The image of Kokopelli has various meanings, one of the most popular being that it represents fertility. The Kokopelli can also symbolize the change of seasons. Some see Kokopelli as a healer, while others associate him with music.
In this comprehensive article, we’ll examine the different representations that a Kokopelli tattoo has.
Who is Kokopelli?
Images of Kokopelli have been found that trace back over a thousand years. Petroglyphs, paintings, and rock carvings have been found that date to around the year 800. Kokopelli is known mainly as a god of fertility, though he is also associated with music, spring, and healing. Some say that he was an Aztec trader who traveled to different villages each year.
Kokopelli is most commonly connected to the southwest United States, though the image is recognizable to people in many areas. Usually, he is portrayed with either a humped back or a sack on his back. He is typically playing a flute and has a crest or feathers on his head.
Many tattoos of Kokopelli are done as a silhouette in black ink. Since his image is mainly based on rock carvings, there is not much detail known. Some tattoo artists will create detail, however, using patterns, colors, and various designs.
Both men and women seem to enjoy getting tattoos of Kokopelli. These tattoos are typically small to medium in size and are often found on the lower leg, forearm, or shoulder. Tattoos may feature just Kokopelli himself or other related images, for example, southwest motifs like cactus or desert.
Kokopelli is called a fertility god and his powers are said to apply to both people and agriculture. Some say that the hump on his back is because he carries unborn children there that he brings to women. Others believe he carries seeds on his back to be planted in the fertile ground to bring forth crops.
A woman who hopes to get pregnant may decide to get a tattoo of this fertility god in hopes that it will bring her luck in bearing a child. Her partner may get this tattoo for similar reasons. Someone who farms or is otherwise involved with agriculture may also choose this tattoo so they will have success in planting and harvesting.
Many images of Kokopelli show him carrying or playing a flute. He is a symbol of music as well as dance. Some say that he would play his flute to announce his presence when he traveled from village to village.
A Kokopelli tattoo with a flute may be chosen because of the person’s love of music. Most likely they are a musician themselves, perhaps even a flutist. Or they may just have an appreciation for the sound of music and like the representation shown in the image. Some Kokopelli tattoos replace the flute with another instrument, for example, a guitar.
Change of Seasons
It is said that Kokopelli uses his flute to drive away winter and entice spring to arrive. In addition to carrying seeds, he is also connected with bringing rain in the spring season. Some say that his arrival in a village signified that winter was coming to an end and the planting could begin.
A person who looks forward to the spring every year may choose this tattoo of Kokopelli. It symbolizes continuous change, that nothing is stagnant, and that new growth can come forward after a dark period. Someone who has gone through a difficult period in their life may like this tattoo because it represents change, growth, and new opportunities.
Southwest United States
Kokopelli is best known in the southwest United States, for example, in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. There is even a 142-mile trail that goes through Colorado and Utah that is named after Kokopelli.
Residents of these areas may choose to get a Kokopelli tattoo because it is connected to their location and heritage. They may have grown up hearing stories about Kokopelli and believe that he is an important figure in the area’s history. Even a visitor who enjoys the southwest states may choose this tattoo because it is characteristic of that area.
It is said that when Kokopelli was traveling from place to place, he told stories when he visited each community. He had a unique ability to tell stories and used not just his voice but his whole body to enact these tales, almost like a charade. Kokopelli used his talent as a way of connecting the communities that he visited and teaching them about each other.
A person who chooses a tattoo of Kokopelli might be a storyteller themselves. They may be a journalist, novel writer, poet, or perhaps they enjoy making up stories for their children. The image of Kokopelli represents creativity and flair for narration. This is a particularly suitable tattoo for someone who uses their storytelling abilities to benefit the community.
Many people believe that Kokopelli also had special healing powers. Women who were unable to bear children were said to be healed after a visit from Kokopelli. They would find themselves with a child when they did not believe it was possible.
Anyone who is seeking healing in their life, whether this be physical, mental, or spiritual, might opt to get a tattoo of Kokopelli. Like many other symbols, this image can be an inspiration and offer hope to people who are experiencing pain and suffering.
Some people have adapted the image of Kokopelli to represent a certain lifestyle–one of traveling, playing music, spending time outdoors, and living off the land. It is a popular image among what might be described as bohemian or hippie culture.
A person who lives this sort of lifestyle where they feel connected to nature, grow their own food, and play instruments might get a Kokopelli tattoo. While this is not as closely related to the original meaning behind the image, it has become more common today that people associate it with this sort of life.