Ahöla Kachina, also known as Ahul, opens the mid-winter Powamu ceremony

681 Views
Last Updated: 12 months

The Ahöla Kachina, also known as Ahul, is a spirit being, embodied by a man, in Hopi religion.

Ahöla is one of the important chief katsinam for First and Second Mesas because he opens the mid-winter Powamu ceremony, sometimes called the Bean Planting Festival, officially beginning Katsina season.

Ahöla, a winter solstice Katsina, arrives to open the kivas for the other Katsinas’ visitations. He blesses all the houses in the village and the seeds that each household will plant in the upcoming agricultural season.

The Southwestern region is extremely dry with little water. A number of permanent springs in the area provide the people with drinking water but do not supply enough water to irrigate fields. No permanent rivers or streams flow through Hopi territory. The annual rainfall is less than 10 inches.

The Hopis’ survival has been inextricably bound to favorable weather conditions. In the scattered areas of fertile soil, the Hopi grow corn, pumpkin, beans, chile peppers, peaches, gourds, watermelons and squash, looking to the Katsinas to favor them with rain.

On the first night of the festival, he performs inside a kiva, the subterranean, ceremonial space, before going with the Powamu Chief to give prayer feathers to Kachina Spring at dawn.

The next morning, Ahöla and his assistant, Ahola Mana, along with the  Powamu Chief visit all of the kivas and ceremonial houses on First and Second Mesas, giving out bean and corn plants and marking the doorways with four horizontal stripes of cornmeal near each front entrance as a prayer for rain.

At each stop, the women inside come out to sprinkle them with cornmeal in exchange for corn seeds in their baskets.

At the end of the ceremony, Ahöla descends to a shrine, bows four times to the sun, and asks for health, happiness, long life, and good crops.

Katsina is the spelled preferred by the Hopi, although Kachina is the spelling most often found in the English literature.