Thursday, July 5, 2012

Native (Indian) Symbolism


KOKOPELLI FLUTE PLAYER....According to the many stories about him, this humped-back flute player has a bag of songs on his back and is said to travel from village to village.  His songs bring fertility to the crops, to women who desire to have children; he entertains the children and his songs also bring healing and love.

BEAR....power, protection and strength
EAGLE....strength, courage, wisdom and keen sight
WOLF....a guide, intelligence, steadfastness, protection
BUFFALO....abundance, generosity, strength, survival, healing, soul carrier or sunkisser
GILA MONSTER....sign of the desert
HORSE....swiftness / journey
SNAKE....defiance / wisdom
DEER TRACK....plenty game
MAN....human life
LIGHTENING ....spirit
WATER WAVES....constant life

Indian Animal symbolism

Animals Used in Indian Symbolism

Alligator - Survival, strength and aggression.

Avanyu - the feathered skysnake - Frequently found in Tewa, Keres and Zuni pottery and in some jewelry. He is the storm bringer, the changer of seasons. Connected with lightning, thunderstorms and violent, sudden change.

Antelope - Symbolized partnership, grace and speed.

Badger - Fierce hunters and honorable healers. Also have spiritual powers. Their tracks may signify health and strength as well as a way of summoning the power of the animal spirit, or as an indication of the presence of the spirit. Badgers are revered as healing animals and as tenacious hunters. Their tracks may signify health and strength. Bear Paws/Tracks are also symbols of authority and leadership. 

Bear - Symbolized steadiness, patience, pragmatism, balance, big hearted and secure, first helper, direction protector from the west Bear Paws are usually considered a way of summoning the power of the animal spirit, or as an indication of the presence of the spirit. Bear Paws/Tracks are also symbols of authority and leadership.

Beaver - Symbolizes busy, in charge, efficient, strategic, wit and untiring.

Birds - Bird feathers represented creative ideas, honor and prayer.

Buffalo - Symbolically and realistically prized and equated with medicine and honor. The buffalo signified all good things such as sacred prayer, goodness, reverence and honour.

Bull - Represented richness in life, wealth, courage and strength.

Crane - Symbolized the end of the growing season.

Cricket - Symbolizes a singer, is connected with springtime, fertility and water.

Deer - Represents speed, alertness, institution, purity, sense of humor, quick wit and protector. Deer Tracks, are symbols of prosperity, safety, shelter, and also of the proximity to prey. Also used as a directional indicator, and as a clan symbol. 

Dragonfly - Connected with water and Springtime, fertility, renewal; considered a messenger.

Coyote - Symbolized a powerful prey animal, an excellent tracker, associated with unpleasant happenin, a trickster.

Eagle - Symbolized as one who carries prayers, vision, possesses courage, wisdom and directioal protector close to the gods The master of the sky. The eagle is often confused with the "thunderbird" image concept. Almost universally, the Thunderbird as a Native American symbol conveys concepts such as: Power, provision, expansiveness, transformation, divine dominion, indomitable spirit, unquestioned authority and messages from the other worlds.

Elk - Represented freedom, majesty, power and stamina.

Feathers - Symbols of prayer, ideas, honor, creativity.

Falcon - Symbolized a natural leader, clear judgment, efficient, effective, active, persistent, passionate and compassionate.

Fox - Symbolized intelligence, elusiveness, cleverness, cunning and discretion. Also the fox was symbolic of feminine "magic," and still is!

Frog - Symbolized fertility, the coming of the spring and renewal.

Goose - Symbolized ambition, business sense, staying power or driven.

Horned Lizard - Symbolizes lizards. Significant in some Navajo stories connoting perseverance and keeping ancient secrets. They are also used in story telling to be an annoyance to the Coyote!

Horse - Symbolized purity, nobleness, courage, power, independence of spirit, freedom to roam and pride. Horses were also used to attribute special qualities that people possessed such as the ability to be sympathetic, loving and giving--always offering a helping hand.

Hummingbird - Symbolized as ferocious fighters and defenders. Represented devotion, the cycle of life, permanence and eternity.

Moose - Symbolized wisdom, spontaneity, integrity, stubbornness, positive self-image and unpredictability.

Otter - Symbolized honesty, unconventional behavior, effective, imaginative, intelligent and perceptive.

Owl - Warm, changeable, enjoys life to its fullest, good listener, a teacher, an excellent hunter. Can be excessive and mean at times. Some tribes associate the owl with death and darkness. Among the Zuni and Keres Pueblo people, the owl is respected as the guise of departed, wise elders and leaders' spirits. 

