Kokopelli is a prehistoric deity depicted hundreds of times in rock art, some of it over a thousand years old, located in numerous sites in southwestern United States deserts and mountains. Often depicted as a humpbacked flute player, this mythic being has survived in recognizable form from Anasazi times to the present. There is something appealing about Kokopelli which fascinates all kinds of people, even in our modern technological age.
The Anasazi or "Ancient Ones" were primarily farmers, growing corn, beans, and squash in the Four Corners area on the Colorado Plateau. Both the Basketmaker Period (dating at least from about 200 B.C.) and the Pueblo Period (dating from about 700 A.D.) include the humpbacked flute player among their deities or supernaturals. Long-distance trade networks and migrations from Mexico apparently helped spread cultural and religious elements, so that by 1500 A.D. fluteplayer images were also included in the Hohokam, Mogollon, and Fremont cultures, in petroglyphs (rock carving), pictographs (rock painting), kiva murals, ceramics and baskets. Today, Kokopelli is one of the Hopi kachinas, and is in many traditional stories and songs of Native Americans of the desert southwest.
In Kokopelli, Flute Player Images in Rock Art, Dennis Slifer and James Duffield mention "...widely held beliefs that Kokopelli was a fertility symbol, roving minstrel or trader, rain priest, hunting magician, trickster, and seducer of maidens..."
"In Pueblo myths, Kokopelli carries in his hump seeds, babies, and blankets to offer to maidens that he seduces. In upper Rio Grande pueblos, he wandered between villages with bags of songs on his back. As a fertility symbol, he was welcome during corn-planting season and was sought after by barren wives, although avoided by shy maidens."
The above referenced book (published by Ancient City Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87502) includes many photographs and line drawings of ancient petroglyphs and pictographs. It contains songs and stories interspersed in factual material. I found it interesting, informative, and stimulating to the imagination. The quotes are on pages 3, 7, and the following in the conclusion on page 140:
"No matter what form or how complete our understanding of his history, Kokopelli still brings wonder to our lives. The thin sound of his flute that once echoed off canyon walls must still be reverberating around the Southwest and through the ages..."