Magpie Symbolism and Meaning (Totem, Spirit, and Omens)

Magpie Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning

Known for being one of the most intelligent creatures of the avian world, the magpies are another bright member of the corvid family. They have a mostly black and white appearance, which complements their notorious attitude. But what do these charming birds symbolize? Let’s find out.

Magpies are symbolic of intelligence and wit. These black and white colored birds show an extraordinarily high IQ and are equally resourceful as well. However, due to their shrewd nature, they’re also known to symbolize deceit, opportunism, and illusion.

Their depiction in different cultures and mythologies vary greatly. These birds also have a powerful spirit and totem that can guide you to the easiest path to success.

Have the magpies appeared in your dreams lately? Or are you merely curious about what these birds symbolize in different cultures? This article holds the answers to all your questions.


Magpie symbolism

Before we explore the symbolism of magpies, let’s learn a little about these birds. Magpies are medium-sized passerine birds of the corvid family that is widely distributed in all the continents, except Antarctica. Although these birds differ in plumage, most of them have pied, black, and white plumage (with some exceptions).

First and foremost, the magpies are symbolic of intelligence and wit. In many tests and experiments conducted on them, it was seen that they could imitate human speech, play games, grieve, and work in teams. Moreover, they were also capable of making tools and using them.

Despite their intelligence, the magpies are often disliked and unwelcome in many parts of the world, particularly in rural areas. It is because they destroy the crops in the farms and steal any shiny object they can find. For these reasons, they’re symbolic of deceit.

Magpies are also symbolic of opportunism. They steal food from the other birds, will attack when you least expect them to, and are often known to pounce on a lone bird by forming a group.

However, scientists have discovered that there’s an explanation behind the peculiar stealing behavior of the magpies. These birds do not steal these things because they’re attracted to them; they do it because they’re afraid of shiny objects. This is why they prefer to keep these objects in a place where they cannot see them.

Magpies are also symbolic of magic, illusion, and witchcraft. There could be many reasons behind it; it might be due to their pied plumage, which could resemble the appearance of the witches. It could also be due to close ties between these birds and the witches. Whatever led to it, the symbolism became extremely popular with time.

While humans have no trouble recognizing themselves in the mirror, this trait is not so common in the animal kingdom. In various experiments conducted on animals, it was found that only some rare species were capable of it: four ape species, the Bottle-nosed Dolphins, and the Asian Elephants, and the Eurasian Magpies.

Because the magpies are the only non-mammalian animals that have the rare ability to recognize themselves in the mirror, they’re symbolic of self-awareness.


Dreaming of Magpies: meanings and interpretations

Because magpies are associated with deceit and thievery, most people assume that dreaming of them is an indication of a misfortune. However, that’s not entirely true. If you’re curious to learn about dreams, you should know that not all dreams that have magpies in them have the same interpretation.

If you pay closer attention to your dream, you will notice that the subtle details that make each dream unique can also change its entire meaning.

Now, coming back to magpies, to see a magpie in your dream is a symbol of dissatisfaction or disappointment. Such a dream indicates that in the near future, you might have an experience that can sadden or disappoint you, even make you question your choices or decisions.

However, it is nothing that you cannot get over in time. Therefore, you should try to stay strong and patient and give yourself time to recover from it.

However, if the magpie you dreamt of was perched on a tree branch, it has a positive interpretation. It suggests that the upcoming day is going to be pleasant and joyous for you. Nothing or no one around you will give you a reason to fret or worry today.

To dream of a flying magpie is a warning that you will soon be faced with a challenge that you weren’t prepared for. However, your success or failure in it will be determined through your attitude towards it.

If you lose your calm and start to panic, you are destined to fail and might incur a major loss due to it. On the other hand, if you’re able to hold yourself together and give it your best, you will emerge victoriously. This challenge is going to teach you a lesson for life.

Did you dream of magpies building their nest? We have great news for you. Magpies, being the clever birds that they are, always find a tree fork covered in dense vegetation and at a secure height to protect their eggs from any threat.

As most of you might already know, magpies are obsessed with shiny things and have a compulsive urge to steal sparkling things for their nests. If you see a magpie carrying a shiny object in your dream, it has a significant meaning in your waking life.

