I'm sure you all have seen this image. It is perhaps one of the most recognizable Native American icons. This funky little guy hails from the four corners of the Southwest U.S., so we're talking about an area that spans across New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Colorado.
In all of these areas, Kokopelli shows himself on etchings and carvings. He started out as an inky image on stones. Once discovered by modern man, Kokopelli ignited the human imagination. So much so, that today - this fellow is embroidered on socks, carved in marble and hammered out in wrought iron. Why? Because the Kokopelli was massively featured by Native Americans. His image was so prevalent, that modern humans can't resist mimicking this guy and keeping an artistic version of him within our homes.
But why? What's the big deal about Kokopelli meaning? Outside of being so visible, which makes this being extraordinarily intriguing...there's something else that tags along with Kokopelli. So what is the charm? Where's the mystery? Let's consider...
Kokopelli meaning originates from Pueblo Indians. That sounds simple, but because this being spans across a vast area, it also bleeds into other tribal myths. So the Kokopelli raises its spiky head in many other tribes such as: Anasazi, Hopi, Zuni and more.
Loosely, the name Kokopelli meaning translates to "the hunched one" or "wooden backed". The confusion of his name rests in the combination of various Native languages and interpretations.
So what's the deal with this guy? Why is he engraved on so many features upon the Southwest landscape? Well, just like pinning down the meaning of his name, his actual meaning is a little murky too. I like this, because Kokopelli is kind of a mystifying being.
There are some Native legends that claim the Kokopelli was a being sent from the celestial heavens. He would descend upon a tribe and encourage wild passion. Imagine a big fraternity party on campus. The presence of Kokopelli encouraged a sense of being wild, lascivious and passionate.
In essence, the true Native Kokopelli was a fertility god that insured babies would be born. I'm not just talking about human babies (although that seems to be the main theme). I'm also talking about plant babies. Beans, squash, corn...these were prime crops required by Native folk in the U.S. Southwest area, and Kokopelli was considered a blessing upon these crops. That in itself makes Kokopelli pretty freaking powerful. Consider: If you ain't got no beans, then you ain't got no means to live.
In other accounts, Kokopelli meaning was a significant feature of wisdom, poetry, music and creative freedom. It's as if Kokopelli was a Native American muse...enticing the artists within the tribe to create their greatest symphonies and soliloquy's.
It is also noted in Native lore that when the pipe was passed, and the Kokopelli appeared, this became a sign of extreme good luck in all areas. Whomever the Kokopelli visited seemed to be insured of great success.
But this isn't always the case. Apparently, Kokopelli can be a little shifty. There is a big trickster element with this fellow that should be recognized. I think that goes hand-in-hand with creativity.
When we mess around with creation, we never really know what we're going to land upon. -Doesn't matter if we're talking about birthing a new baby or creating a new project...sometimes things get tricky.
Personally, I think this is the essence of Kokopelli. When it comes to creating new life - whether music, poetry, ideas or a human life...it's a grab-bag. We don't know what the result is going to be, and Kokopelli reminds us of the wild-card that is always present when we venture into the realm of creating new things.
In closing, I hope you enjoyed this post on Kokopelli meaning. If you like this post, it might be a great idea to do more research on this Native figure. There is a lot more information out there, and I'm sure you are bound to find something that stimulates you when it comes to this tricky being.
As always, thanks for reading! If you liked this article, check out the related links below!
Exploring Swastika Symbol Meaning From Around the World
Regrettably, swastika symbol meaning has been horribly marred due to the Nazi regime, when the symbol was the icon for the atrocities committed during WWII.
The goal of this article is to expose the swastika (also known as svastika or also a fylfot)in its many different forms and meanings around the world and throughout history.
Various cultures have their own term for their version of the swastika. The term swastika is a blanket word for four-armed or four-angled symbols.
In the Hindu language, the term swastika means ‘well being.’ This is the first of many examples demonstrating this symbol as the complete opposite of evil connotations inherited by Nazi Germany.
