Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive

Vision Quest - Native American Symbols

  > Aeclectic Tarot Forum > Tarot Special Interest > Tarot Study Groups > Individual Deck Studies > Vision Quest Tarot


 
Soaring Eagle's Avatar
Soaring Eagle  Soaring Eagle is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 14 Sep 2011
Location: Chihuahua, Mexico
Posts: 1,012
Soaring Eagle 
Citizen

Soaring Eagle's Avatar
Vision Quest - Native American Symbols


As some people, and I am one, who find it useful to use the native American symbols used in this deck, I have decided to make a listing. I am in no way an expert on this subject, but this should save you time looking each symbol up on the internet. My interpretations to these symbols is based on the fact that I am native American, and have some knowledge in this area.

This deck is mainly based on the native peoples from the western US.. You will find symbols used for the Southwest peoples, and the Northwest peoples, including Alaska. There are also symbols from the plains peoples. I think I’ve mentioned everyone. For easier interpretation I have used the term “nations” or “peoples” instead of “tribe”. I also used “native” rather than “indian”. This is my preference, it may not be yours. I have tried to “generalize” the terms, and they are in order as they appear in the cards, not in alphabetical order.

Spirit Guide: Each person has their own spirit guide, this will vary person to person. You may note that in my Significant Details, I may mention that a certain animal is a spirit guide. That is my interpretation, it may not be yours.

Clown: Many nations that I know well have a “clown”or "contrary", someone who is backwards. This is especially true for important ceremonies. This person usually wears their clothes backwards, walk backwards, etc.. These people were considered “special”, touched by the Great Spirit. I do not see the clown as about to fall or step off the cliff, because I expect to see him walk backwards.

Coyote: The coyote was usually the “trickster” in most of these cards I merely see him as a spirit guide. “Sometimes considered an omen of bad things; also considered a trickster. The embodiment of the things we cannot change or understand. He is about acceptance of human limitation.”

Medicine pouch: The medicine pouch is very sacred to anyone who has one. It’s contents differ from nation to nation, and person to person.

Deer: The deer is encouraging, active, and sharp minded. “Symbolizes speed and family protection; plenty of game. Watch, listen, be patient, consider irreversible decisions carefully.”

Eagle/Thunderbird/Golden Eagle: Many nations considered the eagle/thunderbird to be a connection to the Great Spirit.

Peace Pipe: A pipe had several uses, in these cards, I see it as being used for meditation by a medicine man.

Smoke: The smoke from a sacred pipe or fire used for meditation was thought to go to the spirit realm.

Eagle Feathers: Eagle feathers were traditionally awarded to a warrior for deeds done well. It signified their status among their people. The same would be said of a woman, though usually her feathers were given in relation to her husband/father. “Sacred pieces of spirit - a reflection of a person's vision and accomplishments - bravery, good judgment, humility and special perspective. Prayers floating in the wind. Chief.”

The Sun: The sun was associated with beginnings.

The Moon: The moon was associated with endings, meditation, thus illusions.

Corn: Fertility

Turtle: Truth, Fertility, Long Life, Perseverence

Grand Mother and Grand Father: The elders of the nation were revered, and their stories sacred.

Bison/Buffalo: Rebirth. “Provides the good things for those living as well as sacredness. Wisdom, renewal and personal power based on knowledge.”

Staff: The staff signified a person of importance, possibly an elder, and the more eagle feathers, the more prominent.

Shaman: The shaman was very revered by most nations. He/she was the connection to the spirit realm. He/she led the prayers, appeased the spirits after a hunt, etc.

Raven: Bearer of news (good or bad)

Wolf: Leader, Teacher of new Ideas and Wisdom

Totem Pole: for the Alaskan tribes, and others, the totem pole is a family history.

Mountain tops: for many nations the tops of the mountain were sacred areas.

Bear: Majesty, Freedom, Power “The protector and symbolizes physical strength and leadership as well as the wild, untamable side of humanity.”

White birds: the Spirit

Dragon Flies: Messengers

Puma: Power, Leadership, Swiftness. “Wise leadership without ego; balancing power, intention, strength; self-confidence; freedom from guilt; cunning.”

Owl: “A very respected animal and is thought to symbolize the souls of the departed. They are connected with darkness and night and are considered a bad omen.”

