Animal Symbols


In Native American Culture and Mythology each animal represents a different quality or way of life. The following is a partial list of those animals and that qualities that they represent.

~Alligator--Aggression, survival, adaptability.

~Ant--The ant represents self discipline and a group effort or teamwork.

~Bat--The bat is the guardian of the night, cleaner.

~Bear--Power, mother cunning, healer, gentle strength, dreaming.

~Bear Paw--Power, direction, connection to creator.

~Beaver--The beaver is a builder or gatherer.

~Buffalo--Sacredness, life builder. The buffalo provides all good things for living, and bestows great curing powers.

~Butterfly--Metamorphosis, carefree, transformer.

~Cougar--Leadership, courage, power, swiftness and balance.

~Coyote--Prankster, insight, playful. The coyote symbolizes duality and the ability to present both sides of an issue. Clowning and humor, perhaps sarcastic.

~Crane--Solitude, independence.

~Deer--Love, gentleness, kindness, gracefulness and sensitivity. Deer carries the message of purity of purpose, and of walking in the light.

~Dolphin--Kindness, play, bridge man to ocean. Dolphin brings us teachings from the water. Breath control and the awareness of tone is also Dolphin power.

~Dragonfly--Flighty, carefree. Dragonflies symbolize whirlwind, swiftness and activity. The dragonfly is an important insect in Zuni legend, where they are shamanistic creatures with supernatural powers. In Hopi rock art, the dragonfly is symbolized by a vertical line with two or sometimes one, horizontal cross line.

~Eagle--Divine spirit, chief of all the creatures in the air, the primary servant of the sun. Powerful in battle, the eagle protects the people from evil. Eagle medicine attributes include clear vision and soaring spirit. The eagle is associated with success, prosperity and wealth. In the Zuni Tradition, the Eagle symbolizes the direction Up.

~Elk--Strength, agility, freedom, power and nobility.

~Fox--Cunning, provider, intelligence. Fox represents twilight and feminine magic.

~Frog--Connection with water element.

~Grizzly Bear--Mother, nature's pharmacist.

~Hawk--Messenger of the sky, observer.

~Horse--Stamina, mobility, strength and power. The horse was introduced to the plains tribes by the Spanish. Shamans are often pictured flying on mythical horses. Horses can symbolize coping under difficult circumstances. Horse is love and devotion, loyalty.

~Hummingbird--Messenger, stopper of time. Hummingbird represents optimism and sweetness. Being able to roll with the punches is an attribute of Hummingbird.

~Lizard--Conservation, agility. Lizard promotes dreaming.

~Moose--Headstrong, unstoppable longevity. Moose represents value and integrity.

~Otter--Laughter, curiosity, mischievous. Otter is a feminine power, and the symbol of grace and empathy.

~Owl--Wisdom, truth, patience. The Mescalero believe that Owl carries the souls of the recently deceased, a death messenger. Owl is the totem of clairvoyants and mystics.

~Rabbit--Alertness, nurturing.

~Raven--Trickster, teacher, hoarder. To Pacific Northwest Coast tribes, Raven represented the shaman's powers and a belief in transformation between human and animal spirits. Raven symbolizes change in conciousness and is the mark of a shape shifter.

~Salmon--Instinct, persistence, determination.

~Seahorse--Confidence, grace.

~Shark--Hunter, survival, adaptability.

~Snake--Shrewdness, transformation. Life, death and rebirth are represented by the shedding of skin. Among the Pueblo Indians snakes and lightning are equated with rain and fertility.

~Spider--Creative, pattern of life. Spider connects the past with the future, creating possibilities. Spider-woman is a major Pueblo goddess.

~Swan--Grace, balance, innocence.

~Turtle--Self contained, creative source. Turtle represents Mother Earth. Informed decisions, planning and adaptability are attributes of Turtle.

~Wolf--Loyalty, success, perseverance, stability and thought. Wolves are also regarded as pathfinders and teachers. Wolf is represented by the constellation Sirius, the Dog. In the Zuni tradition the Wolf symbolizes the direction East.

~Wolf Print--Tracking, movement.