Myth & Lore

Page 79

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Thunderbirds & Thunderbeings
By Mouse

Thunderbeings Night Rain by S.D. Nelson

(Please note that the links in this article no longer work. Geocities went out of business a number of years ago, and the others no longer exist. I haven't made them into links because of that. Dragonfly)

Is there a difference between the Thunderbirds and Thunder Beings? (a part from the fact that Thunderbird is also the name of a specific kind of aircraft...)

Mouse, Interesting question! Both speak of regeneration, and both speak of Fire, so I can see why you asked the question, and i am curious as to hear what others think! To me, yes, there is a difference.... Thunderbird speaks to me of emerging from the ashes, being reborn. It speaks to me of cleansing Fire. Thunderbird and Phoenix appear pretty much interchangeable in this respect. The Thunder Beings speak to me of Divine Union between Father Sky and Mother Earth, so the regeneration aspect is here to, but to me this is more of a continuing sustenance rather than a rebirth.

The Thunder Beings, through the Lightning Sticks, send Fire in the form of usable energy to the Earth Mother. The Earth Mother being magnetic is able to use this fire (in the form of electrical energy) to revitalize herself. To me Thunderbird would come at a time when we need a complete change to some area of life: to an attitude thought pattern, or feeling, whereas the Thunder Beings can be called on when you just need a little extra help to “refresh” those attitudes, thought pattern or feelings. But hey that is just my way of looking at it, like I said, I would be interested in hearing what others think!

Yes Wolfie! Good job! He's right, Mouse, there is a difference, both are spirits that we work with, but think Thunderbird/Phoenix, and ThunderBeings are entities of the Sky Nation as Wolfie had implied. They show themselves during storms, through their ‘fire sticks’/lightning bolts and let their voices and stomp dances be heard (thunder). They are guarding the sacred union between Father Sky and Mother Earth.

here are some bits and pieces...
(Wakinyan/Heyoka... Start of the text:
Wakinyan is the first Thunder-Being, and is also called a Thunder-Bird. Wakinyan's sex is not made clear; although it is known that Wakinyan has both male and female characteristics. Wakinyan also represents cleansing and when Wakinyan flies over the earth in the form of storms, Wakinyan is cleansing the earth so that the plant nations may always live.

(Mythopoeia Titanornis: Living Fossil or Living Folklore)

Chamberlain, A.F. The Thunder-Bird Amongst the Angonkins.
American Anthropologist. January, 1890 Vol. 3 (1): 51-54.

A.F. Chamberlain’s article examines the widespread belief in the thunder-bird among the Algonkin tribes. The thunder-bird is a divine creature that, depending on the particular cultural folk-tale, can make thunder by beating its wings and shoot thunderbolts from its eyes. He contends that belief systems incorporating the thunder-bird span regions as vast as the Canadian Northwest, the coast of the Atlantic, the shore of Hudson’s Bay, and along the southern banks of Lake Superior.

Basing his information on missionary and anthropological accounts of native belief systems in these areas, Chamberlain finds that the thunder-bird tradition is fairly consistent among various groups in these regions. He supports this position by providing short descriptions of the thunder-bird among different native groups such as the Cree, Ottawa, and the Mississauga. He goes on to note that among the Missisaguas and Ojebways, children often have the word "thunder" associated with their name, such as Head Thunder or Yellow Thunder. Chamberlain concludes his paper by suggesting that Algonkian belief systems concerning this mythical figure mirror those of the Siouan and other native groups. He proposes further examination into thunder-bird folklore between the Siouan and Algonkian people.

University of Florida (John Moore) Chamberlain, A. F.
The Thunder-Bird Amongst the Algonkins.
The American Anthropologist. January, 1890 Vol. III:51-54.

This article compares belief in the thunderbird among the various Algonkin tribes ranging from northwest Canada east to the Atlantic and south to the banks of Lake Superior. The thunderbird motif is presented as wide-spread throughout the region and the article compares the attributes of the Thunderbird as conceived by the Cree, Ottawa, Mississagua, Ojibway, Pottowattami, and Passamaquoddy. In presenting his arguments, Chamberlain references other writers and provides a bibliography.

In general, the thunderbird is considered divine among the Algonkins and is believed to create thunder by flapping its wings. Lightning, made by the flashing of its eyes, is used like arrows to kill serpents or monsters "which it takes from under the earth". The bird is usually described as a great eagle. Storms and tornados are attributed to its wrath and fair weather to its good humor.

