Now I ain’t saying she a gold digga, but…ok that bloody magpie just stole my wedding ring…and the tin foil I had my sandwich wrapped in!
So I think we all know that magpies are generally associated with liking shiny things and taking them to put in their super pimped out blingtastic nest (they actually do steal shiny things, that’s not a myth). But is there more to this winged thief than meets the eye?
Well for starters, did you know that the common Magpie mates for life? This means they can be associated with family, devotion, loyalty and love.
In China the magpie is a symbol of good fortune and happiness. Killing one is a bit like breaking a mirror over here, it brings you bad luck. The Manchu people in China even regard Magpies as a sacred bird and under the Manchu dynasty the Magpie was a symbol of imperial rule. So if you could easily incorporate one into an eastern themed tattoo design without it being out of place at all.
In Chinese and Korean legend the Magpie Bridge joins 3 stars of Aquila (called the Cowherd) to Lyra, (called the Spinning Damsel) across the river that is the Milky Way on the 7th night of the 7th moon. Don’t ask me exactly what that means because, to be honest, I don’t have a clue but it sounds pretty cool.
Koreans also considered magpies to be messengers that brought good news where as in Mongolia it is thought that the Magpie was a very intelligent bird with the ability to control the weather.
The Germans said that one magpie alone was unlucky, two indicated happiness or marriage, three means a successful journey, four means that you will receive good news and five means that you will have someone coming to visit you.
The Greeks seemed to have a meaning for everything didn’t they? The Magpie is no exception. They considered the magpie a bit of a drunkard I’m afraid as it was scared to Bacchus the God of wine. Therefore the magpie became associated with being a wee bit merry.
English people see a lone magpie as a symbol of bad luck as with many predominantly Christian regions. This is probably due to the fact that magpies were the only bird that refused to enter the ark. In Somerset, in the south of England, some people used to carry an onion on them at all times to provide protection against magpies as they were also thought to be an omen of death.
In reference to magpies my grandmother always said: One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold and seven for a secret never to be told. Apparently that’s a pretty popular saying so there’s some more meaning for you.