native american symbols

The story begins with a person who is an orphan; or someone who feels like an orphan, alone, separate, different, and misunderstood. This character has questions about their circumstance (for example:”Why did my parents die?”, “Why doesn’t anyone like me?”, Why am I always in trouble?”, “What will I do with my life?”, etc.). These questions set off the journey.

Menton J Matthews


“A term, "Symbolic Annihilation.” If you portray a people who are underrepresented in the media as a dead culture, a culture of the past, to a lot of society, they’re not going to exist. We are a people with a past, not a people of the past.“

Source: Frank Waln at the Field Museum of Natural History 

[BOTTOM IMAGES]  The Indian Creek Playground where children can play on mock-ups of sacred objects from various Native Tribes and the "educational” descriptions of play objects talk about Native People as if they no longer exist. 

solitairespades  asked:

This is a bit of a generalized question, but it's something I'd like to hear multiple opinions on: What do the mods here think about writing mythological creatures that have origins in different cultures and religions, but have since been assimilated into a public 'bestiary' of sorts? I'm talking things like golems, gnomes, kelpies, etc. Are there creatures that the mods here wish people would stop writing about? What about creatures that you'd like to see written differently?

Using Mythological Creatures Made Common

I can’t really think of many Indian or Hindu mythological creatures that have been assimilated into the public consciousness like you say, but one thing that happens that I wish wouldn’t is the occasional use of Hindu deities as villains.  

Kali and Shiva tend to get the worst of it in this regard, because they’re deities associated with destruction, and can be quite terrifying in some depictions.  Kali, for example, gets portrayed as a System Lord in Stargate, and is not a nice person, to say the least.  And while she never appears in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the heart-ripping bad guys are flagrantly depicted as a Kali cult.

As a philosophical skeptic who doesn’t believe in the factive reality of any gods, you might not think I would care about this, but the effect of this trope isn’t the vilification of deities but the othering of the people whose culture surrounds those deities, whether they actually believe in them or not.  With Abrahamic religions and Christianity in particular being so dominant in the west, such that even most atheists in America or Europe approach their non-belief from an ex-Christian perspective, Hindu iconography, cosmology and practice falls so outside this general sphere that we’re markedly other already.  Thus assimilating into Western society already comes with an immense pressure to abandon your cultural traditions, even the purely material ones, because said society contains a streak that seems so incompatible with your ancestral philosophies.  So when those weird four-armed, elephant-headed, funny-colored gods show up in mainstream media as evils to be defeated, it paints the culture around them as backward and superstitious at best and barbaric at worst.

You can still do things with Hindu deities in fiction, and some works I’ve read that do are actually very good and well-written even if the premise is somewhat uncomfortable at times (Zelazny’s Lord of Light comes to mind).  I mean, here, I even made a snarky post a couple of years ago about how you can assemble an entire Avengers team out of Hindu deities:

(I guess I’ll have to add guys for The Vision and Scarlet Witch now).

The thing about Hindu gods is that they can be very compelling characters.  Keep in mind that Hinduism is the last living continuant of the reconstructed Indo-European religion, which spawned the Norse gods, the Greek gods, and more.  Like those pantheons, the Hindu deities are super-human and extra-ordinary (note the hyphenation), and so in some Hindu stories they can be portrayed as fallible and even amoral, because their roots lie in a philosophical system that was primarily concerned with keeping the world turning, as opposed to the grace and salvation narrative of, say, Christianity.  Many times, the Hindu gods do not give humans any special status above other forms of life, which can be baffling to outsiders.  There are some very interesting and compelling narratives that can be built out of this, which is why seeing the deities devolved into villainy is disappointing and saddening.

We’ve got some badass demons and monsters who I haven’t seen much of in fiction at all: vetālas, bhūtas, and pishachas are quite nasty (pishachas particularly so), and they’re rarely portrayed as anything but evil and troublesome, so negative portrayals of those probably wouldn’t cause too much furor.  Asuras and rakshasas are generally evildoers but on a more human scale.  They are less often portrayed as outright monsters as humanoid races who have a propensity to go astray in various, often bloody ways.  The issue with that is that they are involved in so many obviously Hindu stories, and are not always evil (they may be virtuous but corrupted, scholarly, and worship various gods, and some are even heroic), and they form a large part of Hindu philosophical underpinnings usually as foils for righteousness.  It would be difficult and potentially offensive to use them out of context.

