Other Native American sun dance symbols and meanings…
Buffalo: The buffalo is a symbol of power, comfort, provision, and plenty. Every piece of it was used, and one buffalo provided a tremendous amount of luxury. From meat to clothing, tools to essential oil…the buffalo was a sacred animal that was often honored during the summer sun dance.
Willow: Because the buffalo like to eat the willow, willows were often burned in sacred summer ceremonies. The willow is also a symbol of the sun because of its expansive, fast growth. Willow branches were often cut and fanned upon ceremonial fires in the evening – the smoke was considered to be a message to the sun gods.
Sage: Just like the willow, buffalo like to eat sage too. So, sage was burned in much the same way and for same reasons as the willow. The pungent scent was thought to cleanse the people and the entire village. The aroma was thought to waft to the heavens and be a message to the sky gods.
Perhaps you can incorporate some of these symbols today and tomorrow. Sun dance ceremonies often last several days. Maybe you might create your own sacred tradition for the summer solstice…a ceremony to give thanks for all you have, and embrace all the bounty that is to come.
Burn some sage, take a walk in the sun, appreciate the good stuff, embrace the light in your life…every day is a good day to recognize all we have been given, but the summer solstice is an especially good time to make a big shin-dig out of our gratitude.
I hope you have enjoyed this article on the Native American sun dance. If you liked this article, check out the links below for more information on the summer solstice.
As always, thank you for reading!