The thunderbird is a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples' history and culture. It is considered a supernatural being of power and strength. It is especially important, and frequently depicted, in the art, songs and oral histories of many Pacific Northwest Coast cultures, but is also found in various forms among some peoples of the American Southwest, East Coast of the United States, Great Lakes, and Great Plains.
In Algonquian mythology, the thunderbird controls the upper world while the underworld is controlled by the underwater panther or Great Horned Serpent. The thunderbird throws lightning at the underworld creatures and creates thunder by flapping its wings.Thunderbirds in this tradition are commonly depicted as having an X-shaped appearance. This varies from a simple X to recognizable birds. The X-shaped thunderbird is often used to depict the thunderbird with its wings alongside its body and the head facing forwards instead of in profile.
The Menominee of Northern Wisconsin tell of a great mountain that floats in the western sky on which dwell the thunderbirds. They control the rain and hail and delight in fighting and deeds of greatness. They are the enemies of the great horned snakes - the Misikinubik - and have prevented these from overrunning the earth and devouring mankind. They are messengers of the Great Sun himself.
The Ojibwe version of the myth states that the thunderbirds were created by Nanabozho for the purpose of fighting the underwater spirits. They were also used to punish humans who broke moral rules. The thunderbirds lived in the four directions and arrived with the other birds in the springtime. In the fall they migrated south after the ending of the underwater spirits' most dangerous season.
Ho-Chunk tradition states that a man who has a vision of a thunderbird during a solitary fast will become a war chief.
The historians Adrienne Mayor and Tom Holland have suggested that stories of the Thunderbird were based on discoveries of pterosaur fossils by Native Americans.
The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to mankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.
Chinese dragon, also known as Long or Lung, are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology, Chinese folklore, and culture at large. Chinese dragons have many animal-like forms such as turtles and fish, but are most commonly depicted as snake-like with four legs. They traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it in East Asian culture. During the days of Imperial China, the Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial strength and power.
A sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human, a falcon, a cat, or a sheep and the body of a lion with the wings of an eagle.
European dragons are legendary creatures in folklore and mythology among the overlapping cultures of Europe.
The Horned Serpent appears in the mythologies of many Native Americans. Details vary among tribes, with many of the stories associating the mystical figure with water, rain, lightning and thunder. Horned Serpents were major components of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex of North American prehistory.
Much of the mythology of the Iroquois has been preserved, including creation stories and some folktales. Recorded in wampum as recitations, written down later, the spellings of names differed as transliteration varies and spellings even in European languages were not entirely regularized. Different versions of some stories exist, reflecting different localities and different times. It is possible that the written versions were influenced by Christianity.
This article is about the spiritual beliefs, histories and practices in Kwakwaka'wakw mythology. The Kwakwaka'wakw are a group of Indigenous nations, numbering about 5,500, who live in the central coast of British Columbia on northern Vancouver Island and the mainland. Kwakwaka'wakw translates into "Kwak'wala speaking tribes." However, the tribes are single autonomous nations and do not view themselves collectively as one group.
The indigenous peoples of the Americas comprise numerous different cultures. Each has its own mythologies. Some are quite distinct, but certain themes are shared across the cultural boundaries.
Leigong or Leishen, is the god of thunder in Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology and Taoism. In Taoism, when so ordered by heaven, Leigong punishes both earthly mortals guilty of secret crimes and evil spirits who have used their knowledge of Taoism to harm human beings. He carries a drum and mallet to produce thunder, and a chisel to punish evildoers. Leigong rides a chariot driven by a young boy named A Xiang.
The Piasa or Piasa Bird is a Native American dragon depicted in one of two murals painted by Native Americans on bluffs (cliffsides) above the Mississippi River. Its original location was at the end of a chain of limestone bluffs in Madison County, Illinois at present-day Alton, Illinois. The original Piasa illustration no longer exists; a newer 20th-century version, based partly on 19th-century sketches and lithographs, has been placed on a bluff in Alton, Illinois, several hundred yards upstream from its origin. The location of the present-day mural is at 38.898055, -90.19915. The limestone rock quality on the new site is unsuited for holding an image, and the painting must be regularly restored. The original site of the painting was a high-quality layer of lithographic limestone, which was predominantly quarried away in the late 1870s by the Mississippi Lime Company.
Armenian mythology originated in ancient Indo-European traditions, specifically Proto-Armenian, and gradually incorporated Anatolian, Hurro-Urartian, Mesopotamian, Iranian, and Greek beliefs and deities.
The Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, aka S.E.C.C., is the name given to the regional stylistic similarity of artifacts, iconography, ceremonies, and mythology of the Mississippian culture that coincided with their adoption of maize agriculture and chiefdom-level complex social organization from 1200 to 1650 CE. Due to some similarities between S.E.C.C. and contemporary Mesoamerican cultures, scholars from the late 1800s to mid-1900s suspected there was a connection between the two locations. However, later research indicates the two cultures have no direct links.
The behaviour of snakes and their facial features seemed to imply that they were intelligent, that they lived by reason and not instinct, and yet their thought-processes were as alien to humans as their ways of movement.
The lightning bird or impundulu or thekwane is a creature in the folklore of the tribes of South Africa including the Pondo, the Zulu and the Xhosa.
An underwater panther, called Mishipeshu or Mishibijiw in Ojibwe, is one of the most important of several mythological water beings among many indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands and Great Lakes region, particularly among the Anishinaabe.
Hungarian mythology includes the myths, legends, folk tales, fairy tales and gods of the Hungarians, also known as the Magyars.
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and sometimes an eagle's talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts, and the eagle the king of the birds, by the Middle Ages, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Since classical antiquity, griffins were known for guarding treasures and priceless possessions.
The haietlik is a lightning spirit and legendary creature in the mythology of the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) people of the Canadian Pacific Northwest Coast. According to legend, the haietlik was both an ally and a weapon of the thunderbirds, employed by them in the hunting of whales. They are described as huge serpents with heads as sharp as a knife and tongues that shoot lightning bolts. A blow from a haietlik would injure a whale enough that the hunting thunderbird could carry it away as prey. The haietlik was variously described as dwelling among the feathers of the thunderbirds to be unleashed with a flap of the wings, or inhabiting the inland coastal waters and lakes frequented by the Nuu-chah-nulth people.