I’ve mentioned here before that I am a drummer. My husband and friends gather regularly to make music together. We have all sorts of percussion instruments and unusual rhythm makers from all over the world. Sometimes we make music indoors, other times we drum and dance in the moonlight. More times than not we entrain when we really get going — that is, our brainwaves synchronize. In some future post I’ll explain the science behind that. For a mental place holder, compare it to a room full of ticking pendulum clocks. All the clocks will eventually tick in sync. Though non-zero forces are the likely culprit, one knows exactly why they do. They just do. Hmm..that’ll be a post for another day too.
Anyway… One of the strange things about entrainment is the ability to all stop together without any lead-in or hint letting you know the music is coming to the end. It also leaves you feeling rather high to have your brainwaves mingling with other brainwaves. Gotta love science. But this post is not about drumming or even brainwave entrainment. It’s about something that came after such a brain bonding. On one wild drumming night, the full moon was huge and extremely bright. So bright, in fact, that at 2:30 in the morning you could hear birds making little chirping sounds as they tried to determine if dawn had come early. That’s when I saw something on the moon I had never seen before.
People often see things on the moon, images like the rabbit, the man in the moon, the sitting woman. Depending what image your culture says is there, that’s what you’ll see. This flight of fancy is called pareidolia– humans hard-wired to look for faces. I suspect it has to do with bonding as in baby and mother bonding. But I digress. Back to the moon…
So I looked up at that full moon and was seized with an overwhelming case of surety that told me that sometime in the past, an aboriginal storyteller in North America looked up and saw what I saw. It wasn’t the rabbit, the woman, or the man in the moon face. It was Kokopelli the dancing flute player.
I’ve scoured the web looking for a comparable moon to show here and gave up after so many pages of images. Online images don’t show a clear Kokopelli. This is a rough attempt to show what I saw. It takes skill to draw with a computer’s mouse and that’s a skill I just don’t possess.
It’s said Kokopelli is a Kachina, a spirit being in the pantheon of Southwest Native American deities known for music, dance, and mischief. The ancient Anasazi considered him a god but his origins are thought to be older still. Ancient rock carvings and paintings, a.k.a. petroglyphs, date him at 3,000 or so years.
Depending on which peoples you ask, the humpbacked dancing flute player has different meanings attributed to him. Generally, this kachina is thought to carry a sack on his back like a traveler or trader. In legends, the sack carries everything from unborn babies to seeds to other gifts. His flute is said to be a nose flute (yes there really are such things). The melody on his flute would bring rain, melt snow, and the change the seasons.
In keeping with those babies on his back, he’s also associated with replenishment and fertility. Some of the petroglyphs show him dancing with a substantial erection. Legend says when Kokopelli played his nose flute everyone would sing and dance all through the night. Come morning every maiden in the village would be with child. There have been no such surprises for my drummer friends.
To some, the last full December moon is known as the Cold Moon or the Long Night Moon. The last time a full moon appeared on Christmas was in 1977. Though it isn’t common in our lifetimes, celestially speaking, it’s no big deal. For us however, full moons appear on the same day an average of twice in any 59-year period. According to NASA, the next full Christmas moon won’t occur until 2034. Take a good look at the moon next week. Kokopelli will be dancing there.
Here’s an example of the nose flute Kokopelli plays. Notice the headdress.
There was a time when cards and letters exclusively told friends and family you cared. Vintage holiday postcards and greeting cards were often beautifully done things. That and the sentiment behind them were the reason so many were kept as keepsakes. From now until January, I’ll share vintage holiday postcards for you to enjoy.
Scroll down to see previous vintage postcards and learn how postcards became popular greetings to send, what is cost to send them, and about the big changes made after WWI.
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