Discover the 12 Native American Zodiac Signs and Their Astrological Meanings

Written by Aaron Webber
Published: August 19, 2023
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What are the 12 Native American Zodiac signs and their astrological meanings? If you’re surprised to learn that there is such a thing as the Native American zodiac, you’re not alone. What we know as the Native American zodiac is a relatively new invention without the reach of other more well-known astrological calendars.

It doesn’t matter if you are a casual student of astrology, or an adamant believer, zodiac readings can be fun, interesting, and educational. The Native American zodiac is no exception!

Given that many people have become more proactive in learning about and understanding Native American history and culture, we have created this introductory guide for those who are learning about the Native American zodiac for the first time. So, here is the history behind the 12 Native American zodiac signs and their astrological meanings.

Origins of the Native American Zodiac

Sedona - Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel, like this one in Sedona, Arizona, is a creation of New Age religions and the basis for the Native American zodiac.

©Norton Gusky (zgusky) / CC BY 2.0, Flickr – License

Vincent LaDuke invented the Native American zodiac in the 1970s as part of his attempt to create a pan-Indian culture. LaDuke formed his own Native American tribe, the Bear Tribe, founded on his own cultural, spiritual, and astrological beliefs in an effort to popularize Native American culture among white North Americans. He used many of the principles of New Age spiritualism to create the Native American zodiac in order to appeal to Western audiences, not Native American spirituality.

Native Americans didn’t have a common calendar, or a zodiac. The only culture that we know of that studied astronomy beyond significant celestial events were the Mayans of Central America.

Native American tribes call Vincent LaDuke a “plastic medicine man” and categorize his work as “white shamanism”. LaDuke did not base his work in any spiritual beliefs held by Native American tribes. In fact, many of them view his work as harmful to native spirituality and traditions.

That being said, there is no harm in using the principles in the Native American zodiac if you find them interesting, helpful, or entertaining. You should, however, keep in mind that they are not rooted in actual native spiritual practices, and it is extremely offensive to many tribes if you use them as if they are. This is particularly true since not all the animals on the zodiac can be found in all Native American tribal lands. The spiritual and symbolic meaning behind each of the zodiac animals are still significant, but not because of their position on the calendar.

Native American tribes are always happy and willing to educate everyone on their spiritual beliefs and history. We encourage you to reach out to them if you have further questions.

The 12 Native American Zodiac Signs and Their Astrological Meanings

indian headdress

Native American headdresses at the Indian Summer Festival in Milwaukee, WI

©iStock.com/Szixy

LaDuke divided the year into four seasons, or “spirits”, which coincide with the sections of the medicine wheel (another intention to appeal to Western audiences) These spirits are Waboose (North spirit or winter), Shawnodese (South spirit or summer), Wabun (East spirit or spring), and Mudjekeewis (West spirit or fall). When you find your sign, you should incorporate the direction and the season into your reading. For example, LaDuke associated the hawk (which corresponds to Aries), with the Spring, and the East direction.

LaDuke divided the four seasons into twelve moons (months), which coincide with the zodiac of the Western or Classical world. For each of the zodiac signs, we have included their associations (often an element and precious gem or metal) and personality traits often associated with those animals. Keep in mind, that the significance of the animal and their associations will differ based on which native peoples you speak to. These are the ones attributed to these animals in the original Native American zodiac.

Here are the 12 Native American zodiac signs and their astrological meanings.

The Hawk (March 21–April 19)

Association: fire and opal.

The hawk is dynamic and forward-looking. Hawks make good leaders for their clear vision and ability to fly high. You can rely on a hawk to give you opinions that include all the viewpoints and information, and will often not proceed with their own plans until they can get a complete view of all potential routes. They have strong personalities and can be arrogant and self-centered.

The Beaver (April 20–May 20)

Association: earth and jasper

The beaver is sensual and aesthetic. Beavers are hard-working and productive. They excel at making plans and sticking with them to the end. Beavers live their lives always working toward a goal. On the other hand, they get very attached to their material possessions, often hoarding material things even when it might be counter-productive. They can be greedy and jealous of the success of others.

The Deer (May 21–June 20)

Association: air and agate.

Deer are attentive and cautious. The deer is alert and can react quickly to any situation. They can be shy, but once you get to know them their personalities will open up and they become very likable. Deer love to bring people together and are fantastic peace-makers, but don’t rely on them to stick to any long-term plans. They can be self-conscious and unreliable in a pinch.

The Woodpecker (June 21–July 21)

Association: water and rose quartz.