Swastika symbol meaning varies according to era and culture. This symbol has been around for over 3,000 years. It has made its appearance throughout the ages in China, Japan, India, Greece, as well as Celtic and Native American cultures. The swastika has also been featured in alchemy and even Christianity.
Swastika Symbol Meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism
The swastika, also known as sauvastika is not only a religious symbol in this culture, it is also considered a lucky symbol. It is said to bring about great prosperity and good fortune. The symbol adorns statues, buildings, textiles, and it is even painted on bodies for various festivals. The swastika is commonly used in ceremonies. For example, this symbol is strongly featured during weddings with Ganesh, the elephant god of luck placed in the center of the cross to insure blessings upon the marriage.
The arms of the sauvastika represent the directions and cycles of life. These extensions give a sense of motion, which symbolizes the forward motion of human life. The four dots represent the four concepts of Karma: Right thought, right words, right actions, and right understanding.
Swastika Symbol Meaning – Greece
The above shown symbol is an artistic rendition of a tetraskelion,which is the Greek version of the swastika. This symbol is also found in other regions of ancient Europe. It’s not always in the form of horses, as show above. Sometimes this ornate swastika was created with arms, wings, snakes or other features from nature.
In this symbol, the horse is symbolic of the chariot of the Greek titan Helios, who represented the sun. In myth, the grand chariot of Helios was pulled by four horses: Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon. The circle in the center is symbolic of the sun.
Swastika Symbol as a Swedish Rune
This swastika symbol meaning deals with paths taken in the afterlife. It was a symbol commonly found on Scandinavian grave sites. Notice all the lines connecting and crossing each other. This is symbolic of the infinite nature of life – even in the afterlife. The center cross has been known to symbolize the womb. In Norse belief, the transition from physical to non-physical is all about returning to the source of life – the womb of the mother. In essence, this Norse rune represents journey through afterlife with the goal of returning back to mother earth (or mother sea in some accounts).
Swastika Symbol in Native American Tradition
This symbol can be seen carved upon numerous stone structures in New Mexico and Arizona. This is where the Hopi hailed from and believed the swastika symbol meaning dealt with their origin and ultimate destination of their clans. The center cross is symbolic of TuwanasaviI, this is the center of the world. It is also considered the center of the Hopi soul.
Legend states that the first Hopi clans were at the center of the world, and centered within their souls. With assistance from Spirit, the four clans were guided in a certain direction: North, South, East, West. After traveling out (from the center cross) both physically and spiritually, each clan turned left, which is symbolic of turning towards the earth. Other clans were guided to turn right, which was a migration towards the sun.
Swastika Symbol Meaning From Pagan Perspective
This version of the fylfot (or swastika) started its life as a Pagan sun wheel symbol. It represents the movement of the four seasons. Each of the four arms of the symbol are also symbolic of the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, Water. Pagans assigned spiritual energy to all things in Nature. Consequently, each arm of this symbol stands for the energy of each element: Salamander (fire), Gnome (earth), Sylph (air) and Undine (water).
Later, the symbol was adopted by Christians. In the early days, being a Christian wasn’t the most popular choice. There was a lot of controversy about the new religion. Early Christians used this symbol as a sign to other Christians that they were among fellow believers. This symbol is also called crux dissimulata because it disguised the Christian cross, and helped believers avoid persecution.
Native American Version of the Swastika Symbol
This is an artistic rendition of swastika symbol from the Native American Ho-Chąąnk people (also known as Winnebago tribe). Four birds in a four angled design have been located on Ho-Chąąnk burial grounds. This is a nod to both creation and death. One ancient Native creation myth describes four magical bird clans who came from the heavens to populate the earth. In time, these clans evolved into different sects. But the birds clans were the first. This bird motif on grave sites is symbolic of flying back to the great Spirit or Creator at the time of death. The first four ancient bird clans are: Eagle, Dove, Vulture and Owl.
