Powerful Native American Animal Symbols

The Native Americans lived in harmony with the earth and revered many creatures for their strength, courage, and hard work.

To the Native American People, the Creator is in all nature and this includes everything that lives. Their belief is that each of us must find our place within nature in order to live at peace. All creatures and plants in creation are considered to be equal, each fitting into the system according to its individual characteristics and abilities.

Animals and their totems represent a persons spirit guide, or helper in physical form. An excellent introduction to this interesting subject is provided in the book, ‘The Eagle’s Gift by Carlos Castenada’.

Some Native American animal symbols and their meanings:

Eagle


The Eagle is a symbol of the divine spirit, the protector of all things. It has the power to protect against evil, no matter how great that might be. When seen in the sky it was considered to be a sign that justice would be done in battle.

Spinning Lizard

The spinning lizard was a very popular Native American symbol and was used by the Navajo and other tribes. It is mostly seen in old designs from the South-West.

Spider

The spider was a symbol of success through handwork and perseverance. It is found in the artwork of most Native American tribes in all regions. Designs and colors vary greatly but one of the most common designs is the red and black spider seen on pottery and carved into wood.

Wolf

The wolf is a symbol of loyalty and success. This came from the fact that wolves mate for life. They are considered to be the most loyal of creatures. The plains Indians Tribes domesticated some wolves, to a degree. The animals became faithful and loyal to them and followed them as they went. These animals were quite closely interbred and this is where the lineage of the domestic dog began.

Buffalo

The buffalo was the most important of animals to the Native Americans. It gave them life by providing everything from clothing and shelter to food and tools. It was natural that it would revered and venerated because of the great gifts it bestowed on them.

Bear

The bear symbolizes great strength and leadership. The Blackfoot tribe selected two men each year to serve as “Grizzly Bear Men” . These men had to fight like bears and charge fearlessly at the enemy.

Turtle

Tribal legend has it that the turtle enabled the second people to be born on the earth and that he carried a piece of the old earth on his back to make this possible. This is an almost universal symbol among Native American Tribes.

‘When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.’

~Cree Prophecy

A Giant Awakes in Nantes

Nantes, the home town of Jules Verne, is situated in western France.  Here, near the river Loire a giant deep-sea diver sleeps gently, waiting for his task to begin.  Sadness marks his face even as he sleeps.  He has been searching the world over for his missing niece and although he may not know it, the end of his search is coming.  The diver or scaphandrier as he is known in French will be paraded through the streets of this historic city at the beginning of the Estuary 2009 arts festival.  The biannual festival gives the French mechanical marionette street theater company Royale de Luxe the opportunity to unveil their latest creation.

He wakes and his helmet is placed on his head by his human helpers. This would well be considered a little too high for many but the performers seem oblivious to the height.  Royale de Luxe was founded in 1979 and is actually based in Nantes, making this a return to the city that bore the company.  They have, however, performed all over the world, as far away as Chile and Australia.  You may remember the Sultan’s Elephant strolling through the streets of London in 2006.  An associate company, La Machine created last year’s spectacular ‘Princesse’ a massive visiting spider in Liverpool when in was European City of Culture.  Here, however, a giant returns home.

He rises, perhaps in the hope that his long quest will soon be over. The Giant, now equipped in deep sea diving gear and his little niece, the Little Giantess have featured in the works of the theatre company before.  However, they have been away for a while with some information about which the world had previously been unaware.  As with any Royale de Luxe performance there is a long and some would said drawn out back story.  In 1912 the Titanic went down to the bottom of the ocean.  Unknown to us, however, was that in its hold a giantess was held captive, the mother of the Little Giantess.

From a distance he looks small, but only if he were an ordinary person paying a visit to a Lego theme park.  As he steadies himself he can resume his long search.  The enormous diver is the scouring the earth for the Little Giantesse.  She was captured in Iceland which was at the time the home of the giants, each having his or her own particular task.  The Little Giantess was to wake up the geysers of Iceland when a message needed to be sent.  You may wonder what on earth geysers and messages have in common but little known to the outside world the geysers were used to transmit signals between the giants, much like the smoke signals of American natives.

The mechanics behind this piece of street art are staggering and more than a little scary.  How much the gentlemen forty meters above the ground are being paid is unknown but whatever it is, it is not enough.  But where does the deep-sea diver properly come in to the story?  He is the brother of the giantess who drowned on the Titanic.  Originally he had been busy doing his own job – sawing up icebergs – to realize that his sister and her daughter were missing.  His statistics are something extraordinary as well.  He stands at nine and a half meters and a width of almost three.  Weighing in at two and a half tones it takes thirty operators to control his movements.

