Tag Archives: Myths

GODS AND GODDESSES OF FIJI

Fiji IslandsIn the past Balladeer’s Blog has examined the gods and myths of Polynesian people in Hawaii, Samoa, Bellona and Rennell. This time around I’m taking a look at the neglected gods of the Melanesian people of Fiji.

NOTE: I am spelling the names of the deities phonetically to make it easier for readers to know how to pronounce them. I’m doing this to avoid the awkwardness of having to remember the odd rules regarding how to pronounce certain consonants.

For instance “Q” is pronounced “ng-g” so with the name of the shark god, spelled Dakuwanqa in that system, I will spell it Ndakuwang-ga so readers don’t have to remember how Q is supposed to be pronounced or that “D” is pronounced “nd”. After all, the Fijians certainly were not using our alphabet prior to contact with Europeans, so I think it’s inefficient to expect readers to remember odd pronunciation rules for letters that the Fijians never used to begin with.

KONOSAU – The god of stillborn infants. Originally born dead to the first Bau woman taken to Rewa, this entity became the patron deity of such offspring. His main temple is called Nai Bili. 

NAITONU – The god of nudity. I’m not joking. Naitonu hates the custom of wearing clothing and not only is he constantly naked but he expects nudity from everyone entering his territory – even if they are just passing through. Failure to comply will result in the offender being struck with leprosy. 

Fiji 2ALEWANISOSO – The patron goddess of travelers and hospitality. Regardless of their tribe, fellow Fijians who reach one of Alewanisoso’s temples can be assured of not being harmed during their stay – usually an overnight one. 

Hostility or rudeness of any kind is taboo in her temples and everyone entering is expected to conduct themselves as gently and courteously as they would when wooing a mate.

masc graveyard smallerROKOMAUTU – A son of the supreme deity Ndengei by his sister. This deity was born from his mother’s elbow as another example of birthing oddities in world mythology. Rokomautu was so headstrong he tried to force even his own parents to worship him. 

Rokomautu falls into the mythological category that Balladeer’s Blog’s readers will remember as a Divine Geographer. When Ndengei first created the world the land was featureless, so he sent his son Rokomautu to provide character. The god sculpted the Earth’s various geographic features.

The sandy beaches of Fiji were created by Rokomautu dragging his flowing robe over the terrain. When the god pulled up his robe while walking the land became rocky or filled with mangrove bushes. By some accounts anywhere that he spat a lake or river would form.  Continue reading

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PELE AND HI’IAKA – EPIC OF HAWAII

The Hawaiian epic myth about the fire & volcano goddess Pele and her sister Hi’iaka is a masterpiece of storytelling.

PELE

PELE

PART ONE

On the Big Island of Hawaii the fire and volcano goddess Pele was relaxing with her younger sister Hi’iaka, the goddess of pathways and wayfarers. Hi’iaka was watching two Hawaiian women performing a Hula dance dedicated to Laka, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility and the deity who had invented Hula dancing. 

Despite Hi’iaka’s excited praising of the dancing girls’ talents Pele found herself bored by the proceedings and fell asleep. Laka, enjoying the dance and the traditional post-dance offerings to her, felt disrespected by Pele’s inattention. Using her powers as the goddess of love she sent a dream to the sleeping Pela – a dream that would have far-reaching consequences and forever change the relationship between the fire goddess and her sister Hi’iaka. Continue reading

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TWENTY VIETNAMESE GODS AND GODDESSES

Balladeer’s Blog’s theme of Top 20 Lists for 2020 continues! For a look at U.S. Presidents click HERE 

Vietnam mapMAT GA TRONG – “Sun rooster”. The Vietnamese sun goddess. A daughter of Ngoc Hoang. Her sister is the moon goddess. The sun is her palanquin, adorned with rooster images, and carried across the sky by her attendants as she reclines on it and gives the world light and warmth. Seasonal changes in the length of the days and nights are explained by saying that in summer she is borne across the sky by virile young attendants who take their time because they like to flirt with the goddess on the way, resulting in longer days.

