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Black Elk - Native American Indians - Meets an eagle



Type of Spiritual Experience


The use of the eagle as the symbol of power authority and the highest creative powers is common across many cultures.  We can see it embodied in Russian folk tales, as part of Hindu mythology, and as part of Norse mythology in the Edda.    In the following extract, we also see the eagle was part of North American culture as well.  All the following was part of a visionary experience caused by delirium in which the boy [as he was then] nearly died ……………

Native American chiefs in eagle feather headdress

A description of the experience

Black Elk Speaks – as told through John Neihardt

Now the fifth grandfather spoke, the oldest of them all, the Spirit of the Sky.  “My boy” he said “I have sent for you and you have come.  My power you shall see”.  He stretched his arms and turned into a spotted eagle hovering.  “Behold”, he said “all the wings of the air shall come to you, and they and the winds and the stars shall be like relatives.  You shall go across the earth with my power”.  Then the eagle soared above my head and fluttered there; and suddenly the sky was full of friendly wings coming towards me.

North American/Canadian eagle

The source of the experience

Native American Indians

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Being a child