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Published by Donna Karimian, 2019-12-04 11:58:21

Kachina Field Guide

Kachina Field Guide

A field guide

A field guide

Welcome to the Tribe 03
Ceremonial Calendar 05
Month by Month 07

Hopi Kachina Dolls 09
Kwahu 13
Pahlik Mana 17
Soyoko 19
Tawa 21
Tumus 23
Koshari 25
Shalako 27
Ahola 29

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The tribe believes that Kachinas had once lived with the
Hopi people but due to some catastrophe, the Kachinas had
to return to the Spirit World. To continue contact with the
Kachinas, the Hopi developed the custom of impersonating
them in rituals as a way of communicating with masks and
costumes. With the various ritual dances the people could
obtain blessings to the Kachinas.

A Kachina has three aspects: the supernatural spirit beings,
who assist the Hopi people by bringing rain and other needs;
the masked impersonators dancing in the ceremonies, and
the small dolls carved in to represent the Kachinas. As super-
naturals, they can hear the prayers of the living and carry
them to the deities.

Kachina dolls are not playthings or curios, but rather a form
of religious art, used to instruct the children. The men secr-
etly carve the small cottonwood root and give them to the
children as a means of teaching the children about the more
than 250 Kachina spirits.

Kachina Season

January Paamuya Kiva Dances
Febuary Powamu Ceremony
March Osomuya Kiva Dances
April Kwiyamuya Plaza Dances
May Hakitonmuya Plaza Dances
June Wuko’uyis Plaza Dances

non-Kachina Season

July Niman Ceremony
August Snake Antelope or Flute Ceremonies
September Marau Women’s Society Ceremonies
October Oaqol Women’s Society Ceremonies
November Wuwuchim Tribal Initiation
Deember Soyala Ceremony



Ceremonial Calendar

During the summer months of the non-Kachina Season,
Hopi villagers operate on a regular harvesting schedule.
This time includes the Tala’paamuya (Aug.), Nasanmuya
(Sept.), Toho’osmuy (Oct.), and Kelmuya (Nov.), during
which a variety of dances and celebrations occur.

As the colder months arrive, Hopi villagers seek guidance
and assistance from the Kachina spirits. The Kachina season
begins at winter solstice, when figures representing the
spirits emerge around Hopi villages. This occurs during the
Kyaamuya (December) ceremony, a time of planning and
preparation culminating in the arrival of one of the Chief
Kachina who on the last day of the ceremony copens the
kivas for the season.


Although January is the first month of the year, in Hopi
customs November that represents the start of a new cycle.
During each month, different ceremonies and festivities
occur in celebration of life.

November Kelmuya, which takes place during the

November, marks the beginning of the Hopi cycle. Wuwutchim
ceremonies take place to initiate males adulthood.

December A quiet time of storytelling and private cere-

monies, Kyaamuya is highlighted by the Soyala Ceremony. This
celebration is to honor Sun Father and Earth Mother, to restore
the balance of their world.

January Now that the Kachinas have returned to the

Hopi villages, the winter dances of Paamuya begin in the Kiva.
This is a festive time that is occurs throughout winter.

February Powamu, celebrated during the month, show

an eagerness for the growing season to begin. The Powamuya
Ceremony, also known as the Bean Dance, occurs and the
Kachinas share bean sprouts with the Hopi people.

March A time that encourages harvest growth and rain,

Osomuya takes place through the month of March. Night
Dances are held in each village, and Kachinas visit with offerings
of food that will begin to grow in spring.


April Kwiyamuya is a joyous time of celebration that

coincides with the beginning of the April growing season. At the
end of this celebration, the Kachinas go home with the peoples’
prayers for a healthy growing season.

May Hakitonmuya, or “the waiting season,” takes place during

the month of May. The first crops are planted during this time,
and Kachinas like the Planting and the Longhair come to dance
in the plazas and bless these early crops.

June Corn and other important crops are planted during

Wuko’uyis, a time filled with joy. This celebratory period coin-
cides with the month of June and involves Plaza Dances almost
daily.The Corn Dancer is a prominent figure during this season,
as he represents the different types of corn grown by the Hopi

July The Talangva season occurs in July and includes the

ever-important Niman Ceremony, also known as the Home
Celebration. This month involves many feasts and dances, as it
is a time when the Kachinas return to their home in the spirit
world until the next year.

