Animals

Bearbear looking up

If there is one animal that is feared by most humans, it is the bear! What do they recommend again? Make yourself look big? Play dead? Well, the native american meaning of the bear is quite different. The spiritual meaning of the bear is one of wisdom, insight, healing and get this protection. Yep, a bear is always a good sign and a good power.

When in the forest or near a river, if you see a bear, know that a sacred place is nearby and that spirits of the area are around you. As with all our relations, respect the bear, pray to it but do not try to intimidate the bear. However, I am not saying to get up close and take a selfie with the bear (you know in these days and age, one has to assume one has tried this….). In fact, do not approach a bear, just stand back and respect his presence. Unless the bear is provoked, wounded, he would not attack. They are protective of their youngsters but can also be protective of children, if they sense danger. Just let the bear be, don’t fear it, pray to it, respect its presence and territory and know you are in the presence of good energy and power.

For bear related art, jewelry and products, click here

Bear

Buffalo

Yes I know the buffalo is not the prettiest of animals….But it’s a strong and meaningful one. wild buffalo

Thus the buffalo is a good sign, a sign of strong power. Seeing a buffalo is a like receiving a message of strength. If you think back centuries ago, buffalo survived the harshest conditions with the Plains Nations. The very essence of the Plains nations’ culture, spirituality, way of life, was based on the buffalo. Unfortunately, the arrival of the European explorers almost made this big animal extinct. Their number went from over 60 millions before the arrival of the first explorers in North America to a small number. The Crows tried to save the buffalo, which they considered the buffalo to be sacred. The white buffalo which you can see below, was considered to be especially sacred, being a symbol of spirituality, wisdom and wealth.

If a buffalo has found its way in your life (it could happen….), it is a reminder that you are provided for, that greed is not necessary, as abundance is present when all our relations are provided for. Express gratitude and pray for the needs of all creatures.

white buffalo

 

Coyote

The Coyote, not to be mistaken for a small wolf (well I don’t know how well you know your animals….), is one of the most ancient mythic symbols in the Native culture. There is a magical coyoteflair to the coyote, who is often portrayed as a trickster. He is full of special powers and teachings however. Depending on circumstances, the coyote is usually a good sign but can also be misleading. Some thought need to be put into the sign of the coyote. The coyote has the ability to change into any form and is known to be a teacher. 

Therefore, the coyote teaches us about the powers of Nature, behaviors and values. Hence why you have to look carefully at his behavior if you run into him as well as look at what is going on in your life at the moment. The meaning might be a personal one that will vary from person to person or situation to situation. Well people, animals cannot always give us signs straight up. Sometimes we have to put in some efforts into decoding those signs….

Coyote Yosemite

Deer

Ah the deer, the cute little deer 🙂 What does seeing a deer mean? roe deer

Deers, generally speaking are good powers but they can bring you a message in many different ways. Therefore, deers can warn us of danger, they can tell us what is ahead on the road if we are traveling for example. They can be seers and help us see what is coming in the future. But they also remind us to live our lives in balanced and grace. Nations can also have their own meaning associated with the deer. For example, in the Tlingit nation of the Northwest, deers are also symbolic of peace.

Moreover, deers can bring messages of sexual connotation. Let’s not get too excited, let me explain. As I said, they warn us if what’s coming, usually a person. If a woman sees a deer or a buck while traveling, it might mean that she will encounter a man who has sexual desire for her. This could be good or bad depending on what the woman is looking for. In any case, deers are associated with fertility in many native cultures. Meeting a deer on a hiking trail or in the woods, usually signal that someone else is there. Study the deer’s behavior to know what or who could be coming. Finally, if seeing a deer approach a campsite, think that the deer might be bringing you a message from the spiritual world. Ask the deer to communicate that message in a language you can understand (e.g. in your dreams).

deer fawn

Wolfgray wolf

The wolf, a majestic almost extinct animal. Often feared and killed out of fear. However, the native american meaning of the wolf is very different: the wolf is a good sign. He is seen as a protector, as wise, intelligent, strong and courageous. His stare is mysterious and intriguing.

