Crest Designs

Bear is a dominant crest symbol. Bears are closely related to humans, bridging the human and non-human realms. Due to their strength, Bears are considered the helping spirits of warriors.

 

Beaver is a common crest figure on the Northwest Coast. Beaver is a great provider known for hard work.

 

Butterfly is increasingly popular today in Northwest Coast art. In some stories, butterfly is raven's companion, acting as a scout who leads raven to food sources and uncovers hiding spots.  

 

Eagle is respected for its intelligence, power, and vision. Eagle feathers are considered sacred on the coast, and the feather down is used ceremonially as a symbol of peace and goodwill between chiefs.

 

Feather and down are often used in ceremonial contexts and are symbolic of supernatural powers. Feathers may also symbolize communication, healing and hospitality. 

 

Frogs are associated with the power of transformation and the ability to traverse worlds. The primary spirit helpers of shamans, frogs are communicators and often represent the voice of the people.

 

Hummingbirds are often described in stories as tiny rainbows. They symbolize love and beauty. The Hummingbird is the joyful messenger, carrying messages between the human and spirit worlds.

 

Killer Whales are widely considered clan ancestors. Living in human form in undersea villages, killer whales are often thought to be the reincarnations of great chiefs and are associated with wealth. 

 

Owl is believed to have great supernatural powers on the Northwest Coast. It is associated with wisdom, foreknowledge and perception, and is strongly associated with the spirit world. 

 

Raven is central to coastal mythology. As a culture hero, a transformer, and trickster, his adventures at the beginning of time released the sun and the moon and brought the world into existence.

 

Wolf is respected for its strength, agility, intelligence and capacity for devotion. Wolf is sometimes an agent of transformation and is a popular figure in crest, story and shamanic art.

© 2020 by Trevor Agus