August Ala’paamuya occurs in August, after the Kachinas

have left for their home in the San Francisco Mountains. This
month marks the beginning of summer social dances, including
the Snake-Antelope Ceremony and Flute Ceremony that alter-
nate year-to-year.

SEPTEMBER Nasanmuya is a time of feasting and celebra-

tion, as many of the crops are finally ripe for picking! Women’s
Society ceremonies are held, often in thanks of the crops that
have grown through the summer season.

oCTOBER Toho’osumy takes place in October when the

corn is finally ripe. The men gather the produce, bringing all
the food to the women for preparation and storage. Women’s
Society ceremonies from the village of Oraib occur.

Each Kachina has a specific role and purpose, each ser-
ving an essential part in the Hopi tribe. This guide will
teach the the legends behind the ten main Kachina dolls
and the roles of each spirit.

KachinaA collection of HOPI

Tawa Koshari Masau’u Hahai-i


DollsKwahuTümas Shalako

Ahola Pahlik Mana Soyoko

The EAGLE is an honored guests among the Hopis,

therefore the tribe presents him with gifts. He represents
strength, power, and ruler of the sky. This sacred and
magnificent Kachina is the protector of all. Among other
responsibilities, the Eagle is the messenger between the
people and their spirit guides. The most common Hopi
dance is named after the Eagle, this dance is a prayer for
more eagles. The dancers consciously try to duplicate the
actions and motions of eagles.


Kwahu appears most often with Mud-
heads in the Kiva during early March.

Kwahu is associated with the upward
direction, spirituality, and balance.

This doll is commonly given as a
congratulatory present.


According to legend, Kwahu has a significant role
in the tribe, as a chief, and serves as a messenger bet-
ween humans and the Creator. He is particularly
associated with warriors and courage in battle. Eagle
feathers are prized amongst the tribe, and earned
by war honors. Men that are awarded the feather,
would place it in a unique headdress. Since the eagle
represented a powerful symbol, it was forbidden for a
person to eat eagle meat. According to the Hopi tales,
if they ingested eagle meat then it would transform
them into a monster.

The butterfly Maiden symbolizes energy

of renewal, youth, and beauty. She heralds the season of
regeneration, newly blossoming hope and warm breezes
from the south. She is thought of as a dancer, not a spirit.
She acts as an intermediary between the supernatural
and mortal worlds, fostering fertility, growth, and well-
being. Pahlik Mana is a reminder of the larger picture of
which we are a part. She can awaken neglected qualities
in the Hopi people like wonder, trust, and serenity. She
offers her lessons of beauty, peacefulness and hope.

Pahlik Mana

She appears in the Women’s Mamzrau
Initiation Dance.

She is honored as a harbinger of Spring,
rejuvenation and transformation.

This doll is commonly given to young
girls and women to bless them.


According to legend, The Creator made butterflies
to gladden his heart when he became sad about the
impermanence of life. He took a spot of sunlight,
blue from the sky, the lightness of cornmeal, the
darkness of a beautiful girl’s hair, the green of pine
needles, and the red, and orange of flowers. The
Butterfly Maiden, Pahlik Mana, symbolizes the
spiritual qualities of the butterfly and provides the
same serenity to the tribe.

the Ogre Woman reinforce the Hopi way of life

to the children. The fierce and threatening behavior of
the ogre strikes fear into the children, but they are orge
eventually saved from imminent danger by the tribe. The
tells the children what punishments they may face if they
do not follow the Ogre’s rules. To discipline children, they
are told the ogres can swallow them whole, if they are
not obedient.


Soyoko appears during the Powamu
ceremony to threaten the lives of
the children.

The Ogre Woman is not meant to be
evil, but to instill the Hopi rituals in the
young generations.

This doll is commonly given to new
parents to discipline their children
with the tales of the Ogre.


According to legend, When Soyoko speaks, it is
in a wailing falsetto or with a long dismal hoot of
‘Soyoko-u-u-u,’ from which her name is derived. She
may reach for the children with the long crook and
threaten to put them in the basket on her back, or
to cut off their heads with the large knife that she
carries in her hand.

