Thunderbird Symbolism & Meaning
Thunderbird is a powerful mythical creature prominent among many Indigenous cultures in North America. In particular, Thunderbird was important to tribes of the Northwest. Thunderbird was believed to live in the mountains and to be responsible for storms.
The physical depiction of Thunderbird conjures thoughts of great power. Thunderbird is a large bird who can also transform into a human. When he raises his mighty wings, it is believed that Snakes in the shape of lightning emerge from beneath his wings. Other stories tell of Thunderbird being able to shoot lightning from his eyes as well.
Thunderbird Table of Contents
- Thunderbird Symbolism & Meaning
- Spirit Animal
- Totem Animal
- Power Animal
- Thunderbird Dreams
- Back to all Fantasy & Mythical Creatures and Animals
Thunderbird Symbolism & Meaning
Legend has it that a lone Chief named Namoquayalis, whose name translates as “Only One” resided in the mountains near what later became Vancouver. As a great flood was rising to engulf the coastal area, it was said that thunder crashed four times and Thunderbird then appeared to the Chief. Thunderbird offered to help the Chief escape to safety, but being a wise leader, the Chief asked Thunderbird to survey the area around him and rescue the others who had thus far survived the flood.
Thunderbird granted this request and since this time, the wisest leaders have passed down tales of the Thunderbird. Thunderbird was also honored for generations through dance and art. Thunderbird came to be associated with both the destructive elements in nature but also protection and connection to the mightiest powers in nature.
Thunderbird is considered to be the most powerful of all the creatures and is also considered a source of protection. People appeal to Thunderbird for abundance and to help fertilize the land and encourage crops to grow. The symbolism of feeding the hungry is also contained in stories of interactions with Thunderbird.
Though Thunderbird’s association with storms and the loud and intimidating noise made by thunder may evoke healthy fear of the forces of nature, Thunderbird is rather the embodiment of the many forces of nature. Also, Thunderbird serves as a reminder that the forces of nature are not to be trifled with.
Thunderbird can also be associated with the creative and destructive powers of nature. While lightning has the power to bring down trees, it is also the associated rains of thunderstorms that help vegetation to grow. Thus Thunderbird reminds us that the cycle of creation and destruction work in tandem and sometimes in ways we can’t control or immediately understand.
It is said that when Thunderbird needs to take on a human guise, they simply remove their feathers like one would remove a blanket from around their shoulders. Thus Thunderbird also symbolizes flexibility and transformation.
You may think that such a prominent and important creature is just the right match for your magical rituals or to help you achieve your goals. Yet according to traditions, only the most powerful and skilled among the leaders of Native tribes were considered grounded and wise enough to use the symbol of Thunderbird as part of their crest. This is not an archetype to take lightly.
It was believed that Thunderbird was large enough to carry an entire Orca from the sea in his talons. Thunderbird is also associated with royalty and nobility. Thunderbird is depicted as appearing before the most powerful members of the community and thus can also be said to preserve sacred order and hierarchies.
Thunderbird is associated with the Air Element because of his association with the sky, Birds and with thunder. Yet another way that this creature is unique is that Thunderbird is also associated with the power of all the elements combined. This creates a synergistic effect. After all, it is Fire and Air that create the Thunderbird’s powerful lightning, and it is believed that Thunderbird can bring the heavy rains, or Water Element and help to nurture seeds in the ground, connecting Thunderbird to the Earth Element.
The image of a lightning bolt is often synonymous with Thunderbird symbolism. Thunderbird can be associated with the Tower Card in Tarot as a powerful catalyst that can transform and which often depicts lightning and storm symbolism. Also, the Wheel of Fortune as a symbol of power that exists in nature and needs to be channeled appropriately in order to bring about creative energy.
The symbolism of Thunderbird also relates to the planet Uranus and sign Aquarius because of the association with storms, electricity and lightning. This archetype can seem destructive but is actually very powerful and creative. Yet as the figure embodying the most power and associated with status, Thunderbird can also be correlated with the sign Scorpio and planet Pluto. This connection is also reinforced by the resemblance between Thunderbird and Eagle, who is also correlated with Scorpio.
Thunderbird is connected to Eagle, thus the power of freedom, abundance and wisdom are also associated with Thunderbird as well. You can also draw a link between the symbolism of Thunderbird and the symbolism of Snake, such as intuition, wisdom, healing, and rebirth.
Thunderbird symbolism is associated with delivering messages of wisdom, transcending limitations, supreme power and divine guidance. The color red is often associated with Thunderbird as well. This is the color of power, passion and vitality.
Thunderbird Spirit Animal
As a Spirit Animal, Thunderbird may come to you when you are in need of power or need to act with authority and independence. During times in which abundance and wise use of money, food, or other resources are needed, Thunderbird may appear as a reminder that you can generate prosperity but must also use your resources wisely.
Thunderbird may also appear to you as a Spirit Animal during times of crisis and dramatic change. Thunderbird Spirit Animal can thus remind you that you can find the power to transform yourself even as it seems that many changes going on around you are beyond your immediate control.
Thunderbird Spirit Animal can help you find your way when you are faced with dramatic changes and need to make important decisions. During times of profound crisis, it is believed that Thunderbird will come to the rescue and help humanity create the needed “reset.” Thunderbird Spirit Animal may enter your life during a time of not just personal but widespread social or communal stress or crisis to help you find stability or act as a leader.
Thunderbird Totem Animal
Those born with Thunderbird Totem Animal are considered destined for power and leadership. They may have to undergo profound personal struggles as they prepare for their responsibilities as leaders. Thunderbird is associated with the elements in nature and with all aspects of creativity and destruction found in the natural world.
Thus, people with Thunderbird Totem Animal may be highly sensitive to atmospheric changes and may be able to sense when storms are approaching. Thunderbird Totem Animal can give you a powerful calling but also require you to stand apart from the crowd so that your intuition and perspective are clear.
In some interpretations, Thunderbird is associated with the Warrior archetype and victory in war. Thus those with Thunderbird Totem Animal may need to intervene to create peace and prosperity even if they first must do so by facing conflict directly.
Thunderbird Power Animal
If you decide to call on Thunderbird Power Animal, always do so with great reverence and respect. Thunderbird Power Animal can lend you a hand, or a wing, when you need to convey authority and decisiveness. Yet it is wise to know when to call on this powerful creature.
Showing respect for Thunderbird as a Power Animal means understanding first the difference between ego desires and true power. When you call on Thunderbird Power Animal it should be out of concern for the greater good and collective well being, not for personal fame and glory.
When Thunderbird appears to you in a dream, there is a good chance that things are about to change in your life and perhaps in unpredictable ways. In spite of the tumultuous road ahead, Thunderbird is helping to remind you of your power to remain grounded and harness the resources within yourself to navigate through the path ahead.
Thunderbird Symbolic Meanings Key
- Nature’s Power