Kokopelli

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Kokopelli is 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.

Contents

Myths

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 Hopi.[1] It is said that Kokopelli can be seen on the full and waning moon, much like the "rabbit on the moon".

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.

In his domain over agriculture, Kokopelli's fluteplaying chases away the winter and brings about spring. Many tribes, such as the Zuni, also associate Kokopelli with the rains.[2] He frequently appears with Paiyatamu, another flautist, in depictions of maize-grinding ceremonies. Some tribes say he carries seeds and babies on his back.[2][3]

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.[4] A bicycle trail between Grand Junction, Colorado, and Moab, Utah, is now known as the Kokopelli Trail.

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