In winter she is borne across the sky by older attendants who hurry across the sky so they can rest their arms and backs all the sooner, resulting in shorter days. In summer her sister has the older attendants and in winter the younger ones. Her son is the Vietnamese fire god Ah Nhi.   Continue reading

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ELEVEN AZTEC DEITIES

The underappreciated mythological pantheon I’ll be looking at this time will be the Aztec pantheon. It seems all anybody ever wants to talk about with the Aztecs is human sacrifice, blood, hearts being pulled out, etc. There are many more intriguing elements to their forms of worship than just blood and guts, however. Here is a list of some of their major deities.

11. OMETEOTL – The primordial and hermaphroditic deity who embodied all duality and from whom all existence sprang. Ometeotl did not just personify male and female but also space and time, light and dark, order and chaos, etc.

As both male and female Ometeotl conceived and gave birth to the god Tonacatecuhtli and the goddess Tonacacihuatl, who mated and went on to produce most of the rest of the deities in the Aztec pantheon, sort of like Izanagi and Izanami in Shinto myths.

Ometeotl was considered distant and aloof and took no more active role in myths after setting the ball of creation rolling, although he/she was considered to be present in every aspect of ritual. This god sat enthroned in the thirteenth and highest heaven, Omeyocan, often considered the Mt Olympus/Asgard/Hunamoku/ Takamagahara of Aztec myths.     

10. XIUHTECUHTLI – The god of fire who was also considered the god of time, which puts you in mind of the expression “time is the fire in which we are burning”. In addition Xiuhtecuhtli was also the patron deity of the nobility. In Aztec cosmogeny fire was itself the Axis Mundi (my fellow mythology geeks will get the significance of that), manifesting on the Earthly plane in hearths, in the realm of the dead as a furnace and in the heavenly realm as the forge of the fire god himself.

Xiuhtecuhtli was the psychopomp in the Aztec pantheon, assisting the souls of the deceased to their home in the afterlife. He was also a copatron of the athletic games.     Continue reading

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TWENTY MORE HAWAIIAN GODS AND GODDESSES

hawaiianislandsBalladeer’s Blog’s Top Twenty Lists For 2020 theme continues with this look at 20 more Hawaiian deities. FOR THE ORIGINAL LIST OF HAWAIIAN GODS AND GODDESSES CLICK HERE

OPUHALA – The goddess of coral, coral reefs and canoe bailers. Because of the sharp, abrasive nature of coral, fish with spiny scales were also considered to be under her rule. She was the daughter of the sea god Kanaloa and the aunt of the demigod Maui. In some traditions it is said she provided enormous jagged chunks of coral for Maui to use as hooks when he was fishing up islands.  

KALAIPAHOA – The Hawaiian poison god. His images were always carved from the nioi, a poisonous pepper tree sacred to him. He was believed to be able to ride comets across the sky. Kalaipahoa was originally worshipped only on the island of Molokai but his worship spread to all the other Hawaiian Islands after their unification into a single kingdom under Kamehameha I. Oddly, this god is also associated with gamblers.     Continue reading

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END OF THE WORLD MYTH: TELESPHORUS

telesphorusWe’re in the midst of another surge in end of the world nonsense with assorted unstable people claiming the world will end in 12 years or less. Balladeer’s Blog has often examined some of the countless end of the world scares of the past.

Telesphorus of Cosenza (generally believed to be a pseudonym) threw his nutzoid writings on the subject into the mix around the 1350’s or 1360’s (estimates vary).  Continue reading

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ANGUTA: INUIT DEITY

Detailed entry on the father of the sea goddess Sedna. For more entries on the gods and goddesses of Inuit mythology click here: https://glitternight.com/inuit-myth/

Inuit regionANGUTA – This father of the sea goddess Sedna was originally the god who ruled over Pugtulik Island. He was responsible for inflicting punishments on deserving souls when they reached Sedna’s subaquatic realm of the dead.

