Since olden times, feathers have been collected for magickal uses. One of the most famous charms using feathers is the Witches Ladder. For a Witches Ladder, three different colored yarns or ribbons are braided together, the colors depending on the purpose of the spell. I am going to use white for the maiden, red for the mother and black for the crone. Nine feathers are worked into the braid.
The magickal qualities of feathers are determined by their colour. Listed below is feather lore from European folk magick sources. You'll find it differs slightly from that of color symbolism in general.
I am also going to add in any beads or herbs I feel are right and necessary, it is going to be an interesting exercise!
FEATHERS & THEIR COLOURS
WHITE - White feathers symbolize purification, spirituality, hope, protection, peace, and blessings of the Moon.
RED - Red feathers symbolize physical vitality. Also courage, good fortune, and life.
BLUE - Blue feathers give mental abilities, peace, and protection. Also psychic awareness.
YELLOW - Yellow feathers give cheerfulness, mental alertness, prosperity, and blessings from the Sun.
GREEN - Green feathers symbolize money, prosperity, growth, health, and fertility.
Green and red mixed feathers affect financial matters.
ORANGE - Orange feathers bring attraction, energy, and success.
PINK - Pink feathers attract love.
GRAY - Gray feathers symbolize peace and neutrality.
BROWN - Brown feathers give stability and respect. They also symbolize the home and grounding.
Brown feathers striped in black, like the tail feathers of a pheasant, give a balance between the physical and spiritual life.
Brown feathers banded or mixed with white bring happiness and give the kind of protection that enables one to go unnoticed amidst those who would harm them.
Brown and red mixed feathers bring healing to animals.
BLACK - Black feathers give the mystical wisdom that comes with true spiritual initiation.
Black, iridescent feathers give mystical insight.
Black and white mixed feathers give union and protection.
Black (or gray) feathers banded or mixed with white give hope, balance and harmony.
Black mixed with purple means deep spirituality.
Black, white, and blue mixed feathers brings change.
Black ones are sacred to the God because of their resemblance to the curved horns of the Horned God. They are also a symbol of male virility. The white ones are sacred to the Goddess because they resemble the tool (the sickle) with which grain (sacred to her) is reaped. They also resemble the waxing and waning Moon.
I am going to be making these ladders whilst in circle.
As I begin to braid, I will be chanting this:
Yarn of red, black, and white
Work your magick spell this night.
As I insert the feathers, begin this or a similar chant:
With this feather/bead/herb and this string,
Protection, happiness and peace this charm will bring.
Then I will consecrate the ladder by passing it through incense smoke and candle flame, asperge it with salt and water, saying:
In the names of the Goddesses
And the God
By Air, Earth, Fire, and Water
I consecrate this charm
Of feathers nine and cord of three
As I will, so mote it be!
The witches ladders can be hung in anywhere in your home to promote a welcoming and pleasant atmosphere or by your altar to aid in magickal workings.