The Thunderbird

Mythological Thunderbird

Mythological Thunderbird
The Thunderbird is a mythological being affiliated with the Litha sabbat or Summer Solstice.  A God-like mythological creature, the Thunderbird has many aspects to its nature — some violent, some peaceful, some guardian and others as creator.  Playing a prominent role in many of the myths, legends and culture of Native American tribes the Thunderbird is considered a supernatural bird of strength, power and magic.  The Thunderbird can be found in the tribal lore of American Indians ranging from the tribes of the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan to the Plains tribes,and to those tribes in the American Southwest.

The Thunderbird in its more peaceful aspect is a supreme Nature Spirit and a solar animal.  Thunderbirds are messengers of the Great Sun himself.  As Litha celebrates the height of the Sun God’s power, the Thunderbird is a fitting companion on the longest day of the year.   In Native American tribal lore and legend, the Thunderbird derives its name from the belief that the beating of its enormous wings pulls the clouds together, its wings clapping causes thunder and lightening flashes from its eyes and from the glowing snakes it carries in its talons.   In many Native American mask and totem poles the Thunderbird is depicted as multi-colored with two curling horns and a beak with teeth.   The dawn of the day began when the Thunderbird openned its eyes — its eyes were said to be made from very light of the sun itself.  When it went to sleep at night, dusk marked the Thunderbird closing its eyes.  As a Native American symbol of creation, the Thunderbird marks the separation between the heavens and the earth. Northwestern tribes  consider the Thunderbird “Skyamsen,”  and is the most powerful force in nature.

Shapeshifting beings, the Thunderbird could change form between human and bird.  There are stories of Thunderbirds marrying into human families; and some Native American families trace such a marriage within their family lineage.

The Thunderbird’s role as a protector of Gaia can be seen in two of the many stories about these magnificent creatures.  The Sioux credit Thunderbirds  with destroying evil reptilian monsters called the Unktehila.  The Menomini of Northern Minnesota tell of the Thunderbird being the enemy of the great horned snakes – the Misikinubik – preventing these evil snakes from overrunning the earth and devouring mankind.

About the Author
When not writing for Ravenhawks, Kamberlyn works with clients seeking a more spiritually centered life.  In her work, she helps people realize the relationship, career and finances that belongs to their soul.  She can be found on KEEN at Kamberlyn Divine Love or through her website,