Woodpeckers are homely and caring. These people are fantastic homemakers and put their families above any other priority. They will often put their family members’ needs above their own. They are fiercely loyal and protective of their home. Yet, it may be hard for a woodpecker to give their family space to grow, and can be overbearing and overprotective.

The Salmon (July 22–August 21)

Association: fire, water, carnelian.

A salmon person is powerful and desirable. Salmons excel in setting and achieving long-term goals. They have an innate sense of purpose and will feel the need to always be working toward something. They are very determined. Salmon will achieve any goal they set their hearts on. However, this mentality will make them unapproachable to others who are not as driven as they are. They are often unpopular and egotistical.

The Bear (August 22–September 21)

Association: water, earth, topaz

Bears are great planners, yet very strict. Bears are usually very reasonable, deep thinkers who take their time working on hard challenges. They are level-headed. Many people come to them for their patient, understanding energy. They love to give advice when they are asked, but take their time considering an answer to any problem. Bears are usually solitary, valuing their privacy and personal space. Many people call them lazy if they don’t know them very well. Bears can get stuck into a routine very easily, making it hard for them to change their habits.

The Raven (September 22–October 22)

Association: air and azurite.

Ravens strive for balance and fairness in everything they do. They are wise and make great diplomats as they enjoy resolving disputes and solving complex issues. You can find ravens working in business and striving for material wealth. Ravens can be easily distracted. They are very passionate and vocal about their work, and they expect everyone else to be just as passionate about their own work, leading to frustration and misunderstandings.

The Snake (October 23–November 21)

Association: water and copper.

Snakes devote themselves to the people in their lives. They exude erotic energy. Snakes can keep a secret better than anybody else and never reveal everything they know. They are fantastic people if you want to find someone to listen to you, as they love to soak up as much information as possible and keep it for themselves. Snakes can be manipulative and secretive. They are very dangerous when wronged, often lashing out violently.

The Owl (November 22–December 21)

Association: fire and obsidian.

Owl people are very spiritual and often quest after knowledge. They are the wisest of all the zodiac animals and constantly search for knowledge and truth. Owls are able to clear through the clutter of confusing situations to find the truth of any matter. They are impatient and don’t like to spend time around people they see as foolish or ignorant. Owls don’t consider your feelings when giving advice or working through an issue. They are straightforward and direct.

The Goose (December 22–January 19)

Association: earth and quartz.

Geese are tenacious and relentless. Geese will have high expectations of themselves and of those around them. They are demanding and ambitious in their goals and work ethic. Geese are easily frustrated. If things don’t go their way, geese will often become discouraged or angry. Their high standards for themselves will extend to family, friends, and coworkers, and will see others as lazy if they don’t work as hard as they do.

The Otter (January 20–February 18)

Association: water and turquoise.

An otter person is intelligent and very communicative. Otters love to be independent and are more willing to explore alternative paths than other people. They are very smart, but that intelligence is often lost in the mess of exploration. Otters are happy to be in a group or live freely on their own. They are unpredictable and often frustrate those who want to set rules or boundaries for the otters.

The Wolf (February 19–March 20)

Association: water and jade.

Wolves are mysterious and embody hidden energy. Wolves love their family and friends, and are fiercely loyal and devoted to them, doing anything for them and protecting them with passion. They value their alone time and often keep to themselves when the pressures of the world become too much for them to handle. Wolves are content to be followers, staying quiet and often aloof while being loyal to a fault.

Conclusion

Approach of the spirits

Native American traditions connect people to nature and the animals that inhabit it.

©Frederick N. Wilson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License

There you have it! Those are the 12 Native American zodiac signs and their astrological meanings. Native American cultures and peoples put significant meaning and value into the animals with which they live. Native Americans consider the relationship between the people, the land, and the animals as sacred. Therefore, they use the traits of those animals to help guide others on their own journey through life. While the Native American zodiac might not have deep roots in any Native American culture, the animals represented within it have a long history with native peoples.

There is a richness and beauty in the diversity of the animals in the Native American zodiac, and there is still so much more to learn. So, if you find value in your astrological sign, we recommend you learn more about it by contacting native people near you who can teach you more and help you learn how you can help preserve and better understand the meaning behind it.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Frederick N. Wilson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License / Original


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About the Author

Aaron Webber is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering history, spirituality, geography, and culture. He has over 13 years of writing for global marketing firms, ad agencies, and executive ghostwriting. He graduated with a degree in economics from BYU and is a published, award-winning author of science fiction and alternate history. Aaron lives in Phoenix and is active in his community teaching breathwork, healing ceremonies, and activism. He shares his thoughts and work on his site, The Lost Explorers Club.

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