The eagle provided power and the courage of a warrior as a tribal member walked through the after life. The vulture insured all physical remains of the body were removed so that the soul could be fully released to move through the after world. The owl gave his eyesight and senses through the shadowy unknown of the after life. And the dove gave the deceased a calm, sweet countenance…a feeling of nurturing and peace throughout the after life journey.
The symbol in the middle is the union of all great spirits with the center of the crossing lines representing the ultimate Creator, as well as the ultimate destination of the soul.
Celtic Version of Swastika Symbol Meaning – Brigid’s Cross
In Celtic mythology Brigid was the goddess of the mighty Tuatha Dé Danann. These were four clans who were guided into Ireland to begin a new life. As a powerful goddess of one of these clans, Brigid was celebrated during the time of Imbolc, a festival marking new beginnings, and Springtime.
Brigid’s cross, also known as a sun-wheel, was typically woven out of straw or rushes. Once made during Imbolc, these ornaments were customarily hung in the home as a symbol of protection.
Each of the arms of Brigid’s cross represents the four Irish clans of the Tuatha Dé Danann, ruled by individual deities who were: Lugh, Fal, Nuada and Dagda.
Meaning of the Directions of the Swastika Symbol
Throughout most cultures, there is a sweeping consensus as to directional representation of the swastika.
If the symbol is turning clockwise (right), this is symbolic of opening up to sun energy. Conversely, if turning counter-clockwise (left), this allows an opening to moon energy. This is an age-old concept that attempts to define universal polarity.
For example, sun energy is symbolic of: Masculinity, Assertiveness, Passion, Truth. On the other hand, moon energy is the opposite, symbolic of: Femininity, Restrained, Calm, Mystery.
Closing Thoughts on Swastika Symbol Meaning
I hope you enjoyed this article on the various meaning of the swastika. It was my highest goal to shed new light on this symbol. I think it also teaches a symbolic lesson that just because a symbol has gotten a bad reputation (such as Nazi German swastika), that doesn’t mean the symbol has always stood for a maligned concept.
Segments of populations have been adopting and changing the meaning of preexisting symbols for eons. That means one symbol almost never has one single meaning.
Don’t let this be the end of your research on swastika symbol meaning. In fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots more versions of these symbols, and with each version, there is are different meanings.
If you liked this article, you might enjoy the related links listed below. As always, thanks for reading.
Today’s Holiday: Symbolic Meanings From Different Cultures
The first holiday on February 28th we'll celebrate is from Finland. Today is Kalevala Day. It's a holiday that celebrates the blacksmith Ilmarinen and the Finnish warrior Lemminkainen. The holiday was established by doctor Elias Lonnrot in 1835. Dr. Lonnrot wanted to reestablish Finland as the 'land of warriors'. So he did a lot of research and his results lead him to the conclusion that this was the day of Finland's creation. This is also the day that Ilmarinen and Lemminkainen got together to forge the 'lids of heaven' which insured the earth would not float out into the vast abyss of sky, but be anchored in place so the people of Finland could continue to live on their lovely lands. On this day, the Finns celebrate their heroes and warriors with great feasts and festive parades.
Today's Holiday Features Chaldean Sabbath. Shown here is the Demiurge, the male oracle of intellect and creation of the ancient Chaldean people.
Today's Holiday: The Chaldean Day of Rest on February 28th
The ancient Chaldean's existed around 800 BC, and were a sect of Babylonia. Eventually the Babylonians absorbed the Chaldean's and morphed their ways of life. But in their prime the Chaldean's held to a strong Gnostic belief system. Gnostic is simply a fancy word for 'having knowledge'. On this day, the Chaldean's would turn to their Gnostic texts and ponder higher knowledge. They celebrated the Sabbath (day of rest) every seven days, but this day called for a deeper, more ascetic practice of worship and contemplation. Yes, it was a day of rest, but it was also a day of silence and intense meditation upon Chaldean oracles. These oracles included prime male and female deities. On the February 28th Sabbath, these mother/father oracles were highly focused upon in an effort to acknowledge and silently celebrate the creation of their people.
