The origin of the Falcon symbol 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 including the Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee, Seminole and Chickasaw still retain some elements of the Mississippi culture. Their sacred rites, myths and symbols, such as the Thunderbird symbol, are presumed to descend from the Mississippians.
The Meaning of the Falcon Symbol
The Falcon symbol featured strongly in the Mississippian culture, along with the other Bird Man symbols. The Falcon was believed to be a supernatural deity who resided in the Upperworld with the spirits of the Sun, Moon and Stars. A Falcon therefore represented the Upperworld, order, and light and Falcon dancers would perform in ceremonies supplicating the spirits of the Upperworld. The link between the Upperworld (heaven) and the earth was the sky and the Falcon was able to move between the two realms as messengers to the gods. The Falcon was portrayed as a strong, high flying predators. The Mississippians used dances, gestures and sounds as symbolic powers and wore ceremonial clothes and carried sacred objects and weapons to symbolize their power. The Falcon created a powerful, intimidating figure and was associated with warfare. The Falcon symbol picture clearly shows the dancer showing a mace which was a bludgeoning weapon and in his hand he carries a severed head. The severed head proves his prowess as a warrior. Performing rituals and Falcon dances were the Mississippians way of aligning themselves to the spirits of the Upperworld and gaining favor for victory in forth coming battles or victory in important competitions such as Chunkey during which fortunes could be won or lost. For additional information refer to Power Animals.