Kokopelli is well known to many as just
that image of a crude American Indian image
that of a fertility deity, usually depicted
as a humpbacked flute player (often with a
huge phallus and feathers or antenna-like
protrusions on his head), who has been venerated
by some Native American cultures in the Southwestern
United States. Like most fertility deities,
Kokopelli presides over both childbirth and
agriculture. He is also a trickster god and
represents the spirit of music.
Many paranormal investigators have ignored
the actual spirit practices of the Native
Americans. To those that know of the powers
that this magical beings possess their's is
not denying that a spiritual and paranormal
or supernatural interchange still exist today
with this Native american spirit being.
Among the Hopi, Kokopelli carries unborn
children on his back and distributes them
to women (for this reason, young girls often
fear him). He often takes part in rituals
relating to marriage, and Kokopelli himself
is sometimes depicted with a consort, a woman
called Kokopelmana by the Hohokam and Hopi.
It is said that Kokopelli can be seen on the
full and waning moon, much like the "rabbit
on the moon."
Many people around the world take these images
of the Kokopellie as just decorations not
realizing that the power of the spirit world
is infused them. Ancient images and pictographs
do hold a magical or supernatural quality
to them even though the maker and owner of
such do not realize it.
Kokopelli also presides over the reproduction
of game animals, and for this reason, he is
often depicted with animal companions such
as rams and deer. Other common creatures associated
with him include sun-bathing animals such
as snakes, or water-loving animals like lizards
and insects. Because of this, some scholars
believe that Kokopelli's flute is actually
a blowgun (or started out as one). Alternatively,
the "flute" may actually be a pipe
for smoking tobacco in a sacred ceremony,
or some other device entirely. It is actually
very likely that the flute is a change to
make Kokopelli "easier" on the public,
as well as to perhaps allow for use in business.
In his domain over agriculture, Kokopelli's
flute playing chases away the Winter and brings
about Spring. Many tribes, such as the Zuni,
also associate Kokopelli with the rains. He
frequently appears with Paiyatamu, another
flautist, in depictions of maize-grinding
ceremonies. Some tribes say he carries seeds
and babies on his back.
In recent years, the emasculated version
of Kokopelli has been adopted as a broader
symbol of the Southwestern United States as
a whole. His image adorns countless items
such as T-shirts, ball caps, and keychains.
A bicycle trail between Grand Junction, Colorado,
and Moab, Utah, is now known as the Kokopelli
Kokopelli has been worshipped since at least
the time of the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. The
first known images of him appear on Hohokam
pottery dated to sometime between AD 750 and
Kokopelli may have originally been a representation
of ancient Aztec traders, known as pochtecas,
who traveled to this region from northern
Mesoamerica. These traders brought their goods
in sacks slung across their backs and this
sack may have evolved into Kokopelli's familiar
hump (in fact, many tribes make Kokopelli
a trader in this way. These men also used
flutes to announce themselves as friendly
as they approached a settlement.[ This origin
is still in doubt, however, since the first
known images of Kokopelli predate the major
era of Aztec-Anasazi trade by several hundred
Another theory is that Kokopelli is actually
an anthropomorphic insect. Many of the earliest
depictions of Kokopelli make him very insect-like
in appearance. The name "Kokopelli"
may be a combination of "Koko",
another Hopi and Zuni deity, and "pelli",
the Hopi and Zuni word for the desert robber
fly, an insect with a prominent proboscis
and a rounded back, which is also noted for
its zealous sexual proclivities. A more recent
etymology is that Kokopelli means literally
"kachina hump". Because the Hopi
were the tribe from whom the Spanish explorers
first learned of the god, their name is the
one most commonly used.
Kokopelli is one of the most easily recognized
figures found in the petroglyphs and pictographs
of the Southwest. The earliest known petroglyph
of the figure dates to about A.D. 1000. Kokopelli
was one of several kachina dolls sold to tourists.
The Spanish missionaries in the area convinced
the Hopi craftsmen to omit the phallus from
their representations of the figure. As with
most kachina dolls, the Hopi Kokopelli was
often represented by a human dancer. These
dancers apparently had great fun with missionaries
and tourists by making obscene and sexual
gestures that the foreigners did not understand.
