Covering the myths and deities of the various peoples of Madagascar is a pretty sizeable job to undertake. I decided to use the same approach I’m using with the Americas and take things on a tribe-by-tribe basis.
First off I’ll be tackling the Merina people. Let me emphasize that for my fellow mythology geeks – this list will be JUST about Merina gods and myths. There are a variety of cultural groups from Madagascar, each with their own pantheon of deities, but plenty of mythological reference books do them the disservice of lumping everything into one big category labeled “Madagascar” or “Malagassy Mythology”.
This causes confusion because it would be like lumping gods from Celtic, Norse, Greco-Roman, Slavic, Etruscan and Hittite mythology in one big puddle called “European Gods” with no attempt to break them into their separate pantheons. So if the following gods either are not in whatever reference books you personally use or if your books list a different figure as “Madagascar’s” patron deity of a certain concept there is no need to jump in with objections. I will eventually hit all the cultural groups.
ITRIMOBE – The primordial sea-beast who lived on the Earth when it was nothing but endless ocean. For untold years Itrimobe enjoyed its solitary subaquatic existence. Eventually it grew bored and set out to examine the parameters of the world it lived in. It swam down all the way to the bottom of the sea, then swam upward as far as it could go and at last poked its head out into the air and sunlight.
Itrimobe swam east, north, west and south but found no land and no way out of the endless ocean. Curious, the entity dug three holes in the center of the Earth and one hole at each end, allowing much of the water to drain. This drainage caused the formation of the continents, which the now-amphibious Itrimobe explored. Unfortunately the blazing sun overhead eventually dried Itrimobe out to a dangerous degree and blinded it. The remaining ocean water was nowhere near deep enough for the gigantic creature to submerge itself ever again, causing its body to die. Continue reading