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about kokopelli

These two dancing figures look like they're having a terrific time, don't they? They're two depictions of the American Indian god, Kokopelli.

Who is Kokopelli? Kokopelli is a fertility deity venerated today by numerous Native American tribes. He was also venerated by the ancient Puebloan peoples of the American Southwest, peoples called the Anasazi or ancient ones by the present-day Navajo. His history may well go as far back as 1,200 BCE and his mythology may have evolved until as late as circa 1,200 CE.

Kokopelli still plays an active role in many aspects of Native American life today. He is important to such tribes as the Hopi, Zuni, Taos, Acoma, and others. His chief role among these tribes is to preside over childbirth and agriculture.

Different tribes ascribe different qualities to Kokopelli, but no matter how their idea of him may differ, all the tribes who follow Kokopelli accept him as the same god. Kokopelli is usually (but not always) portrayed with a humpback while dancing and playing a flute. No matter what his proclivities may be according to different tribes, Kokopelli is seen as a trickster god who represents the spirit of music. He flirts with and seduces women, presides over the reproduction of game animals, and wanders from place to place like a traveling salesman, playing tricks and practical jokes on people and having a good time for himself.

Kokopelli especially likes to take advantage of the fairer sex. The Hopi believe that the swelling on Kokopelli's back is actually a representation of an unborn child, and that he distributes unborn children to women. For this reason, he is frequently avoided by young Hopi women.

Among the tribes, he often plays a part in rituals related to marriage and fertility ceremonies such as maize-grinding, maize being the food of life. Some tribes believe that Kokopelli's flute playing brings the return of Spring or rain, and others that the hump is a bag of seeds.

Scholars vary in their opinions, too. Because of his connection with animals, some archeologists and sociologists believe that the flute he carries is actually a blowgun. Some believe that the protrusions on his head are actually feathers, antennas, or a collection of vary large phalluses.

Another theory is that Kokopelli is a humanoid insect, and indeed, many early depictions of Kokopelli make him look like an insect. In this theory, the name Kokopelli is a meld of the word Koko, a Hopi and Zuni deity, and the word pelli, the Hopi and Zuni word for the desert robber fly, an insect with a big nose and a hump back, famous for its sexual energies. (See a humanoid insect-like depiction of Kokopelli at the left.)

kokopelli and electricka's muses

What is Kokopelli's connection with the muses? As with different tribes and scholars, Kokopelli holds many different associations for Electricka and her cohorts. For example, Greek muses are gods, as is Kokopelli; and the flute he plays suggests the role of recording in the field of music.

To Electricka and her muses, however, Kokopelli is most associated with recording arts and technologies in all their varied forms. Why?

Kokopelli is one of the most easily recognized figures in the Southwestern United States, or indeed, anywhere in the world. He appears on petroglyphs and pictographs everywhere. Kokopelli is one of the kachina dolls sold to tourists. His image appears on pottery, carpets, signs, statues, and in art all over the Four Corners area of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. In recent years, a phallus-free version of Kokopelli has been adopted as a broader symbol of the Southwestern United States as a whole; and his image adorns countless items such as T-shirts, ball caps, and key chains.

Viewed from an artistic point of view, there could hardly be a figure that has been more recorded than Kokopelli. His image is carved into stone; it records and expresses ideas and beliefs that are thousands of years old. It reminds us of antediluvian images applied to prehistoric cave walls, yet it is an image that is as vibrant today as it was archaically. Kokopelli's image is having a good time wherever it shows up. That's why Electricka and her muses have made Kokopelli's picture the symbol of the recording arts features you find at her web site.

more about kokopelli

Explore Kokopelli further at these web sites:

  • Explore Kokopelli legends, music, history, imagery, ceremonies, and lore at the web site called Kokopelli Legends & Lore: tap or click here
  • Learn about Kokopelli mythos, origins, and history. Find references to the subject of Kokopelli at the Wikipedia page about Kokopelli: tap or click here
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