Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the gods and myths of Bellona and Rennell Islands has proven very popular as a sub-category of Polynesian myths. (CLICK HERE )
TANGAHAU – In my opinion Tangahau is more like an Odysseus of Bellona and Rennell Islands than Takitaki (covered previously). However, Tangahau’s reputation as a wanderer originally from the Duff Islands seems to tip the balance to Takitaki. Here’s a brief look at Tangahau’s cycle of myths.
If there is enough interest I will do one of my exhaustively detailed examinations, like with Nayanazgeni in Navajo myths, Pele and Hi’iaka from Hawaiian myths, Mwindo from Africa or Baybayan from the Philippines and so many others that I’ve covered.
I) On Taumako Island, Tangahau, a sea captain renowned for his raids on many islands, was preparing for another voyage. The young bachelor’s mother was crying and rending her ears in sorrow since she knew every one of his dangerous journeys might be his last.
II) Tangahau and his crew, which included the priest Nasiu and his son, set out and eventually passed between two flaming islands which Nasiu warned were one of the entrances to the realm of the dead. (Rationalizations of the flaming islands of this tale attribute them to volcanic activity during the early stages of island formation.)
III) Next the voyagers spotted Rennell Island off in the distance. Like many ancient mariners they at first mistook it for an enormous whale. As they drew closer, they spotted Mount Gugha and realized their mistake. They determined to stop and mount a raid. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the gods and myths of Bellona and Rennell Islands has proven very popular. (CLICK HERE ) The figure Takitaki is not a deity but he is often considered the Bel-Ren equivalent of the mortal hero Odysseus from Greek myths.
TAKITAKI – This hero of Bel-Ren myths was a very clever thief whose nautical adventures took him all around the Solomon Islands. Sometimes Takitaki traveled in a canoe small enough for one person but other stories feature him commanding an entire crew on much larger vessels. Here is one of the best-known exploits of this member of the Togo Clan:
Arriving at one of the other Solomon Islands after a long voyage from Bellona and Rennell, Takitaki surreptitiously made his way inland until he came across a populated village. The famished hero began stealing taro from one of the gardens.
At length Takitaki was caught in the act by the owner of the garden. A general alarm was sounded and our protagonist ran, stuffing his mouth as he fled. He took shelter in an abandoned home but soon found himself surrounded and besieged by the villagers.
Takitaki wielded his spear so expertly that he finished off the first few villagers who tried coming in after him. The others contented themselves to settle in for a siege, knowing the intruder would have to emerge sooner or later. Takitaki nearly despaired when those surrounding him announced themselves as cannibals who would use him as a meat dish to complement their servings of taro. Continue reading
NGUATUPU’A AND TEPOUTU’UINGANGI – The parents of many of the major gods and goddesses in Bel-Ren myths, like Izanagi and Izanami in Shinto beliefs. Nguatupu’a and Tepoutu’uingangi were revered AND feared by ALL of the clans of the two islands. They were represented by two large black stones in the region of Bellona Island called Ngabenga.
These two deities were sister and brother respectively as well as being spouses. Incest was forbidden to mortals but the gods engaged in it. In fact it was SO taboo among humans that sisters and brothers maintained a very strict and formal and – most importantly – limited – relationship with each other through adulthood.
The goddess Nguatupu’a was always mentioned first and was above her brother/husband Tepoutu’uingangi in prestige. The erosion of regard for the male deity began early on, in the Bel-Ren migration myth. Like other Polynesians the Bel-Ren people traveled by sea from other islands to reach their eventual home. The Bel-Renners claimed their island of origin was called Uvea or Ubea, depending on who’s spelling it.
Approximately 1400 A.D. the Bel-Renners arrived on the pair of islands and proceeded to slaughter the original inhabitants, called the Hiti. Again we see that such atrocities are a HUMAN failing and are not limited to a few particular groups. Continue reading
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: Continue reading
FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S FULL LIST OF GODS FROM BELLONA AND RENNELL ISLANDS CLICK HERE
TEHAINGA’ATUA – The Chief of the sky gods in Bellona and Rennell (Bel-Ren) mythology. Tehainga’atua ruled the stars, which Bel-Ren astrologers read to determine when (they believed) the sky-god would command particular stars to unleash dangerous seas, rain and thunder storms plus hurricanes. Earthquakes would be unleashed on the two islands by Mahuike, another of Tehainga’atua’s subordinate deities.
Because this deity could dispense or withhold life-giving rains he was often appealed to in rituals. Like Kane/Tane in other Polynesian Islands, Tehainga’atua ruled over wild plant life. Gnetum costatum plants were considered to be “the hair of Tehainga’atua.”
Tehainga’atua’s parents were the goddess N’guatupu’a and the god Tepoutu’uingangi. In some traditions they are his grandparents instead. His wife (and sister) was the goddess Sikingimoemoe. His children included the god Tehu’aingabenga and other district or clan deities. Some traditions hold that those gods are instead his grandchildren. Continue reading
EKEITEHUA – (Also called Singano) This major deity was the god of the northwest wind and was also the main district deity of the Iho (Taupongi) Clan, the archrivals of the Kaitu’u Clan since those two clans are the last survivors of the original eight traditional clans.
Ekeitehua’s celestial home was the far-off land called Mungingangi. This home lay on the horizon to the northwest of Bel-Ren and was the source of the Nohotonu Wind, which Ekeitehua controlled. The Bel-Ren people were undecided on whether or not Mungingangi was above the horizon, below it or on some plane equivalent to it.
Ekeitehua was the son of the god Sikingingangi, having been born from Sikingingangi’s feces, which were yams. Ekeitehua’s sister Teu’uhi the goddess of insanity was also born from their father’s feces/yams and their adopted mother was the goddess ‘Iti’iti. Continue reading