|A Brief History of the Kachina
|With these instructions, the Kachinas left for their home in the moutain range today known as the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona. They promised to visit the Hopi people 6 months out of the year to turn the season from winter to spring bringing snow and rain, to germinate seeds, to insure growth and to harvest the crops (the most important being corn).
It estimated that there are over 300 different Kachinas, each ranking accordingly. The Grandmother Kachina is the mother of all Kachinas and appears only in the most sacred ceremonies to insure they are performed correctly, because strong forces are used.
The Chief Kachinas are the oldest and most sacred of all Kachinas. They perform the most sacred duties of specific ceremonies, such as the blessing of the kivas (underground rooms representing the spiritual underworld of the Hopi ancestors), shrines, Kachina houses, turning the season back to spring, and encouraging plants to grow. Very few carvers will attempt to carve Chief Kachinas because of the power they possess.
The broad range of Kachina spirits represents all things of the world - both male and female: the sky, the moon, stars, clouds, rain, snow, fire, plants, animals, insects, places, ancestors and other tribes. Depending on what the Kachina represents determines the type of clothing it wears, the color and the designs that decorate the face and body, what it carries in it's hands, the time of year it appears and the ceremonies it particpates in.
Disciplinary Kachinas, or Warrior Kachinas, insure that everyone of the village lives their own particular role in the Hopi way of life. If a person does not, they are confronted, told how to correct themselves and receives an explanation in detail of what is expected of each person. They also encourage everyone to do their part to keep up maintenance of shrines, kivas, paths and springs.
The male Crow is the Chief of this group of Kachinas, followed by the male Owl. Next are all the Ogres, or Soyokos. Guard Kachinas or Hu Kachinas, usually come in pairs, protect the more sacred Chief Kachina from people and other Kachinas from getting too close to them. They may also be seen guarding shrines and the kiva during certain ceremonies.
War Koyemsi, Paiute, Apache, Ute and Commanche are Warrior Kachinas that discipline clowns for misbehavior because they don't respect anything or anyone. No one has taught the clowns right from wrong. So, they make reasons to explain everything that goes on around them, and they are always wrong. (Note: clowns are not Kachinas. They are men with painted faces and bodies that illustrate what not to do.) Most of the disciplinary Kachinas can be identified by large bulging eyes, large teeth, animal pelts around the back of their necks, tongues exposed and beards. All Warrior Kachinas carry some form of weapon - yucca whips, bow and arrows, ropes, knives, swords, spears or saws.