On Don Gaspar Street in the Santa Fe is an unassuming yet fantastic little shop called KESHI showcasing the largest collection of Zuni fetishes in the world. They work directly with the people of the Zuni Pueblo who reside in Western New Mexico. For over 30 years they have maintained direct relationships with the artists and even provide you with the individual artist names.
A fetish is a tiny stone carving that is believed to be imbued with special medicinal traits if the animals are honored and well taken care of. Each animal has a specifically ascribed medicine. The Zuni people believe that these animals choose their owners, so as you peruse the shop you are invited to touch and spend time with individual animals to see which one you connect with.
As I walked around interacting with these delightful and intricate miniature sculptures I had my eyes on some of the owls (as is probably not too surprising to most who know me since I collect owls and have a collection of over 100 of them). However, it was an adorable little Beaver who choose to come home with me. I have yet to name him. I also purchased a tiny bag for him to live in. The Zuni people often carry their animals in bags in their pockets so that their special qualities will travel with them.
When you purchase one, they give you corn meal to "feed" the animals. Each animal also comes with a sheet of paper explaining what "medicine" is specific to each animal. The bat is very interesting, and is believed to "...pollinate the seeds of our dreams." You can read more about the different animal medicines.
Here is a quote describing what the Beaver Medicine entails:
"Beavers (Biha) are extremely energetic and exhibit great diligence in whatever they do. Their willingness to participate in purposeful and cooperative activity is part of their medicine. We can learn a great deal from this singular quality. Whether building their underwater lodges, repairing dams, or taking care of their kits, beavers do it with zeal. This is why we have the expression, “eager beaver.” They are gentle creatures who show us that working hard can be its own reward.
Beaver habitat is primarily aquatic, and they have developed intricate systems for survival with multiple escape routes in each lodge. Beavers are known to mate for life and keep their young with them as long as two years, creating a strong sense of home and family."