This is all just my personal opinion, and while I consider myself quite well-informed, I can’t speak for all Hindus.  Many would be annoyed and angry at depictions that I might have suggested are okay.  While I personally think those folks could stand to lighten up a notch or two, I can’t discount their opinions as invalid, so just be aware that what I have to say on the matter is likely going to err on the laissez-faire side of things.

Also, stay away, Dan Brown:

-Mod Nikhil

For me, I believe some mythological creatures shouldn’t be in public consciousness. I’ve found Native beliefs in particular bastardized and appropriated left and right, especially in new age religious circles. White people have become the authority on Native spirituality in mainstream discourse, and that is so beyond twisted I shouldn’t even have to explain why.

If something is part of a living and marginalized religion, it shouldn’t be touched without bringing the whole religion into the work. There’s a difference between taking a long forgotten, dead, or peganism-revived religion and modifying it to suit your needs, taking a dominant religion to suit your needs, and taking a marginalized religion to suit your needs. The first two aren’t really directly hurting anyone, while the last one is deeply hurting someone.

It’s made worse how these creatures/deities are normally cast as monsters, which, as Nikhil said, others the cultures that hold these beliefs. It paints a one sided and very negative picture of the cultures in question. If you’re going to use these creatures, especially as villains, have positive aspects of the culture to counterbalance it.

This really isn’t needed for Christianity or even pagan based religions (in the West, at least), simply because the heroes usually end up being part of the culture they’re fighting against, either explicitly or implicitly. There’s already that cultural balance of good and evil within the work. However, when creatures come from religions that have a less well known spirituality, you end up with some pretty bad unfortunate implications in regards to what “good” and “evil” is.

So if you’re going to cast these parts of specific religions, make sure you’re pulling from both the good and evil side of the religion and taking it within its own contexts.

-Mod Lesya

In 1995, OSA archaeologists uncovered a piece of circle-stamped pottery at a site in Dubuque County. The ceramic sherd was radiocarbon-dated to 128 BC. The circle decoration is found on prehistoric ceramics throughout the river valleys of the upper Midwest. Circle symbolism is widespread in Native American culture across North America.

Black Elk (1930) said, “You have noticed everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round… The sky is round, and I have heard the earth is round like a ball and so are all the stars… The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.”

anonymous asked:

Do you acknowledge cultural appropriation? I've talked to a few other antifas and anarchos and the general consensus from both groups is that it lacks importance in the grand economic scheme of things (in other words capitalism is more oppressive etc?) my feeling is that cultural appropriation is a component of racism that is perpetuated BY capitalism. the demonization of non white practices/ cultural things contributes to poverty/ police brutality essentially creating racialized eco segregation

This is basically my understanding of things as well.

In my view, there are certain instances of appropriation that are more egregious than others, that speak to a greater inequality between different groups of people than others (white people stealing Native American/First Nations cultural symbols while actively contributing to their genocide, stealing the efforts and labour of black people and black culture etc). And you’re absolutely right in that it’s definitely a hallmark of capitalism, especially as it’s seen today, since cultural appropriation mostly manifests itself as finding and exploiting things that are easily profitable. I wouldn’t say that this isn’t “as important” in the grand economic scheme of things, since I think there are insights to be gained from this if the correct frameworks are studied.

- Mod A

Braids Symbolizing Healing & Hair-touching Boundaries

@lanewilliam asked:

First, my main character came from a neglectful facility, where her hair became very matted and tangled, and her adoptive family cleaned and braided it. So her braids become associated with healing, nurturing love and chosen family. Is this an appropriate use of her hair in the story? Are there pitfalls I should be careful of?  Second, I’m looking for advice on other characters touching her hair. Should I be careful about having close friends, family and love interests touch her hair? Does it matter whether those people are Black or White? Or is it fine so long as it’s an appropriate to the relationship (mischievous sister pulling it, father patting it, lover stroking it, etc) as opposed to coming from a creepy stranger?

I don’t see a problem with this, as you’re giving braids a positive association. Remember her hair doesn’t need to be braided in order to be positively associated, though, and just having clean hair is enough. But I’m just throwing that out there; it’d be a bit of a reach to pull a negative association out of her getting braids after this situation. It doesn’t need to be bigger than it is.

Do consider her head would likely be tender and fragile after that much neglect, so braids aren’t the best option to jump right into as it would likely lead to breakage, especially on the weaker edges. Perhaps there’s a rest given before she gets her hair braided, or it’s braided very gently.

