Of all the Native American symbols, Thunderbird is perhaps the most universally revered. The Thunderbird is thought to have been inspired by the impressive image of the mighty and powerful Eagle in flight. It is no surprise that many of the characteristics that the Eagle live on in the Thunderbird. Very similar to the Greek Griffin or the Egyptian Sphinx, the Thunderbird is a mythical creature meant to represent the best that humankind has to offer.
The Lakota name for the Thunderbird means ‘sacred winged.’ According to the myth, the word ‘thunderbird’ stands for a noble creature that can create thunder with a flutter of its mighty wings. This creature can influence events in nature, such as rainfall, thunder, and cloud formation. This shows why the Thunderbird is seen as a sign of prosperity and wealth. The Bird Man dance (which originally comes from the Mississippian Indians) is a big ceremony held in honor of the Thunderbird’s sacred gifts to the tribe. This is an emblem of Creation. For many tribes, the Thunderbird was a servant of the Great Spirit, the Supreme Being that is the ruler of everything in the cosmos. It is known as an animal of the Sun, bringing new opportunities with each coming dawn.
The Haida create elaborate masks to celebrate the Thunderbird’s importance in their culture. According to some legends, the courageous and most esteemed tribal members, chiefs, and warriors are blessed with a visit from the Thunderbird before their deaths. The bird acts as a guide, guiding the spirit of the nobleman to the sacred cedar forests. Cedar trees are believed to possess the soul and heart of the bird and are considered to be blessed. Extinguishing one of these magnificent trees is seen as a sign of profanity. Many of the known totem poles of the Pacific Northwest are made of cedarwood. Some folklore traditions consist of stories in which the bird’s spirit spends its days smoking tobacco from ornate cedar pipes, which also connects the Thunderbird to another essential part of Native American culture, tobacco.
But the most permanent image of the Thunderbird eagle is that of a ferocious and honorable warrior. Shawnee and Iroquois warriors were known for meticulously performing highly ritualized warrior dances before going into battle. This was their attempt to appease the Thunderbird spirit and seal their victory over their enemies.
Nowadays, the Thunderbird represents a symbol of power, divinity, and strength. It is much more than just a sign of might; it is a symbol of the strength of character and your unbeaten fighting spirit. No matter what comes your way, you won’t give up, even if the stakes are stacked against you.
The Meaning of Thunderbird Tattoos
Thunderbird was the king of the world above the ground, and the underworld was controlled by the vicious panther or, in some cases, a horned serpent. The role of this bird is to fight against the spirits under the water. They were inhabitants of all four sides of the world. Any person who would dream about a Thunderbird is soon to become a war chief.
Among the Native American cultural landscape, the Thunderbird is seen as a symbol for many things, among them:
- Power and Dominance
- Undefeatable fighting spirit
- Abundance and Prosperity
Thunderbird Tattoo Variations
When we talk about Thunderbird tattoos, these designs leave very little room for the artist to introduce a lot of variety. These tattoos are considered tribal designs to invoke the spiritual power of this deeply revered and respected concept. Even though the general profile remains almost the same across the board, each tribe includes certain features that help you recognize which cultural background the design is from. Such designs tend to be filled with vibrant colors, although it is not unusual to see black and white Thunderbird tattoos. This design personifies all the traits of a noble warrior and a worthy fighter.
A Thunderbird tattoo is the perfect choice for people with strong hearts and will. This is because this tattoo is an excellent way for them to show their fighting spirit.
This tattoo designs conjure up images of power and inner strength through its symmetrical lines and vibrant colors. Even though the designs are all tribal, leaving little room for imaginative reconstruction is rich in color and symbolism. If you want to create a perfect Thunderbird eagle tattoo, you need some knowledge about the Native American tribe you wish to link it with. This is important since each tribe has specific elements that are added to tattoo designs. It is imperative to know the meaning and be familiar with the exact symbolism behind the tattoo design.