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Native Symbols - A Guide to the Energies of the Australian Bush

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Native Symbols - A Guide to the Energies of the Australian Bush by Donni Hakanson

First published in October 1997 ISBN: 0 646 32617 1

The website - just google ... native symbols donni hakanson .... !

The Dreaming is not a static space in time, but a continuous thread through time.

In 1997 "Oracle of the Dreamtime" was released worldwide, translated 4 times. Over 20 000 copies have have been printed.

With my first royalties I self-published "Native Symbols." 300 copies and 11 years later I still receive more requests and comments about this publication than the Oracle! It's time to address this need!

The natural world speaks in the language of archetypes, a symbolic language which resonates within the unconscious, beyond words. This language speaks to all people, regardless of skin colour or culture.

The Australian Aboriginal people traditionally regarded their environment as a living oracle. If a bird or animal behaved strangely, or looked one directly in the eye, then there was a special message forthcoming. If a creature appeared in one's dreams, it too symbolised an aspect of the Great Spirit.

This book is a handy Australian dream or encounter guide. The interpretations for each symbols draws on each one's unique characteristics and the messages contained within its Aboriginal Dreaming.

Through nature and the animal world, we can become more aware of our own personal traits, our own strengths and qualities as well as our connection in the web of life. Over100 creatures are described in the new edition.

"Native Symbols - A Guide to the Energies of the Australian Bush" was the first publication of its kind released in Australia. The shamanic tradition encompasses indigenous cultures globally, and "Native Symbols" specifically addresses our unique Australian creatures and life forms though their Aboriginal Dreamings and innate characteristics and traits.

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Table of Contents:





Patterns and Directions

The Four Elements

Astrology Co-relations

Divining Your Own Meanings

The Symbols:






Bilby see Bandicoot

Billabong see Waterhole

Black Swan

Blowfly see Fly

Bogong Moth

Boobook Owl see Mopoke



Brush Turkey



Cane Toad

Cat see Native Cat



Cockatoo, Black and White











Eagle see Wedge-tailed Eagle




Fairy Penguin




Flying Fox see Bat

Frilled Neck Lizard




Gliding Possum


Gum Tree see Eucalyptus


Honeyant see Ant








Lizard, Blue-tongue

Lizard, Frill neck

Lizard, Shingleback

Lotus see Lily



Milky Way see Bat





Moth see Bogong Moth

Mudlark see Pee Wee

Native Cat

Nautilus Shell see Moon




Paperbark Tree

Pee Wee


Pigeon see Topnotch



Quoll see Native Cat


Rain see Clouds


Rainbow Lorikeet





Shag see Cormorant

Sheoak Tree see Cockatoo



Seven Sisters

Southern Cross


Starfish see Whale


Sturt’s Desert Pea


Sugarbag see Bee

Sugar Glider see Gliding Possum

Taipan see Snake

Tasmanian Devil


Topknot Pigeon




Water Rat see Rat



Wedge-tailed Eagle


Willy Wagtail



Animal Encounter Record Keeper

About the Author/Illustrator


One letter of many from a keen reader:

Dear Donni
I have never written to an author of a book that I've loved before, but I am compelled to write and beg you to re publish your book Native Symbols.
I found your book in a book shop at Coollangatta and since that time my daughter and myself (And sometimes my husband is found looking for it!) fight over it continually. The reason is that both of us often like to keep it with us as it is truly remarkable with your insights into the animals that may cross our paths during the day. So with this in mind I set out to buy not one but a few copies as I thought there are other friends who I know would delight in it as much as we do. I ordered my copies and as I was assured that the copies had been located proceeded to give the one precious copy away to a friend while I was in Sydney on business. Imagine my dismay when I went to the book shop to discover that they had ordered the oracle instead of the book and then told me that they didn't think that it was available anymore. I did purchase the oracle and I love the book that you have there as well. but I really wanted the copy of Native Symbols.
I would only have one thing to ask if you would consider re publishing Native Symbols and that is can you add even more than the sixty or so animals. I have to tell you how incredible the lessons and the insights for me and my daughter have been. It does not matter what we looked up it was always deeply spiritual and has helped us both on our path. I really want to thank you for such a publication.
I thank God that Michelle had your contact details so that I could contact you, and I wish you Great Spirits joy and peace as you continue your work.
Kindest regards, Louise R.