Although these days, wolves are thought to attack humans, it has not always been the case in Native mythology. Warriors drew strength and spiritual power from the wolf and the wolf was seen as sacred.  Therefore the spiritual meaning of the wolf is powerful. They can be shadowed to learn how to survive and live in the woods.If you wolf paintinglisten and look, the wolf will show you where to find food (good to know for hunters!).

For wolf related art, jewelry and products, click here

 

 

 

50 thoughts on “Animals

  1. Matthew

    I always enjoy the symbolism of various cultures, and this finds itself at the top of the list. Do the animals work as guides for people, offering protection to those that are most aligned to a specific symbol?
    As always, I loved the read!

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Hi Matthew
      Yes animals are part of our relations and they all have a message for us. When you see or meet an animal, observe what it does. Its movements, if they are typical or unusual. They all have something to communicate to us.

      Reply
  2. Kirsty

    This post reminded me of the movie Brother Bear ahhaha. I think this post was so interesting and something I think many people would find really cool!

    Reply
  3. Ed

    Hi Emily,

    Very good insight on the folklore of animals and how they relate to the native culture. How times have changed. Animals are mostly thought of as pests or trophies these days. Thanks

    Reply
  4. Marcus

    Some of these animals look cute, especially the wolf, but obviously we need to be careful not to treat them the same way we would our pet dogs. As for the bears, I really don’t know what I would do if I came across one of those.

    Reply
  5. Elasa

    Great post! As with most things life is cyclical in nature. I believe that we are beginning to see a return to the heritages that we have lost sight of. People are realizing that they do not belong on the top of a pyramid but instead belong within a great circle, neither above or below anything else.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Absolutely Elasa! I could not have said it better! We are part of a circle, and animals are as much our brothers and sisters as humans. We are all related

      Reply
  6. Kathy

    A lovely article, it’s interesting to read the meanings of animals in traditional native healing. I particularly like the buffalo, they have beautiful eyes!

    Reply
  7. Cat

    Beautiful post, Emily. I love reading about different ways to look at the animals, and this kind of spiritual symbolism is fascinating. I’ve always felt most at home when there are beautiful creatures around me – maybe not bears, but you know what I mean (I hope).

    I’m inspired. Keep up the great work you’re doing here.

    Cat

    Reply
  8. Saber

    Hi Emily,

    Very interesting post and I love it! Maybe I should find a chance to tell these animal stories to the children, they’ll sure love it too.

    Saber

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Hi Saber
      thanks for visiting! Even though the meaning of the animals was not meant to be children’s stories, I am sure children would enjoy them 🙂

      Reply
  9. Sarah

    Hi Emily !

    This isn’t the first time that I’ve been visiting your beautiful and unusual website and I just want to say that I absolutely love it! As a (half) Indian American myself on my mother’s side, I have deep admiration and affection for this beautiful people and its many many tribes. My ancestors were Algonquins =)

    In the Indian culture, I am a wolf and I love the description you wrote of it! =) Fascinating symbols, these animals.

    You are a true passionate, don’t ever change !

    Take care

    Sarah

    Reply
  10. Rey InAZ

    I like the difference in perspective and thought is has given me. Especially on the Coyote, in AZ most people including myself have seen coyotes and they are getting pushed out of their natural habitat. It is interesting to know that they are seen as mysterious teachers, and tricksters yet amazing animals. The Asian cultures have the year of the Rooster, or similar things associated with people. In Native American culture is there anything similar?

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Rey!
      I have seen my share of coyotes on the West coast of Canada as well 🙂 There is no animal attached to years but rather attached to a person. So we all have our animal totem equivalent if you will. The characteristics of the animal represent you in a sense

      Reply
  11. Laurine

    I really enjoyed your article. It’s humbling to step outside one’s own sphere and look at another’s. The different connotations associated with each animal was very interesting. Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  12. Jeff

    Hi Emily I loved this post! I’ve been travelling the last year and a half and the first place I went to was England where I worked on an “exotic animal farm.” What made it exotic? It had a herd of American Buffalo! It was the first time to see one in my life and it was on a farm in England haha! What was more amazing is how gentle they were. The dominate male was about the size of a small mountain and would walk right up to you and eat out of your hand. So incredible! And at no point in my travels did I ever feel I was lacking or missing anything. Everything was provided for! maybe there is something to that! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Jeff
      Although I am not a fan of zoos (see my latest post to know why) but what a great experience that must have been! To have a buffalo eat out of your hand, that is just awesome. Buffalo have so much strength, so much wisdom. They certainly helped the ancestors survived.

