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What is a Fetish?

A Fetish is an object which is believed to have magic powers.

American Indians have used Fetishes throughout recorded history; especially the Indians of the Southwest.

Fetishes may be of any form or material. Regardless of the form or material however, a Fetish has one paramount purpose; to assist man against any real or potential problems. The problems can be those of the mind, the body or the universe.

A Fetish can be owned by any individual, family, clan, kiva society or by the entire tribe. Regardless of the ownership, the care of a Fetish is always the responsibility of an individual. Special care must be taken to see that the Fetish is properly fed, admired, and cared for.

Fetishes are believed to feed on cornmeal while they are kept in a special pot or pouch. Ground turquoise is often mixed with the cornmeal.

A Fetish may be made and "decorated" with turquoise, arrowheads, and coral, etc. as a means of adornment. This adornment is a show of affection and appreciation by its maker and/or owner. The better treatment a Fetish receives, the better performance it is likely to provide. Fetishes are also used to make necklaces and other types of jewelry.

Most Fetishes relate to animals. Most often these animals are animals of prey. They are acknowledged as the most powerful providers in life; so, they are likewise accepted as having the greatest Fetish powers. They are generally admired for their strong hearts. Many believe their strong hearts make them dominant and therefore, survivors; the hunter rather than the hunted.

The Zuni Indians of New Mexico believe strongly in six cardinal guardian Fetishes. Each is symbolic of a direction and has a specific color with which it is associated. The guardian Fetish of the North is the mountain lion (yellow). The South (red) is the badger, the West (Blue) is the bear and the East (white) is the wolf. Additionally, the mole is the guardian of the Nadir of Inner Earth (black) and Zepath (the air) is the eagle (all colored bird forms).

Most Fetishes are made from semi-precious stones, minerals and shells which are of natural beauty that are the gifts that nature has provided us.  .

 

Animal

Armadillo

Armadillo is strong and tenacious.  It teaches how to protect yourself from potential threats

BADGER

Protective animal of the South. Aggressiveness, perseverance.

BEAR

Protective animal of the West. Strength, introspection, the power of the soul.

BEAVER

Builder, strong sense of family and home.

BIRDS

Carry prayers to clouds and sky, asking for rain and blessing.

BOBCAT

Hunting animal of the South.

BUFFALO

Endurance to overcome one's weakness.

CORN MAIDEN

Emerged with the Zuni from the Underworld. Brings plentiful harvest.

COYOTE

Hunting animal of the West. Trickster, laughter, humor.

DEER

Gentleness; the power of gentleness.

EAGLE

Protective & hunting animal of the sky. Spirit, a connection with the Divine.

FOX

Camouflage, protection.

FROG

Invokes the spirit to provide rain in drought areas.

HORSE

Along with the Raven, has the possession of healing powers.

Lizard

Some Southwest Indian tribes believe horned lizards can cure the sick by asking for the lizard's strength in song and chant 

MOLE

Protective & hunting animal of the underground. Protector of growing crops.

MOUNTAIN LION

Protective & hunting animal of the North. Leadership, resourcefulness.

OTTER

teaches independence and self-reliance for our needs. 

OWL

Guardian of the home.

PANTHER

represents power, grace and can help us to discover the benefits of concentration, deep contemplation and prayer

RABBIT

Game species help increase the numbers of each animal.

RAM

Used to secure an increase of flocks.

RAVEN

Along with the Horse has the possession of healing powers.

SNAKE

Transmutation life-death, rebirth.

TURTLE

Longevity, a symbol of Mother Earth.

WOLF

Protective & hunting animal of the East. Teacher, pathfinder on the never-ending journey for survival.