Extensive comparative details are provided. For example, in one Passamaquoddy version, thunderbirds appear as humans with wings. Thunder is the sound of their wings, and lightning the fire and smoke of their pipes. In another version, thunder and lightning are brother and sister. The brother has a child by an Indian woman and this child causes the rumbling before the crash of thunder. The Passamaquoddy also believe that wind is caused by a great bird called "Wind Blower" who lives in the far north and sits on a rock at the end of the sky. To the Crees and Ojibways, however, wind-bird and thunderbird are the same being, who takes the form of an eagle. The Tetons believe that the snake is the enemy of thunder.

Chamberlain notes in conclusion that the Algonkin beliefs about thunder are closer to those of the Sioux than to any other Indian tribe. He urges that a close and detailed comparison of Sioux and Algonkin thunder stories be made in order to shed light upon the relations of these two peoples in the past.

Southern Oregon University (Anne Chambers)

Mouse,One more thing...it occurred to me that the Thunder Beings are cyclical: the rainy season etc., etc.

The three I work with are year-round, Wolfie, they are spirits that often do stir up lightning but they are not the storm itself. The storms reflect their activities and presence on the whole. However they come to me year-round.

Mouse, and here a bit more from Jamie Sams and Wolfwalker and Archie Fire Lamedeer and others under:

What Jamie Sams writes about the Thunder Beings (about a conversation from Wolfwalker) is what I know, too... The Thunder Beings are next to Creation - for me where sound and the material aspect of life melt together - and they choose certain forms to be seen if it is "needed"... They are Spirits and hold the aspects of Divine Love... They are next to Universal Love... They are one of the first expressions (material aspect somehow) of the Divine Love... For me (and this is for me - therefore I also looked up for more information in the internet to share it here) they show up (if needed) in forms and in aspects (not necessarily in their whole aspect) that we can "hold" - and it might be in the form of a bird, too...

For me the "spirit" Thunder Being is more sound than form. And to be "seen" it may be that this spirit chooses/these spirits choose a form that we might get (bird...). With helpers - or in the aspect of form (material aspect) - they also act in this world. Okay - in brief *smile*: Thunder Beings for me are Spirits who are more sound than form - but they can show up in form (also as Thunderbirds) if there is a need to be felt/seen or to show up certain aspects of their being. They are next to the Unified Field where All-is-One... If they show up in a form they mirror certain aspects they hold. Thunderbirds - they are more the physical aspect of the Thunder Beings (for me) - and may help us to connect with the Thunder Beings. Thunder Birds for me are not the only ones to "mirror" the Thunder Beings. There are other animals, too (for me salamander and others...) With this for me there goes hand in hand a kind of "system" of Creation... Thunder Beings are next to the Unified Field, which for me is living silence, LOVE - then there is sound in certain aspects (Thunder Beings), Love (though they are called "thunder beings" the sound is gentle, soft, like the ringing of bells - but it is so powerful - and it may vary...) - from this it becomes more and more concrete - creation ascends from sound in all its different aspects and in all its layers, love (Thunder Birds, other animals, too...)... (Each creation holds its own sound/"thunder"/song/heard signature...) It is something that may take a long article, too, to explain what I mean...

This is my personal knowing. To allow a more general overview I offered some links here to get more personal information for you, too, and not only my personal view...

Cinn, my mention of the cyclical nature of storms, was a reference for Mouse re: moving home, starting her course (college semesters), the Doula thing. I didn't mean that they could only be cyclical, however, you said: “The three I work with are year-round.” Now you got me curious! OK, the thunder beings are different from the actual Fire-Sticks, they are the potentiality right, that creates the Fire Sticks? But your statement has me kerflumped!

The ThunderBeings are spirits. The FireSticks are lightning that develops as a result of their presence in the environment. They are usually accompanied by that. The charging or exchange of energy with Sky Father and Earth Mother or the communications between them. But they also work with some people. They are messengers of a high order. I see what you're saying about Mouse's cycles. *Smiles* Sorry I read that wrong and hope I have helped you a little to place things. LOL You're on the right track.

Living in Pipestone, (MN) for as long as I did, made you get used to the energy of the Thunderbirds that are said to reside at the National Monument, where the stone is quarried for the Sacred Canunpas (Pipes). Many people can't deal with those energies when they get to Pipestone, and leave pretty quickly. I found that those energies make you deal with problems and issues that you have been putting on the back burner for a while.

The legend says that the Thunderbird laid her eggs at the Monument, and so you must be respectful and quiet while over there or the eggs will break and the Thunderbird will not be happy.

In the old days when the People went to quarry for the sacred stone, they would wait to quarry until a thunderstorm came through bringing the Thunderbeings with it, who would assist the quarriers. If no storm came the People wouldn't quarry and would leave. I have seen some doozies of storms there and can see how they believed the Thunderbeings were there within the storms. They can be very creepy sometimes, they also bring in many Orbs with them.

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