January 10, 2002

The kachinas

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AUTHOR: Michael Lomatuway’ma, Hopi

Among all Pueblo people, religion plays a vital role in daily life. At the heart of religious life, particularly among western groups like the Hopi and Zuni, were the infinitely helpful kachinas-also sometimes called katsinas.

In a world infused by supernatural forces, each visible object had a spiritual counterpart, a divine essence as real as the thing itself.

A katsina can be an ancestor spirit, or it can be the spirit of an animal or a plant or anything that is beneficial to the Hopi.

We even have a dog katsina: dogs help the Hopi hunt.

And then, a katsina can be just an abstract thing. You don’t know the meaning behind it-all you know is that it will perform for you, it brings rain, it carries messages back to whoever is making rain.

Kachina Gods
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