At the dawn of time, after his unruly daughter devoured both of her mother’s arms and had consumed one of Anguta’s own, he took her out in a canoe to abandon her at sea in the apotheotic event that saw Sedna’s ascension to sea goddess. Continue reading

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GODS OF BELLONA AND RENNELL ISLANDS

bellona-and-rennellIn the style of Balladeer’s Blog’s separate examinations of Hawaiian and Samoan myths as a subset of Polynesian Mythology comes this look at the deities worshipped on the Polynesian outliers Bellona Island and Rennell Island. Despite its much smaller size Bellona had a larger population for much of their history.

NGE’OBIONGO – The goddess of the stone ovens used by the people of Rennell and Bellona. The ovens were shown such reverence that it was forbidden to eat near them or to scatter firewood or even to speak in raised voices in their vicinity. Nge’obiongo would punish anyone who violated those taboos, just as she punished women who were bad or lazy cooks or who prepared meals without first properly cleaning their hands.

Undercooking the food would also invite this deity’s wrath. On rare occassions some of the prepared food would be left in the ovens as an offering to Nge’obiongo.

bellona-and-rennell-world-heritageMAHUIKE – The earthquake god of Bellona and Rennell Islands (henceforth Bel-Ren). Like his counterparts in Hawaii and Samoa, Mahuike lived far underground and caused earthquakes by pushing at the earth with both of his arms.

Once, after a particularly destructive earthquake, the god Tehu’aingabenga fought Mahuike for injuring his worshippers and broke off one of the earthquake god’s arms. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: HOW ROLAND AND OGIER BECAME PALADINS

CharlemagneThough Charlemagne was a real historical figure, a body of folkore has risen around him and his Paladins (knights). Part of that folklore was that the Pope crowned Charlemagne as the new Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day, even though the crowning really took place the following February. Since the story of Charlemagne’s crowning as Emperor was told as a Christmas story for centuries I always use Christmas time to examine him and his Paladins.

To start Round Three of Balladeer’s Blog’s look at Charlemagne lore I’ll examine some tales of the young Roland (Orlando to the Italians). Last December I covered Charlemagne’s reunion with his long-lost sister and her son Roland.

Roland storyHOW ROLAND AND OGIER BECAME PALADINS – The Emperor could not expect his nephew to immediately step into service as a Paladin, since he had a great deal to learn. Charlemagne placed him as a Page in the household of Duke Namo of Bavaria, where Roland began his career alongside many other young nobles.

Roland had to learn to curb his independent ways since he had up until then done as he pleased while stealing to feed himself and his mother. The young man adjusted, and learned courtly ways so well that he became a favorite of Duke Namo.

At age fourteen Roland became a Squire and began training for warfare in earnest. He learned how to handle swords and lances and how to care for the armor of the Paladin he served as a Squire. Horsemanship, hunting and swimming were also part of his education. Continue reading

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WOI: EPIC HERO OF LIBERIA

LiberiaBalladeer’s Blog presents another neglected epic myth from around the world. In this case, Liberia’s Woi Epic of the Kpelle people.

The Woi Epic is often studied for its use of music, dance, singing and audience participation to reflect the action in the story. Think of it as a combination opera, ballet, live drama and Rocky Horror Picture Show screening.

The order of the episodes in the epic is not set in stone and a performance may include only a few of the episodes, all of them or just one. The finish of each episode is marked by the performer(s) announcing “Dried millet, wese” to which the audience repeats simply “wese.”  

ONE – Woi, a culture deity and master of ritual magic, and his wife Gelengol are the only living things that exist. After Woi impregnates his wife she eventually gives birth to human beings, chickens, goats, cows, sheep and, after all other life-forms, spiders. (Plenty of African myths feature a female deity giving birth to multiple living creatures and many feature the woman also giving birth to tools and weapons and utensils.)    

TWO – Woi notes that the demonic figure Yele-Walo has stolen one of his bulls by sneaking up on it in the form of a rattan plant. Yele-Walo took the bull with him to his hideaway “behind the sky.” Woi prepares for battle and is aided by squirrel-monkeys, tsetse flies and horse-flies. Yele-Walo also steels himself for the upcoming fight. Continue reading

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