The sun father By wearing masks that rese-

mble Tawa during winter, the Hopi people felt that they
could lure the sun’s return after winter and begin the
growing season. Tawa symbolizes life, growth and abund-
dance. He brings warmth, shelter for the old, a bright
future, and playfulness for the young. He is considered
a very powerful Kachinas since the Sun is thought to be
the brightest and largest of all the stars, and essential to
life and growth.


He appears during the Solstice ceremo-
ny, and commonly leads ceremonies.

Hopi Elders emphasis his mighty pow-
ers, and importance to the tribe.

This doll can be given for birthdays,
holidays,or as an accomplishment gift.


According to legend, Tawa’s cycle gives order and
meaning to Hopi life; he brings light and warmth
to the earth. Before the world had begun, nothing
existed except for Tawa, the spirit of the Sun. He gat-
hered together the elements of space and infused
them with his own substance to created the first
world. He then started the cosmic journey of life
from the Underworld to Earth.

the crow mother is considered to be a figure

of great dignity. She is the mother of all Kachinas and
the guardian of the Hopi children. She appears carrying
a basket of sprouts or corn, symbolizing the miracle of
seed germination in the midst of winter and the start of
the new growing season. She is the nurturing kachina, the
loving mother, and comes to offer her abundance in the
form of warm earth and flourishing crops. Her main role
in ceremonies is during the initiation of the children
into the tribe.

Tümas leads the Powamuya Dance.

This doll is commonly given to maternal figures.

The Crow Mother’s real name is Angwusnasomtaka,
but she is also called “Tumas”.


According to legend, At the initiation, she descends
into the kiva bearing yucca blades. She takes a position
at one corner of the large sand painting on the floor
of the kiva. As the candidate is brought to the sand
painting she hands a whip to one of the Hu’ Kachinas
who gives the child four healthy strokes with the yucca
blade. When the initiatory whipping is over, she raises
her skirts and receives the same treatment as the chil-
dren. The newly initiated children enjoy a meal and are
gifted with prayer feathers.

The clown provides amusement during Kachina

ceremonies. They engage in loud and boisterous conver-
sation, immoderate actions, and gluttony. They are often
drummers for dances. In the Hopi tradition, Koshari fre-
quently disrupts and makes a holy mess out of some of
the most vital and fundamental rituals. The clown sati-
rizes Hopi life by acting out and exaggerating improper
behavior. The actions of the clowns are meant to portray
a lesson on behavior apparent in a tribal member. Their
purpose is to show how overdoing anything is bad not


Koshaki appears during most ceremonies
and always engaging in laughter.

This doll is given for birthdays and to chil-
dren to remind them of tribe behavior.

He performs satiric skits during the after-
noon are reminiscent of the corruption
that is experienced in the underworld.


According to legend, Koshari would be disrupted
during ceremonies, the ceremonial Kachina leader
would whip him to show the tribe the punishment
for disrespecting the culture. Woman would try to
purify his improper actions by pouring buckets of
cold water on him. The legend also reveals that,
Koshari is known to get stuck on the rooftop beca-
use he was not worthy of joining the other Kachinas
in the spirit world.

The cloud maiden are messengers and run

back and forth all year carrying messages, as well as brin-
ging moisture and rain when needed. When they leave,
they also carry the Hopi’s prayers for rain. The Shalako
Ceremony is one of the most important Hopi rituals.
Since Shalako is the messengers to the Gods, their depar-
ture at the ceremony is the final prayer for rain to fill the
rivers, wells, before summer comes.


Shalako is the focus of the Shalako Cer-
emony, performed in late November or
early December

This doll is commonly given to a home
owner, to bless their house.

The Shalako spirit was originally a Zuni
belief, and later adopted by the Hopi.


According to legend, The Shalako spirit is known to
be giant, he towers seven or eight feet. He is believed
to first arrive around 1840. His presence is the essen-
tial during the focus Shalako Ceremony, celebrating
the end of the old and the beginning of the New
Year. Shalako also blesses the house, and a dance is
performed in his honor to give thanks for a plentiful
year and abundant harvest.

