For days now I've been trying to find an exquisite reference from a shaman describing his journey of becoming a medicine man. I simply can't seem to find the reference, but he described that one of the skills he had to learn to become a shaman, was to be still enough that an eagle would let him pick a feather from it. Imagine what kind of inner stillness that would require. That is just an utterly awesome thought.
Found this reference for the significance of an eagle feather in Native American culture:
In Native American culture, the Eagle feather is one of the most sacred possessions one can maintain. Eagle feathers were given out extremely sparingly for acts of valor and bravery, and the warrior that desired to wear them bore the burden of proof of his valorous exploits to gain permission from the Elders to actually wear the feather. It was given as a sign of ultimate respect. A warrior was more willing to lose his tepee and his horse rather than lose his Eagle feather which would bring disgrace in the eyes of the Tribe.
If you possess an Eagle feather, (which interestingly, is illegal without a federal permit, apparently no matter how you obtain it), it is required that you, out of reverence, build a “home” for it to keep it safe. It should not be soiled, abused or allowed to be around any type of drugs or alcohol. It is the duty of the bearer of an Eagle feather to maintain the sacredness of that feather at all times.
It was believed the the Eagle feather immediately commanded the attention of the Great Spirit, as the Eagle was the messenger that could carry the prayers of the people directly to Father Sky. Once the Eagle had delivered the messages of the people the Eagle would return with wisdom or visions from the Great Spirit that would direct the people on their path.
Could that kind of reverence for an eagle feather have something to do with how the eagle feather might have been obtained in the first place?
Care to try it??