Native American Starburst Symbols

One of my readers asked me about the meaning of Native American starburst symbols, to which I respond here:

Multiply the hundreds of Native tribes, by the hundreds of eras of their existence, by the hundreds of regions they have inhabited, by the hundreds of artistic renditions of the Native starburst motif, by the hundreds of interpretations of that starburst pattern designated by each tribe…this may explain some of the difficulties in narrowing down one meaning to a single starburst symbol for which you seek.

However, here are a few meanings: 

Many (plains tribes) Native American starburst are simple triangles formed around a circle.  Within the circle is usually depicted a stick figure of a man or animal to symbolize strength, courage and virility.

The starburst symbolism for many tribe deals with cosmic union – and man’s strength derived from such connection.

Algonquin and Arapaho would often draw these starburst patterns as a record of dreams or vision quests.  They were also drawn in manhood rituals – a right of manhood – coming of age ceremony.