RAFARA – The Merina goddess of motherly love and devotion. She had been forced into a marriage to an ogre and had borne him a daughter named Indesoka. One day Indesoka’s playmates, who were pure-blooded ogres instead of a hybrid like she was, tricked her into breaking her evil father’s silver jug.
Indesoka used her powers as a demi-goddess to cause a cave to appear in the side of a stone mountain and hid within that cave, sealing the entrance behind her so that the stone seemed smooth and undisturbed. Rafara’s powers are greater and she is able to find Indesoka.
She agrees that the ogre would viciously injure the child for destroying his silver jug. Rafara tells her husband that Indesoka has run away but secretly takes food and drink to her each day, chanting the words that will cause the cave entrance to appear.
The ogre grows suspicious and spies on Rafara once when she enters the cave to visit their child. He chants the words to open the cave but the entrance will not appear for him. He angrily seeks out a diviner who advises the ogre to disguise his voice to sound like a female next time.
This advice is followed and the ogre tricks his way into the cave once when Indesoka is alone. The monster attacks the child and kills her, taking her flesh home like he would from a game animal he had hunted down.
Rafara realizes that the meat is from her daughter but pretends to be fooled and prepares the meal. After eating the ogre naps, allowing Rafara to gather up all of Indesoka’s bones and use her godly powers to restore the child to life.
Next she ties the ogre’s hair to the roof-post (similar to Okuninushi tying Susanowo’s hair to the rafters in Shinto myths) to prevent him from moving while she picks up a knife and slashes her husband to death. She serves his meat to all of his ogre relatives the next day and they all die from eating one of their own.
Rafara and Indesoka live happily from then on, and have access to all of the ogre’s horde of silver.
I’LL BE EXAMINING ADDITIONAL MERINO DEITIES IN A FEW DAYS.
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2 responses to “MERINA MYTHOLOGY: THE GODDESS RAFARA”
I never knew Madagascar had awesome gods like this!
I’m always glad to spread the word!