Idea: You could also focus on her hair being properly washed with natural hair-friendly shampoo/conditioner or cleaning conditioner (i assume at this neglectful facility, if she had shampoo it was some cheap kind or chemical-laden one that damages Black hair) and detangled, deep conditioned, moisturized…overall just being cared for properly. Again just ideas of some of the things that might go into her hair being cared for. I’m glad you’re showing aspects of her hair being cared for, and It doesn’t necessarily all need to be on-stage.

As for having others touch her hair, it would depend on the character on what she accepts or not. It’s more about trust and the established relationship as you said. 

I’m definitely in on avoiding having strangers or rather anyone she’s not close to sticking their hands in her hair unchecked, but that goes for closer relationships as well. Having a little sister pull it would likely be annoying regardless, but if she’s sensitive it might be a bigger deal. That’s something you’ll want to work out in her character. 

A lover stroking it, father patting it, are all loving things that she may allow the other party because it’s affectionate and they’re close vs. an evasive act of curiosity or entitlement. 

Lesya has more on positive braiding symbolism!

~Mod Colette

A similar concept exists in the Native-written ballet Going Home Star, which is about two modern Natives reconciling the residential school system. The main characters end up journeying through the past to expose what happened in residential schools (the male main character as a survivor of the schools and ran away, but faces the possibility he could have easily been killed; the female main character is a Native disenfranchised from her identity who reconnects) and explore their historical culture, even though they had lost it in modern day.

After they’ve exposed the depths of the wounds that occurred in residential schools, they are finally able to start rebuilding. The visual symbol of this rebuilding is her braiding his hair. Considering one of the first things residential schools did to Native children was to cut their braids (and one of the flashbacks to the residential school showed a girl getting her hair shorn), this was an incredibly meaningful gesture. 

You might want to consider this type of care and trust, with what Colette said. Braids are involved, intimate and extremely culturally bound, so an arc off healing and reconnecting wouldn’t be out of place at all. It would probably be quite cathartic for the Black character, and probably Black readers— I know I sobbed my eyes out, seeing myself reflected back and being given so much hope I could still find my culture even after losing it generations ago.

~ Mod Lesya

It is sometimes more revealing, then, to analyze the stereotyper than to deconstruct the stereotype. When anti-Black stereotypes (repulsive bestiality, say)  are recoded as positive (libidinal freedom, presumably), it tells us more about the White erotic imaginary than about the objects of its fascination. The adulation of Black physical agility has as its tacit corollary a presumed mental incapacity. The lauding of “natural” talent in performance implies that Black achievements have  nothing to do with work or discipline. The adoption by Euro-Americans of Native  American words and symbols as names for cars, sports teams (the Braves), and so on surely marks a bizarrely mediated form of admiration, a form of  "ambivalence" quite unwelcome to those invoked (whence the Native American protests over the football audience’s “tomahawk chop”, seen as a white projection of the symbolically endorsed but historically problematic violence of “scalping”).
Racism is thus adept at the art of the false or boomerang compliment, two forms of which are primitivism and exoticism. A primitivist film like The Emerald Forest (1985) lauds the “natural ways” of the “Invisible People,” but in a romanticizing manner that has little relevance to the concrete struggles of indigenous people. Exoticism solipsizes its object for the exoticist’s pleasure, using the colonized “other” as an erotic fiction in order to reenchant the world. Phyllis Rose contrasts racism with exoticism:
While racists are threatened by difference, the exoticist finds it amusing  Racism is like a poor kid who grew up needing someone to hurt. Exoticism grew up rich, and a little bored. The racist is hedged around by dangers, the exoticist by used-up toys.
Racial attitudes are multiform, fissured, even schizophrenic. Multicultural bellies, full of tacos, felafel, and chow mein, are sometimes accompanied by mono  cultural minds. Ellison describes a White youngster, his transistor radio playing a Stevie Wonder song, shouting racial epithets at Blacks trying to swim at a public beach. Third World immigrahts of color to the US, pressured by the reigning Black/White binarism, may adopt ambivalent attitudes, identifying with fellow minorities but also tempted to affirm their precarious sense of national belonging  by themselves rejecting Blacks. When immigrants got off the boat, Toni Morrison  suggests, the “second word they learned was ‘nigger. Racism also provokes another kind of schizophrenia: the same dominant society that adores African American celebrities expresses rampant paranoia toward the so-called underclass of inner-city youth. In Latin America, the same Europeanized elites that proudly   invoke their mestizo culture steadfastly refuse to empower the mestizo majority. Thus very real cultural "victories” — and it does indeed make a difference thatmillions of people adore “minority” celebrities — mask political defeats. Racial  categories, in sum, are contradictory, and while these contradictions offer no solace for the victims of racism, any complex analysis must take them into account.
—  Stohat and Sham, Eurocentrism to Polycentrism
Cultural Appropriation vs. Cultural Appreciation - An Educative Post

Before I start off this HELLA LONG post I’m going to say one thing.

