Native American Symbols – Water Bird, Peyote Bird, Thunderbird

Native American Symbols

Water Bird, Peyote Bird, Thunderbird

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The Water Bird is a symbol of the renewal of life, rainy seasons, rivers, distant travel, distant vision & wisdom. It is often also referred to as the Peyote Bird because the Water Bird plays a significant part in the Native American Indian Church Peyote meetings and, in fact, since the early 1900’s has been the symbol of the NAC.

Peyote Bird

Peyote Bird

The Peyote/Water Bird is not a Southwest tradition, but one of the Plains Indians. The Peyote Bird is connected with lightning, thunder and visions. Those who dream of the thunder beings will become Heyokas, those who do things backwards, upside down, or opposite. This is a Lakota way of being. It is part of the medicine of the Heyoka to remind us that we should not take ourselves too seriously – that’s why Heyoka is often translated as the “sacred clown”.

Peyote - Water Bird

Peyote - Water Bird

The Thunderbird is a cross-cultural symbol of the Southwest, Plains and Pacific Northwest tribes as well as in the non-Native world. Much is written about the origin of the symbol and its significance. It has been suggested by some that the symbol was borrowed by Native American artisans from the white man’s medal dies. Others claim the Thunderbird has always lived in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. There, carved totem poles are often topped with a Thunderbird with outstretched wings. Looking at a Thunderbird, it is easy to see why it symbolizes power, strength and nobility.

Zuni Inlay Thunderbird Pin Pendant by Randolph Lateyice

Zuni Inlay Thunderbird Pin Pendant by Randolph Lateyice

Thunderbird Pin Pendant by Zuni Rose Tekela

Thunderbird Pin Pendant by Zuni Rose Tekela

Zuni Inlay Thunderbird Pin Pendant by Leagus Ahiyite

Zuni Inlay Thunderbird Pin Pendant by Leagus Ahiyite


16 thoughts on “Native American Symbols – Water Bird, Peyote Bird, Thunderbird

  1. Hi Sorry about the last comment, got the email messed up. I was appreciating you art pictures and comments on the symbology, just wondering if you know of more about the Thunderbird symbol.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. in slavic mythology as well (before the christian church destroyed our heritage), the bird symbolizes power, it is the top god that sits upon a tree that symbolizes three levels of the world.

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  4. Well what I have been told about the water bird is that it can circle the world within a day, they were given to us by the great mystery because we need their help and guidence. they can do many great things.

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  6. Hello. I am looking to find a beaded healing water bird bracelet (which can be set in silver) to prolong wearing. I had a beaded bracelet of a water bird (lots of turquoise beads with feathers on the sides of the waterbird) set in leather, but with a lot of wearing, it wore out.
    Can you please tell me how to find this type of bracelet ?
    Thank you.

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  8. What is the meaning : when you dream of a water bird ? Flying in circle where i was standing (in my dream) your replies would be appreciated , thank you !

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  10. I am entering my 6th decade on July 31st. My friend is hosting a medicine wheel ceremony for me to celebrate elderhood passage. We are sharing this with about a dozen other wise women. Symbolically, there are about 12 white egrets nesting on the pond outside our house. What insight can you share about the still white egrets and passing into elderhood as a woman? I would be grateful to hear your words. Jeanne

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