Such a dream is a sign that you’re running after materialistic things, and in their pursuit, you’ve left behind the things that truly matter in life.

If you continue at this rate very soon, you’ll find yourself alone. To avoid that from happening, you should prioritize your life while you still have time.

Dreaming of feeding a magpie indicates that you’re soon going to face interference about your choice of friends or life partner in the waking world. This interference is most likely to come from your parents.

In the coming weeks, they will either pester you to find a partner for yourself or nag you about the one you already have. In any case, lashing out will do you no good. The best way to deal with them is with patience.

Did you dream of hunting a magpie and are wondering what could such an unusual dream mean? Well, your dream has a message for you; it’s telling you to be more strategic in the pursuit of your goals.

Only hard work is not going to get you what you want; you’ll have to be smart and plan ahead so that you have an advantage over the others.

Dreaming of catching a magpie has more or less the same meaning; it indicates that the path you’ve chosen towards your goals is not going to lead you there. It is time for you to take a moment and re-think your plans.

While the idea of killing a magpie might seem disturbing to you, if you see such a thing in your dream, it’s a good sign. This is a lucky dream that indicates that you’re soon going to overpower your enemies and competitors and emerge victoriously.

The secret behind your sudden victory will be the discovery of their weak spot, something that can give you an edge over them.

On the other hand, dreaming of a dead magpie has a negative indication. Such a dream is a sign that troubles are afoot in your relationship or marriage. Either you or your partner has been keeping their feelings, and emotions bottled up for a while and is about to explode.

And when that happens, the only way to sort it out is to have a discussion about it calmly, or things might get worse.


Magpie symbolism in different cultures and mythologies

Magpies are birds that have quite a diverse symbolism in different cultures and mythologies in the world. Let’s learn more about how these birds are perceived in different parts of the world:

In Christianity

Magpies are one of the most popular birds among Christians, with a variety of superstitions surrounding them throughout history. Before the spread of Christianity, these birds were widely regarded to be the symbol of good fortune.

However, the Church viewed them in a very different, negative light. They believed that at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion, these were the only birds that didn’t weep or go into mourning.

This belief was somehow linked to their pied plumage and gave way to many other stories and superstitions that portrayed them in a negative light.

In one folktale, it was claimed that when the Great Flood came, magpies were the only birds that didn’t enter Noah’s Ark. It was because they preferred to sit in the rain, gossiping with each other.

Another tale claims that magpies are not an original species but a hybrid between a raven and a dove. And since they’re hybrids, they’ve not been baptized. Their uncleansed souls are yet another reason for them to be considered impious.

Additionally, the Church had started another rumor about the magpies, which stated that on their tongue, these birds carried a drop of devil’s blood. And if one cut their tongue off, they’d find that these birds were capable of human speech.

Although the origin of most of these myths and superstitions was based on the misfortunate events that took place after their sightings, over time, Christians grew to vary of the magpies. In fact, they hunted these birds extensively to the brink of extinction.

In ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, the magpies were often linked to Dionysus, the Greek God of wine, wine-making, and grape harvest. Dionysus is also related to festivity and theatre, ritual madness, and religious ecstasy. And since wine was an indispensable part of Greek culture, the Greeks treated the magpies with respect.

In Roman mythology

Just like ancient Greece, the Romans also associated magpies with Bacchus, the Roman God for wine, fertility, and agriculture. Bacchus was the son of Jupiter and a mortal woman, but Jupiter was believed to have given birth to him after having sewn him to his thigh as an infant.

As he was taught by Thanos, the lover of wine, Bacchus developed an interest in these and ultimately became a deity of wine.

In Scandinavian culture

In the Scandinavian culture, the magpies were symbolic of balance. The black and white plumage of these birds was representative of the balance between the sexual energies of the masculine and the feminine.

In Nordic mythology

In Old Norse mythology, magpies are associated with Skadi, the Norse goddess of snowshoes. These birds were also the birds of Huldra, a group of forest creatures found in Scandinavia.

In Native American culture

To the Native Americans, magpies were presented in both positive as well as negative lights.

