Posts Tagged ‘Kokopelli’

Downtown Moab with its red-rock backdrop. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Every crag and gnarled tree and lonely valley has its own strange and graceful legend attached to it.” — Douglas Hyde

Travels With Maggie

 Images of the humpbacked flute player, known as Kokopelli – sometimes depicted with an exaggerated pecker – is a common sight around Moab. You can find evidence of this southwest Indian fertility deity all around the city’s arch, cave and red-rock landscape. And he’s been around for over 3,000 years.

Kokopelli petroglyph

I was fortunate that in the 1990s a Moab native led me on a hike to see an ancient Kokopelli image that had been carved in stone. Because of vandalism, the location of some of the more precious of these historical links to the past are now not divulged to the general public. I thought at the time that it was a horrid shame that the destructive action of a few were depriving so many respectful viewers of the past from access.

Archeological evidence of Kokopelli was first found on similar petroglyphs across the southwest, and historians place the flute player’s beginnings to the Pueblo and Aztec Indian eras. In some of these myths, the hump on his back is said to be babies that he delivers to young women. In this, he’s shares a common goal with our own culture’s baby-delivering stork.

In Moab today, however, Kokopelli is often seen as an advertising gimmick. Both a local lodge and art gallery

The Moab Diner's version of Kokopelli. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 plagiarize his name and image. You can also take a Kokopelli hot air balloon ride or a Kokopelli bicycle tour on the Kokopelli Trail that continues into Colorado.

My thoughts about Kokopelli began this morning at breakfast at the Moab

Modern day Kokopelli

 Diner, which if you ever visit this fascinating city you should not miss. It has the best breakfast in town. This small restaurant is also known for its backward clock, which baffles tourists until they realize what’s different.

As I ate my sausage and eggs and studied a map for my day’s drive, my eyes were caught by another difference. The neon wall hanging of Kokopelli was a chicken. I, of course, had to go get my camera and take a picture. It’s these little kinds of oddities that add spice to my travels.

Read Full Post »