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.
Morning 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.
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 - refer to Skinwalker. The picture below illustrates a Shaman of the Blackfoot tribe taking on the animal form of a bear.
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.