I have been a victim to “Bitch you’re white" more times than I can list.

This is a side-by-side collage of my face in cosplay makeup vs my actual makeup that I wear most days 

I wear very light foundation for most of my characters because it photographs well 

There’s no real reason I NEED to do this I just like the way it looks bite me

I also take pictures with Filter because I’m garbage aha

I am a Native American person, with tan skin, dark eyes, and naturally black hair. 

I am listed in my papers as a Person of Color.


  1. Cultural Appropriation -

The term cultural appropriation is typically thrown out when a light-skinned person is pictured wearing or behaving in a way that is typically seen as exclusive to a certain culture. No matter the context of the act people on this site are very fast to add the label of Cultural Appropriation. 

The actual definition is this shown above, though it’s a little less complex than that.

Cultural Appropriation is wearing a culture as a costume or making it a fashion accessory for aesthetic. Mocking the sacred rituals of that culture and using it as a cheap marketing tactic or as a joke. 

Using Native American headdress. symbols of war and honor (Much like the Medal of Honor given by the American Military) in most tribes never given to anyone but the chief and members who’ve given extreme sacrifice, as costumes and marketing gimmicks is considered Cultural Appropriation 


There are many

MANY people who are considered White Passingwho, the moment they post pictures of themselves wearing Hijab, Bindi, Yukata, etc, etc, are instantly berated and called out for so called- Cultural Appropriation. 

      2. Cultural Appreciation - 

Cultural Appreciation is something very different.
Cultural Appreciation is most commonly found in people trying their damndest to honora culture. 

Pictured here is Reese Witherspoon learning to perform a traditional Japanese Tea ceremony, wearing a Kimono as part of the ceremony to honor the culture – 

Or here, The Indian Festival of Color, where people of all races are welcome to join so long as they honor the culture. 

Or the Cherokee Indian Festival, where people are allowed to join so long as they respect the sacredness of this event to its people.

Culture is a beautiful thing and it DESERVES to be appreciated so long as it’s done respectfully - 

If you feel there should be anything else added to this post message me and I’ll consider adding it.

Common and not-so-common weaknesses: Vampires

Disclaimer: The following series of posts are to do with pop culture and should be taken lightly.

Common and not so common weaknesses for vampires:

Sunlight - Though Vampires did not burn in the sun until the film Nosferatu (1922) early depictions of Dracula (including the original 1897 novel) suggested that he was weaker by day, tired, and unable to take his wolf, bat, or mist forms by day even though he could walk about by day.    

Silver - It’s become popular to say that silver only works on werewolves but in early lore vampires and werewolves had similar weaknesses. In fact it was believed that if a werewolf is killed he would become a vampire.  Popular fictions that have silver as a weakness for vampires -  Dark Shadows (1966 TV series), Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973), Dracula 2: The Ascension (2003), Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D (2012), Dark Shadows (2012)

Roses / Wild Roses in particular - Though rarely addressed in the movies the novel Dracula says that wild roses placed on a grave will prevent a vampire from rising. It may even ward them off as surely as garlic.   This comes up in the Dracula novel, Dracula The series (1990 show) and Fright Night 2 (1988).   The weakness is only subtlely hinted at in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (the 1992 movie).

Wolfsbane - Wolfsbane was used as a vampiric weakness in the 1931 Dracula movie.   It is also a common weakness of werewolves and was used to “keep” Lawrence Talbot dead in Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman.   Once the wolfsbane was removed from his grave he healed and rose from the dead. (In the original Universal monster movies werewolves were immortal).   Note: Wolfsbane is a real world toxic plant that can kill a human being if ingested. There is no antidote so this is not something that is harmless to ordinary humans.  

Garlic - Common in Eastern European folklore and popularized in Dracula is the weakness to garlic.  Sometimes the scent will repulse a vampire while in other vampires the touch will burn them.  Usually it acts like an irritant.  Vampires are supposed to have heightened senses so the scent might be too much for them.  Raw garlic is believed to help to build the blood and garlic is very good for cholesterol and other circulatory problems. It may be the beneficial health properties of garlic that made peasants believe it warded off vampires that might have been preying on the sickly.    

