Sunday, March 03, 2013

Crazy for Kokopelli

If you do an Internet search for Kokopelli, the browser might give you a list of possible choices associated with that word, such as: suites, wine, inn, golf club, images, bedding, meaning, trail and bed and breakfast.  This shows just how popular and widespread (mainly in the Southwest) Kokopelli has become.  Originally a fertility deity that caught on later with the  Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, it could represent Aztec traders from the South carrying sacks over their shoulders.  Often combining trade with storytelling and news, these men would announce their presence with flute playing before entering a village, to forestall any suspicions of the people. 

Kokopelli is represented as a hunchbacked flute player with feathers or antenna on the head, and originally, with a phallus.  The Spanish missionaries tried to get the Pueblo tribes as the Hopi and Zuni to skip the last detail, when creating rock glyphs and Kachina dolls.  He is said to carry seeds or babies on his back.  He is considered a trickster god and the spirit of music.
There are many books about this figure which has become popular in Arizona and New Mexico especially, here is one book about it.  When I was getting a haircut not long ago I noticed even the cloth the barber put around me had this design: 
Kokopelli refrigerator magnets are also widespread:
as are napkin holders:
and garden adornments:
 and naturally handicraft fair items:
Maybe someone will establish a religion around Kokopelli, it would certainly be Dionysian in temperment if all the symbolism associated with him was transferred into ritual.    

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