magpie symbolic meanings

Symbolic Magpie Meanings

Last Updated on October 17, 2022 by Avia

Exploring Magpie Symbolic Meanings

Symbolic magpie meanings are numerous and varied. This stands to reason because the magpie herself is a varied creature. Her colorful character is a delight to observe with symbolic eyes because she is so unpredictable, high-spirited and expressive.

When we observe the magpie’s behaviors in nature, we can pick out many strong symbolic messages. Among many common attributes, here are a few magpie symbolic meanings:

Keywords for Magpie Symbolic Meanings

  • Social
  • Flashy
  • Willful
  • Refined
  • Deceptive
  • Illusion
  • Expressive
  • Intellect
  • Perceptive
  • Communicative
  • Opportunistic
Magpie Meaning
Magpie Meaning

“I have a magpie mind.

I love anything that glitters.”

~Lord Thomson of Fleet

Meaningful Magpie Cues and Details

There is a lot we can discern and learn from magpies by taking a look at their behavior and their physicality. Observing the magpie’s vocalizations, plumage, and nesting habits we can definitely get a broader view of symbolic magpie meanings. In turn, learning about these cues and details can provide insights and lessons to help us live our own lives more vibrantly. Here are some of the most evident physical and behavioral aspects of the magpie that can render incredible wisdom.

Magpie Vocalizations

As the magpie is highly vocal, this is a symbolic trigger for us to be mindful of how we communicate.

The magpie’s speech is symbolic of communication and creative expression. When we hear the magpie speak it is a message to us that we might need to listen to what is being spoken to us – listen with more attention. The chatter of the magpie is also a symbolic message that we may need to speak our minds more clearly….speak up, express our opinions, be creative with our spoken words.

Magpies and Shiny Things

The magpie’s obsession with shiny things is symbolic of our tendency to chase after false ideas or perceptions. When the magpie comes into our lives it is often a reminder that we may have to re-evaluate our priorities. Are we chasing after unsuitable desires? How are false ideals ruling our decisions? Are we putting materialism ahead of matters of the soul?

Magpie Nesting Habits

The magpie builds its home in the thickest “V” of trees. Forks or V’s in nature are symbolic of gateways or paths into the spirit realm. In this fashion, the magpie asks us about our level of spiritual perception. Specifically, the magpie asks to keep an open mind in matters of the spirit. She also asks us where our spiritual foundation is and encourages us to open the gateways of higher (spiritual) vision.

magpie symbolic meanings
Exploring magpie symbolic meanings

Magpie Plumage

Magpie plumage is also symbolic. With striking coloration, the magpie is symbolic of flamboyance, expression, and glamour. When we see her, we do a double-take because her appearance commands our attention. This is a message for us to not hide ourselves away from the world. The magpie beckons us to reveal our brilliance (physical and otherwise) to the world. We are each composed of incredible beauty and grace – the magpie is a reminder that we must express these attributes outwardly in a glamorous display just as she does.

Magpie Socialization

And just when we get to know the symbolic meaning of the magpie, she eludes us and leaves us guessing what she’s all about. In nature she has been known to be shy and reclusive – yet in cities she is noted to be extremely sociable with humans. Typically, she is a scavenger…but she has also been witnessed taking down small birds and rodents – acting as a bird of prey (which is not her classification).

These and other oddities in her behavior are symbolic of illusion and perception. The magpie’s message her is that not all things are what they appear to be, and we should not set our judgements in stone.

Further, this aspect of the magpie is a message that we do not have to be bound to perceptions. In other words, we may want to consider departing from our habitual behaviors and avoid being type-caste into a specific role.

Symbolic Magpie Meaning
Symbolic Magpie Meaning

Magpie Meanings in Nursery Rhyme

In ancient European cultures, the magpie is said to predict omens, and there is a type of divination based on the magpie according to an old riddle. I’ve forgotten how the magpie nursery rhyme goes, but the gist of it is according to how many magpies have seen the following outcomes are fabled to take place…

  • One magpie indicates danger
  • Two equals joy in union
  • Three means a good journey
  • Four magpies mean new beginning
  • Five equals company coming
  • Six indicates an ending
  • Seven magpies is a good omen, carry on with your plans
  • Eight magpies suggest a waiting period, do not continue with your plans
  • Nine magpies speak of love will come to call on you, or a return of love to your life
magpie symbolic meanings
Magpie symbolic meanings in myth and culture

“To see something different

gives you a chance to be something different!”

~Mehmet Murat Ildan

The Magpie in Various Cultures

Magpie symbolic meanings take on a brighter note in the East, where the Chinese regard the magpie as a good luck symbol, joy, marital bliss, sexual happiness, and long-lasting fortune.

When the Chinese hear the cry of a magpie it is said to be an announcement of the arrival of friends and family (click here for other symbolic meanings of Chinese animals).

The ancient Romans viewed the magpie as a creature of high intellect and reasoning powers. She is also an attribute of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. Magpies are also associated with fortune telling and divining practices in ancient Roman beliefs.

In Native American animal lore, the magpie was also viewed as having intellect. However, more often than not she was faulted for trickery and her intelligence was typically used in deceptive schemes. She cannot be judged too harshly thought because her tricks are always played out with a light-hearted, good-natured intention.

Frequently Asked Questions About Magpies

What does the magpie symbolize?

Because magpies are incredibly observant, resourceful, and witty – they are symbolic of the same thing.  Magpies are symbolic of quick thinking and high intelligence.  Magpies are also symbolic of communication and community.  These birds also represent an independent, free nature.  They shouldn’t be underestimated, and their behavior can be unpredictable. By association, magpies are symbolic of non-conformity, being unconventional, and the benefits of being a rebel.

Are magpies a good omen?

If you revert to the nursery rhyme, then sighting a single magpie might be considered a sign of bad luck. However (also according to the nursery rhyme), two magpies suggests a very good omen. Several cultures believe the magpie is an auspicious sign. For instance, in Chinese symbology, the magpie is a lucky sign, and is believed to be an omen of new partnerships and friendship.

Are magpies bad luck?

Well, if you consider the somewhat destructive nature of magpies, a lot of people do think they are good luck. To explain, magpies are known to attack humans, pets, and other birds. They can also wreak havoc on plants and other birds’ nests. For this reason, magpies have gained a reputation for being bad luck in some cultures.

Can magpies talk to humans?

Yes. In captivity, domestic magpies have been known to talk to humans. They have an extraordinary vocabulary and are very intelligent. Therefore, they can mimic words and even mimic noises such as a dog’s bark. They can even be trained to speak certain words.

The Last Word About Magpies

As you can see, the magpie symbolic meanings are as diverse and colorful as the magpie herself. Her messages are many, and she gives them to us with a free and happy heart.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article on magpie meanings. Be sure to check the links on this page for more animal symbolism and other interpretive insights on bird meanings.

As always, thanks for reading, and may your magpie encounters insightful.

Mighty brightly,

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