The legendary flute player is a fertility deity among the Hopi Native Americans of Southwest America. He presides over the emergence of new life in all forms, from childbirth to agricultural abundance.
Kokopelli is also regarded as a trickster god, healer, storyteller and the spirit of music. It was believed that Kokopelli would travel across the land, playing a heavenly tune on his flute to mark the end of winter and to usher in spring. As he goes from village to village, his music melts away snow and summons rain to prepare the crops for a bountiful harvest.
Kokopelli is usually depicted with an exaggeratedly rounded back, his feet in the air and playing the flute, as if dancing to his own tune. Some interpretations had it that the hump of his back represents sacks of seeds, songs or an infant – blessings he will bestow to those deserving.
A tattoo of this iconic figure is often chosen to represent renewal of circumstances in one’s life, especially concerning children and parenthood. It could also be a sign of respect and reverence to Native American cultural traditions. Be aware, however, that there are several different depictions of the Kokopelli symbol, and its meaning can vary from one Native tribe to another. There are some tribes that consider having an image of a fertility deity inked on the skin to be vulgar and offensive. If you are considering a Kokopelli tattoo, it is good idea to check with a Native historical society to make sure the design is rightful and appropriate.