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.
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".
at right) 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.
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