Kokopelli symbolism and artistry among Southwest Native Americans.

Many Southwestern Native American cultures have some variety of the Kokopelli deity, and Hopi natives often depict this deity in Kachina dolls. The Kokopelli spirit is thought to have control over fertilityboth human and agricultural. Although the modern icon has been emasculated and commercialized, for the most part, throughout its history it has included a phallus as a symbol of its powerful fertility. To a lesser extent, the Kokopelli has sometimes been associated with trickery and music. Although the exact depiction of the Kokopelli differs from group to group, the common belief is that this deity was transferred down from the Anaszai Indians.

The power of the Kokopelli is thought to be immense by believers; so much so that shy young women would avoid the symbol for the implications of ensuing childbirth. Many Pueblos depicted the Kokopelli as visiting villages and depositing newborns. In this way, the Kokopelli very much resembles our Western idea of the Stork! Kokopelli symbols were often found surrounding wedding ceremonies, as well-wishers blessed the new couple and prayed for fertility. More explicit Kokopelli depictions involved a removable, exaggerated phallus that implied enormous virility; both in human reproduction and agricultural abundance. Many cultures would call to this deity to bring successful corn and grain harvests, as well as livestock reproduction. In fact, the Kokopelli is believed to chase away winter and bring in spring.

The humpbacked flute player that is commonly recognized as a symbol of Southwestern cultures comes from the less widespread characteristic of the Kokopellis as a musician. Some native groups believed that the deity wandered between villages with songs on his back, spreading seeds along with music. Modern uses of the Kokopelli vary, but most often stand as an icon that represents Southwestern Indian culture. The symbol appears on everything from t-shirts to keychains; and there is even a Kokopelli trail that winds through Colorado and Utah.

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