Today's holiday and celebration for the Cherokee Nation
Today's Holiday, February 28th For the Cherokee Tribe
The Cherokee Nation, also known as United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee spans across the south and southeastern regions of North America.
Not all, but most Cherokee had daily ceremonies and devotionals. These observations were intended to reinforce the idea of the dawn of a new day and renewal.
Today, February 28th, the Cherokee paid homage to all that is beautiful. They made extra effort to rejoice the presence of spirit living in all things. Each moment was a meditative focus upon listening within, as well as listening to the call of spirit. Today was a day the Cherokee eliminated sorrow and imbued their souls with joy. This was a day to turn away from the dark, and face the hope and bliss of the light. It was also a day to ignore all kinds of judgement (whether from others or from oneself) and embrace the unique beauty within every soul.
I hope you enjoyed this post on the symbolic meaning of today's holiday - February 28th. I'm starting to post these daily celebrations because learning how other cultures around the world acknowledged every day offers great insight into living a symbolic life.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Mike Bastine, a Native American Algonquin, who has been speaking about the necessity of re-connecting to Nature as a means to reform consciousness. It was an utter delight to spend time with Mr. Bastine, and equally uplifting to share common views with him. He’s got revolutionary insights anchored in ancient wisdom. Perhaps his words in this interview will contribute to your own conscious-reform for the better. Or, perhaps these views might maintain your own re-connection to the Mother (Nature). Enjoy!
The landscape cracks open like an egg in my view. The bright orange yolk of sun hangs, suspended in the albumen of a clear liquid sky. I’m driving along a curvy route to a quiet rural town to meet with Algonquin visionary and educator, Mike Bastine.
On the drive, the scenery unfolds like a Monet; billions of auburn-amber leaves splatter like dots on the rolling hills of Autumnal glory. It’s a two hour drive, stuffed with Natural beauty. The soft ride offers ample opportunity for me to ponder the upcoming meeting with Mr. Bastine.
Although diligent about suppressing any kind of pre-conclusions about this interview, electric expectation still amplifies my anticipation. I am meeting a Native master of tenets that have ignited my own elevated understanding; tenets essential to the broader soul-growth of so many people over human history.
My time with Mike Bastine, however, produces no glamour. No spiritual huff-n-puff. No fluffy clouds filled with insubstantial vapors about spirituality. Rather, Bastine proves to be a Plymouth rock of foundational wisdom. He radiates reverence for simplicity. He is rooted in the value of rekindling the heart of humanity; encouraging attunement with the energies of Nature, love and respect. No fancy juju; just bare-boned wisdom, exposing a soulful, nurturing marrow.
My car pulls into his driveway. Beyond the weathered, wood-clad exterior of his home, rests acres of maples waving goodbye to their own falling leaves. Rows of cornfields maze the back yard, their husks brown and crinkly, jutting up to the glassy sky.
My ears perk, hearing a yawning creak from the front screen door as I gather up my notebook, camera, and recording device from the car. It’s Mike Bastine walking out to greet me.
Mike’s Native blood etches clear evidence of his Algonquin heritage in his appearance. His skin is naturally tawny, obviously unaided by the sun’s tanning effect, especially as winter begins her progressive swallowing of solar rays. His hair is long, pulled back in a pony tail. It shines in onyx iridescence and reminds me of silky crow feathers.
He welcomes me with a smile; a smile that equals the cheer reflected inside his home. I struggle to pull off my boots before entering. “Oh no, you don’t have to do that.” Mike says, chuckling, as I almost topple over. “Keep those on. Stay warm. Snow and mud aren’t sticking to the bottoms of our feet just yet.” We both break the initial conversational ice by agreeing how mild this year’s autumn has been.
