The Cross Symbol
Native American Indians were a deeply spiritual people and they communicated their history, thoughts, ideas and dreams from generation to generation through Symbols and Signs such as the Cross symbol. The origin of the Cross symbol derives from the ancient Mississippian culture of the Mound Builders of North America and were major elements in the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex of American prehistory (S.E.C.C.). Some of the Native Indian tribes still retain some elements of the Mississippi culture and the symbolism of Cross. Their sacred rites, myths and symbols and are presumed to descend from the Mississippians. The simple shape of the cross sign was easy to depict on any raw materials such as rock, stone, wood, shell and animal hides and it was often combined with other symbols to create different meanings. We have detailed some of the ancient meanings of the cross symbol used by the indigenous population of North America.
Meaning of the Cross Symbol to the Mound Builders
The cross symbol apparently reflected the Mississippian Mound Builder's worldview of the division of order between the Underworld, Middleworld (Earth) and the Upper world (Heaven). In the following picture the cross features with the twins and a Raccoon symbol. The central bottom half of the cross has a Striped Pole Motif, with alternating bands of red and white, represent the central axis on which all the worlds rotated and were connected. The striped pole forms part of the cross symbolizing the earth's forces, their origin and the manner in which they work. The horizontal line of the picture consists of many different cross symbols. Our grasp of Mississippian symbolism is only rudimentary. The true meanings of their motifs can never really be known and the meanings of the symbols are based on best guesses.
The Meaning of the Broken Cross Symbol to the Native Americans - the Swastika
The swastika is a broken cross symbol, a type of solar cross, with arms bent at right angles, suggesting a whirling or turning motion. To Native American Indians, the swastika is a symbol of the sun, the four directions, and the four seasons.
The third image depicts the full image of the Feathered Serpent symbol where the right angles are depicted as gentle curves and the entire symbol is slightly slanted.. The swastika shape is clearly evident in this depiction by the Mound Builders. The broken cross symbol or the Swastika, is commonly known as the "whirling log" to many Native Indians, though the literal meaning in the Navajo language "that which revolves".
Cross Symbols on Native American Rock Paintings
The following Native American Cross and Circle Symbols are depicted on ancient Rock Paintings that were found at Santa Barbara. The rock paintings which include various circle and cross symbols and signs were created by the Chumash people of southern California. The cross symbols are believed to be associated with religion and astronomy.
The Meaning of the Cross Symbol to the Native Americans - the Solar Cross
The four elements is represented by Native American tribes, notably the Hopi, with the following Cross in the Circle - Solar Cross Symbol or sign which means or signifies the world (also referred to as the Cosmic Cross). The four bars of the cross represent north, south, east and west.
The individual elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth are each represented by a circle.
The elements are the four great primary forces, or the Sacred Four, emanating from the Creator and these are depicted in the 'Solar Cross' representing the first four tribes of mankind which came to the world to keep balance.
The Meaning of other Cross Symbols to the Native Americans
There are many other cross symbols that have been used by both the Mound Builders and the Native Americans. many are presented in combinations with other symbols such as the circle. The following cross symbols relate to the Four Great Primary Forces.
These additional cross symbols also symbolize the the Four Great Primary Forces and their interaction with the sun.
The Cross Symbol Sand Painting
The following picture of a Navajo Sand Painting provides and authentic illustration of the Yei spirits with the central cross which also display the features of the Swastika symbol.
Navajo Yei Swastika Sand Painting
The Cross Symbol - Mississippian culture
The most ancient Native American Indian symbols, like the Cross symbol, came from the Mississippian culture which was established in 1000AD and continued to 1550AD onward. The Mississippian Native Americans were the last of the mound-building cultures of North America in the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States. The Mississippian culture was based on warfare, which was represented by an array of emblems, motifs and symbols. The Mississippian culture Cross icons like the Cross symbol provides interesting history and ideas for tattoos that include cosmic imagery depicting animals, humans and mythical beasts. The Mississippian Native Americans practiced body painting, tattooing and piercing.