Horned Serpent Symbol

Horned Serpent Symbol

Horned Serpent Symbol - Snake-like creature with a horn
Attribution: Herb Roe

Native American Symbols, like the Horned Serpent symbol, can vary in meaning from one tribe to another and across the culture groups of North America. The Horned Serpent symbol was used by the ancient Native Americans of the Mississippian culture.

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

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The Horned Serpent 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 Horned Serpent symbol. The origin of the Horned Serpent symbol derives from the ancient Mississippian culture of North America, the culture of the Mound Builders. The Mound Builders associated great mystical value to the serpent. Some Indian tribes  still retain some elements of the Mississippi culture. The Avanyu and the horned serpent both feature in Hopi and other Pueblo art. The Navajo creation story features myths relating to twins and a horned monster. Their sacred rites, myths and symbols and are presumed to descend from the Mississippians.

The Horned Serpent symbol was usually viewed as a benign or benevolent although fearful creature whereas the Great Serpent was usually represented as a malevolent creature. For additional information refer to the Snake Symbol and Mythical Creatures..

Snake Symbol

Horned Serpent Rock Picture

Horned Serpent Rock Picture

The Meaning of the Horned Serpent Symbol
The Horned Serpent symbol is one of the many snake-like deities depicted with horns that figure in the mythology of most Native American tribes. The horned serpent is associated with rain, thunder and waterways. The zigzag and meandering lines of the serpent or snake are symbolic of water. The horned serpent symbol meaning represented life and the renewal of life, just like water. The horned serpent was the feared guardian of life and the forces of life. The Choctaw horned serpent deity called 'Sint holo' is seen as a source of inspiration. An inventive and creative spirit who introduced agriculture, language and other gifts of knowledge to man. The Choctaw tribe honored a spirit called 'Sinti lapitta' who was a horned serpent which visited exceptionally wise young men. Algonquin tribes belived in Mishikinebik, a great horned snake that was the guardian spirit brings that brings wisdom and healing. The Avanyu is probably the most famous horned serpent deity. Antlers and horns signified spiritual power, especially when applied to animals that did not ordinarily have them such as Birds, Panthers and Snakes (Serpents). Please refer to the Eye in the Hand Symbol for additional information.

The Horned Serpent Symbol - Mythology
Abenaki Horned Serpent Myth: The Abenaki deity Wa-won-dee-a-megw meaning "Snail" was a snail spirit that could live in trees, land or water. The spirit was able to change its size and appearance to look like a huge snake or serpent whose horns could be ground into a magical powder.

The Horned Serpent Symbol - Mississippian culture
The most ancient Native American Indian symbols, like the Horned Serpent 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 warrior icons like the Horned Serpent 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.

Shaman ritually vomiting Black drink

Shaman ritually vomiting Black drink
Attribution: Herb Roe

Native American Indians - Horned Serpent Symbol
Native American Indians of the Mississippian culture were sun worshipers and had a highly complex warfare culture. Their symbols, such as the Horned Serpent symbol, reflect the warfare culture and the religious beliefs and cosmologies of the different historic tribes who existed at the time of the first European contact.

The Mississippians believed that the universe consisted of three parts with good and bad spiritual forces. These three worlds were linked together and their connection was usually portrayed as a cedar tree or a striped pole. The Underworld was inhabited by spirit snakes, the Upper world was inhabited by spirit birds and the people of the earth who were ruled by these powerful spirits like the Horned Serpent.

Items displaying symbols, like the Horned Serpent symbol, from the Mississippian culture have been found in burial sites that contained war axes, knives and other weapons. This type of symbol was embossed in valuable materials such as rare shells, copper and lead and depicted on pottery and stone tools and weapons.

Horned Serpent Symbol


Horned Serpent

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

Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Horned Serpent. 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 - Horned Serpent. 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 Horned educational resource for kids.


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