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Q: Artifacts that Symbolizes Health/Happiness ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Artifacts that Symbolizes Health/Happiness
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: soodiddy-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 14:29 PST
Expires: 02 Dec 2006 14:29 PST
Question ID: 779538
I'm looking for an AMERICAN (originated from the US) traditional
item/artifact that symbolizes health and/or happiness that can be
given to someone as a gift. This item can be originated from as early
as the native americans here in the US to artifacts brought by the
Europeans to the US.

For example, if I give my friend a 'four leaf clover' stuffed animal,
my friend will know that the meaning behind the present is for 'luck.'
Another example is the "Zuni Fetish" artifacts from the Zuni Indian
Tribe. A Zuni Fetish 'bear animal' figure symbolizes health, but can
someone help me find other items that can be purchased as a gift and
meet the above criteria?

Thank You

Request for Question Clarification by sublime1-ga on 02 Nov 2006 15:36 PST

Interesting request. A search on Google images for:

health happiness symbol

...produces only 52 results, most of them from other countries.

It did, however, locate this Amish talisman for Love and Happy

More on this page:

The caduceus may be the most common american symbol for health:

Let me know where this takes you...

Subject: Re: Artifacts that Symbolizes Health/Happiness
Answered By: umiat-ga on 02 Nov 2006 19:31 PST
Hello, soodiddy-ga! 

 I thought this would be relatively easy! No such luck. This was a
hard task, primarily because native cultures appear to attach far more
symbolism to objects and creatures than one or two words.

 The only symbol for joy or happiness that came up repeatedly in my
searches that also had ties to Native cultures was the hummingbird.
Unfortunately, although I found several snippets regarding the
hummingbird and it's relation to happiness, I could find no
authoritative data.

 Several Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs are also quite applicable to joy
and happiness. I have included a book reference from Amazon in case
you want to verify their meanings in more detail.


Jewel of the Gods. Symbol of beauty and joy. The bird of lovers. Native American.

 A hummingbird medallian


"Hummingbird's Wisdom Includes: Ability to heal by using light.
Endurance over long journeys. Ability to fly into small places to
heal. Joy. Happiness. Love."


From Native American Mythology

"An Apache legend tells of Wind Dancer, a young warrior, who was born
deaf, but could sing magical, wordless songs that brought healing and
good weather. He married Bright Rain, a beautiful, young woman whom he
rescued when she was being attacked by a wolf. Wind Dancer was killed
during another errand of mercy. A bitter, death-bring winter ensued,
but it suddenly and mysteriously ended after Bright Rain started
taking solitary walks.

Tribal elders learned Wind Dancer had come back to her in the form of
a hummingbird. He wore the same ceremonial costume and war paint he
had worn as a man. In fields of spring flowers he would approach her
and whisper his magical secrets in her ear.

"This brought her peace and joy."



A "totem" is a picture, carving, or other rendering of an animal (or
plant) used by Native Americans as a symbolic representation of an
attribute or behavior. The emblem for a clan or tribe is often a totem
that in some supernatural way watches over its members.

"The hummingbird totem represents beauty, how to heal with flowers,
laughter, and enjoyment and protection of the environment."


Hummingbird - Love and Joy

"In many - even ancient - traditions, hummingbird feathers have been
prized for their almost magical qualities. It is said that Hummingbird
brings love as no other medicine can. Hummingbird is loved by the
flowers and plants, for as it sucks the nectar from the flower, the
plant reproduces and more of its kind are created. Its presence brings
joy to the observer watching it move upward, downward, backward,
forward or simply hovering in one place. Whatever its delicate antics,
the Creator must surely be pleased with this magnificant creation."

Other animal spirits


The Hummingbird

"The Tsimshian believe the Hummingbird to be a joyful messenger and
mysterious traveler. If he appears during a time of great sorrow and
pain, healing will soon follow. He also symbolizes the fragility of
nature and all living things. His symbol is often used in gifts that
come with wishes of joy, healing and love."

"The Hummingbird is one of the less common motifs used by the
Northwest Coast peoples, but one of the more delicate. It is marked by
its long down-curving bill. We offer a number of pieces of jewelry
depicting the hummingbird, designed by Danny Dennis, a Tsimshian from
Kitwanga in British Columbia."



Additional Native American Symbolism (many duplicates):

"Hummingbird--Messenger, stopper of time. Hummingbird represents
optimism and sweetness. Being able to roll with the punches is an
attribute of Hummingbird."


Hummingbird: messenger, timelessness

Hummingbird - "the tiniest of all birds - brings special messages for
us. It is the only creature that can stop dead while traveling at full
speed. It can hover, or can go forward, backward, up or down. It lives
on nectar and searches for the sweetness of life. Its long tongue lets
it bypass the often tough and bitter outer layer to find the hidden
treasures underneath. Hummingbird is loved by the flowers and plants,
for as it sucks the nectar from the flower, the plant reproduces and
more of its kind are created. In many traditions, Hummingbird feathers
have been prized for their almost magical qualities.

It is said that Hummingbird brings love as no other medicine can, and
its presence brings joy to the observer."

