The Moon Symbol – Native Art Symbols And Meanings

The moon appears in the mythology of all Northwest Coast nations. It is a guide, a protector, a guardian spirit, a timekeeper, and is associated with transformation.

The Nuu-chah-nulth honour the moon and his wife, the sun, as the most powerful beings of all. They afford good luck and abundant food. This personification as a male entity is rare. Among other Indigenous groups it is often female, and more delicate and serene than the sun.

The moon is frequently shown in association with Wolf, due to their nocturnal habits. Sometimes it is seen in the beak of Raven, a reference to the creation story of Raven releasing the sun, moon and stars into the sky.

In another legend, a giant supernatural codfish swallows the moon during a lunar eclipse. To counteract this, the Kwakwaka’wakw and Nuu-chach-nulth would light a large bonfire and add branches from pine trees to create smoke, causing the codfish to cough up the moon.

Moon plays a part in the Peace Dance of the Kwakwaka’wawk, and in the Winter Ceremonies of the Huxalk. Among the Haida, it has been the exclusive crest of only a few of the highest ranking chiefs.

The moon usually has a rounded face and relatively flat features. The face is normally that of a human, or a bird. Occasionally, it has a crescent form, and at times, it wears a labret, indicating a feminine aspect.

For great examples of Native American art prints, see Affinity by Francis Dick, Love and Light by Margaret August.

First Nations art print titled 4 Phases Of The Moon by Francis Dick
4 Phases Of The Moon
by Francis Dick