Solid sterling silver Navajo inspired Thunderbird handmade pendant.
I love the imagery of native American culture, especially animal symbolism. This piece is inspired by the Thunderbird, hand stamped sun details really set the design off.
Width of pendant 1.65"
Lengths of chain, 16, 18 and 20"
The meaning of the Thunderbird as a Native American symbol varies according to the tribe (geographic location). The prime people of North America who held a vision of glory and power concerning this Spirit Bird.
Almost universally, the Thunderbird as a Native American symbol conveys concepts such as:-
Messages from the Otherworlds
There are several variations in Native traditions about the Thunderbird.
Some tribes view the Thunderbird as an omen of war. When quaking peals of thunder rattle the heavens, it's a sign the spirits are warring in the skies. This was also a foretelling of victory for tribal wars fought on the ground - particularly when ritual ceremonies and dances were reverently adhered to.
When the cry of the Thunderbird was heard (in the form of thunder in the skies) war huts were constructed to begin ceremonial processions. These huts were always made with the wood of the cedar tree, sacred to the Thunderbird. War dances by the Iroquois and Shawnee must be performed to exact precision in order to appease the rousted Thunderbird and insure victory in battle.
Tobacco (also sacred to the Thunderbird) would be smoked in intricate ceremonial order. The effects of the smoke would lift Native souls to the heavens where braves would encounter the Thunderbird in spirit-journeying; further bolstering the warrior's heart and insuring triumph against foe.
Other, more peace-keeping tribes viewed the Thunderbird as supreme Nature Spirit and a solar animal. It's eyes were said to be made from the sun, and upon waking in the morning, the Thunderbird issued the dawning day. Alternatively when Thunderbird retired at night, its sleepily closing eyes marked the solar dusk.
Another Native tale indicates lightning jetting out of the eyes of the Thunderbird when angered (during storms), and deafening cracks of thunder were produced when it flapped its mighty wings.
As a Native American symbol of creation, the Thunderbird marks the separation between the heavens and the earth. Moreover, in Northwestern tribes the Thunderbird is known as the Skyamsen, and is the dominating force of all natural activity.
In this perspective, the Thunderbird is the Creator, Destroyer and Controller of Nature and must be honored and appeased at all cost. This is where we see a connection to rain as the Thunderbird is the bringer of life-giving waters (so agriculture may thrive and provide to the tribe). Countless ceremonies are conducted in honor of the great rain-bringer as a way to insure continued food supply.
Perhaps the most breath-taking specimen of the Thunderbird symbol is atop traditional Totem Poles of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Alaska, Oregon and Washington in the USA and the NW coast of Canada known as the British Columbian province). The more familiar native Nations of this region include: Tlingit and Haida.
In the sacred circles of wisdom among these NW coastal tribes, the Thunderbird perches regally atom Totem Poles to denote ultimate status - an ascended emblem of power and supreme chief among the Native pantheon of natural spirit energies.
Interestingly, Totem Poles are traditionally made from the cedar tree, and the cedar is sacred to the Thunderbird.
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Apr 13, 2018