Hawthorn - Hawthorn is believed to be the plant used in Jesus’ crown of thorns and so it became a weakness for Dracula in Satanic Rites of Dracula.

Running Water - In some lore vampires cannot cross running water.  It may be that a vampire cannot cross running water without help.   Dracula crossed water just fine in the 1897 novel.  

Specific obsessive compulsive tendencies:

Poppy Seeds - In Eastern European folklore poppy seeds are a common weakness of vampires, not that it would hurt them but that vampires would feel a compulsive need to count them.  This might also work with grains, rice, or even toothpicks or other small objects.  Movies rarely acknowledge this weakness but it does come up in Dracula 2: The ascension.  As a change on this, in Dracula The Series (1990 series) poppy seeds were irresistible to easily addicted vampires.  

Another obsessive compulsion common in Eastern European vampire lore is that vampires do not like knots in rope.  If you keep a long cord with knots near your bed the vampire would feel a compulsive need to de-tangle it and may get so distracted as to not have the time to feed on you.

Mirrors - Vampires won’t die from looking in a mirror but in many folklore they do not cast a reflection. One myth says that it’s the magical properties of the silver backing of older mirrors that allows this, which means newer mirrors would allow a reflection in the mirror.

Photographs -  Vampires not showing up on camera is actually a newer myth, probably tied to the idea that they do not cast reflections in the mirror however things like Fright Night 2 (1988) contradict this.

Symbols of Faith - Catholic symbols worked in the novel Dracula to ward off vampires.   Often the rule is the person using the symbol of faith has to have a personal believe in the power of the object o what the object represents for it to work.  In The Dresden Files this is called Faith Magick.  In Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula books this is blamed on a psychosomatic suggestion.  Vampires are actually highly susceptible to suggestion and conscious or unconscious psychic influence.  They are very psychic but also very vulnerable to psychic influence because of this.  In The Dresden Files Harry Dresden is able to use his pentacle to ward off vampires as it’s the symbol he has faith in.  In Forever Knight an Ancient Egyptian symbol of Ra works.   In Penny Dreadful a combination of Catholic symbols, Native American blessing, and Hebrew warding also works.

Hypnosis - Due to Vampires being very psychic and apex predators they are not gifted in defending themselves against psychic assault as their prey usually have no such power.   According to Fred Saberhagen’s Seance for a Vampire this makes them very easy to hypnotize.

Stake through the heart - In Buffy The Vampire Slayer staking a vampire will cause them to disintergrate.  In True Blood they explode.  In earlier fictions this just stops the heart, preventing the flow of blood and thus paralyzing the vampire. In this case the vampire can be revived if the stake is removed unless the vampire is decapitated and burned.  In some lore the stake has to be wood but in others it has to be a particular wood like yew or hawthorn or holly yet in other fictions it’s any long thin object that can pierce the heart and pin down the vampire and even iron will suffice.

Fire - Fire works against vampires in The Seven Golden Vampires and the novels of Anne Rice. It makes sense that anything burned to ashes will likely stay dead.  There are exceptions. In some vampire lore if you pour fresh blood (particularly vampire blood) onto a vampire who has been rendered ashes by fire (or daylight) that it may revive them.

Decapitation - In many vampire fictions decapitation will work against them.

Dismemberment / Disorientation - Removing the limbs of a vampire and turning them upside down in their grave is not so much supposed to destory a vampire as it is supposed to trap them because the vampire won’t be able to tell which end is up so even if they manage to re-attach their limbs they won’t know which direction to climb and dig to get out of the earth.

Loss of homeland soil - In the novel Dracula (and one episode of the 1960s Dark Shadows) vampires require soil from their homeland in order to properly rest otherwise the vampire will be unable to sleep and or replenish their strength. Without it the vampire becomes weak and tired.

The touch of an innocent - This is a weird one. It comes up in Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula in which the touch of someone innocent or pure of heart would harm Dracula.

Werewolves - in Van Helsing the saliva of a werewolf / werewolf bite was actually a weakness of vampires for some reason…

Magick - Almost anything has at least some weakness to magick.

Wood - In Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula books vampires are as vulnerable to wood as faeries are to iron. It’s a symbolic aspect having to do with wood having been something alive and changed into something else, much like a vampire.  In some folklore particular wood like yew or hawthorne or Holly is what would harm a vampire.

