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
FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LIST OF THE TOP ELEVEN AZTEC GODS AND GODDESSES CLICK HERE
TEZCATLIPOCA – The god of sorcery and human sacrifice as well as the patron deity of thieves and other evildoers. Tezcatlipoca was originally also a war god but his martial attributes were later taken over by Huitzilopochtli. Many myths about Tezcatlipoca involve his conflicts with the wind and culture god Quetzelcoatl, conflicts that even caused the destruction of two of the previous worlds.
The First World was peopled by giants and was ruled over by Tezcatlipoca. After centuries of intermittent warfare between the two deities Quetzalcoatl at last succeeded in overthrowing Tezcatlipoca, who chose to destroy the world rather than cede it to his archrival. He did this by creating countless giant jaguars who devoured all of the giants and other life forms and then devouring each other.
The Second World was populated by monkey-type humanoids and was ruled over by Quetzalcoatl. Eventually, Tezcatlipoca overthrew the Big Q, who likewise preferred to destroy the world rather than see it ruled by the Big T. He destroyed that world with a massive global windstorm of unprecedented proportions. Continue reading
What better way to mark April Fool’s Day than by commemorating one of the wittiest and most daring of practical jokes, one perpetrated by Aleister Crowley in those brilliant years before drugs and/or self-delusion fogged his mind. Decades before the pathetic “Peekaboo Crowley” of much renown Aleister was still churning out some very enjoyable poetry – some of it brilliant. The Sword of Song and Konx Om Pax are my favorite volumes of verse by “the Laird of Boleskine” … AFTER Clouds Without Water, that is.
Clouds Without Water was not Crowley’s only literary practical joke, of course, but the humor of it resonates to this very day, thanks mainly to the never-changing air of pious self-righteousness that afflicts most of the world’s clergy-members. And not just pious self-righteousness but a habit of condemning in the strongest language works of art which their self-limited minds clearly don’t understand.
**************** Crowley’s autobiography explained this photo in the poignant chapter titled “I Go Completely Nuts and Start Believing Anything and Everything”
THE JOKE: Clouds Without Water was published under one of Crowley’s pseudonyms – Reverend Charles Verey. It was circulated to various ministries and teaching colleges allegedly as a condemnation of “the type of atheism and socialism” that the young and the bohemian were embracing. Crowley – writing as Reverend Verey – wrote a foreward and a closing prayer for the volume of poetry as well as (when you know the full story) HILARIOUS footnotes expressing the kind of simplistic moral outrage that only the most narrow-minded of holy-rollers can spout.
Under another assumed identity Crowley ALSO wrote the sonnets being condemned by his Reverend Verey alter ego. On the surface the poems were written by a college professor scandalously celebrating an extramarital affair with one of his female students, a young woman named Lola.
The sonnets reflect the supposed couple’s flouting of social and sexual conventions until the affair ends in tragedy for all concerned. Crowley’s fictional persona Reverend Verey was denouncing the poems and the lifestyle reflected in those poems in the strongest possible terms.
He was also feigning profound outrage and blaming “works such as this” for corrupting the morals of the young and turning their minds against God and religion as well as tempting them toward socialism. That type of behavior from the clergy rings right through to the present day as, over the past several decades religious fanatics have condemned everything from movies to popular music to books and magazines and television and video games for eroding the country’s (any country’s) morals and conduct. Continue reading
Spring keeps trying to arrive but this bitter winter refuses to give up just yet. Our nationwide longing to be liberated from the tyrannical grip of winter made this a good time to examine some of the ancient myths about winter and the coming of spring.
The celebration of those myths at this time of year plus the fact that many of those myths centered around dead and resurrected deities necessitated Christianity’s attempt to superimpose its OWN dead and resurrected deity over top of those older stories. Hence the celebration of Easter in springtime. (And it’s not just Christianity that behaved that way – other religions also would superimpose their own celebrations over top of those held in honor of the previously dominant gods in their region. I’ll cover the behavior of those other belief systems – especially Islam and the Incan faith – another time.)
Not all seasonal myths conformed to the following pattern. I’m limiting this list to the ones that did.
Pantheon: Greek (The Romans called her Proserpine)
The Tale: Persephone was the beautiful daughter of the goddess Demeter (Ceres to the Romans). Persephone caught the eye of Hades, the god who ruled over the realm of the dead. Overcome with lust Hades (Pluto to the Romans) emerged from his subterranean domain and stole Persephone away to his realm to become his Queen.
The Savior: Demeter went searching for her daughter throughout the world, often assuming the form of a mortal woman. Her search wore on and on with no results, causing Demeter to fall more and more deeply into despair. Because she was the goddess of nature that despair manifested itself in colder weather, in the leaves falling off the trees, other vegetation dying and some animals hibernating or migrating to flee the cold.
As this first winter wore on, human beings began praying to Demeter to restore the world’s greenery and the warmer temperatures of the past. In her overwhelming sadness at the loss of her daughter Demeter ignored those prayers, prompting humans to begin praying to the other gods to intercede on humanity’s behalf. At length Zeus, the sky god who ruled over all the gods in the Greek pantheon, realized that the only way to end Demeter’s despair and end the terrible winter was to find her daughter Persephone and reunite mother and daughter. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog has already examined all the major gods and goddesses of the Inuit so here is a look at another one of their mythical heroes. For my initial list of Inuit deities click HERE
ILAGANIQ – The Inuit hero Ilaganiq was born in the village of Imitchaq, which was famous for being right near the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bering Sea. Ever since he was very young Ilaganiq and his brothers were subjected to extensive physical conditioning by their father.
Ilaganiq’s father Aapaang hoped that one of his sons would be the hero to destroy the Amikuk, or “the Skin Octopus” a monster which terrorized the region. The creature was called the Skin Octopus because of its flat body, like a seal-skin stretched and drying in the sun.
Despite its flat body the beast had tentacles like a traditional octopus and it had caused much loss of life as well as many sunken kayaks and umiaks. Aapaang’s youngest son Ilaganiq had been born with webbed hands and feet, making him the fastest swimmer of the family. 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