      Reply
  13. Brooke M.

    Hello, Emily! This was very interesting. I believe many animals have different “powers” if you will, but I find it quite beautiful that the native American people could see the beauty in all of them and appreciate them naturally as they are, respecting the boundaries and purpose of the animal. I wish people today would apply that same line of thinking. It’s been breaking my heart to see so many animals be misunderstood, poached, endangered, and abused. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Brooke
      It breaks my heart to see the animals to be so mistreated. Brings tears to my eyes. Animals are so beautiful and all I want to do is respect them and take care of them. They are our relations

      Reply
  14. Eloah

    Great article. I always like reading about symbolism. I specially enjoyed reading about the Bear. I came across one about 2 weeks ago, I was terrified but I kept my cool and let it go into the woods. They are truly beautiful animals. Best wishes!

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      wow that must have been quite the experience! Bears are a strong spirit for sure. Beautiful animals, too bad they are feared by humans

      Reply
  15. Git

    Hi Emily!
    I really like this page and I have always had an interest in natural healing and symbolism. The wolf is an animal that sometimes appear in my dreams as my friend. Does that say anything about me?

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Hi Git!
      Glad to hear you like the page 🙂 It depends on what the wolf means to you. Does it have a meaning in your life? Anyone watching over you perhaps?

      Reply
  16. Vicky

    Love the list of the animals here. Great pictures as well. The bears are so cute. So cool with the different meanings as well.
    Wisdom, insight and healing with good power don`t let the cuteness fool you :).

    Reply
  17. Vivi

    I love symbolism, I’ve wanted to get a wolf tattoo for some time now, and having read this is another pro, the power associated with a wolf as well as the strong survival instinct are real appealing especially due to personal aspects of my life. I also love the wolf related products you have linked, so spiritual and original!

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Vivi
      glad you enjoyed the information! I love the wolf symbolism too. I just had a wolf ring carved by a friend of mine and I love it! I think that your animal symbol should be meaningful to you.

      Reply
  18. Hindy Pearson

    Hi Emily, another interesting post I have learned from. I love the way the native american culture promotes such respect for the earth and all living beings, their heritage steeped in tradition and symbolism. I would say society has a lot to learn. Reading about the various animals, and the meaning they hold, I can’t help but be a little sad about the huge chasm between their love for animals, and the hunters’ love of their slaughter. Seems the hunters could learn a thing or two.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Hindy!
      The way of life is all about respect. Respect and honor of all our relations, including our brothers and sisters the animals who are there to guide us. The ancestors were hunters but they only took what they needed and gave back to Mother Earth. And they also honored and celebrated the animal whose life they took.

      Reply
  19. Rawl

    I’m laughing because you had to tell people not to approach a bear or get a selfie with it. I have a respect for all of these animals but in particular the bear because of their strength and power. A friend of mine born and raised in Colorado is used to seeing animals such as bears, coyotes and wolves. She knows not to approach them. But she worked at a camp with people not as familiar or respectful of animals and they kept leaving the sugar in the back of the truck. When she would see it she would bring it inside. She told them you can’t leave it there because of the bears. They kept blowing her off. So one night she saw the sugar but left it there. Of course bears came, wrecked the truck getting to the sugar and proceeded to eat the sugar. They told her to go out there and shoe the bears away. She looked at them like they were crazy.

    Bears are amazing awesome beautiful animals who are protective; but if you don’t bother them they won’t bother you. They may eat your food but they will leave you alone as long as you don’t disturb them.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      absolutely Rawl!! Bears have a message for you. They are very powerful. And they really will leave you alone if you do the same. Love your friend’s story!

