Wings symbolize freedom and independence. In many cultures, there is the idea of winged spiritual beings.
Often, they are messengers of the gods (the angel of Christians have wings, Hermes has a winged helmet and winged sandals). Wings, however, are also the attributes of gods or goddesses (the Greek goddess of victory Nike and Chronos are represented with wings).
Not only divine beings are shown with wings, but also mystical beeings. Just as fairies, elves, demons and dragons.
The Greek mythology tells the story of Icarus, who comes too near to the sun with his selfmade wings and falls into the ocean. In the Bible, for example, when wings are mentioned in Psalm 57 it is said "In the shadow of your wings I find refuge." There you will usually have the protective and sheltering appearance.
Even in everyday language wings are used as symbols. The saying "something gives me wings" or "it inspires me" is all familiar. Here we are talking energy, inspiration and drive. When we say that someone let his "wings hang", he is not energized and can not "raise with ease".