Family Deities: Kokopelli

Thanks for joining us for another Families Deity! We’re exploring deities that tie into families and family values, or who are important to the family unit or children in some way. This month, we are exploring the mischievous god, Kokopelli.

Who is Kokopelli?
First, we should acknowledge that some Hopi and Zuni tribes people do not believe Kokopelli is a single being.  It has been suggested that Kokopelli is a kachina, which, in simple terms, is spirit or deity that has the power to influence the natural world and Kokopelli is in fact the combined entity of Kokopoli (male) & Kokopelmimi (female).

Nevertheless, the significant proportion of the information available refers to Kokopelli as a single, male entity and it is in this way we will explore him here.

Kokopelli is a fertility deity and trickster god worshiped by some Tribes of the First Nation in America.  He is often shown with either a bag on his back, which either contains new-born children, who he gives to women, old songs which he exchanges for new ones, or a hump. 

In representations of Kokopelli, he has a flute, and it is said when he plays it, he can chase away winter and so spring happens.

Why is Kokopelli one of our Family Deities?
Kokopelli is responsible for the fertility of both of humans and agriculture.  As he is a trickster, young women are afraid of him and that he might give them a child too soon.

He takes part in marriage rites and is the spirit of music.

Honouring Kokopelli
There is no specific information on how to honour Kokopelli, however, his association with flute music and spring would suggest that playing music, dancing and nurturing spring flowers would be good ways.

Kokopelli Correspondences

Insects, many images of him show him with antennae

Flute, a symbol of joy and fertility

The earliest known image is from Hohokam pottery, which dates between 750 and 850 CE, although it is though Kokopelli could have been an Aztec deity brought to the continent by traders.

Again, there is little information about how to give an offering to Kokopelli and, as with honouring, it would be reasonable to assume music, especially flute, and flowers, especially spring ones, would be a good place to start.

What are your experiences with this fascinating god? Pop over to our Facebook group and let us know.