In China

In Chinese mythology, the magpies were commonly associated with marriage and were considered to be able to tell a person if their partners were unfaithful.

It was also said that if you heard a magpie singing, it would bring you good fortune and happiness.

In the Chinese Qixi Festival, when the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl are known to come together, all the lovers are supposed to meet on a bridge. In this festival, the magpies are seen gathering on the bridge as well.


Superstitions attached with Magpies

There were many superstitions attached to the sightings of magpies. In many cultures, the number of magpies you saw would determine what they would indicate. Although there are multiple versions of a rhyme, the first one was written in 1780 and went as follows:

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth
Three for a funeral,
Four for birth.

In 1846, an extended version of this rhyme was published by Michael Aislabie Denham:

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth
Three for a funeral,
Four for birth
Five for Heaven
Six for Hell
Seven for the devil, his own self.

Another variation of the rhyme was used in “Magpie,” a British TV program:

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.

Additionally, it was also believed that whenever you spotted a magpie, you should always greet them; otherwise, it would bring you misfortune.


What does it mean to get a Magpie tattoo?

As we’ve already discussed so far, the magpies are interesting birds that have diverse symbolism. This means that getting these birds inked on your body can mean a great number of things.

Magpies are clever and resourceful and are known to make the best of every opportunity. If you can relate to these qualities, these are the ideal birds that you can get tattooed on your skin.

Are you a lover of wine and pleasure? Well, magpies are an ideal tattoo choice for you because of their close association with the Greek and Roman Gods of wine, wine-making, pleasure, and fertility.

If you’re into magic, witchcraft, and illusion, their tattoos are perfect for you. It is because these are the only birds that are most closely associated with witchcraft and black magic.


Magpie totem

The magpie totem enters your life when you feel like everything is going wrong with you. Your career has stood at a standstill; you’re constantly arguing with your friends and loved ones, pushing them away due to your own insecurities.

These totems will come to you as a harbinger of good fortune and will turn your life around for the better. In their presence, you will find new opportunities to kickstart your career again.

They’ll also teach you how your family and friends are your strength; pushing them away will only make you more miserable. Your true happiness lies with them; so, you should get over your self-doubts and be more expressive in the relationships that matter to you.

The magpie totems will also come to you when you need to take a twisted path to reach your goals. These birds are nothing if not resourceful; they are popular for finding a way to get even the impossible done.

Under the guidance of their totem, you will learn how there’s always a way to do things, no matter how impossible they might seem.


Magpie spirit animal

If you’re someone who is highly adaptable in every circumstance, the magpie spirits are watching over you. Just like all the other corvids, these birds are quite the survivalists.

They’re quick learners and would learn any new skill or art the quickest. They’re also resourceful; so, if there’s something that they truly want, they’ll find a way to get it anyhow.

The magpie-minded people are quite the attention-seekers; just like their guardian spirits, these people are attracted to the spotlight and bask in the attention of others. You might often notice them doing something solely to catch others’ attention or to be the talk of the town, but it’s not really their fault. More often than not, these people do such things almost subconsciously.

If you’re a friend to such people, you must remember that friendship with them is more like a barter system. Although not completely unkind at heart, these people believe in favors in exchange for favors.

However, if you’ve helped them when they really needed it, they’re never going to forget it. It will stay with them forever, and the time comes, they will repay you with interest.

As lovers, these people are both charming and caring. If you’ve caught their eye, they will swoon you off your feet. The beginning of your relationship with them will feel like nothing but magic.

However, as time passes, you will learn that they’re not as flawless as they seem; these people have their own weaknesses and flaws that they might not want to share with you initially.

But once they’ve grown comfortable with you, you’ll see them in a completely different light. And if you’re ready to accept this new person as your partner, you’ve got yourself a keeper.



Magpies, although they’re colored in black and white, have a bright and colorful symbolism. They have a diverse range of qualities, due to which their depiction in all cultures is somewhat mixed. While some cultures associate them with good luck, in others, they’re the harbingers of ill fortune.

Their dreams are generally symbolic of disappointment and dissatisfaction, but their interpretation could change with the changing context.

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