Fetishes and their character meanings

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Prized for their “down to earth” beauty and spiritual renewal, fetishes have long been an important part of Native American culture.

When a fetish maker prays over his created work, a mystical power is believed to be released which can assist him in finding a solution to his present problems.

All Southwestern tribes make and use fetishes. However, the Zuni people have developed a reputation for being skillful carvers.

Fetishes offer good luck, protection and hunting guidance from the inner spirit of each carved animal.

It is essential that the owner of any given fetish care for his carving. It should be given proper administration and regular feeding. Fetishes are believed to feed on cornmeal. The better the fetish is treated, the better it’s overall performance.

There are six cardinal guardian fetishes which are symbolic of the six directions. The first is a mountain lion, which represents the North. The South belongs to the badger, the West to the bear, while the East goes to the wolf. Additionally, the mole guards
the inner earth, while the eagle protects the heavenly regions.

Fetishes and their Characteristics

 

Armadillo slow, sure animal. no hurry – gets things right. keeper
of the home.
Badger the ability to reach a desired goal
Bear strength, inner power to perceive ones present circumstances
Beaver progressive builder, one who promotes family unity
Buffalo steadfast endurance to rise above one’s weakness
Coyote the ability to laugh at oneself, humor
Eagle a soaring spirit that transcends personal problems, a connection to
the Divine
Fox camouflage, protection
Frog for centuries able to petition the spririts to bring forth abundant
rain
Horned Toad self-reliance, longevity in life. conservation of native bounty.
Horse one of only two fetishes that have innate healing powers
Mole keeper of the underground. amplifies connections with the earth.
Mountain Lion leadership, resourcefulness
Owl keeper of the night. controls the dark side of nature. wise,
smart, patient and endurance of mind.
Ram used to procure an increase of herds
Raven this bird’s beak is scratched across an afflicted person’s skull releasing
it’s healing powers
Snake a powerful fetish symbolizing life, death and rebirth
Turtle a symbol of long, meaningful life
Wolf teacher, path finder on the never ending journey for survival