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Kachina Meanings

Kachina Dolls are gifts given in hope of future abundance and health, as well as tools for education.

The Kachina Dolls of today's art market are a bridge not only between the spiritual world and mortals but also between Hopis and non-Hopis. Each year Kachinas come, they walk upon the earth and they dance to bring life and renewal. When the Kachinas return to the spirit world at the end of the planting, they return with prayers of the Hopi that we might all continue on this earth for another round in the circle of life.

There are more than 250 different Kachinas, each with its own separate attributes, representing everything from animals to abstract concepts. The Hopi were the original Kachina Doll carvers, using a single piece of cottonwood root. The Navajo began carving in their own creative way, adding leather, feather, beads and turquoise.

- Represents strength & power. He is the ruler of the sky and the messenger to the heavens.

Hoop Dancer - Amuses the audience of a major ceremony.The rings represent the circle of life.

Hemis - A beautiful Kachina which represents happiness of a successful harvest.

Wolf - Hunter, uses his knowledge to find and capture game animals.

Ogre - White Ogre represents good. Black ogre threatens small children who are naughty.

Bear - Represents great power to cure the sick.

Owl - Beneficial to agriculture because of his destruction to rodents. Symbolizes intelligence & wisdom.

Deer - Dances to increase his kind for plenty to eat for the future.

Bean - Dances for a plentiful crop of beans.

Ram - Much like all game animals, dances for increase of its kind and has power over the rain.

Snow - Brings snow and cold weather essential to the growth of crops.

Badger - Cures the sick, prayers for the growth of healing herbs are given to him.

Priest Killer - He is referred to by the non-Hopi people as the Priest Killer because he carried out the beheading of the priest during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Arizona revolted against the Catholic Church in order to retain and have the freedom of practicing their own religion.

Lizard - Fighting Kachina, brings sweethearts together.

Chief - Ancient Kachina, represents great power of knowledge.

Old Man - Grandfather Kachina, sings songs for a successful growing season.

Spotted Corn - Aides in the pollination and production of corn for ceremonies and other use.

Crow Mother - Watches over children as they play.

Corn Maiden - Said to purify the women who grind the corn for ceremonies and other use.

Road Runner - Assists in bringing rain, also wards off witchcraft to protect homes.

Hummingbird - Appears often as a runner, brilliant impersonate.

Morning Singer - Appears on roof tops and sing songs to wake the people of the villages.

Santo Domingo - Blesses the seed for a good harvest.

Medicine Man - Mixes herbs and roots to give advice, prevents & cures sickness.

Buffalo Warrior & Wolf Warrior – Assures that there will be adequate food for the winter.

Zuni Rain Priest - Accompanies the Shalako to bring rain.

Red Tail Hawk - Rarely seen, serves many important purposes.

White Cloud - Represents the clouds in the sky, brings moisture for crops.

Buffalo - Most powerful amongst Kachinas, can kill any evil thoughts, great spiritual protector.

Hototo - Preparer of food, most respected of the war Kachinas.

Warrior - Serves as a policeman, important war Kachina.

Antelope - Dance to increase numbers, brings rain.

Shalako - Most magnificent, towers seven or eight feet, usually appears with its mate.

Mudhead - Well known Kachina, acts as a clown.

Paralyzed - Carried by a friend who was blind, together they were able to hunt and

Butterfly - Represents the butterfly that lands on flowers, then the medicine man uses these in his medicine.

Rainbow - Represents peace and harmony amongst tribes.

1st Mesa - Passage way to other mesas.

Kokopelli - Hunched back flute player, fertility god, seducer of young girls, baby-maker. He carries a bag of presents to distribute to the women he seduces.

Sunface - Represents warmth, shelter for the old, bright future, and playfulness for the young.

Broadface - Carries yucca whips to enforce community cleaning.

Left-Hand - Reversed Kachina, does everything in opposite.

Navajo Kachina - Represents the Navajo Tribe as viewed by other tribes
in the Southwest. 

Chasing Star - Symbolizes the planets and the stars.

Snake Dancer - Sends message with the snake to ask the Gods to bring rain.