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Sosoyohim Kachinum or Insect and Reptile Kachinas hold a variety of roles in the Hopi religious culture. For instance, the spirit of the butterfly is commonly personified in Hopi kachina figures, sewn into clothing or weaved into baskets or painted onto pottery. Insect kachinas have specific roles and appear at certain times during the year perhaps to coincide with the natural cycle of the insect. Momo the Bee kachina, which prays for bountiful populations of bees and spring flowers, appears during the winter and summer dances.
Sivuftotovi or dragonflies are associated with water, springtime, fertility and rebirth and is also a racer or runner kachina. Hopi have included several butterflies into the kachina family. Kachinas are the spirit essence of everything in the real world. They represent game, plants, food, birds, insects, and even death itself is given a kachina form. During sacred dances, men who impersonate kachinas present carved replicas of their kachina appearence to women and children. In Native American folklore, moths and butterflies are considered visiting past relatives and must not be harmed in any way. Butterflies are prominent characters in the Hopi myth and ritual. The Butterfly Dance personifies the spirit of the butterfly through the Kachina figure. Kachinas represent the spirit essence of everything in the world from plants, food, insects and even the concepts of life and death. Popular insect butterfly kachinas are the Poli Sio Hemis Kachina (Zuni Hemis Butterfly Kachina), Poli Taka (Butterly Man), and Poli Mana (Butterfly Girl).
Dragon flies and lepidoptera are common themes in the Mythology of Native Americans and associated with game animals as well as representations of water, fertility and healing. The Sivuftotovi, or Dragon-Fly Man, is also a popular spirit. Each kachina mask pattern has a brief overview of the Hopi religious and ceremonial meaning and purpose of the design plus links to one or more existing native American kachina doll photo or drawing. Many kachinas can belong to more than one group or category, for example, a chief kachina can also be a clown or a runner, and might be listed in those categories as well. Children can decorate the masks using their own imagination or refer to the the photos of actual native American designs and make the masks come to life with stories and song.
Saviki Snake Tcanau Examples:
The Tata-nga-ya Hornet or Wasp Kachina has two distinctively different variations depending upon the Mesa. This kachina appears during the Pamuya or the Mixed Kachina Dances.
The most often seen Tatangaya kachina style is the version with the antennae and colorful stripes depicted here.
Leave the bug spray at home because insect, animal and reptile kachinas have important roles in Hopi traditions. The Tata-nga-ya Hornet's roll probably concerns cross pollination of Hopi crops to ensure good harvests, therefore the hornet kachina probably dances and prays for the hornet population to increase.
Just like any insect in nature, insect kachinas may appear alone or in groups.
Palhik Mana, the female butterfly kachina, and Poli Taka, or Poli Sio Hemis, the male butterfly Kachinas appear as a pair in the butterfly social dance. These kachinas represent the butterfly which pollinates corn and desert flowers. Butterfly kachinas also tell the priest leaders which flowers and plants can be used for medicines. Sometimes the butterfly is not a kachina but a maiden who grinds corn in the kiva and teaches young Hopi girls the graces of Hopi Society.
Puchkofmoktaka Scorpian, a Runner or Throwing Stick Man. Runner kachinas carry yucca whips and challenge men and boys to foot races. If the people win they receive Piki bread or gifts and prizes, but if they lose they are struck with the yucca whips.
The Mastop or Death Fly kachina only appears on the third mesa, in pairs, the day before the end of the Soyal Ceremony. The Mastop represents a prayer to ensure fertility for humankind, so he is encouraged to tease girls and women as an important part of fertility rituals.
He is a Soyal (Winter Solstice) Katsina and counterpart to Second Mesa's Sivaktsina kachina.
The mask is black with white dots on each cheek. These dots represent the star constellations Pleiades (the Seven Sisters) on the right side and on the left side is the Big Dipper which contains Canis Major the Dog Star.
Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, is the name of a quite visible and striking open cluster of stars in the Taurus constellation.
The Sivuftotovi or Dragonfly Runner Kachina carries a yucca whip and a container of dark huitlacoche (corn smut).
Like other Runner kachinas, he challenges men and boys to races. If they lose the race he will swat them several times with a yucca switch or smear them with the corn smut.
Momo Bumble Bee appears during the Mixed Kachina Dances. Momo prays for bountiful populations of bees and spring flowers, appears during the winter and summer dances
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