Native American Symbols
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In-Site Links to Learning About Native American Symbols
Native American symbols offer us a complete and reverent language of life, nature, and spirit. This language is unmatched in its depth and power.
This language derives its power from the fact that American Indians viewed all things – whether seen or touched – living or inanimate – as possessors of a spirit. Everything is saturated with sacred energy. All things deserve respect and honor. This is a powerful code to live by. Native American’s were intimately connected with all of nature. They understood the one is part of the whole. Just one cannot function without the cooperation and harmony of all else in the universe. Native American symbols reflect this kind of unity with surrounding and environment.
Further, they recognize that everything in the universe holds a deeper meaning. As a result, all objects and beings deserve one’s attention and respect. Therefore, Native American symbol meanings are an integral part of the Indian life.
Native American symbols bring concepts to mind that surpass words. These pictographs convey profound beliefs and perceptions.
The Native American Indian, as a whole, is constantly aware of its relationship with Mother Earth and her creatures. The spiritual goal of the Native American is to live in harmony with the universe.
As such, every-day use of signs, symbols, fetishes, animal totems, and emblems is just as commonplace, as using these tools in celebrations and ceremonies.
“Honor the sacred. Honor the Earth, our Mother. Honor the Elders. Honor everything we share with Mother Earth. Honor the four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones, the swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people. Walk in balance and beauty.”~Native American Saying
How Native American Symbols Work
Depending upon the Native culture (nation, tribe, geographic region), symbols can hold a variety of meaning. Because the Native way is largely a holistic way of life, symbols are often used to represent inclusion, totality and a broad picture of organic life.
For instance, a symbol of an animal not only represents that animal, but its role in the universe, its environment, its unique language and its message to all other living things.
Native American symbols are a testiment that the larger essence of life imbues all things. Take the dream catcher for example. It is a Native American symbol that exemplifies the relationship between human and universe. The dream catcher is a tool to enhance good dreams and thwart bad ones. It is a testimony to the seamless nature of Native mind and Nature. Again, Native wisdom demonstrates no separation between human and environment.Some examples of how Native symbols infuse power are as follows:
♦ Assurance that guardian spirits are present. Whether a warrior needs bolstered courage, or a new home needs a blessing – symbols always mark the occassion.
♦ Spiritual Assistance. These symbols are the image of the spirit, and thus the object on which the symbol is depicted (tools, blankets, etc) is spiritually charged. This means that where a symbol is – so too is the original power.
♦ Reaffirming the Great Design of all things. Symbols are a microcosm (small bit) of the macrocosm (big stuff). In other words, a small symbol embodies the story of the universe, the Great spirit in all things. So, when using a tool or weapon, a symbol is a powerful statement that says “I am this…but I am also ALL of this too”.
Use and meaning of Native American symbols vary according to different nations, tribes and regions. Wherever possible, I have done my best to cite tribal associations, and credit to sources of information within the articles below listed.
To learn more about this natural connectivity evident in Native American symbol meanings, click on the in-site links below listed.
In-Site Articles on Native American Symbol Meanings
Native American Wind Symbols
The Native American symbol for wind is more than just a dynamic lozenge design – it is about a depth of being that spans all dimensions. This page attempts to touch the tip of this concept.
Animal Tracks and Their Meanings
Identifying animal tracks takes our exploration of animal totems, and Native American animal symbols one step further by broadening our uderstanding and respect for the animal spirits we call upon.
Native American Full Moon Meanings
Specifically, full moon names as observed by the from the Algonquin and Iroquois Confederacy. Let this month-specific, symbolic full moons draw you in more fully into the ancient rhythm of lunar cycles.
“If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”~Susquehannock Saying
Native American Mandala Designs
Offers designs with the spirit of Native American tradition. A summary of Native American meaning for each mandala is included. This is more of an artistic article than a historic one, but mandalas are definitely used by certain tribes to invoke higher states of awareness.
Native American Bear Meaning
Learn what the symbolic bear meaning is for the Native American. Includes perspectives from Sioux, Cree and Shoshone. The bear is a powerful symbol to some tribes. This article illustrates the power and profound influence of the bear.
I hope you enjoy browsing through these pages on Native American symbols and their meanings. Whether you are re-connecting to your Native heritage, or researching your next Native American tattoo, I trust you find what you’re looking for on your path of discovery.
May all your Native journeys be meaningful and connected.