An Excerpt - Part 1


Industry Community Invincibility Irritations

"You've got ants in ya pants!" Is there a young child who hasn't giggled and used this 'naughty' expression? Ants have the capacity to bring the giggles and squeals of childhood back - especially if you do get one in your clothes! Watching them as they struggle to carry a moth up a wall or a large crumb over a puddle can be fascinating... these tiny insects have entertained humans for centuries. This state of intense concentration is the same as that of a child focussed on playing; time disappears and the wonder of the NOW is present.

Ant concentrates solely on the job at hand. They are found worldwide and an archetype related to work, like bees. In fact, their social structure is very similar to bees, except for bull ants which are more ferocious and less organised in their approach.

In one Dreaming , Ant nests are built to withstand the power of the willywilly (whirlwind) which, although it can storm and pull up trees, cannot destroy an Ant's nest. The willywilly's anger resulted from Ant stealing his food, piece by piece, in the dark of night. Ant took the food because the willywilly wouldn't share. Even today, Ant will take any food hoards left untended and in the open.

Nothing will go to waste with these critters! (Other Dreamings attribute the red colouring of the meat ant's body as evidence of their being the first creatures to possess fire - maybe that's why their bites have such a sting!)

Ant has an uncanny ability to locate the smallest food source and in no time at all, hoards of them are in the vicinity, efficiently cleaning up and searching for more. The energies of concentration are evident here - a multitude concentrate around a single crumb, working together, focussed intently. For those plagued in their homes, Ant can teach you that no matter how tidy and organised your life may be, there will still be something out of sight. Even the tiniest morsel is worth gathering by these productive and persistent creatures!

Ant may refer to any level where you think you have cleaned and tidied, including habits, mental patterns and unpicked skeletons in the closet. In this way, Ant can teach humility - or undermine your confidence if you allow a judgement to be made on these crumbs. Ant signifies a time of cleaning up small details, so be grateful - especially if the worst of the mess is over!

Ant - Part 2

Traditionally Ant may highlight community endeavours and working with others for the benefit of the collective group. Take notice of the location of Ant and refer this place to the same place within yourself. For example, Ant in the kitchen may relate to issues of community care and providing for others; in the bathroom an issue might need to be released or cleaned up; and so on.

The smallest crumbs dwarf Ant who is able to carry many times its bodyweight. In Ant’s perspective the little things are enormous but worth struggling with! From another perspective, what you may be struggling with, although it seems huge, is not in reality. Tiny Ant can encourage you to broaden your perspective. You are, after all, a giant... and giants are powerful beings!

If ant stings you, several Dreamings from the Northern Territory highlight ant’s ability to sting a dead person back to life… where in your life do you need to get more lively, so to speak? Where did ant bite you, what does that body part do? For example, ant bite on the knee might be saying it’s time to get going in some way in your flexibility in moving through life.

Like Fly, Ant can indicate irritations - and not only at picnics. Flying ants are seeking a new nesting site and according to bush lore, are a sign of coming rain. Their presence, although a nuisance, can point to innovative ideas and flights of fancy which form into new developments and projects in your life. Flying Ant, who has transcended the earth environment to achieve his needs more efficiently, comes into your life to bring a message. Is he in a safe environment where he can begin a new life or one where it is unlikely he will ever feel at home? Upheaval and change, movement and new beginnings are fanned into your life with Ant’s wings. (see also termite aka flying ant.)

If you are lucky enough to sample honeyants which are a traditional Aboriginal bush tucker delicacy, these sweet delicacies are a symbol of the fleeting pleasures of life. The amount of time it takes to ‘harvest’ them compared to the crop is minimal, yet well worth the effort. Doing what you love, regardless of the work involved, makes even a small success even sweeter! Honeyants are a lovely symbol of seeking and attaining your dreams. Go for it!

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My other book, "Oracle of the Dreamtime"

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