The Mysterious Magpie Symbolism: Symbol of Good Luck or Bad Omen?

The magpie has been a symbol of many things throughout history. It is often associated with superstition, especially in the United States where it was once considered unlucky to kill or disturb a magpie’s nest. In other parts of the world, however, they are seen as harbingers of good luck and prosperity. The folklore surrounding these birds is vast and varied – but what do you know about their symbolism?

Human beings are social animals and they pick up what society has to offer to them. Hence, it is not surprising that many of us are superstitious and believe in quite a few things that at times may look far away from logical thinking. There are many animals and birds that have become an integral part of our thought processes. For generations and centuries, birds have become a part and parcel of myths, beliefs, and superstitions, not only in this country but also across the world. The bird that we are going to discuss in this article is the Magpie.

As far as the bird itself is concerned, it is supposed to be intelligent and there are tales of the magpie stealing jewels of some famous queen and many other such precious things. However, in this article, we will be talking about magpie symbolism and the various things that it stands for.

Writers are magpies, and we collect details about people and we use them for fictional characters.

Caroline Leavitt

Understanding the Symbolic Meaning of the Magpie

For many in western societies, the magpie symbolizes ill-omen. However, on the other side of the spectrum, in many eastern communities, it is considered to be a good and positive omen. On the whole, the bird is associated with magic, witchcraft, divination, and also quite a bit of prophecy.

The magpie symbolism stands for the symbolization of bridges and a few other things. It also could relate to deception and trickery amongst many people in some societies. Hence, there are different ways in which the magpie is looked at, and it depends on the society and the country to which one belongs. As mentioned above, it could mean good for some, a bad omen for a few others, and could also mean duality or opposites for a few others.

Lets see how the Magpie is looked at in different cultures across the world:

Native American Culture

The magpie is associated with healing, good luck and abundance in many Native American tribes. Among the Lakota Sioux tribe, for example, they are believed to be a messenger of peace that flies between two warring camps. The Tlingit people see them as “the bringer of wealth” because they travel into deep forests where other animals can’t go and find food on their own – an act which requires great skill.

To the Navajo Nation, these birds are said to represent happiness bestowed upon those who enjoy family gatherings while French Canadians traditionally believe it’s bad luck to kill one.

Celtic Culture

In Celtic culture, the magpie is seen as a symbol of hope and good fortune.

In Irish tradition, it was believed that killing or disturbing one’s habitat would bring about many misfortunes to oneself. This belief has been passed down through generations with some old wives’ tales suggesting that if you kill a magpie your cattle will die or people may steal from you in retaliation for taking away their luck! If someone does something unlucky like this they are said to have “killed the bird”. On the other hand, due to its symbolic meaning in Celtic culture (as well as Scandinavian), seeing a nest of these birds can be considered an omen for prosperity – especially if there are more than two eggs (magpies lay blue eggs).

Eastern Cultures

In Eastern cultures, the magpie is seen as a symbol of good luck. In Japan, it’s known as “kakawari” and those who come across one are lucky to receive gifts from their friends or encounter an old friend they haven’t met in years.

In China the Magpie is seen as a symbol of happiness and good fortune. In some regions it is believed to be the reincarnation of ancestors or even an animal companion that has been transformed into its current form.

In Buddhism, the magpie represents intelligence because it collects shiny objects like gold coins which are considered holy in many cultures throughout history. The bird’s association with wisdom makes it a common decoration for temples and shrines in Asia.

Greek Culture

In ancient Greece, the magpie was a symbol of love and happiness. The Roman poet Ovid, in his first century B.C collection of myths Metamorphoses, wrote that when Jove (Zeus) disguised himself as an old man to trick Hera (Juno), he wore “a bird’s wings strapped on his back.” One day while sitting beside her pool with Zeus pretending to be washing clothes, Hera took notice of what she thought were two bright blue birds above them – before realizing they were merely one white bird wearing colorful feathers.

magpie symbolic meaning

Spiritual Meaning & Spirit Animal

The symbolism of the magpie is often associated with good luck, prosperity, and happiness. This may be because they are seen as harbingers of a family’s fortune or because their nests were once thought to contain treasures.

The bird has also been considered unlucky by people in America during superstitious times; this was likely due to the association between blackbirds (and red-winged blackbirds) and death which then transferred onto all similar types of birds like magpies. It is now believed that killing one will bring bad luck to themselves, but if you leave them alone it could mean something else entirely (such as not disturbing a nest).

Spirit Animal

When we talk about magpie and look at it from a spiritual angle, we have reasons to believe that it is about creative expression. Its colorful character and nature do send out some clear messages. It teaches human beings to listen and not hear. It also perhaps teaches them to listen with the mind alert and not to listen just for the sake of listening. Its symbolism also perhaps teaches the importance and significance of listening to communication with attention which is so very vital and important.

The magpie is a symbol of many things, including happiness and good fortune. Some believe that the bird’s high-pitched cawing noise foretells rain or other ills to come.

In Ireland, it was believed that if three magpies crossed your path in the order they were thought to have come for someone you know who will soon die; but if two crosses followed by one then this meant someone close to them would be the next to pass away.

There are numerous different interpretations of what these birds actually symbolize and what they are trying to tell us.