Mike and I sit at his kitchen table. Pens and pencils stand at attention in a clean white cup, anxious to be put to use. Books and papers are neatly stacked on the table too. Mike thoughtfully pulls out a few of the many articles written about him for me to read. He pauses for a moment and pulls out a few books for me to look at too.
Pam, Mike’s wife, offers me a hot cup of green tea and a cinnamon pecan danish. I’ve just met these people, but it feels I’ve been a welcomed visitor in this kitchen for an eternity. Time is irrelevant. Indeed, the energy of their home is timeless, comforting and tremendously safe. I am calm, I am at home in their presence.
The black pot-belly stove churns out its warmth as Mike begins to do what he does best: Weave his spoken words into exquisite tapestries. Native wisdom is his loom, and Mike threads rich value into each sentence spoken. His voice is a smooth, lulling tenor and his words are framed in the rhythmic compassion that steadily beats within his heart.
For decades, Mike Bastine has travelled the US and Canada speaking about the wisdom of his Native ancestors, illustrating how Native ways are a catalyst for healing, renewal and reconnection to a higher way of living life.
“I’ve been bringing up a few terms in my workshops lately.” Mike begins, his soft brown eyes sparkling. “Terms we all learned in early schooling. I ask people how they feel about the phrase ‘Divide and Conquer’ and most people tell me it’s kind of a standard of life today.”
Mike explains that the modern Western civilized mind has been trained to weed out ‘weakness’ and conquer life by working hard at maintaining status quo. “Mainstream thought mostly adheres to popularly accepted, spoon-fed education and doctrine.” He says in his sing-song dialect. As Mike talks, my understanding lulls into compliance with his argument with this commonly accepted phrase.
“Today, most people’s perception of strength and weakness is skewed. There’s more strength in the gentle than there is in the bold. Gentleness accumulating over time – that’s where the power resides.” Mike taps his calloused-covered fingertip on the Xerox copy he gave me of Chief Seattle’s speech. “That’s part of what Seattle is saying in this address.”
Mike closes his eyes, and I wonder what scenes are playing beneath his eyelids. “The idea of ‘conquer’ is equally misleading.” He says, “What is there to conquer? If we each lived aligned to our True Nature, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation!” He pushes back a bit from the kitchen table after finishing this thought, as if sitting objectively – seeing a broad view of the human condition from his wicker-backed chair.
“The idea of ‘divide’ is just an illusion. Nature shows us different. Nature shows us progress only comes with inclusion, acceptance, absorption. Nature shows us surrender. That’s what evolutional progress is about.” Mike lets out a lightly exasperated chuckle, with a slightly discernable shaking of his head.
” I ask these same people in my workshops how they feel about another common phrase we’ve all been taught: ‘In God we Trust.’ I get the same kind of mental agreement. But I have to question this. How can we believe in ‘Divide and Conquer‘ and ‘In God we Trust’ at the same time?” Mike’s passion about these points of contention is clear, but his core demeanor does not waiver. He remains solidly anchored in a place of peaceful contemplation as he speaks to me.
The Algonquin Elder continues his thought-stream about Western culture’s unconscious acceptance of these two statements. “How can we be divided and yet trust in one God? This mentality is where the breakdown of disconnect to Nature stems.” Mike says softly, sad kindness lacing his voice. To him, unity is a far more viable solution to living a life of true freedom.
Mike leans forward on the kitchen table to drive his point home: “Prior generations had Elders to teach us about relationships. Primarily the marriage between humans and this planet. But now those teachings have fallen by the wayside. This causes separation. We have become distanced from the higher wisdom of Nature, love and goodness.” Mike further contends this disconnection has lead to an inflammation of humanity’s highest conflict: The conflict between the heart and the ego.
“We must think independently. We can’t think what we’ve been educated to think, because it’s not what this life is about. We must observe what’s going on today and rejoin the ranks of our Elders who looked to Nature for assistance with answers.”
