers.

In China

The oriental magpie signifies happiness and luck. These revered birds are the reincarnation of the ancient family lineage and beloved pets. 

Seeing three magpies is an auspicious sign that denotes the good fortune of having three blessings granted by the universe and heavenly sources. Singing magpies epitomize happiness and luck. Hence they’re known as happy magpies.

In some regions in northeast China, magpies are sacred. The Manchu dynasty declared it an imperial bird.

Magpies are an essential legacy in Chinese art. Magpies are birds of joy. Those fortunate to have a magpie nest near them can expect success and good tidings. Since the birds often flock in pairs, magpies symbolize love and happiness in marital harmony.

If you kill a magpie, you open a gateway to MISFORTUNE.!

In Korea

Koreans also consider the spiritual meaning of a magpie in a positive way. They hold this bird in such high esteem they made it their national bird (1964). Steeped in folklore, many still believe in the old fairytales. Folklore suggests that a tiding of magpies formed a bridge to help lovers make peace. This legend is similar to a Chinese version.

In Japan

Like other eastern cultures, Japanese people believe that a magpie or kakawari 鵲 is a good omen. A lone magpie signifies that friends will bestow a gift on them, or they’ll reunite with a particular person from their past.

black-billed magpie walking across the grass
Black-billed magpie. Photo by Abi Warner.

Magpie Symbolism in Celtic

Magpies are powerful birds that continue to influence cultures. Celts saw magpies as purveyors of endless luck and hope.

In Irish culture, folklore strongly connected magpies as an omen of Death. Magpies have such an essential meaning to Irish culture that there’s even a lyric about seeing them:

“One for sorrow, two for joy

Three for a girl and four for a boy,

Five for silver, six for gold,

Seven for a secret never to be told.”

When somebody sees a single magpie, they must salute it to break the curse of bad luck. The more magpies you cross, the luckier you are. This superstitious belief is alive and well today.

To harm a magpie nest means bad luck is coming your way (Not to mention it’s totally illegal!).

Magpie Symbolism in Native Americans

The magpie has withstood its fair share of a bad reputation. Not all Native American tribes bestow the same meaning on this opportunistic bird. Some tribes depict the magpie as a creature that teases other animals by acting as a gossip or meddling individual, one that desires turmoil. 

Other tribal legends suggest the magpie warns its human friends of dangers. The Cheyenne take it even further and believe magpies are messengers from the Creator.

Other tribes believe magpies are symbols of:

  • Healing
  • Abundance and good luck
  • Messengers of peace
  • Bringers of wealth
  • Bravery

Magpie as a Totem Animal

The magpie animal totem is very much in keeping with its colorful spirit and capricious personality, making it such an infamous character in the animal world. A magpie spirit totem suggests diverse traits like intellectual, wise, crafty, communicative, expressive, and showy yet classy.

Magpies are deeply rooted in many cultures. Korean and Chinese traditions suggest magpies bring sexual satisfaction, happy marriage, good luck, and plenty.

A magpie totem means you understand the value of friendship. While making friends is easy, maintaining friendships is rare. Also, you’re comfortable being alone and can enjoy yourself. 

Magpie as a Spirit Animal

A magpie as a spirit animal means natural protection from people who wrong you. If they cause harm, they’ll humbly realize their error and ask for forgiveness. 

As a spirit animal, you must seek to improve your lot in life. Concentrating your efforts on creating a transformation in your life will make you forget to pass judgment, criticize, gossip, or argue with others. It means taking the opportunity to overcome shallow and harmful habits.

Magpie as a Power Animal

As a power animal, magpies unleash life’s principles about karma. What you sow is what you reap.

Remain positive and say positive things as you’d want positive things to be said. Be good to everyone.

Magpies also teach that you must recognize true friends from those who only use your friendship for their gain. This philosophy is the epitome of a magpie’s close circle of family.

Magpie Symbolism in Dreams

Our dreams say so much about our journey. Dreaming of magpies can suggest a facet of unhappiness. Regardless of the cause, be cognizant of your response. If you’re not careful, someone might get hurt.

A magpie in our dreams also suggests that we feel threatened in a relationship. It’s time to redirect this relationship into something meaningful without emotional turmoil.

If you’re dreaming of a magpie in flight, it means it’s time to deal with an old problem.

Magpie Symbolism in Greek Mythology

apollo greek god

Magpies have impacted nearly every significant culture on earth. Greeks adored magpies as a symbol of love and happiness.

The god Dionysus and drunkenness have a solid link to magpies. The nine daughters of Peirus took on the challenge of singing contests and lost. The Muses turned them into magpies.

Magpie Symbolism in Roman Mythology

Roman magpie mythology is an extension of Greek folklore—the story of the singing contest surfaces in Roman text too.

