Tag Archives: Merina deities

MERINA MYTHS: TOMPONDRANO

Tompondrano

The French who first came into contact with the people of Madagascar mistook Tompondrano for Leviathan from Christian mythology.

TOMPONDRANO – “Lord of the waters.” The supreme snake deity in Merina mythology. Not only were all other serpents subordinate to Tompondrano but he often acted as an ambassador between snakes and human beings, negotiating the end to conflicts between the two groups. 

A major myth about this deity includes its role in advising the Vazimba how to use sacrifices to appease gods and demons. The Vazimba were little people who were previously the dominant race of Madagascar. They are similar to the Menehune in Hawaiian myths and to “little people” who figure into mythology and folklore from around the world.  

One day a Vazimba boy was playing with a seven-headed serpent monster. That serpent decided to keep him and make him live with him under the water. The Vazimba prayed to Tompondrano to save him. Tompondrano advised the Vazimba boy to be patient, then sent the Kingfisher bird to the Vazimba’s parents with word that sacrificing a chicken and a sheep to the seven- headed serpent would appease it and get it to release their son. Continue reading

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MAHAKA AND KOTOFETSY: TRICKSTER GODS OF MADAGASCAR

FOR MY MAIN LIST OF GODS FROM MADAGASCAR CLICK HERE

MadagascarMAHAKA & KOTOFETSY – Trickster deities to the Merina people of Madagascar.  Mahaka and Kotofetsy are depicted like Coyote is depicted in Native American myths. In some tales their deceptive nature is applauded and in others condemned.

On occasion Merina people who prided themselves on their own wit and trickery would try to outdo Mahaka and Kotofetsy. In one myth the pair transform themselves into old men to put their adversary at ease, only to trick him out of everything he owns, right down to his clothing. The defeated man runs home naked, pursued by a jeering mob. 

Other myths involving the pair:

Mahaka and Kotofetsy frame a would-be antagonist for sorcery, causing him to be beaten with sticks by his neighbors, who think he has desecrated their loved one’s tomb. Continue reading

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MERINA MYTHS: RATOVOANA

satellite-madagascar-small.gif (250×339)RATOVOANA – This demi-god was the son of a deity and a Vazimba, Madagascar’s version of elves or Menehune. Ratovoana was born through the procedure known in the west as a Caesarean Section instead of the usual birth through the vaginal pathway. Such births were regarded with a certain supersitious awe in the ancient world and the children thus born were considered to be destined for great things.

In the myths of the Merina and other people of Madagascar such births were viewed as meaning that the figure thus born was “self-created” or “self-delivered”. These “self-created” beings are genuine rebels who often defy the supreme deity and therefore occupy a special place in the pantheons of Madagascar and I’ll deal with other such figures in the future. This entry will be limited to Ratovoana.  Continue reading

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MERINA MYTHOLOGY: THE GOD RAPETO

RapetoRAPETO – This gigantic deity falls into the global mythological category of “Divine Geographers” for his role in crafting and creating many landmarks throughout Madagascar. This makes him similar to Khong Lo in Vietnamese myths, Inugpasug in Inuit myths, Halmang in Korean myths and Moshiri in Ainu myths. A number of stories about the enormous Rapeto explain the origin of various geographical features throughout the land. His name was used to classify the Rapetosaurus, a dinosaur that used to inhabit Madagascar. Continue reading

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MERINA MYTHOLOGY: THE GODDESS RAFARA

Madagascar beautyRAFARA – 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. Continue reading

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MERINA MYTHS: ANOTHER TALE OF ANDRIANAMPOINIMERINA

AndrianampoinimerinaANDRIANAMPOINIMERINA – Here is a non-crow related myth about this demigod from Madagascar.

Long ago the farmers in Andrianampoinimerina’s kingdom came to their ruler for help with their problem. They had a huge surplus of crops because there simply weren’t enough citizens nearby to buy them. Andrianampoinimerina had a solution. Continue reading

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MERINA MYTHOLOGY: ANDRIANAMPOINIMERINA

AndrianampoinimerinaANDRIANAMPOINIMERINA – A past King of the Merina people and the Demi-God who ruled over the birds called crows. From the time Andrianampoinimerina was a small child crows were his special protectors and always kept a watchful eye on him.

Once when a wild boar attacked the youngster the crows guarding him rapidly beat their wings in the eyes of the boar and pecked at it, ultimately driving it off. Continue reading

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MERINA MYTHOLOGY: TOMPONDRANO

Tompondrano

The French who first came into contact with the people of Madagascar mistook Tompondrano for Leviathan from Christian mythology.

TOMPONDRANO – “Lord of the waters.” The supreme snake deity in Merina mythology. Not only were all other serpents subordinate to Tompondrano but he often acted as an ambassador between snakes and human beings, negotiating the end to conflicts between the two groups. 

A major myth about this deity includes its role in advising the Vazimba how to use sacrifices to appease gods and demons. The Vazimba were little people who were previously the dominant race of Madagascar. They are similar to the Menehune in Hawaiian myths and to “little people” who figure into mythology and folklore from around the world.   Continue reading

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MERINA MYTHS: THE LEMUR GOD

Can anyone tell me why no college sports teams are called the Lemurs?

Can anyone tell us why no college sports teams are called the Lemurs?

BABAKOTO – The Merina lemur god. Babakoto was at first an ordinary man. Through a series of misfortunes he wound up being accused and condemned to death for a crime he did not commit. Nobody would believe his innocence, however, and so he began plotting to escape before his execution could be carried out.
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MERINA MYTHS: THE DEMIGOD RARAKY

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RARAKY – The Merina demigod of tobacco. Raraky (sometimes called Paraky) was the only son of the blessed Merina man Andriamitandrina and his wife. Raraky grew ill and neither medicine nor prayers to the gods could save him. After he died his family debated what to do with the corpse. Some counciled eating him like food in order to feel that he was still with them. Others advocated hanging the body in their home in order to feel that he was still with them. Continue reading

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