Mike Bastine gently illustrates how many of today’s youth are no longer educated by their Elders who have been steeped in the nurturing, honorable ways of the Great Spirit and the ways of Nature. Today, our youth are educated by capitalist systems whose primary impetus for functioning is money and conformity. It’s a disturbing observation. Mike points out a fundamentally flawed educational system that produces fact-filled sheep, designed to follow (and not overthrow) the powers that be, namely, the government. More unsettling, is the valid observation of mass-media’s role in raising our youth.
“If we look at the bigger picture of what’s happening around the world, and we see the events – how they connect. How they unfold. How they evolve. We can start to see that disconnection is the source of great upheaval.” Mike’s hands are upturned; his arms slightly raised in a supplicating gesture as he utters these words. He speaks like a man who sees problems and feels frustration because he knows how simple the solutions are.
The furrow in Mike’s brow smoothes back into its customary serenity as he expands his revelations: “This disjointed gap….the inability to connect human thought and behavior with the deeper functions of Nature….this is the sole flaw that prohibits the flow of peace.” This flaw, Mike explains, is aggravated by the lack of unity and acceptance being taught by our modern elders, who are our politicians, educators, doctors, etc.
“I wish there were little manuals written about how to be a good human. How to make choices that honor and respect our world and all that lives in it.” I nod my head and smile, thinking about how Mike’s ‘How to be a Good Human’ manuals might not be the most ideal replacement for wise Elders in our modern-day global tribes. But, I silently agree these manuals would be a good start at defining simple steps for reconnecting to the Golden Truths inherent in every human heart.
“When enlightenment dovetails and becomes manifested into the outward happiness of being, do you think something like the definition of ‘a metaphor’ is essential to sustaining that education? No! It doesn’t take rocket science to gain a higher education. This is about human interaction conducted with respect.” Mike makes this statement with conviction backed by the wisdom of his lineage. His faith in the cathartic, healing practice of unifying with the foundational energy of Nature, humility and honor is unshakable.
As Mike Bastine carefully crafts his words and purposefully narrates his perceptions, I recognize him as a visionary educator. Why? Because he can see into the human heart and there he greets only the heart’s inherent potential for goodness in spite of the presence of malignant understanding. It takes a visionary to see the spiritual gifts hiding behind ugly curtains of the ego.
I get the sense that Mike is not entirely aware of his ability to overlook the presence of fear feeding the human heart. His unsinkable faith in each human’s inherent goodness overrides the presence of fear and pain glaring back at him when he speaks about ‘consciousness-reform.’ In every word and movement, it’s apparent Mike knows the path to higher societal evolution is born from virtue and devotion to the grounding cornerstones of Nature.
Mike continues his mission to reveal the true values indwelling every heart, and how each heart is hard-wired to reconnect with all life in loving ways. His unwavering belief in human potential makes him both a visionary, and an exemplary educator in the realm of thoughtful unification with elements of life that truly matter.
The warm bubble of the Bastine’s hospitality cannot be popped as I drive back to the pointy edges of city life. The yolky sun is pressed behind me now, enhancing a sense of warmth and nourishment. Driving back the way I came, my mind turns with the soft curves of the road as I think about our discussion.
My intent for this piece was to capture the essence of Native American wisdom; writing about how the ways of Native Elders provide healing to the human heart – – healing wisdom that prepares each of us for future global shifts we are all destined to experience in the process of living life on this Earth today.
But really, after listening to Mr. Bastine, my lofty intent dissolved into particles of more substantial import. As the hills of the countryside roll behind me, I think of Mike’s parting thoughts:
“The value of simplicity. The value of independent thought. The value of re-connecting to Nature and its wisdom. These are small, incremental choices of honor we can all choose to make. These are the functional building blocks for re-connecting to life’s vitality.”
Ultimately, Mike Bastine helped me understand that it is not so much the intellectual or spiritual path we choose, but how we utilize our faith and educational choices – that is the true catalyst for global unification and peace. Essentially, every moment is an opportunity to ‘Unify and Conquer’ rather than divide and perish.