Invitations - In traditional Vampire folklore a vampire cannot enter a home without an invitation.   Fred Saberhagen’s version of Dracula described it as like a mortal trying to leap up a sky scraper. You simply cannot do it.  In Buffy The Vampire Slayer (TV series) it’s like an invisible barrier.   The same is true in True Blood. In Let the Right One In Eli could enter without an invitation but it caused her to start to bleed from various parts of her body.   She may have died if she did not flee or gain the invitation.  In True Blood the invitation being revoked would cause the vampire to be pulled out of the house.  In Lost Boys The Vampires could enter without an invitation but if they did get an invitation it meant the usual weaknesses were void while in that house.  In the comedy What we do in the Shadows they cannot even enter a public building without an invitation which results in them needing a bouncer to let them into a Night Club via spoken invitation. Sometimes the invitation can be mere gesture but being spoken is the traditional rout to give a vampire an invitation.  The need for an invitation is usually only for a private home.

Hopi Indian Snake Shaman –

Hopis believe their ancestors originated in an underworld, and that their gods and the spirits of ancestors live there. They call snakes their brothers, and trust that the snakes will carry their prayers to the Rainmakers beneath the earth. Thus the Hopi dancers carry snakes in their mouths to impart prayers to them.

Native American Animal Signs: Meanings for Native Zodiac Wisdom

Native American animal symbols can encompass just about all the animals, and their symbolic representation to the many tribes of the Americas.

To narrow down the focus a bit, this page is devoted to birth animals - or zodiac animals.

Many Native American cultures have the belief that a person is assigned an animal upon the time of birth.

Below are interpreted Native American symbols of the zodiac and the characteristics for each one.

Another source of Native American animal symbols is the Animal Totems.

Otter: Jan 20 - Feb 18
A little quirky, and unorthodox, the Otter is a hard one to figure sometimes. Perceived as unconventional, the Otter methods aren’t the first ones chosen to get the job done. This is a big mistake on the part of others - because although unconventional, the Otter’s methods are usually quite effective. Yes, the Otter has unusual way of looking at things, but he/she is equipped with a brilliant imagination and intelligence, allowing him/her an edge over every one else. Often very perceptive and intuitive, the Otter makes a very good friend, and can be very attentive. In a nurturing environment the Otter is sensitive, sympathetic, courageous, and honest. Left to his/her own devices, the Otter can be unscrupulous, lewd, rebellious, and isolated.

Wolf: Feb 19 - Mar 20
Deeply emotional, and wholly passionate, the Wolf is the lover of the zodiac in both the physical and philosophical sense of the word. The Wolf understands that all we need is love, and is fully capable of providing it. Juxtaposed with his/her fierce independence - this Native American animal symbol is a bit of a contradiction in terms. Needing his/her freedom, yet still being quite gentle and compassionate - we get the picture of the “lone wolf” with this sign. In a nurturing environment the Wolf is intensely passionate, generous, deeply affectionate, and gentle. Left to his/her own devices the Wolf can become impractical, recalcitrant, obsessive, and vindictive.

Falcon: Mar 21 - Apr 19 
A natural born leader, the Falcon can always be looked upon for clear judgment in sticky situations. Furthermore, the characteristics for this Native American animal symbol never wastes time, rather he/she strikes while the iron is hot, and takes action in what must be done. Ever persistent, and always taking the initiative, the Falcon is a gem of a personality to have for projects or team sports. The Falcon can be a little on the conceited side - but he/she is usually right in his/her opinions - so a little arrogance is understood. In a supportive environmental the Falcon “soars” in his/her ability to maintain passion and fire in relationships, and always remaining compassionate. Left to his/her own devices, the Falcon can be vain, rude, intolerant, impatient, and over-sensitive.  

Beaver: Apr 20 - May 20 
Take charge, adapt, overcome - this is the Beaver motto. Mostly business, the Beaver is gets the job at hand done with maximum efficiency and aplomb. Strategic, and cunning the Beaver is a force to be reckoned with in matters of business and combat. One might also think twice about engaging the Beaver in a match of wits - as his/her mental acuity is razor sharp. The Beaver has everything going for him/her - however tendencies toward “my way or the highway” get them in trouble. Yes, they are usually right, but the bearer of this Native American animal symbol may need to work on tact. In a nurturingenvironment the Beaver can be compassionate, generous, helpful, and loyal. Left to his/her own devices the Beaver can be nervous, cowardly, possessive, arrogant, and over-demanding.

