Shaman Symbol

Shaman ritually vomiting Black drink

Shaman symbol ritually vomiting Black drink
Shamanic art
Attribution: Herb Roe

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

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The Shaman 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 Shaman symbol. The origin of the Shaman symbol and the belief in Shamanism 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 Indian tribes still retain some elements of the Mississippi culture. Their sacred rites, myths and symbols and are presumed to descend from the Mississippians. For additional interesting facts refer to the article on the
Role of the Shaman.

The Shaman Symbol
The Religion, Ceremonies and Beliefs of the American Native Indians were dominated by shamanism in which a religious leader, called a Shaman, acted as a medium between the visible world and the spirit world. Two Paiute prophets, or shamans, named Wodziwob and Wovoka, introduced the Ghost Dance in a mystical ceremony designed to re-establish the native culture and restore the environment to pre-European levels. The Morning Star symbol was closely associated with the Ghost Dance and adopted by famous shamans such as Sitting Bull. The symbol of a Shaman is often associated with the following Shaman sun symbol and the similarities between the symbol and Morning star symbol are evident. For additional information on this subject refer to Star Chart & Astrology.

Shaman Symbol
Shaman SymbolMorning Star Symbol

Shaman Symbol - Kuksu
Kuksu was a shamanistic religion of a male secret society practised by many different tribes in California. The practice of Kuksu included dance ceremonies in elaborate costumes used as disguises at public dances. The men of the tribe practiced rituals to ensure good health, bountiful harvests, hunts and good weather. Other Kuksu ceremonies included a mourning ceremony, rites of passage, and shamanic intervention with the spirit world.

Skin Walkers
Many Native American cultures feature skin-walkers or a similar concept in which a shaman or Medicine Man may, according to cultural tradition, take on an animal form such as a bear. The picture below illustrates a Shaman of the Blackfoot tribe taking on the animal form of a bear.

Blackfoot Medicine Man - Skinwalker

Blackfoot Shaman as a 'Skinwalker'

The Meaning of the Shaman Symbol
The Mississippian culture Shaman symbol depicts an ancient ritualistic ceremony.  A shaman was a spiritual leader and healer of the Mississippian Indians who believed that the shaman communicated with spirits in other worlds. The Shaman used dances, gestures and sounds as symbolic powers that he used to enter the spirit world. The Shaman wore ceremonial clothes and sacred objects to incarnate the spirits of nature and amplify his power. The Shaman also used masks as they were believed to hold spiritual powers that never left them. The Shaman also believed that the masks would identify them with the spirits and activate their power. The warlike Shaman holds the weapons of war indicating his strength. The mask worn in the Shaman symbol also depicts the Eye Surround Motif indicating residence in the Under World. This Shaman was creating a highly powerful persona.

The Meaning of the Shaman Symbol - The Black Drink
The Shaman symbol illustrates the ritual vomiting of the 'Black drink'. The sacred Black drink was made from Ilex cassine to produce the black drink that was high in caffeine and caused vomiting. Vomiting was considered a necessary process in order to cleanse, or purge, any negativity in order to prepare for contact with the spirit world.

The Shaman Symbol - Mississippian culture
The most ancient Native American Indian symbols, like the Shaman 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 Shaman 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.

Feathered Serpent Symbol

Feathered Serpent Symbol
Attribution: Herb Roe

Native American Indians - Shaman Symbol
Native American Indians of the Mississippian culture were sun worshipers and had a highly complex warfare culture. Their symbols, such as the Shaman 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 who could be communicated with by the Shaman.

Items displaying symbols, like the Shaman 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.

Shaman Symbol


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

Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Shaman. 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 - Shaman. 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.


Teaching resource - Teachers - Kids - Shaman - 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 - Shaman - Written By Linda Alchin

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