Kokopelli and the Magic of Spider Woman

March 13th, 2015 · No Comments

by Jane St. Clair


Kokopelli plays the music of the Sonoran desert and that is why you see him everywhere in Arizona and all over the American Southwest. He is our happiest symbol, jumping out of everywhere like a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day or Santa Claus in December. Kokopelli lives in the great mountains, and his music is magic as he floats his prayers to the sky with his flute.The music of Kokopelli brings rain and flowers, babies and prosperity to the people of the Sonoran desert, and that is why we love him.

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Kokopelli belongs to the Anasazi people — the Hopi, the Zuni, the Hokoham, the Sinagua and the Mogollon. You can find his ancient traces where the four corners of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado meet in the Navajo nation. Kokopelli’s petrographs are ancient, perhaps as old as three thousand years.

Kokopelli Petroglyphs,_Mortendad_Cave11

Some say Kokopelli is an insect with dragonfly antennae. Some say he is priest of rain, a trickster, a fertility god. One story is that the first Kokopelli was actually a traveling salesman whose humpback was really a sack of wonderful goods, and that it was Kokopelli who came from Mexico and brought the Anasazi people the first seeds of corn — a gift of magic! He had girlfriends in every village, and that is how he came to be a symbol of birth. We would say she turned up pregnant. They would say she met up with Kokopelli.

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Kokopelli can be a shape-changer that leads the human beings out of dark consciousness and into enlightenment.

In one legend Kokopelli discovers that the Ant People are living in darkness, and he leads them upward to the Red World where the Cat People are fierce. Then they go into the Yellow World full of spiders and descend into the Blue World where Kokopelli loses his ability to play his flute. Blue Kachina Star of the Kokopelli Blue World

In the Blue World, Kokopelli teaches the human beings how to plant seeds, hunt and share with one another. Together they dig a hole that reaches above and shows them the sky. Water leaks on them but not on Spider Women who spins a web to make the hole dry.

Kokopelli and the Legend of Spider Woman

Next Kokopelli leads the human beings up the hole to the Green World where the Cloud Spirits shoot him with lightning. Even with the lightning hitting him, Kokopelli manages to play his flute. The Cloud People split open his skin to make his wings form. He asks that the Ant People join them in happiness and light, and he teaches them to follow the Great Spirit. That is the way upward and out of darkness. That is the way you find your wings. That is why we love Kokopelli.

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Tags: Arizona · Arizona photography · AZ · Jane St. Clair · Tucson · Tucson Sonoran Desert