Origins of the Sun Devil

May 23, 2016

Arizona State University has a well-known mascot called “Sparky the Sun Devil”.  The official story is that the Sun Devil is a “mischievous little creature with no known back story”.  My team set out to try to find more information…                                                                                         

 

The logo was designed by a former ASU student and Disney animator, Bert Anthony.  “Sparky” is a small, smiling, cartoon devil carrying a pitch-fork.  Most sources insisted that a Sun Devil was simply an incarnation of the brutally hot and sunny desert climate. “Sparky is just Sparky” most people concluded.  

 

We eventually happened across a retired Anthropology professor, who asked to remain anonymous.  His theory was that the Sun Devil design what based off of the theology of an ancient Native American tribe.

 

ASU is located in Tempe, Arizona.  In the 14th century, located along the Mogollon Rim, (which is a few miles east of modern-day Tempe) was the Hopi tribe. The Hopi were one of the most virtuous and spiritual of the Arizona tribes.  

 

Hopi tribesmen were extremely dedicated to their spiritual philosophy, which centered on a deep respect and harmony with “Mother Earth”.  They were well-mannered and lived honorable and peaceful lives.  The Hopi believed their purpose was to work towards the betterment of the rest of the world. 

 

The tribe followed the teachings of Maasaw, who they believed was the “Caretaker of Earth”.  One of the most astringent warnings from Maasaw was the avoidance of the “corruption of innocence” or “Kilo”.  Some believe Kilo was given a human-like incarnation. He had light skin, and wore red clothing. 

 

This figure would appear to someone in times of desperation, and offer them a way out.  The desperate man would agree to follow Kilo, only to end up in a worse situation in the end.  Theories state that this was one of the original explanations of a mirage, where a person would see something that was not there.  

 

The name Kilo is an anagram of Loki, the Norse mythology “God of Mischief”.  We have found no documented connection between the two figures, but the details are strikingly similar.  We will continue to look for a connection. 

 

 

 

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