Balladeer’s Blog’s previous look at the gods of Bellona and Rennell Islands has proven to be as popular as my examination of the gods of their fellow Polynesian island groups like Hawaii and Samoa. For the main list CLICK HERE
TEHU’AINGABENGA – The chief district deity of the Kaitu’u Clan. He was the son (or grandson) of the sky god Tehainga’atua. As Tehainga’atua “owned” the physical islands of Bellona and Rennell, so Tehu’aingabenga “owned” the people of those islands.
Tehu’aingabenga was the most active deity in the Bellona and Rennell (Bel-Ren) pantheon and was featured very heavily in cult (ritual and cultural activities) and myths (tales of the gods).
The Bel-Ren belief system regarded meteors as Apai, or unworshipped deities. The meteor god named Tangangoa was swooping down and flying off with many of the children and worshippers of the sky god Tehainga’atua. When Tehainga’atua proved incapable of defeating Tangangoa he turned to his son (or grandson) for help.
Tehu’aingabenga obliged and did battle with Tangangoa. Though the meteor deity had been nimble enough to elude the lightning bolts of Tehainga’atua, Tehu’aingabenga’s divine spears – or Hakasanisani – NEVER missed whatever the god wanted them to strike when he threw them.
Soon the malevolent Tangangoa was riddled with the barbed spears and surrendered. He returned everyone he had abducted and vowed never to engage in such behavior again. Tehu’aingabenga was unforgiving and for the rest of eternity the Hakasanisani which had impaled Tangangoa’s body remained where they were.
Tehu’aingabenga’s other mythic activities included:
*** Stealing the sex and beauty goddess Kaukaugogo from his son Tinotonu the shark god. Tinotonu sent an army of sharks to devour Kaukaugogo the next time she bathed in the ocean but Tehu’aingabenga outfought the shark army to save her.
*** Breaking off one of the arms of the earthquake god Mahuike for being too destructive. From then on the earthquakes unleashed by Mahuike were much milder.
*** Permitting the Kaitu’u warrior Tangaibasa to temporarily wield some of his barbed spears (Hakasanisani) in battle with the insanity goddess Teu’uhi when she had possessed his daughter.
In addition, Tehu’aingabenga was associated with cultivated and cooked vegetation in comparison to his father Tehainga’atua’s association with wild and uncooked vegetation. All this is similar to the way the Hawaiian god Lono was associated with cultivated vegetation but his brother Kane/Tane was associated with wild vegetation.
(Etymologically the Bel-Ren word “ta’ane” MEANS wild vegetation, so you can see the link.)
Going further with that concept Tehu’aingabenga was considered the god of inside spaces while Tehainga’atua was considered the god of outside places. This held true even to the point where Tehainga’atua could only enter human buildings if his son/ grandson Tehu’aingabenga permitted it.
FOR THE TOP 15 IROQUOIS DEITIES CLICK HERE – https://glitternight.com/2013/01/28/the-top-fifteen-deities-in-iroquois-mythology/
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