The Germination God controls the growth

and reproduction of all things; he is the oldest of the
Kachina Clan. Since Ahola is an important chief, he opens
the Powamu ceremony with a kiva performance on the
first night. He visits each of the kivas to offer strength for
the upcoming year. At the end of the cere- mony, Ahola
descends to a shrine where he bows four times to the Sun
and asks for long life, good health, happiness, and good
crops for his children. He also sym- bolizes the coming of

Aholathe sun, and blessing the land for the planting season.

Ahola appears during the first Powamu
ceremony in Feburary.

This doll is commonly given to woman
as a sign of fertility.

Ahola is considered the Chief’s Lieu-
tenant of the Kachinas.


According to legend, Being an influential chief,
Ahola goes from house to house to make his
appearance. On the outside walls of each home,
he draws four horizontal marks with corn meal,
as a prayer for rain. The women inside the house
comes out and sprinkles Ahola with cornmeal.
At the same time, the woman takes some corn
seeds from his basket. This tradition symbolizes
how the Ahola’s presence bless the seeds to wish
for a healthy life.

The earth god is the only kachina that does

not go home after the final ceremony of the season.
He controls both the surface of the earth and the land
of the Underworld. On earth, he gives the Hopi their
land, their honor, and blesses them on their travels. In
the Underworld, he controls the passage of the dead
and the movements of the kachinas emerging from
the Underworld into the world of the living. Masau’u
symbolizes life beyond earth, but he also watches over


Masau’u appears in most of the cer-
emonies, singing loudly, and dancing
around the fires.

This doll is commonly given to a young
children, to teach them of the presence
of Masau’u

Masau’u is considered a trickster,
amongst the Kachinas.


According to legend, Since Masau’u is known
to be from an opposite world, he frequently does
things in reverse. He may come down a ladder back-
wards, or perform other actions in reverse. Hopi’s
also believe, when a fellow member dies and is
buried, his grave is Masau-u’s house. It is warned to
make an offering at his shrine, when walking across
the land. If he notices a lack of sacrifices or planting
corn, he sends severe punishments.

The grandmother is highly respected in

the tribe. Those who have lived longer are looked on as
wise souls and indispensable communicators of tribal
traditions and customs. For the Hopi, the Grandmother
Kachina is among the most cherished, “The Mother of
all Kachinas”. HaHai-i Wuhti pours water from a gourd,
symbolizing the water of life poured out to the world.
She is considered to be the Mother who nourishes all
beings. However, she is an unusual Kachina in that she is


Hahai-i appears in many important
ceremonies like the Hopi Shalako, the
Water Serpent, and Soyoko.

This doll is commonly given to babies
and captured eagles.

Hahai-i Wuhti is the first doll given to
a baby, therefore the doll is very flat.


According to legend, HaHai-I known to be
a demanding and protective mother to the
Nataska, also known as “The Monster Kachinas”.
She would threa-ten the tribe if they failed to get
the kind or quality meat desired for her children.
Yet, she shows compassion to the Hopi children
by offering them food, and then pour water over
their head as a blessing.


Hopi Tribe A sovereign nation located in northeastern

Arizona. The reservation occupies more than1.5 million
acres, and is made up of 12 villages.

Hu’ Kachina He assists crow mother by assisting her

with whipping the children with yucca blades.

Kachina a deified ancestral spirit in the mythology of

Pueblo Indians, a person who represents a kachina spirit in
ceremonial dances, or a small carved figure representing a
kachina spirit.


Kiva A chamber, built wholly or partly underground,

used by Hopi males for religious rites.

Powamu Ceremony A cluster of several important

events for the coming growing season, with ritual designed
to promote fertility and germination. This event is also
known as “Bean Dance”.

Nataska also known as “Monster Kachinas,” Nataska is

the ogre family that threatens the obey the sacred rituals.

Niman Ceremony Also called “The Going Home

of the Kachinas,” Niman is a ceremony to say goodbye to
the winter and spring Kachinas. During this beautiful last
ceremony of the Kachina season, the spirits bring the first
harvest of the season to the villagers as well as presents for
the children.

Underworld The mythical abode of the ancestors

that passed away, and is located under the earth

Zuni Beliefs The Zuni are Pueblo people located in

New Mexico. Their religion is integrated into their daily
lives and respects ancestors, nature, and animals.

Yucca Blade A plant from the agave family with stiff

swordlike leaves and spikes of white bell-shaped flower.



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