Common Symbolism and Features

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Features Attributed Sky Realm Totem Creatures

hummingbirdbirdtotemiconSky Realm characters primarily include Thunderbirds, eagles and ravens. This section contains a mixture of bird creatures that actually appear on authentic totem poles and whimsical creatures just for fun.

The Thunderbird is considered to be the Grand lord of the Sky Realm. The Thunderbird can appear invisible and manifest as a great wind or storm. When Thunder birds battle in the sky realm, humans hear thunder and see lightning in the sky. Thunderbirds can transform themselves into human form as great eagle chiefs to attend dance ceremonies with people.

Ravens are powerful, ever-transforming tricksters. Ravens always appear hungry, compulsive, corrupt and deceptive, yet they seem always to be able to trick and deceive themselves out of trouble. Ravens can transform into fearsome cannibalistic creatures called Hok Hok who can pluck out the eyes of their enemies.


Mythological meanings are commonly attributed to the birds, fish, animals, people and other mythological creatures used in Western tribal arts. Meanings may differ between tribes.

Meanings of Sky Realm Symbols and Totem Pole Creatures

Birds play a big part in totem pole stories and creation. These definitions are commonly attributed to the birds, fish, animals, people and mythological creatures used in Western tribal arts. Some tribes may have different meanings.

Totempole craft patterns and templates may be used for teaching children a variety of crafty skills. These coloring book patterns can easily be applied to scrollsaw woodworking to make splendid wooden ornaments and decorations. Totem designs can just as easily be used for embroidery, needlepoint, crochet and other cloth artwork or make impressive-looking latch-hook rugs and wall hangings.

Sky Realm Creatures Include:

Bumblebee:beeSpiritual attributes include honesty, pure thinking, willingness and drive
Butterfly:Spiritual attributes include transformation and acceptance of change
Dove:Spiritual attributes include love, gentleness and kindness.
Dragon Fly:Spiritual attributes include ever-changing life.
Eagle:Aristocratic lord of the Sky Realm, the eagle is a common clan symbol. Spiritual attributes include great strength, courage leadership and prestige. A primary mythological figure on totem poles that signifies peace and friendship. The eagle's downward-curving hooked beak distinguishes it from Raven. Eagles live with Thunderbirds and other lordly Eagles and will occasionally transform into a human dancer. Eagle Feathers are considered good luck to both giver and receiver.
Goose:Spiritual attributes include safe return and love of home.
Hawk:Spiritual attributes include strength, far sighted vision. The hawk can transform into Hawk Woman or Hawk Man. The hawk hates mosquitoes and is aloof but will assist humans at times.
Heron:Spiritual attributes include patience, grace and a mellow personality.
Hummingbird:Spiritual attributes include love, beauty, intelligence, spirit. The hummingbird has a long, thin beak and is a considered to be a messenger.
Insects:are carved similar to birds and can be difficult to recognize in totem pole art. See dragonfly, mosquito.
Kingfisher:A bird. Spiritual attributes include luck, patience, speed and agility.
Kolus:kolus thunderbirdThunderbird's dull-witted brother. Kolus has great strength and helps transport longhouse poles for house building. He is covered with white feathers but because he is strong-willed and a show off, he frequently flies too close to the sun so the tips of his wings are always singed black. Kolus is said to be able to transform into human form.
Loon:Spiritual attributes include peace, tranquility and is has a generous giving nature.
Moon:Spiritual attributes include protector and guardian of the Earth by night. Visually represented by a big circle which frequently has the face of a Thunderbird or other mythological creature. Mythology a Moon God is the symbol of the moon.
Mosquito:Spiritual attributes include as having risen from the burned ashes of Dzunkwa, the Cannibal Woman. The mosquito has a long, thin beak and loves to drink blood.
Owl:Spiritual attributes include wisdom, ability to see beyond normal view. Considered to be associated with death so is not used much in totem pole art. Physical attributes small triangular beak and large, round eye.
Raven:Spiritual attributes include discovery of humankind in a clamshell, knowledge and a bringer of light. According to lore, the raven stole the light from an old chief when the world was dark, therefore it is frequently shown holding an orb in its large, protruding beak. An important symbol, the raven common in totem pole carvings. The raven can transform into other forms, is a trickster, always hungry, curious, devious, and corrupt. It always gets into trouble but because it is so likeable it can easily get out of trouble. The raven is easily identified by a straight beak.
Sun or Sun God:face in sunSpiritual attributes include healing energy. The Sun God is considered to be the guardian of the Earth by day and is portrayed is portrayed as a big circle with rays emanating form a face with a big hooked nose.
Supernatural shapes and symbols:Carvings of local creatures but given special attributes such as double or triple dorsal fins on killer whales, sea grizzly bears with fins, two headed snakes, etc.
Swan:Spiritual attributes include the ability to handle change and transformation with grace and dignity.
Thunderbird:Spiritual attributes include powerful and mystery. The Thunderbird is a leader who eats whales, attends human dance ceremonies and wages war in the Sky Realm. We hear and see the Thunderbird's wars during lightning and thunderstorms. The Thunderbird is portrayed with outspread wings and most often is placed at the top of totem poles.