Circle Symbols

Solar Cross Symbol

The Four Elements Circle

Air, Fire, Water and Earth

Native American Symbols, like the Circle symbol, can vary in meaning from one tribe to another and across the culture groups of North America. 

Discover facts and information about the meanings of secret and mysterious symbols used by Native American Indians in our List of Symbols including the Circle symbol.

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Native American Symbols
Native Indian Tribes Index

Meaning of the Circle 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 Circle symbol. Native American symbols are geometric portrayals of celestial bodies, natural phenomena and animal designs. The circle is used as a basis for many symbols including the Sun symbol, the cycle of the seasons and the cycle of life to death to rebirth and the four elements.

The Circle Symbol - Meaning
The circle is symbolic of equality, where no person is more prominent than any other person. Circle meetings ensured that all people were allowed to speak and the words spoken were accepted and respected on an equal basis. A circle around other Native American symbols signifies family ties, closeness & protection. The circle has no break and holds that which cannot be broken. The circle is an important symbol to Native American Indians. Gatherings in Pow-wows were organised in a series of circles. Dancing took place in the center of a circle formed by the drums and the audience. The concessions and encampment form another circle around the gathering. This is symbolic of the life cycle.

The Circle Symbol - The Cosmic Cross
The four elements is represented by the Hopi tribe with the following circle, called the "Cosmic Cross" or the Cross in the Circle - Solar Cross Symbol. which means the world. The four bars represent north, south, east and west.

Solar Cross Symbol

 The individual elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth are each represented by a circle.


The elements are the four great primary forces emanating from the Creator. The fire circle represents warmth and light. The air symbol represents life. The water symbol represents the sustenance of life.  The four circles inside the outer outline on the Earth symbol represent the four nations (the first four tribes of mankind) which came to the world to keep balance. The cross in circle was one of the most sacred symbols of Native Americans as it represented the Sun, Moon and fire.

The Meaning of other Circle Symbols to the Native Americans
There are many other circle symbols that have been used by both the Mound Builders and the Native Americans. many are presented in combinations with other icons such as Cross Symbols. The following cross and circle symbols relate to the Four Great Primary Forces and their place in the universe.

Primary Forces

These additional circle symbols symbolizes control over forces and the gravity of the earth. The final petal-like symbol represents the earth's forces passing into the atmosphere

There were many Sun symbols that utilised the shape of the circle with rays emanating for it.

Sun Symbols

Circle Symbols on Native American Rock Paintings
The following Native American Circle Symbols are depicted on ancient Rock Paintings that were found at Santa Barbara. The rock paintings which include various circle symbols and signs were created by the Chumash people of southern California. The circle symbols are believed to be associated with religion and astronomy.

Native American Circle Symbols are depicted on ancient Rock Paintings

The Circle Symbol - Meaning
There were so many tribes of Native American Indians it is only possible to generalise the most common meaning of the Circle symbol or pattern. Native Indian symbols are still used as Tattoos and were used for a variety of reasons and depicted on numerous objects such as tepees, totem poles, musical instruments, clothes and War Paint. Indian Tribes also used their own Colors for Symbols and designs depending on the natural resources available to make Native American paint.
Apache Hide Painting

Native American Indians - Circle Symbol
Native American Indians had a highly complex culture, especially those who lived on the Great Plains.

Their religion was dominated by rituals and belief in a spiritual connection with nature and these beliefs were reflected in the various symbols they used such as the Circle symbol.

The clothes, tepees and all of his belongings was decorated with art and included symbols depicting his achievements, acts of heroism, his various spirit guides or the most important events in his life. Every symbol used by an American Native Indian had meaning which can be accessed from Symbols and Meanings.

The Circle Symbol on a Native American blanket band


  • The Circle symbol of Native Americans
  • Meaning, symbolism and interpretation of the Circle symbol
  • Interesting facts and info for kids and schools
  • Pictures, meanings, patterns and designs of symbols
  • Native American Circle symbol meaning

Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Circle. Discover the vast selection of pictures which relate to the History of Native Americans and illustrate many symbols used by American Indians. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes that can be used as a really useful educational history resource for kids and children of all ages. We have included pictures and videos to accompany the main topic of this section - Circle. The videos enable fast access to the images, paintings and pictures together with information and many historical facts. All of the articles and pages can be accessed via the Native Indian Tribes Index - a great educational resource for kids.


Teaching resource - Teachers - Kids - Circle - Native American Symbols - Indian Symbols - Symbolism - Symbolize - Interpretation - American Symbols and Designs - Indian - Meaning - Symbolism - Symbolize - Interpretation - Meanings - Tattoos - Tattoo - Info - Information - Kids - Pictures - Signs - Emblem - Icon - Pictogram - Pictograms - Children - Spirit - Patterns - Designs - Homework - Picture Writing - Traditions - American Symbols - Reference - Tribes - Tribe - Guide - Tattoos - History - Writing - Signs - Pictographs - Indigenous - Ancient - Pictures - Pictures of American Symbols - Paintings - Images - Photographs - Circle - Written By Linda Alchin

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