In his past he has travelled the seabed for years and eventually he found the wreck of the Titanic.  He buried his sister near the sunken ship.  While there he discovered a mysterious box full of mail from the Titanic.  He now had two new goals in life – the task of finding his niece and to deliver the mail.  Since then he has wandered the earth in search of the Little Giantess.  Still wearing the diving outfit he used to search the bed of the ocean, this festival marks the end of his search.

The momentum of his stride is enough to pick up two grown men off their feet and dangle them through the air.  As with all of the Royale de Luxe open air spectacles little was given away before the day of the event, in this case Friday 5 June.  All anyone knew was that the giant would wake up at 1.30 in the afternoon on the Tblisi Deck of the town.  He made his way, astonishing the crowds on the way with his sheer scale.  He was forced to stop twice on his route, however, not far from the hospital.  However, a huge crowd waited for him at the Place Gloriette and he did eventually make it.

Will he ever find his niece? Well, tomorrow is another day, after all.  However, this spectacle represents altogether another wonderful performance by the massed ranks of Royale de Luxe and a wonderful start to the Estuary 2009 Festival in Nantes.

Postscript.  The good people of Nantes and the world had to wait until the day after to see whether or not the giant was reunited with his niece.  It seems, now that it has happened, only fair to share with you the end result of his epic search.  The picture below speaks for itself.

The author would like to thank Flickr user misterstf for permission to use the wonderful photographs contained in this article.

L’auteur voudrait remercier misterstf sur Flickr pour la permission d’employer les photographies merveilleuses contenues en cet article.

10 Ancient Gods of Beer

These are the world’s ten known Ancient Gods of beer:

  1. Silenus


    In Ancient Greek mythology, Silenus is the God of beer and a drinking companion. He is usually associated with his buddy, Dionysus. He is often featured as a bald and fat man, with a big beer belly. He is normally drunk and it is said that he had to be carried either by donkeys or satyrs (in Greek mythology, satyrs are wood-dwelling creatures with the head and body of a man and the ears, horns, and legs of a goat).

  2. Dionysus


    Dionysus is famously known for being the Ancient Greek God of intoxicating drinks like wine and beer. He is also known as the Liberator as he liberates oneself with the intoxicating power of alcoholic drinks. He is the son of Zeus and considered Silenus his tutor.

  3. Ninkasi


    The picture here is from a beer ad named after the Sumerian Goddess.

    Ninkasi is the Ancient Sumerian Goddess of beer and brewing. It is said that she provides the world with the secret to make beer. In Sumerian culture, she is also known for her power to satisfy human desire.

  4. Osiris


    In Ancient Egyptian culture, Osiris is the God of agriculture. He is also known as the God of beer. A Greek historian from the time of Julius Caesar once wrote that, “Osiris taught the people how to brew the beverage which is made of barley, which is not greatly inferior to wine in odor and potency.”

  5. Aegir


    In Norse mythology, Aegir is actually the God of the sea. It is believed that he has the control of the storms and turbulent seas. He is also known as the God of beer and brewing.

  6. Tezcatzontecatl


    In the Aztec tradition, Tezcatzontecatl is the God of pulque (a traditional alcoholic beverage made of fermented juice of the century plant, and similar to beer). He is also associated with drunkenness and fertility. A monument built like a pyramid was built on top of the Tepozteco Mountain for the worshiper and now, this place has become a well known archaeological site.

  7. Mbaba Mwana Waresa


    In Zulu mythology, Mbaba Mwana Waresa is the Goddess of beer because it is believed that she created the first beer for human comsumption. She is also known as the Goddess of rain and the rainbow. She is celebrated for her search of true love.

  8. Yasigi

     

    In certain African cultures, Yasigi is the Goddess of beer, dance and masks. Her statue portrays her as large-breasted female holding a beer ladle while dancing.

  9. Radegast


    In the Czech mythology, Radegast is the God of hospitality and mutuality. According to the legend, he is credited for the creation of beer.

  10. Raugupatis and Ragutiene


    In Ancient Baltic and Slavic mythology, Raugupatis is known as the God of fermentation. Raugutiene is Raugupatis partner and she is known as the Goddess of beer.