Thunderbird: The Legend Behind the Emblem

One of the most popular emblems found on our Native American-inspired handcrafted jewelry is the Thunderbird.  While we’ve been told that it offers aesthetic appeal (and seems reminiscent of a popular sports car), the symbol’s meaning is so much deeper. Typically found in totems, it is a crucial aspect of the Native American history and lore.  Here, we’ll explore the legends behind our Thunderbird jewelry.

Native American Turquoise Thunderbird RingThe Thunderbird: A Symbol of Power and Strength

Its prominence atop the totem poles among many Native American make it easy to infer the Thunderbird’s tribal meaning.  Power, strength, and diligence.  It also carries importance among Indian religions and is frequently believed to transition between our world and that of the afterlife.

Silver Thunderbird ring with a gold emblem

A New Legend to Varying Tribes

Although virtually universal among Native Americans, the precise legends and lore surrounding the creature often vary among different tribes.  Mississippians in the Southeastern U.S. largely viewed thunder (believed to be caused by the Thunderbird) as a symbol of war.  While this view is compatible with the more universal meanings, it actually symbolized impending war.

Bronze, silver and gold Native American Thunderbird charms

The Lakota Sioux, however, hold a somewhat differing view.  According to their legends, birds would appear in the dreams of those destined to practice healing.  However, the Thunderbird carried a unique meaning: that one was destined to become a Heyoka – aka, a sacred clown (not as bad as it sounds).

Significance to Nature

Still, others focused on its importance as a representation of nature.  With lightning streaking from each blink of its eyes, the creature was a champion of our sun and the natural world.  Some tribes went so far as to credit their magnificent bird with controlling night and day by simply opening and closing its eyes.  Others believe that it enriches nature with life-sustaining essentials.

A silver and gold Thunderbird necklace pendant

Thunderbird Jewelry to Call Your Own

To win its favor, many tribes would perform intricate rituals to the bird’s honor. Often, they wore masks mask crafted after the perceived image of the Thunderbird.  We, on the other hand, prefer to craft jewelry beautifully bearing its likeness.  True, the creature itself may not be real. But, its ideals of strength, passion, and leadership continue to exude prominence in our modern society.  Its emblem was also believed to instill these attributes in the bearer.  Our fine selection of Native American inspired Thunderbird Jewelry is guaranteed to beautifully compliment it with a sense of style.




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