Spider: “The story weaver-creating something from almost nothing. Said to connect the past with the future; creative and weaves the pattern of life.”

Snake: “Usually seen in healing and fertility rites. He is often considered a hunter.”

Vision Quest: sacred journey, who made a spiritual journey differed from nation to nation.

Burial methods varied from nation to nation.

All quotes to this point taken from: Native American Animal Symbols - Who are They, What do They Mean and Why http://www.support-native-american-a...l-Symbols.html

Salmon: Proud, intense, confident, wisdom, inspiration.

Sea Otter: Playful, friendly, dynamic, joy, helpfulness, and sharing.

Sunflower: Fertility
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #1
Bhavana  Bhavana is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 20 Feb 2007
Location: northeastern USA
Posts: 3,304
Bhavana 
Citizen

thanks for posting - and for the link. I have always been interested in native people and their culture. I don't have this deck yet, though - I haven't bought it because I was afraid it was just going to be another excuse for a tarot deck, someone trying to make a buck superimposing native ideas on a tarot deck - as you know, it often doesn't work, the decks make no sense, and wind up in the back of my Useless Decks drawer.
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #2
Soaring Eagle's Avatar
Soaring Eagle  Soaring Eagle is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 14 Sep 2011
Location: Chihuahua, Mexico
Posts: 1,012
Soaring Eagle 
Citizen

Soaring Eagle's Avatar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhavana View Post
thanks for posting - and for the link. I have always been interested in native people and their culture. I don't have this deck yet, though - I haven't bought it because I was afraid it was just going to be another excuse for a tarot deck, someone trying to make a buck superimposing native ideas on a tarot deck - as you know, it often doesn't work, the decks make no sense, and wind up in the back of my Useless Decks drawer.
I have greatly enjoyed this deck. I bought it quite a while ago, but unfortunately life happened, and I didn't have time for tarot. Now that I've got more time I want to relearn this deck, and thought a study group, as there were only a couple of posts, would be a great way to learn it. Join in the study group when you get this deck. To me, it is exceptional. It is my favorite deck, although I also use another fairly often.
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #3
Soaring Eagle's Avatar
Soaring Eagle  Soaring Eagle is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 14 Sep 2011
Location: Chihuahua, Mexico
Posts: 1,012
Soaring Eagle 
Citizen

Soaring Eagle's Avatar
More symbols


Thunderbird: Unlimited happiness

Arrowhead: Alertness

This site also has many good links from the Cherokee nation, this is one nation's thoughts, but they are in the right region of the US to be considered for this deck, as much of the artwork is from the plains.

http://users.ap.net/~chenae/spirit.html
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #4
divinegoddess's Avatar
divinegoddess  divinegoddess is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 06 Aug 2011
Location: Somewhere of the beauty divine.
Posts: 648
divinegoddess 
Citizen

divinegoddess's Avatar

A great list of symbols, thank you so much for making the list! It will come in hand greatly, I'm sure of it! The list was one of the few things I had to write down by hand, also because I remember better when I write it myself .
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #5
daphne's Avatar
daphne  daphne is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 16 Nov 2009
Location: in love with Tarot
Posts: 1,953
daphne 
Citizen

daphne's Avatar

I never imagined they are so many symbols in Vision Quest.
Thank you for the list!
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #6
Soaring Eagle's Avatar
Soaring Eagle  Soaring Eagle is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 14 Sep 2011
Location: Chihuahua, Mexico
Posts: 1,012
Soaring Eagle 
Citizen

Soaring Eagle's Avatar

Unfortunately this list does yet list everything. I have missed several items, and will try and correct it shortly.

There are many, many more symbols in the native curltures, and this is a VERY abbreviated list. Also, most of the symbology is taken from the Cherokee viewpoint, and thus differs from what the symbols mean for other native nations. I tried to use the correct geographical information for the translation for each symbol, to make the interpretations correctly.