Parrot - Symbolized the coming of the rainy season and the sun, spiritual, symbol of beauty. Parrots were considered carriers of these specific prayers and would confer blessings. Kept for their feathers and color, by many Pueblo people (secured through trade with people to the far South), and also considered a very expensive posssesion thereby denoting prosperity.

Pheasant - Represented a warning sign. Silver feathers of the pheasant symbolized prosperity.

Quail - Symbolized in mated pairs: devotion, permanence, eternity and the life cycle. These are often modified in many simple forms.

Raven - Symbolized enthusiasm, charm, energy, creative ideas, idealism, diplomacy and ingenuity. Also symbolized vindictiveness and abrasiveness.

Salmon - Symbolized focused, purposeful, goal oriented, intuitive, creative, stable, a motivator and different.

Snake - Symbolized spiritual, healing powers, passionate, fertility, lightning, speed and stealth.

Tadpole - Immature frogs that connote fertility and renewal. Because they change, they are considered very powerful.

Turkey - Represented resourcefulness, freedom, courage, sustenance (food for life) and faith. The turkey is mentioned in several Tewa Pueblo stories. Its feathers have many ritual uses.

Turtle - Symbolized strength, fertility, long life, and staying power. Considered to be able to defy death, and is also an annoyance to Coyote.

Water Birds - Symbolized renewal of life, wet seasons, rivers distant travel, long vision, wisdom. often inaccurately called "thunderbird", which is not a Southwestern tradition, but rather one of the plains people. In that context, connected with lightning, thunder and visions. Those who dream of the thunderbeings must become Heyokas -- those who live out their dreams backwards (Lakota tradition). The image has also been modified and used as the symbol of the Native American Church, founded by Commanche Quannah Parker around 1910.

Wolf - Symbolic of a tracker, directional finder, leader, loyalty, intuition, a problem solver, stability communicative skills and teacher. Wolf Tracks, or any other predators tracks usually signify a direction rather than simply the spirits presence. These also are a clan short hand indication of kinship - "wolf clan", for example. Also symbols of authority and leadership.

Woodpecker - Symbolic of a nurturer, listener, empathizer, supporter, organizer, and resourceful. Frugality is also symbolic of the woodpecker.

Native American Hopi Symbolism

Native American Hopi Symbolism

Hopitu-shinumu (Hopi) means Peaceful People; this serves as a background to understanding their use of symbols.

The Hopi are expert craftspeople, and possess uncommon agricultural skills.

Their connection with the land, cultivating, and harvesting is truly superior. Specifically, their ability to skillfully coax yielding corn from the desert sands is to be commended. This connection to earth, and nature is constantly exhibited in Hopi symbols.

A few Hopi symbols and their meanings are provided here with an aim to bring about understanding and respect to these diverse and skillful people.

Hopi Maze SymbolMother Earth or Maze Symbol:

This is a common symbol among many Native American tribes, including the Hopi.

One of its representations is that of mother and child, the connection of earth mother to us as her children.

The beginning, straight center-line represents the child – or our philosophical beginnings – the surrounding maze represents the enfolding energies of mother earth.

 Note the maze does not enclose the center –line representing the child. The symbolism then is strong when we realize the support of the mother is constantly around yet our ability to venture out on our own is always there.

Hopi World Symbol:

This symbol signifies world to the Hopi The "cosmic cross" or four bars represent north, south, east and west correspond to the outermost points on the horizon where the sun passes through the year; the solstice and equinox points.

The four circles inside the outer outline represent the four nations (the first four tribes of mankind), which came to the world to keep balance.

Hopi Sun Symbol:
A symbol of creative and natural energy.

The supreme god due to the Hopi's dependence upon it for the growth of corn, and other sustaining crops.

The sun symbol represents the heart of the cosmos and deals with vitality, growth, and passion.

Hopi Spiral SymbolHopi Spiral Symbol:

This rendition of the Hopi spiral is also common among North, South and Central Native American Indian tribes.

The spiral represents the number of journeys or treks a tribe or nation has made to the four corners of the earth.

Engraved on stones, the spiral suggests an intricate journey made to the Otherworlds on back.
Generally, the spiral represents a broadening of consciousness, which is the destination arrived after a long journey.

Hopi Kachina Sun SymbolHopi Kachina Sun Symbol:

Also known as a Tawa kachina, it is a spirit symbolizing of life, growth, strength of spirit, and abundance.

The likeness of this spirit is donned during the solstice ceremony to beckon the sun's return, and begin the growing season.

KOKOPELLI....According to the many stories about him, this humped-back flute player has a bag of songs on his back and is said to travel from village to village.  His songs bring fertility to the crops, to women who desire to have children; he entertains the children and his songs also bring healing and love.