Deer: May 21 - Jun 20
This Native American animal symbol is the muse of the zodiac. The Deer is inspiring lively and quick-witted. With a tailor-made humor, the Deer has a tendency to get a laugh out of anyone. Excellent ability for vocalizing, the Deer is a consummate conversationalist. This combined with his/her natural intelligence make the Deer a must-have guest at dinner parties. Always aware of his/her surroundings, and even more aware of his/her appearance, the Deer can be a bit self-involved. However, the Deer’s narcissism is overlooked because of his/her congeniality and affability. In a supportive environment the Deer’s natural liveliness and sparkly personality radiate even more. He/she is an inspiring force in any nurturing relationship. Left to his/her own devices the Deer can be selfish, moody, impatient, lazy, and two-faced. 

Woodpecker: Jun 21 - Jul 21
Woodpeckers are usually the most nuturing of all the Native American animal symbols. The consummate listener, totally empathic and understanding, the Woodpecker is the one to have on your side when you need support. Of course, they make wonderful parents, and equally wonderful friends and partners. Another proverbial feather in the Woodpeckers cap is the tendency to be naturally frugal, resourceful, and organized. In a nurturing environment the Woodpecker is of course caring, devoted, and very romantic. Left to his/her own devices the Woodpecker can be possessive, angry, jealous, and spiteful.

Salmon: Jul 22 - Aug 21
Electric, focused, intuitive, and wholly creative, the Salmon is a real live-wire. His/her energy is palpable. A natural motivator, the Salmon’s confidence and enthusiasm is easily infectious. Soon, everybody is onboard with the Salmon - even if the idea seems too hair-brained to work. Generous, intelligent, and intuitive, it’s no wonder why the Salmon has no shortage of friends. This Native American animal symbol expresses a need for purpose and goals, and has no trouble finding volunteers for his/her personal crusades. In a supportive environment, the Salmon is stable, calm, sensual, and giving. Left to his/her own devices, those that bear this Native American animal symbol can be egotistical, vulgar, and intolerant of others.

Bear: Aug 22 - Sep 21
Pragmatic, and methodical the Bear is the one to call when a steady hand is needed. The Bear’s practicality and level-headedness makes him/her an excellent business partner. Usually the voice of reason in most scenarios, the Bear is a good balance for Owls. The Bear is also gifted with an enormous heart, and a penchant for generosity. However, one might not know it as the Bear tends to be very modest, and a bit shy. In a loving environmentthis Native American animal symbol showers love and generosity in return. Further, the Bear has a capacity for patience and temperance, which makes him/her excellent teachers and mentors. Left to his/her own devices the bear can be skeptical, sloth, small-minded and reclusive. 

Raven: Sep 22 - Oct 22 
Highly enthusiastic, and a natural entrepreneur, the Crow is quite a charmer. But he/she doesn’t have to work at being charming - it comes easily. Everyone recognizes the Crow’s easy energy, and everyone turns to the Crow for his/her ideas and opinions. This is because the Crow is both idealistic and diplomatic and is quite ingenious. In nurturing environments this Native American animal symbol is easy-going, can be romantic, and soft-spoken. Further, the crow can be quite patient, and intuitive in relationships. Left to his/her own devices, the Crow can be demanding, inconsistent, vindictive, and abrasive.

Snake: Oct 23 - Nov 22
Most shamans are born under this Native American animal symbol. The Snake is a natural in all matters of spirit. Easily attuned to the ethereal realm the Snake makes an excellent spiritual leader. Also respected for his/her healing capacities, the Snake also excels in medical professions. The Snake’s preoccupation with matters intangible often lead others to view them as mysterious, and sometimes frightening. True, the Snake can be secretive, and a bit dark - he/she is also quite sensitive, and caring. In a supportive relationship the cool Snake can be passionate, inspiring, humorous, and helpful. Left to his/her own devices, the Snake can be despondent, violent, and prone to abnormal mood swings.

Owl: Nov 23 - Dec 21
Changeable and mutable as the wind, the Owl is a tough one to pin down. Warm, natural, with an easy-going nature, the Owl is friend to the world. The bearer of this Native American animal symbol is notorious for engaging in life at full speed, and whole-hearted loves adventure. This can be to his/her detriment as the Owl can be reckless, careless, and thoughtless. Owls make great artists, teachers, and conservationists. However, due to his/her adaptability and versatility - the Owl would likely excel in any occupation. In a supportive, nurturing environment the Owl is sensitive, enthusiastic, and an attentive listener. Left to his/her own devices, the Owl can be excessive, overindulgent, bitter, and belligerent.

