Thunderbird Talks

 "If you find fear in your heart, go into the mountains. Stand high on the peak and watch the storm come over the horizon. See the lightning and hear the thunder and know that all this power is small compared to the power of the Great Spirit (Great Bird) to guide you upon your path."

-- Algonquin Proverb -- 


give virtual talks and do enlightening Youtube videos about the thunderbirds, thunderbird teachings and thunderbird medicine ways. My talks feature sacred Métis-Algonquin worldview and traditional knowledge from Kitchizibi Territory (Ottawa River Valley) where the Thunderbird is still known as "The Great Bird" today.

The Thunderbird is seen as being the largest or greatest bird. The Thunderbird is called "The Great Bird" because it represents the Great Spirit of the Creator in an avian or bird-like form. It's believed that the Thunderbird is so large - so very great - it needs the whole universe to have enough space to fly around freely!

But the Thunderbird also comes to Earth; where it lands and makes its nest. And "Oiseau Rock" on the Kitchizibi (Great River/Ottawa River) is one place among many that the Thunderbird is believed to have arrived, landed and built a great stone nest long, long ago. The photo above is of Oiseau Rock on the Quebec side of the Kitchizibi.

Interestingly the French word for bird, "oiseau", when spoken aloud sounds like the Algonquin word "waassa" which means thunderbolt or lightning. Also, the spoken Algonquin word "wasison" or "wasisswan" means nestThe massive stone hill and cliff site (above photo) of "Oiseau/Waassa Rock" on the Kitchizibi was originally known in Algonquin as "Pinesi Asin". The word "Pinesi" means Thunderbird while "Asin" is rock; together forming "Pinesi Asin" meaning "Thunderbird Rock". Thus, Pinesi Asin/Wassa Rock/Oiseau Rock is where the Thunderbird lands on earth to make its nest. It's possible the Algonquin phrase "waassa asin" with the word "waassa" (thunderbolt) was heard by the early French as "oiseau" (bird) and it stuck. (Local old-timers from the area still pronounce Oiseau  as "wee-zaa".) Yet interestingly both words actually allude to the Thunderbird.  

Long ago the Great Spirit sent great birds, the thunderbirds, to Earth to help with the creation of life. But when they arrived all they saw was rock; no plants or trees had been created yet! So in order for the thunderbirds to have nests they had to make their nests with stones instead. With their huge talons they picked up massive boulders. They flew to mountain tops, landed, and arranged these big stones  into great stone thunderbird nests.

Much later in time human beings arrived; the First People. Their "bird shamans" knew the old legends about the coming of the first thunderbirds to Earth. So to gain the natural power of those original thunderbirds who had come to help the Great Spirit, the human bird shamans themselves called upon the thunderbirds for help. These bird shamans learned to follow suit and by using stones they too made their own rocky "thunderbird nests" or "vision pits" to use in a spiritual manner for doing vision quests and medicine work out in nature.

It's for this practical, rock-solid reason that the early "bird shamans" came to be called thunderbirds in human form themselves. Secure within their stone nests the human thunderbirds (shamans) received visions, dreams and guidance from the Spirits of Nature that encompassed them on Earth and from their ancestors now in the Sky World. Within their nests they did their benevolent "thunderbird medicine" work to help people with their struggles in life upon earth. 

Thunderbird nests are still used by human thunderbirds and others for spiritual guidance, to do personal medicine work and ceremonies and to leave gifts/offerings for the Great Spirit of the Creator in avian form - the Thunderbird. People also use these nest areas for fasting and vision quests whereby they can receive guidance from wild animal spirits, ancestor spirits, thunderbirds and of course the Great Spirit of Creator as the Great Bird too!