      Reply
  20. Clark

    Hi Emily, really loved this fascinating article you wrote. Some of the points you made seem very intuitive (like I’ve known about it already), though I do not know why!

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      H Clark!
      Ahhhh I totally understand! I felt the same way at the beginning. it is something, a way of life that is in me. As though I have lived it before.

      Reply
  21. Andre Kish

    Hello – Very interesting article – thanks.

    Can I ask if there are major differences between the native American symbolism used here, and that used by the ancient Chinese in their astrology? Both cultures originally based their symbologies upon long term and considered observations of the traits of these animals? For example – the Chinese monkey is said to be kind of skittish – switching from branch to branch quickly and not staying with anything for long.

    I’m also very curious about how these symbology systems convert to the modern world and can be interpreted today as the cultures that created this symbology were completely different to ours with many ancient cultures rooted in shamanistic concepts (ie, spirits of animals, spirits of rocks, etc).

    Modern societies seem to base their religions or idealogies using humans as the things to be observed and imitated as heroes, rather than natural processes as used in shamanism, where perhaps patience can be learned through long term observations of the seasons, for eample – long term meaning not just 5 minutes but years of close study.

    Our quick thinking and fast acting world doesn’t leave room for this so perhaps we have trouble grasping the full significance of what’s actually being demonstrated in the older cultures, such as the great and earth sustaining culture of native America before the Europeans decimated it all, then revamped it for the tourists.

    It’s great to see the buffalo and the wolves returning to Yellowstone. Who knows, if the volcano underneath it goes up, we here in the UK may get fried buffalo dropped on our heads while the US gets covered in ash? Doesn’t that worry US folk just a little?

    Many thanks for this post – it genuinely was very interesting. Very best wishes – Andre

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Andre
      thank you so much for your comment! I think that yes our society today has changed. But I believe it is totally possible to follow the traditional ways of living. I certainly try as much as possible. And our relations in nature are all around us and continue to have messages for us. If we just take the time to listen.
      There are resemblances between the eastern ways and the Native ways. The original stories and legends might be different but the ways of life can have resemblances.

      Reply
  22. Zarina

    Hi Emily!
    Completely new and interesting information to me!
    Love learning about new stuff.
    Given that I moved to Canada only when I was in late teen years, I kind of missed learning about Native people.
    Your niche is pretty unique, I gotta say!
    Keep up the good work 🙂

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Hi Zarina
      Well it is never too late! I am in Canada too and did not learn about the history in school. Because, well, it is not taught there. And that’s just the sad truth. Happy you enjoyed your visit here 🙂

      Reply
  23. jagulba

    Do you know if these animals represent sort of gods in jungle or guidance for people to reach the spiritual world? As far as I remember they also (especially birds) represents the spirit of an individual who passed away. Was there any penalty for killing one of these creatures in some tribes?
    Fascinating article, thanks for sharing it.
    Cheers

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Hi Jagulba
      Hmmm good question. Each animal is seen as a relation to us. With wisdom and teachings to pass along. They all have something to help us, they are there to guide us. I would not say that there is one that represents the “god of the jungle”, although the eagle is our connection to the spiritual world and the Creator.

      Reply
  24. John Running Wolf

    I am very glad to see an article addressing Native Americans and out relationship with nature. You have described several positive items. I am curious to know why you did not also describe other animals and their meaning to my people. As with the crow & owl just to mention a very small example. I have learned from observing the “white man”, that they tend to wear blinders so that they only see the meanings from animals that provide positive meaning and yet ignore all the others. Another thing that should be addressed is that all animals have a spirit and that when one is killed for hunting, you thank the animal for giving up it’s life for providing food and then sing songs to honor it.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Hi John
      thank you for visiting my site 🙂 This was meant to be a sample of animals. I might add more at some point. I completely agree with you that we need to look at all sides, not just the positive one. Animals are sometimes there to warn us of something and we need to listen as they have a lot of wisdom. And I am with you that when killed they need to be honor as they are sacred. And the ancestors always used as much as the animal as possible, if not all of the animal. So there would be no waste. I have much respect for our relations the animals, I feel their pain.

      Reply

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