In some cultures, the magpie is seen as a symbol of good luck and prosperity because it was believed that this bird could swallow the sun’s rays in its beak and carry them away in an effort to prevent darkness from conquering light during winter months; but also for their distinctive black-and-white coloring which stands out prominently among other birds.

It has been noted that these birds were often released so that they would fly high into the sky with messages or tokens attached to their legs whereupon they would deliver these items back home. In China, there is a belief that if someone spots three magpies then he/she will have triple blessings bestowed upon him/her by heaven.

The Magpie as Animal Totem

If the Magpie is your totem, you are brave and resourceful. You have a deep, honest nature that is often overlooked by others because of the way you can easily adapt to different situations. You also enjoy being independent, but no matter how much you enjoy your solitude, when the time comes for companionship or love, it is readily available.

With the Magpie as your power animals, you have a natural ability to see and understand both sides of any situation. You are not afraid to explore what others may find frightening because as an empath you feel compassion for all living beings. Your empathy has given you great insight into human behavior which makes this totem animal perfect for careers in counseling and psychology where they can help people gain a deeper understanding of themselves.

You also possess excellent communication skills that allow them to be successful public speakers with plenty of confidence on stage making speeches or presentations.

What Does It Mean When You See Magpies?

There are quite a few superstitions and beliefs surrounding the magpie. However, there is no doubt that the most famous superstition is from the United Kingdom. According to this superstition, seeing a single magpie is supposed to be all about bad luck. The superstition also suggests a way by which this bad omen or bad luck can be overcome. It is about wishing good morning to the magpie and asking it the question as to how its wife is. When one talks about their wife, it is believed that one is referring to two magpies. When two magpies are around, it could mean good luck and this again is a popular belief.

There is also an old nursery rhyme penned way back in 1777. It talks about one magpie denoting sorrow, two denoting mirth, three for a funeral and perhaps four denoted birth. This famous verse has gone through many changes to make it in line with modern times and modern beliefs:

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

Magpie Symbolism: Does A Magpie Symbolize Good Luck?

Does A Magpie Symbolize Good Luck?

While there are some beliefs that may be associated with bad luck and bad omen, there are many beliefs that associated magpie with good luck. Magpie symbolism has different meanings and connotations and a few of them point out good luck. For example, there is a common belief that seeing seven magpies could mean a good omen and it could bring in some good news. For many, it also may be suggestive of the fact that it could be the right time for moving ahead with one’s plans.

Sighting eight magpies also is suggestive of good luck. However, it could mean that there could be some waiting period before the task is completed. This belief may also mean that you should not bite off more than what you can chew and your plans should be of the right size and it should be doable and implementable.

There are many who believe that when a person sees nine magpies at a time, it could mean that love is coming into his or her life. For many who may have lost their love lives, sighting nine magpies could mean that their love lives may return and good things may be in store for them.

The Magpie totem is also considered as good luck and it may bring love, joy, and long-lasting fortune and financial success, and financial freedom. Hence, at the end of the day, magpie can be suggestive of both good and bad luck.

The best way forward is to find out ways to create a positive balance so that the good things about magpie symbolism and spirit come to the persons who are strong believers of this. The magpie spirit comes to us with a good intention and we should learn to take it lightly and make the best of the opportunity that it offers to us. There are also other positive beliefs that talk about passionate love-making chances, and also the best as far as marital bliss is concerned. It could also bring out the positive traits in you and this could help in boosting your confidence levels in more ways than one.

magpie means good luck

The Magpie and Superstitions

There are many superstitions surrounding the magpie. While some are associated with good luck, sadly there are some superstitions that point to bad fortune and something evil happening. This is the reason for the persecution of these beautiful birds. It has a negative perception because of a number of reasons. For example, there are many who believe that it is known to steal objects that are bright and shiny. This is not exactly true.

Further, there are many who believe that it has devil’s blood in its body and this could be associated with death and bad luck. It has a habit of scavenging and eating dead animals and may have a superstition that this could be the cause of this bird being associated with the Devil.

The myth and superstition surrounding the habit of magpies stealing jewels is perhaps exaggerated. These birds are extremely intelligent and they have a fascination for anything that is shiny and bright. Many people equate this as a bad habit and a bad trait of this wonderful bird.


Though there could be many negative and positive traits, superstitions, and beliefs surrounding magpie the bird, at the end of the day, there is one thing that is quite clear. Magpie is a beautiful bird both in looks and in intelligence. While there could be some beliefs and superstitions that may have been passed to us over generations, we need to take care of this beautiful bird and ensure that it is not persecuted because of some negative beliefs and thought processes.

[Bonus Video] Most INTELLIGENT bird in the world – The Magpie

1 thought on “The Mysterious Magpie Symbolism: Symbol of Good Luck or Bad Omen?”

  1. I found a very sick magpie in my garden yesterday – it was missing its tail feathers and its head was hanging to one side. It wouldn’t let me near it to see if I could help, so I left a dish of water. I kept checking on it but it was getting weaker, still it wouldn’t let me help. This morning I found it underneath my car, it had died. I scooped it up and put it in a patch of woodland next to my house, returned it to nature. But I can’t help feeling so sad that I couldn’t save it….


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