The Sun Symbol

The Native American Sun symbols also implies happiness:

Sun Symbols - happiness

(If you wanted to order an item for your friend, I think it would be
best to call the store and ask them what items they might have with
these symbols)


The Sun Symbols are also noted for happiness here:
 (references -


From HEX Signs and their Meanings

"German settlers brought their old world customs or traditions to
Pennsylvania over 300 years ago. They are now known as the
Pennsylvania Dutch. Farmers decorated their barns with large, colorful
geometric patterns. These symbols called hex signs, had meanings or

Distelfink - good luck and happiness

Two distelfinks - double good luck and happiness

Oak Leaf - long life, strength and endurance


From  "Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs."

Triple Star

"The Triple Star motif symbolizes good luck, success and happiness.
The ring of brown is associated with the cycle of life making this
particular sign a wish for a lifetime of happiness."

Single Distlefink

"The Distlefink was the good luck bird of the Pennsylvania Germans. It
actually was a stylized version of the goldfinch. The goldfinch eats
thistle seed and uses thistle down for its nest and was called a
thistlefinch from which comes the Pennsylvania Dutch "Distelfink. This
single distelfink sign is a symbol of good luck and happiness. The
heart adds a measure of love and the tulips faith."

Oak Leaf (perhaps you could consider this applicable to health)

"The Oak Leaf or Mighty Oak is made up of four oak leaves in bold
colors radiating from the center. The Oak symbolizes strenth in body,
mind and character. The four colors of the leaves symbolize the
seasons of life and the wavy border in the outer ring symbolizes
smooth sailing in life."


The following site also ascribes meanings to the following hex signs:

(Unfortunately, the links don't work!)

The Oak Leaf (Strength), 

The Triple Star (Success, Wealth and Happiness)

The Distlefink (Good Luck and Happiness)


To read further about Hex signs:

Hex Signs: Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Symbols & Their Meaning (Paperback)
by Don Yoder, Thomas E. Grave


Hex Gift sources:

Cane and Reed Hex Signs - Mighty Oak

Here is one possible gift from Amazon:

Here is a source of Hex gifts, but the catalog link does not work. You
will need to give them a call.


 I hope these suggestions have given you some ideas. If there is any
other way I can help, or you would like me to expand my search to some
other symbols, please don't hesitate to ask.



symbols OR images for health OR happiness OR joy
native american symbols for health OR happiness OR joy
American Indian symbols for health OR happiness OR joy
American symbols health happiness joy
native american symbols
meaning of Native american symbols
hummingbird native american symbol
Native american sun symbols
Hex signs and symbols

Request for Answer Clarification by soodiddy-ga on 03 Nov 2006 13:37 PST

Thank you for your research. 
I was actually looking for an item (a physical object) that can be
given to someone as a gift. Any other ideas?

Clarification of Answer by umiat-ga on 03 Nov 2006 14:39 PST
First of all, did you like the symbolism of any of the Hex signs I referenced?

Would you consider buying a small hex symbol for your friend to hang
inside or outside of their house? I think this would be a very unique
gift and gender-neutral as well.

I used to love hex sides on the sides of barns when I was younger,
driving through the midwest. They are fraught with a lot of meaning
and each symbol contains a unique message. They are most definity a
traditional symbol brought over to this country by German settlers,
which is what you appear to be seeking.

From Raus Country Store

Our hex signs are a Masonite material and the design is applied using
silk screen type process. The manufacturer states they are suitable
for outdoor use

"Mighty Oak 8 Inch Hex Sign - The oak leaf symbolizes strength, health
in body and mind, and endurance or long life. The four oak leaf colors
represent the four season of life: spring, summer, fall and winter
while the scalloped edge denotes smooth sailing throughout life.

"Good Luck Love and Happiness 8 Inch Hex Sign - The Pennsylvania Dutch
distelfink brings good luck. The heart is "laced with love &

Some others

16-inch selection

24-inch selection


Would a hummingbird medallion be appropriate?
(Jewel of the Gods. Symbol of beauty and joy. The bird of Lovers.
Native American)

Or some other item depicting a hummingbird with a small note attached
explaining the meaning?

Clarification of Answer by umiat-ga on 03 Nov 2006 15:01 PST
Here is a nicer version of the Oak hex.

Four large oak leaves in bright, bold colors radiate from the center
of this design. The oak tree symbolizes strength, health in body and
mind, and endurance or long life.

Clarification of Answer by umiat-ga on 03 Nov 2006 23:18 PST
How about a gift centered on the Bluebird? 

Read "Bluebird of happiness."

Clarification of Answer by umiat-ga on 04 Nov 2006 08:24 PST
Perhaps a gift with turquoise? Native American jewelry, perhaps? A
money clip embedded with turqoise for a male? Or just a chunk of
turqoise to sit on the desk, or attach to a keyring?

Turquoise is a stone used in quite a bit of Southwest Indian jewelry.
The Indians look at it as a stone that promotes health, happiness, and
good fortune.

Turquoise - Legend has it that some Native Americans believed that if
Turquoise was affixed to a bow, the arrows shot from it would always
hit their mark. It is also believed to bring happiness and good
fortune to all.

During the 16th century, native American Indians of the southwest used
turquoise as currency. They believed the gemstone could bring spoils
to the warrior, animals to the hunter and happiness and good fortune
to all

Turquoise - Symbolizes earth, happiness, good health, hope,
prosperity, and success; considered to be a pledge of friendship when
given as a gift
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