So, what do these symbols mean?

deer lays with orange rays undulating from underneath

Deer-man or deer-woman (central figure on the bottom)

Spirit guides who act as intermediaries between the spirit and human worlds.

Sun (emanating from under the deer's body)

Father Sun rules the heavens, bringing warmth and life to all living things, and ensuring healthy and abundant crops

Peyote (round green disks on deer)

Hallucinogenic cactus used to induce spiritual visions. Represented by round circles with dots

eagle with fringed wings and arrows in its chest

Eagle (top of the painting, in the center)

wife of Father Sun, the mother of all living things and the sky

Birds (small birds on the eagle's body)

Messengers to the gods. Eagles and turkeys are especially important.

birdlike creatures contained in cylindrical vessels with multi-colored flames atop

Candles (on either side of the eagle, they look like spaceships)

: embody the sacred gift of light from the Sun and Fire Gods, and symbolize the illumination of the human spirit

Fire (surrounding the candles)

The most valuable gift of the gods.

wiggly snake sticks its forked tounge out of its mouth

Serpents (upper left-hand corner)

Another intermediary between men and the spirit world, and a symbol of rain.

shamans aim bow and arrows at eagle while eagle flys with several arrows embeded in its chest


Shamans use arrows with eagle or hawk feathers suspended from the shaft to speak to the gods