The Australian magpie is not really a magpie at all… Instead of belonging to the crow family, they are classified in the butcherbird genus Cracticus.
They are considered one of Australia’s most accomplished songbirds, with a variety of complex calls and have even been heard to mimic human speech. As well as their song, they are well known for attacking people during breeding season. They actively guard their territory all year round but obviously this is particularly important when there are vulnerable baby magpies around.
In the post on the Eurasian magpie, I didn’t go into too much detail about their colouring, the black and white and the symbolism that surrounds it. Because the keyword for this card is balance, I thought I’d focus on it here. The magpie, with it’s black and white feathers, is a representation of dualities; of yin and yang, of light and dark, of earth and heavens, of the mundane and the spiritual. And with these opposites, the magpie also represents balance, wholeness and completeness.
With their dual nature, it is perhaps not surprising that they are considered to be portal keepers, guardians of the gates between worlds. The magpie, with it’s light and dark side, inhabits a strange inbetween place – neither entirely earthly nor entirely heavenly…