Native American Animal: Woodpecker (Cancer sun sign)

As I have some Native American (Cherokee) in my family tree, I enjoy those traditions.  We are currently in the sun sign of Cancer – (June 22 – July 22).  I only have a couple of friends who are Cancer sun signs…any Cancer readers out there?  Can you speak to if this resonates with you?


Native American animal symbols can encompass just about all the animals, and their symbolic representation to the many tribes of the Americas.

The Cancer sun signs’ Native American Animal is the woodpecker.  Woodpeckers are usually the most nurturing of all the Native American animal symbols. The consummate listener, totally empathic and understanding, the Woodpecker is the one to have on your side when you need support. Of course, they make wonderful parents, and equally wonderful friends and partners. Another proverbial feather in the Woodpeckers cap is the tendency to be naturally frugal, resourceful, and organized. In a nurturing environment the Woodpecker is of course caring, devoted, and very romantic. Left to his/her own devices the Woodpecker can be possessive, angry, jealous, and spiteful.

Going further with the “medicine” (or what they have to teach us) of the woodpecker…

Woodpeckers are extremely opportunistic. Each tree is a door, revealing tender morsels of food (grubs and ants are their favorites). Other trees will yield against their beak-hammering to provide great mansions for their young.

A quick list of woodpecker symbolic meaning include themes such as….

When the woodpecker comes tapping into our awareness, it’s a signal to use our heads. Just as the woodpecker uses its head (beak) to hammer out solutions (food, shelter), we too can use our intellect in finding solutions to our own barriers.

The symbolic meaning of woodpeckers also point to a need for creative vision. Being opportunistic, woodpeckers can see value everywhere, even in dead trees. Have you ditched an idea or given up on a project? The woodpecker may be trying to tell you to breathe new life into your project, just as they build new homes into dead trees.

Further, the symbolic meaning of woodpecker indicates a return to our roots, or having trust in our basic (gut) feelings. Dr. Carl Jung observed the woodpecker as a symbol of a return to the womb of creativity. In this observation the tree is symbolic of a womb; earthy, grounded, sturdy and secure. The woodpecker’s home within the tree is analogous of a fierce determination to return and protect that which is sacred to us.

When this bird comes pecking, it is a call for us to return to our roots, back to the womb of our ideas and use our intellect and discernment to follow through with our plans.

This analogy is doubly profound in the case of red-headed woodpeckers as the color red is associated with the root chakra. Prime, protective energy. Another clear sign for being aware of our core impulses, and our basic beliefs.

The woodpecker may also remind us to be mindful of our words. It has a narrow tongue, extremely effective for picking up food in narrow places. This is symbolic for using a narrow route to get the most profound effect. The woodpecker asks us to use fewer words to make a stronger impact in our statement.

When the woodpecker comes calling, it may be a sign to take some action.
Here are a few suggestions…
Fly back to your roots.

Shelter your wisdom from predatory threat.

Nurture your ideas in the womb of your core passions.

Communicate your ideas in more creative or non-traditional ways.

Stop and consider the opportunities available to you at this time.

Look at projects in unique creative ways to bring new life to a project.

Use your head (intellect) to think up innovative solutions to overcome barriers.

Listen more clearly to subtle energies; there is a message that only your intuition can interpret.

I hope you have enjoyed these thoughts on the symbolic meaning of woodpecker…now I will think of completely new things when I hear one in the forest!


6 thoughts on “Native American Animal: Woodpecker (Cancer sun sign)

  1. Woodpecker has flown into my awareness today. I not sure what is meant by ” shelter your wisdom from predatory threats” any thoughts would help.


    • Hi Mary Lou,
      To me, that means to protect your wisdom – what you know in your heart and core – from outside threats, such as your own overthinking mind, negative energies from other people, self doubt, and other things that could get you off track from the truths you know. To be aware of what could be affecting your connection to your highest wisdom, and shield from it.


  2. Pingback: The curious woodpecker – The Weight of My Days

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