Magpie Symbolism in Scandinavian Culture

Skadi, an ancient Norse Goddess, made magpies her favorites. She appreciated the black and white colors and became a hero for thieves and tricksters.

Like Celts, Scandinavians believe finding a magpie nest portrays a good omen. Myths suggest that sorcerers flew to pagan festivities disguised as magpies. Nesting magpies foretold good luck.

Magpie Symbolism in Nordic Mythology

Norse myths suggest that a magpie’s black and white plumage means the sexual union of man and woman. It also means those energies are harmonious.

Magpie Tattoo Meaning

Magpies are the perfect symbol that resonates in the heart of everyone. At once beautiful and mysterious, mischievous and smart, magpies represent luck, witchcraft, superstition, and prosperity.

Magpie Symbolism in Mythology & Folklore

Magpies are shrouded in symbolism and repeatedly appear as creatures of beauty and mysticism in poetry and art. Many cultures have differing opinions on a magpie’s characteristics and purpose. The bird leaves a powerful impression and influence on our relationship with nature.

Magpie Symbolism in Jewish Mythology

Jewish history and rabbinical literature suggest that birds closely relate to supernatural powers. King Soloman spoke the bird language. In some texts, the soul gets compared to birds. 

Magpie Symbolism in Aboriginal Mythology

Australian Aboriginal people have a deep-seated connection to magpies. Magpies represent a mother’s love, nurturing, and protection. It’s part of a powerful message to look for the best in others. New beginnings arise anew each day. 

Magpie Encounters and Omens

sharmock for good luck
Good luck 4-leaf clover. Image by Gaby Stein from Pixabay

Each culture has a spiritual meaning of magpies relating to encounters and omens. These beautiful birds repeatedly appear in folklore as signs of good or bad luck, prosperity, intelligence, and mischief.

Meeting a magpie can evoke our self-awareness and lead us on a journey of creativity and understanding.

What Does It Mean When One Magpie Visits You?

In some cultures, an encounter with one magpie is a bad omen. While magpies are sacred birds in the orient, in Scotland, seeing a magpie near a window means Death is imminent. It’s crucial to perform a precise ritual to ward off evil. Like the traditional nursery rhyme  says, ‘one for sorrow,’ it foretells bad tidings

What Does It Mean When Two Magpies Visit You?

the spiritual meaning of a magpie and two magpies
Two black-billed magpies. Photo by Mike Brownhill.

‘Two for joy’ is the second line in the nursery rhyme , and it suggests positive news or changes when you see a pair of magpies. Each magpie number in the rhyme points to specific details about the type of luck you can expect.

What Does It Mean When Three Magpies Visit You?

Depending on which rendition of the nursery rhyme you follow: Three for a girl is modern, while three for a funeral goes back to the early 1777 version. You can either expect a birth or death. The rhyme has such long-lasting impact it makes a regular appearance in popular music and art. As in ‘A Murder of One by Counting Crows, it’s about possibility.

What Does It Mean When a Magpie Comes Into Your House?

Depending on the culture, magpies entering a home can have auspicious tidings. Magpies are inquisitive and social and on the prowl for food. Male magpies are protective of their chicks and may swoop. They also have an uncanny memory for people who’ve harmed their families.

Spiritual Meaning of Magpie Tapping on Window

Magpies can recognize their reflection. If they tap on your window, they may see something inside your home, like a ghost or lost soul. All birds have a keen sense of intelligence and might alert you that you’re neglecting something important (like the bird feeder). 

What Does It Mean When You See a Magpie Out of Nowhere?

Crossing paths with a magpie out of nowhere has several meanings depending on the cultural influence of your region. One for sorrow is a popular interpretation of the infamous poem. In the orient, magpies are emblematic of good fortune and happiness.

Magpie Feather Meaning

Magpies and their beautiful feathers also suggest several meanings. Native Americans treasured the feathers as symbols of bravery. Other tribes believed that magpie feathers were a message and held significant shamanic powers.

White Magpie Feather

White feathers are a message to those who need fortitude and courage and seek advice. White is a symbol of purity, peace, and angles.

Black Magpie Feather

Crossing paths with black feathers might indicate that life is hard. Black is a color with a bad stigma and experiences. It asks us to look at the wrongs in life and make amends.

Are Magpies a Good Luck Sign?

Overall, the spiritual meaning of magpie means good luck. Many cultures associate good fortune, happiness, and opportunity with these birds.

If you encounter one, as in ‘one for sorrow’, from the traditional nursery rhyme, you must flick your hand in greeting to ward off ill omens.

Not just seeing magpies but being aware of their presence in your life is an awakening to embrace life–the good and the bad.

More than 25 years ago, Tammy put her first bird feeder outside her kitchen window. Since then she learned how to attract wild birds to her backyard. Studying the meaning & symbolism of wild birds is also a passion of hers. Read more about Tammy