A similar humpbacked figure is found in artifacts
of the Mississippian culture of the U.S. southeast.
Between approximately 1200 to 1400 AD, water
vessels were crafted in the shape of a humpbacked
woman. These forms may represent a cultural
heroine or founding ancestor, and may also
reflect concepts related to the life-giving
blessings of water and fertility.
1. "Kokopelli - Trickster God".
Chrysta Links. http://www.crystalinks.com/kokopelli.html.
3. "Kokopelli Legends & Lore".
4."Kokopelli Legends & Lore".
Glenn Welker. http://www.indigenouspeople.net/kokopelli.htm.
5. Leo W. Banks. Tucson Weekly 1999. "Cuckoo
6. "MISSISSIPPIAN CULTURES FROM ELSEWHERE".
National Park Service (US Interior Dept.).
* Slifer, Dennis, and Duffield, James (1994).
Kokopelli: Flute Player Images in Rock Art.
Santa Fe, New Mexico: Ancient City Press.
* Young, John V. (1990). Kokopelli: Casanova
of the Cliff Dwellers: The Hunchbacked Flute
Player. Palmer Lake, Colorado: Filter Press.
Two-Spirit (also two spirit or twospirit)
people, or berdache in the anthropological
literature, are Native Americans who fulfill
one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally
among many Native Americans and Canadian First
Nations indigenous groups. These roles included
wearing the clothing and performing the work
of both male and female genders. There are
many indigenous terms for these individuals
in the various Native American languages.
According to Gilly, male berdachism "was
a fundamental institution among most tribal
peoples."Roscoe, Will (1991). The Zuni
Man-Woman, p.5. ISBN 0826312535. States that
male and female berdaches have been "documented
in over 130 tribes, in every region of North
America, among every type of native culture."
The term "two-spirit" usually implies
a masculine spirit and a feminine spirit living
in the same body and was coined in 1990 by
contemporary gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
Native Americans to describe themselves and
the traditional roles they are reclaiming.
Pniese refers to certain American Indians
of the 17th century New England area. They
"were warriors of special abilities and
stamina (it was said a pniese could not be
killed in battle) who were responsible collecting
tribute for his sachem.". Philbrick names
Hobbamock, of the Pokanoket's, and one of
sachem Massasoit's men, as a pniese.
According to Philbrick, both Hobbamock and
Squanto (the shortened name for Tisquntum)
were named after Indian spirits of darkness.
Squanto has a somewhat prominent place in
the founding history of Plymouth Plantation.
While Philbrick specifically mentions Squanto
as not being a pniese, an article by Charles
C. Mann in The Smithsonian Magazine implies
that he was, and gives information about pniese
training. The training was more rigorous than
that of his friends, "for it seems that
he was selected to become a pniese, a kind
of counselor-bodyguard to the sachem."
Pniese were expected to learn the art of ignoring
pain, by, for instance, "running barelegged
through brambles," and by fasting, "to
learn self-discipline. After spending their
winter in the woods, pniese candidates came
back to an additional test: drinking bitter
gentian juice until they vomited, repeating
this process over and over."
Noted in historical accounts as the Ghost
Dance of 1890, the Ghost Dance was a religious
movement incorporated into numerous Native
American belief systems. The traditional ritual
used in the Ghost Dance, the circle dance,
has been used by many Native Americans since
prehistoric times but was first performed
in accordance with Jack Wilson's teachings
among the Nevada Paiute in 1889. The practice
swept throughout much of the American West,
quickly reaching areas of California and Oklahoma.
As the Ghost Dance spread from its original
source, Native American tribes synthesized
selective aspects of the ritual with their
own beliefs, often creating change in both
the society that integrated it and the ritual
At the core of the movement was the prophet
of peace Jack Wilson, known as Wovoka among
the Paiute, who prophesied a peaceful end
to white American expansion while preaching
messages of clean living, an honest life,
and cross-cultural cooperation. Perhaps the
best-known facet of the Ghost Dance movement
is the role it reportedly played in instigating
the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890, which resulted
in the deaths of at least 153 Lakota Sioux.
The Sioux variation on the Ghost Dance tended
towards millenarianism, an innovation that
distinguished the Sioux interpretation from
Jack Wilson's original teachings.