The Pollen Cirlces logo and name is multifaceted and related to Navajo (Diné) culture.
It includes sprinkles of
corn pollen, the swirl of the wind, and the thumbprint of the human being presenting itself to the morning dawn horizon.
In Navajo culture, these elements are representative of our
interconnectedness with nature and people, our responsibility to nurture these
relationships, and the historical and philosophical workings of these
Descriptive meanings of these symbols are as follows:
1) Corn Pollen
– Corn Pollen has great ceremonial value for the Diné.
Corn Pollen, collected from the tassels of the corn plant, is usually stored in a small leather pouch. Corn Pollen is used as an offering in ceremonies, as well as in daily prayer. A pinch is offered to the Holy People with prayers of thanksgiving, protection and well-being. This offering carries itself upon the Wind. The pollen itself represents light and life.
A passage from Navaho Religion: A Study of Symbolism describes this meaning. It states, “Light is an essential of life and protection, whose most outstanding symbol is pollen…it emits lights in all directions…Since light (sunbeams, warmth) is a necessary element of generation, it is not surprising that pollen should be the symbol of fructification, vivification, and continuity of life and safety…Pollen is the emblem of peace, of happiness, [and] of prosperity”.1 Pollen is also the symbol of water’s light, its power of motion and life.
2) Life Wind
– In Diné culture, the Wind is considered a living being. If fact, it is Wind that provides the life essence to the human being. In addition, Wind is a carrier of our thoughts, prayers and intentions. Wind also represents attention and listening. The Holy Wind in Navajo Philosophy states, “Suffusing all of nature, Holy Wind gives life, thought, speech, and the power of motion to all living things and serves as the means of communication between all elements of the living world.”2 The Wind provided a means of life, thought, speech, movement, and communication with others. The Wind guided and regulated human life. 3
3) Fingerprint – When a human being is born, the first breath brings in a Holy, living Wind essence. This life Wind places itself upon the person as a reminder of life. It can be seen in the swirls on our fingertips, the swirls on our toes, and within the swirl(s) on the top of one’s head. Diné teachings describe how humans walk upright by means of invisible “strings”. The strings that come from our fingertips attach themselves to the sky, and the strings that come from the toes attach themselves to the earth. This, again, shows our interconnectedness to all things. Each finger on the hand has special meaning. The thumb itself represents each “whole” individual.
When an individual offers Corn Pollen towards the morning dawn, this individual is presenting his or her fingerprint to the Holy People, who in return, recognize their grandchild through the fingerprint and offer beauty, blessings and safety.
4) The Circle (Pollen Circles) – “The Circle of Life” is a concept that is intimately understood and acknowledged by Native Peoples around the world. In addition to recognizing that life is a process from birth, adolescence, adulthood and old age, the Diné know that all living beings are connected mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and socially.
One’s thoughts, intentions, and actions ripple out into the environment, on all of these levels. Like a pebble dropped into a pond, the concentric rings that follow will move out from that center, touching everything in their path. Once the concentric rings encounter something in the environment, they are sent back to where the rings began, with that pebble. We are that pebble, and what we do in every moment not only affects everything around us, but also affects ourselves. We are all a part of this great circle.
1Reichard, Gladys A. Navaho Religion: A Study of Symbolism. Princeton University Press,
Bollingen Series XVIII, (1950) 1997, p. 250-251.
2 McNeley, James Kale, Holy Wind in Navajo Philosophy, Tucson, AZ: University of
Arizona Press, fifth printing, 1997, p. 1.
3McNeley, James Kale, Holy Wind in Navajo Philosophy, Tucson, AZ: University of
Arizona Press, fifth printing, 1997, p.27.