European Spirituality compared to Native American Spirituality

Native European Paganism and Native American Spirituality have many things in common. Their ancient Spirituality is not that different, at all. The Indo-Europeans have practiced a similar belief based on Animism as Asian & North American hunter-gatherer tribes (latin anima, soul, life), where plants, animals and all things in nature possessed spiritual, medicinal and sacred value. In norse Mythology, we have Yggdrasil that is the ash tree of all the different levels of consciousness.

In Ojibway, the tree is the Grandmother Cedar, also called “Nookomis Giizhig”. Indo-European tribes practiced totemism. So did Native Americans. Totemism is a shamanic relationship to a spirit animal, called Fylgja in Old Norse, or Krafttier in High German. The Fylgjur (plural) are spirit animals and guides. We form a life-long relationship and bond with each other. Odin or Wotan is associated with wolves and ravens and horses, people in northern Germany had so called “Pferdegiebel” on their homes as a sign of Wotan’s worship. Pre-historic tribes didn’t worship Gods as modern people view Gods. Instead, you can become those Archetypes yourself. That, too, is an animistic approach. (There’s pagan remnants why people dress up on “Samhain” ).

Thor is associated with Goats, Freya with wild boars. Odin’s tree is the ash tree. Thor’s plant is the stinging nettle (Old German Donarpflanze, Donar = Thor). Baldr, the Sun, is associated with valerian, called BALDRian in High German. Native Americans – like the Pueblo tribes – had a wide spread bear-worship. So did the Indo-Europeans. The bear is a teacher, guardian and initiator. The Scandinavian male name “björn” still signifies that.

Personally, I also see correlations between the Native American totem poles such as the the ones from the Tlingit, and the Irminsul, too. The tomtenisse are also present in the Native American Crow Nation, they are called “Nirumbee”. The Crow Nation believed that they live in Montana, the Pryor Mountains. In Bavaria, there is Folklore about unique spirits are part of the Alps, for example – like the Bergmandl. Can you see the relations, the spiritual foundation? Are we really that different? The more in tune people live with nature, the more they seem to develop very similar ways of beliefs and spirituality. But that is just my personal opinion.


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