The thing I noticed about this deck is that there are four geographic areas.
Fire: Northwestern US, Canada
Major Arcana: I Medicine Man, II Medicine Woman, V Shaman, IX Hermit, XIII Transformation.
Water: Eastern US, Canada (completely unsure of the nations represented)
Major Arcana:
Air: Plains, Central US
Major Arcana: IV Grandfather, VI Lovers, VII Spiritual Warrior, XI Life Force, XXI Big Medicine Wheel
Earth: Southwest US, Mexico
Major Arcana: III Grandmother, X Small Medicine Wheel, XII Vision Quest, XIV Integration, XIX Sun
Major Arcana that I'm unsure of: XVIII Moon, I'm thinking NW, but I'm not sure.
0 Clown could be Plains or SW
XX Spirit Guide could be Plains or SW
VIII Balance is possibly Eastern, but I also want to think SW
XVII Star - no idea, but could be Eastern with these birds
XV Torment - could be anyone, but I'm thinking Eastern
XVI - could be any native nation.

Hope this helps with your studies.
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #7
divinegoddess's Avatar
divinegoddess  divinegoddess is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 06 Aug 2011
Location: Somewhere of the beauty divine.
Posts: 648
divinegoddess 
Citizen

divinegoddess's Avatar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soaring Eagle View Post
Unfortunately this list does yet list everything. I have missed several items, and will try and correct it shortly.

There are many, many more symbols in the native curltures, and this is a VERY abbreviated list. Also, most of the symbology is taken from the Cherokee viewpoint, and thus differs from what the symbols mean for other native nations. I tried to use the correct geographical information for the translation for each symbol, to make the interpretations correctly.

The thing I noticed about this deck is that there are four geographic areas.
Fire: Northwestern US, Canada
Major Arcana: I Medicine Man, II Medicine Woman, V Shaman, IX Hermit, XIII Transformation.
Water: Eastern US, Canada (completely unsure of the nations represented)
Major Arcana:
Air: Plains, Central US
Major Arcana: IV Grandfather, VI Lovers, VII Spiritual Warrior, XI Life Force, XXI Big Medicine Wheel
Earth: Southwest US, Mexico
Major Arcana: III Grandmother, X Small Medicine Wheel, XII Vision Quest, XIV Integration, XIX Sun
Major Arcana that I'm unsure of: XVIII Moon, I'm thinking NW, but I'm not sure.
0 Clown could be Plains or SW
XX Spirit Guide could be Plains or SW
VIII Balance is possibly Eastern, but I also want to think SW
XVII Star - no idea, but could be Eastern with these birds
XV Torment - could be anyone, but I'm thinking Eastern
XVI - could be any native nation.

Hope this helps with your studies.

The more information I get, the more confusing it gets at times. It seems that I have quite a lot of researching to do. Nonetheless, I have a great starting point and I must know what information to filter and what to keep, much like the Clown, cannot be too enthusiastic and take too much in

It's the Cherokee viewpoint but is the meaning more or less the same in at least most of the nations?
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #8
Soaring Eagle's Avatar
Soaring Eagle  Soaring Eagle is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 14 Sep 2011
Location: Chihuahua, Mexico
Posts: 1,012
Soaring Eagle 
Citizen

Soaring Eagle's Avatar

I have tried to make the appropriate interpretations based on the geographic location of each nation. For the plains interpretations I used Cherokee, For the Southwest I used Navajo and Tarahumara, and Maya, for the Northwest I used Tlingit and Coeur d' Alene, for the eastern I used general information based on my knowledge, but I truly have not studied the eastern nations.
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #9
Soaring Eagle's Avatar
Soaring Eagle  Soaring Eagle is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 14 Sep 2011
Location: Chihuahua, Mexico
Posts: 1,012
Soaring Eagle 
Citizen

Soaring Eagle's Avatar

I think the original posting now covers MOST symbology used. If you have a question, please feel free to PM me, and I will see if I can edit the original post with any missing information.

DivineGoddess: don't feel that you need to study each nation seperately. That would literally take a life time. It will be much easier for you if you try to not think of each suit as a different people. That's why I posted the original post, so others DON'T have to do much study. The US has over 200 native nations, then there is Canada and Mexico, adding even more. Just try to enjoy your deck. I am checking my postings on the individual cards to see if I need to add changes to make it easier for others to study.
 Need help? Get your live Tarot Reading now      Top   #10
 


 


Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive
Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

The Aeclectic Tarot Forum closed permanently on July 14th, 2017. The public threads remain online as a read-only archive and resource. More information on our decision can be found here. Thank you for being a part of our active community over the past seventeen years.

Copyright © 1996 - 2017 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.