Goose: Dec 22 - Jan 19
If you want something done - give it to the Goose. Persevering, dogged, and ambitious to a fault, the Goose sets goals for accomplishment, and always obtains them. The goose is determined to succeed at all cost - not for the approval of other - but those with this Native American animal symbol competes with his/her own internal foe. Driven is the watchword for the Goose’s dominating personality trait - which makes them excellent in business and competitive sports. When tempered with supportive, nurturing family and friends, the Goose excels in all things he/she attempts. In a loving environment the Goose can be very passionate, humorous, gregarious, and even sensual. However, lead to his/her own devises, the Goose may fall into obsessive or addictive behaviors that will inevitably be his/her demise.

Feathers- Magical Uses

This is a post specifically for my dear friend thegaywiccan who asked about the uses of feathers in magic. 

Feathers have had symbolic meaning in folklore, cultures and magic for a very long time. there are many different types of feathers and a whole bunch of different meanings and associations attached to them based off of their color and what bird they have come from. for example Native Americans believed that symbolically feathers represented the spiritual ascension to a different plane, wearing feathers as a sign of their ability to communicate with spirit and their wisdom. in other cultures, it is believed that a black feather landing on your doorstep is an ill omen that signifies that death of someone close or bad luck. you can find over 100 different interpretations on them. 

Feathers are magically ruled by the element of air, which is the realm of thought and  intellect, which is the first step toward creation.  this makes feathers good helpers in communication. But each feather can also hold other specific correspondences, relating to factors such as the bird it came from, its color, the place and how it was discovered.

Bird feathers are symbols of the wind, the divine,  Flight, the mind and new opportunities, travel,  speed or swiftness, wisdom, communication, spirituality and spiritual powers. also finding a feather can be a sign  the connection to Gods or Goddesses. Finding bird feathers can be seen as a reflection of reaching new levels of consciousness or Change. It is always good magic to collect feathers. (i personally have tons of feathers that i have collected, however some  feathers are illegal to own, so make sure you know what you are picking up) 

Colors are also consider to be an important component in the use of feathers or effective of feathers in magic, I have personally found that Naturally colored feathers are far more powerful than chemically dyed or altered ones. some examples of colors and their meanings are how white feathers  are commonly associated with peace, purity, the moon, spirituality  and good luck. where as green feathers can symbolize harmony, unity, prosperity,  good health, nature, plants and animals, fertility and so forth. 

in magic feathers can be used in spells and rituals to promote change, or are used as catalysts. Sometimes particular feathers which have meaning to their owner are added to wands, bags, sachets,  witches ladders, necklaces and many other ritual tools to help gain power, draw good luck or keep away negativity. 

however the knowledge of what kind of feather is best used for its intent can only be discovered much like many magic things by trial and error. A single feathers usefulness in magic is primarily decided by the energy, intent and associations put into the feather by its user.  In addition  to this energy, the feathers will hold onto its specific associated natural abilities.

Overall feathers have a wide range of uses, meanings and correspondences associated with them.  

-photo by HoneyCoyote (no i did not keep the feather) -



CobraCult Jewelry // “Brightest Flame, Darkest Shadow” // Winter Lookbook
Photographer: Amanda Leigh Smith
Models: Rachel Krantz & Jessica Ilalaole
Styling: Tashina Hill
Hair & Makeup:Brooke Burgess & Rachel Krantz
Produced by: Jessica Ilalaole
Art Director & Roduction Assistan: Claire Everson


You sat cross legged on the couch next to Bucky, your lips pursed as you added the finishing touches to his arm, his eyes watching you an amused smile on his lips.

“And…done.” You said, pulling the brush away.

“What did you paint?” Bucky asked, shifting the arm a little to look at it, glad to see the star was painted over with a different symbol. “What is that?” He asked chuckling lightly.

“It’s the Native American symbol. For good luck, because knowing you, you need as much as you can get.” You teased as he smiled, glancing to you, nodding.

“Not when I have you by my side.” He said, leaning over, pecking your lips.

“Especially with me by your side.”

Native American Sun Symbols

Sun symbols are seen in some shape or fashion in every Native American tribe. This should be a clear indication of how much the sun was revered for its power.
Unanimously, the sun was of great importance. Provider of warmth, facilitator of crops, and the great bearer of light – it is no wonder this symbol finds its way on so many Native American artifacts and artwork.