Published on August 5, 2014 by Amy
To understand kachina properties, we must first have a foundation of the endlessly creative and strongly spiritual Hopi people.
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Hopi, or Hopitu-shinumu, means Peaceful People. They are expert craftspeople, and possessed uncommon agricultural skills. The Hopi connection with the land, cultivating, and harvesting is truly superior. Specifically, their ability to skillfully coax yielding corn from the desert sands is to be commended.
As artisans, they incorporated their Hopi symbols into an array of dazzlingly beautiful baskets and pottery. Further, their natural artistic abilities are found in the well-crafted kachina masks donned during ceremonies.
Kachina are supernatural beings who inhabit the realms of mist and magic. They are not worshipped by the Hopi as deities – rather, they are regarded as allies, and as connections to the forces of nature.
Kachina properties become clearer when we realize they are invoked with purpose to augment fertile crops, and abundant living conditions. As Hopi symbols, they are harbingers of life-giving rain, and serve the Hopi in their needs.
Listed below are some kachina properties, along with Hopi symbols and their meanings. These are provided with a goal for better understanding and respect to this highly resourceful and creative people.
Crow Mother Kachina:
While kachinas are walking upon the earth during the winter and summer solstices, The Crow Mother makes her appearance with a basket of sprouts symbolizing the miracle of seed germination in the midst of winter.
This kachina brings abundant, high-yielding crops of corn. This mask bears fertility symbols, and the wearer shakes a rattle to evoke the sound of rain.
Masau reigns over all the earth and underworld. All must pay homage to this spirit – it is both respected and feared among the Hopi. Masua also controls the arrival of all the kachina spirits when they come into the world during winter and summer solstices.
Also known as the scorpion or horned runner, this is a comical spirit. Running races during ceremonial games, this spirit carries two sticks in hand, and is known to launch one of these at a competitor that is ahead in the race.
Tawa or sun kachina seen here is a symbol of life, growth, strength of spirit, and abundance. The likeness of this spirit is donned during the solstice ceremony to beckon the sun’s return, and begin the growing season.