West Coast Spirit Bead
West Coast Spirit Bead, featuring sterling silver hand carved by Canadian West Coast artists. Each bead depicts the totem of your choice (Eagle, Raven, Thunderbird, Hummingbird, Orca/Killer Whale, Frog, Bear, Wolf). These barrel shaped beads can be worn on a long chain to form a charm cluster, or worn singly on a necklace or bracelet.
Each charming spirit bead arrives on a 16″ sterling silver fine chain.
These sterling silver spirit beads all look more or less the same, until you closely study the carvings. Canadian West Coast artists use lines, cross hatches, dots and other carving methods to indicate the totem. As a couple of examples, the Hummingbird totem typically has a long beak and a flower, the Bear totem typically has a large snout and a defined canine tooth.
3/8″ of an inch wide, soldered, with a 1/4″ diameter opening.
You may choose any totem you like, above and below we have listed the most commonly ordered ones. In the image, you will see a Frog totem.
Below I have included the various meanings associated with the aforementioned totems:
The Raven is an important figure on the totem pole representing power and prestige. Legend has it that at one time, all the world was in darkness because a powerful Chief kept the Sun in a box. It was the cunning Raven who, taking on the human form of a baby, stole the Sun back and returned it to the sky, restoring light.
The Raven is distinguished by its long, straight beak having a blunt or short turned down tip, and usually a tongue. Often the Raven is carved with a small circle in its partially open beak to remind us of the legend.
The Bear symbolizes strength and friendship and is a potent symbol of both spiritual and physical healing. The Coastal people refer to the Bear as “Elder Kinsmen” having such power and human qualities.
Defining features in a Bear carving are: ears, large flaring nostrils, a wide mouth with conspicuous teeth (may include canines) and often a protruding tongue. Claw like hands and feet are also characteristic.
To the Coastal people, the Hummingbird is synonymous with colour, music, delightful activities and the celebration of life. Legends suggest that Hummingbirds float, free of time, carrying our hopes along with them.
The hummingbird art always has a bird with an elongated beak and often there is a flower depicted in the carving.
The Eagle is a symbol of power and prestige and is the creature of many legends. This majestic bird also symbolizes the spiritual connection with the Creator. The Eagle’s down is traditionally sprinkled as a gesture of welcome.
Carvings of the Eagle depict a shorter beak (shorter than the Raven’s) that terminates in a strong downward curve. The tongue is often evident as are the the U-form “ears” which convey the crest-like look of the bird’s head.
Living high in the mountains, the Thunderbird is the most powerful of all spirits. Legend says that when the Thunderbird flaps its wings, thunder crashes and lightening flashes from its eyes.
On totem poles and in prints, Thunderbirds are shown with great outstretched wings. In carvings, its distinguishing features are the curled appendages on the top of the head and the sharply recurved upper beak.
The Killer Whale symbolizes long life, strength and bravery. Also known as Lord of the Ocean, his warriors being dolphins and his messengers being sea lions. It is believed that when a great Chief dies they become Killer Whales.
Defining features in Whale carvings are: a round snouted head with large mouth and many teeth, a blow hole, a dorsal fin, a pectoral fin and a tail with symmetrical flukes. Two or more of the above features can be found in all whale carvings.
Revered because he was a powerful and clever hunter, the Wolf was associated with the spirit a person acquired to become a successful family provider. The wolf symbolizes family and togetherness.
The main features to be found in Wolf carvings are as follows (all or one may appear): elongated snout with flared nostrils, large and many teeth – possibly including a canine, prominent ears and a curled over tail.
The frog traditionally represents success coupled with humility. It represents the bounty of both the world and the Spirit but counsels the receiver of the Creator’s gifts not to swell up with pride, for then all treasures disappear. The Frog spirit signifies modesty and virtue.