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Hopi Symbols

Hopi Symbols - Hopi Meanings

The Hopi are a Native American tribe, the majority of whom live in the state of Arizona, in the United States of America. The Hopi are descended from the Pueblo Native Americans, and have existed in Arizona since at least the 16th Century.
The name Hopi is derived from the longer phrase: ‘Hopituh Shi-nu-mu’ which translates to “The Peaceful People”, or “Peaceful Little Ones.”
The Hopi view their lands as sacred. The Hopi culture is centered around agriculture, though they did not, before European settlers, have any conception of land ownership, boundaries or division. They believe that they exist as caretakers only, and that the land is inherited from their ancestors.
Traditionally, the Hopi lived on high mesas for protection against raiding tribes, and also due the benefits of irrigation afforded by the highland.
The Hopi possess a belief system that is extremely spiritual, with a strong sense of morality and ethics. The Hopi people aim to cultivate a reverence and respect for all things, to cohabit with all earthly things, and to obey Maasaw, the Earth’s creator. Traditional Hopi ceremonies and rituals are performed for the benefit of not just the tribe, but everything that exists in the world.
In the modern day, the majority of Hopi peoples live on the Hopi reservation in southern Arizona. The reservation is entirely enclosed within the significantly larger Navajo reservation. This, in the recent past, has been a source of conflict for the tribe.
Many Hopi continue to practice subsistence or micro farming. The Hopi also take part in the wider American economy. Many have conventional jobs, while others create and sell traditional Hopi art.

Saviki Hopi symbol


Saviki may refer to a supernatural being or spirit, the mask made in its likeness and worn for tribal ceremonies and rituals, or a small doll made in the image of the Saviki mask. The Saviki, meaning the supernatural entities, are believed by the Hopi to be divine messengers. The Saviki mask depicts a wide face, surrounded by petal-like adornments, a snake held between the teeth.

Kokyangwuti Hopi symbol


The Kokyangwuti, or “Spider Grandmother”, in Hopi mythology, is a deity that can appear in the shape of an old woman, or the guise of a spider. When in her spider shape, she lives underground. The Hopi call upon the Spider Grandmother for advice or to cure illnesses and ailments. The Kokyangwuti symbol represents leadership, wisdom and good fortune.

Mongko Hopi symbol


The Mongko is the symbol of the Hopi spiritual law. It represents respect, harmony and love. The physical object, which the symbol depicts, is the signifier of the highest spiritual power. Typically featuring two horns, wood, feathers and corn, the individual parts symbolize the Earth, all of the plants and living things, water and humanity.

Kuwanlelenta Hopi symbol


Kuwanlelenta is the god of the Hopi Sunflower Clan. Sunflowers have great significance to the Hopi and represent femininity and womanhood. The Hopi believe sunflowers to be living beings brought to life by the gods. The Kuwanlelenta symbol represents fertility and beauty.

Skunk ritual Hopi symbol


The Skunk symbol represents the Sun, because its odor is said to permeate as does sunlight. The stripes on the animal’s back reflect the light of the sun to Tawa, the creator. The symbol’s inner circle represents the pure heat of the Sun, while the outer represents a less intense heat that all things require to grow. The final, outermost circle represents the fire of the sun, and the four extruding fires the cardinal compass directions.

Healing Hand Hopi Symbol

Healing Hand

The healing hand symbol depicts a hand with a spiral in the place of the palm. It represents healing and protection. The spiral represents the universe, or eternity and, when combined with the shape of a hand, the symbol is said to have therapeutic energy.

Taknokwumu Hopi Symbol


Taknokwumu depicts the spirit who controls the weather. He might be considered a rain god, and would be invoked in times of drought. He is depicted with four limbs and a tail, with his arms and legs connected by rainbow stripes. The symbol places Taknokwumu within a circular shield and is associated with the Hopi Fire Clans.

Mongwikoro Hopi symbol


The Mongwikoro symbol depicts the magical water jug, gifted to the Hopi tribes by the god of the Fire Clans. As the tribes journey, a chosen member must fast for days before and after moving from one place to the next. If he completes his fast successfully, then the jug will provide water for the tribe when they reach their destination.

Tawa Hopi symbol


Tawa, in the Hopi mythology, is the Sun spirit. Tawa created the world from nothingness, as well as all of the original gods. New mothers seek the blessing of Tawa for their newborn children by presenting them to the sun.

Nakwách Hopi symbol


The Nakwách symbol represents brotherhood. Priests and religious leaders attempt to form this symbol when dancing during the wúwuchim ceremony. The symbol can be drawn with either curved or squared lines, but one must always begin within the other.


Tokchi’i Hopi symbol


Tokchi’i is said to be the guardian of the East and the Hopi Snake Clans. It is taken from an earthwork that, at 1320 by 20 feet, is the largest depiction of a snake in the world, dating from a time before the Hopi tribes who believe it was carved by their ancestors. As a symbol, the Tokchi’i represents protection. The swift snake is said to have the power to attract light.

Palulukang Hopi symbol


Palulukang is the snake god. He is associated with the southern Hopi Snake Clans. The symbol depicts a water snake with its body divided into sections, representing sections of the human body. Palulukang offers protection for travelers.

Panaiyoikyasi Hopi symbol


Panaiyoikyasi is a Hopi god, representing the link between the Earth and the sky. He holds sway when the sun shines and when the rain falls, meaning that Panaiyoikyasi is the deity responsible for the flowering of the flora and the life of the insects who pollinate the flowers. He is associated with the Hopi Water Clan.

Tapuat Hopi symbol


The Tapuat symbol depicts a maze, or labyrinth. It represents the relationship between mother and child, beginning in the center and radiating outwards as the child’s world expands. Life may sometimes feel like a maze, and the Hopi were conscious of this. At a higher level, the Tapuat represents Mother Earth or the Cosmic Mother (the universe). It is a symbol of birth and rebirth.

Kachina rattle Hopi symbol

Kachina Rattle

The kachina rattle is a ceremonial instrument that represents cosmic harmony. The concentric circles, inner and outer, represent the Sun and the Earth. The internal swastika can represent either celestial body, dependent on the rotation (Sun left, Earth right). The markings on the outer rim represent the stars of the galaxy. The kachina rattle is used by the kachina to signal an imminent announcement.

Kokopelli Hopi symbol


The Kokopelli symbol portrays an insect-like spirit, or máhu. The spirit-being is depicted as a hunchbacked grasshopper who is playing a wooden flute. The symbol represents spiritual and physical healing, love, music, and the healing powers of music.
He often plays a part in the Hopi rituals relating to matrimony, the love-flute was used by a man to attract a maiden. When the two were married, the man would destroy his flute, never to play again.

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