Balladeer’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
Kuyebiko was the Shinto scarecrow god. Originally he functioned as the protector of the rice fields, a task assigned him by his father Inari the rice god.
He was considered to be incarnate in all scarecrows and eventually came to be considered as a divinitory deity who knew everything that transpired under the heavens.
The leap from being the god of scarecrows to divinitory deity came about because of the never- closing eyes of scarecrows. Continue reading
TALHAE – Also called Tarhae. The wife of King Hamdalpa of Wan-Ha in Yongsong had been married to him for seven years but had yet to produce an heir to the throne. She prayed to the gods for a child and at length she produced a large egg, from which a handsome boy named Talhae emerged.
King Hamdalpa’s advisors told him a child born unnaturally from an egg was a bad omen and that he should get rid of the child. Hamdalpa had the boy placed in a large floating chest along with seven treasures plus a male and female slave.
A red dragon arose from the sea to guard the chest, a red dragon sent by a dragon god who was Talhae’s real father. The chest floated at sea for seven days, during which time Talhae grew to adulthood and stood a full nine feet tall.
Disembarking at Karak the young god bought even more slaves with his treasure and climbed Mount Toham, followed by his retinue. Talhae sat and pondered at the top of the mountain for seven days, neither sleeping nor eating. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s look at The Gods of Fiji has been a hit! For another deity from Fiji here is Tuilakemba, whom I also went ahead and added to the main article. For more than 20 other gods from Fiji see my blog post HERE
TUILAKEMBA – This figure was the son of Tuilangi, the god who ruled over the Skyland, and a mortal woman. When Tuilakemba was a little boy he was often ridiculed by the other children for not having a father on hand like they did. One day the young demigod had had enough and threatened to kill his mother unless she told him who his father was.
She did so and Tuilakemba was spitefully satisfied. He took to carrying around an ironwood war-club wherever he went. He would use it to strike the heads off flowers, gleefully anticipating one day knocking off the heads of his enemies in wartime just as easily, given his massive strength.
On one occasion he took a nap, planting the ironwood war-club upright in the ground next to him while he slept. When he awoke he saw that the war-club had grown into an enormous tree which reached all the way up to the Skyland realm of his father. Tuilakemba took advantage of the situation and climbed up the newly-formed tree to the land above.
The little boy walked through the jungle of Skyland until he reached the village ruled by his father Tuilangi. That lord of the land above was in the middle of a council of war regarding his armies’ recent losses in their ages-old conflict with the evil gods of the sky. Continue reading
Voodoo mythology is a fascinating hybrid of Yoruban, Dahomey, Fon and Christian mythology intermixed with touches from Caribbean belief systems.
Haiti is the central location of the Voodoo belief system but naturally it has spread throughout the world as have other faiths.
Here is a VooDoo god whose Holy Day is today, May 1st.
ZACA – The god of agriculture and the harvest, making him the patron deity of farmers and fieldworkers. Zaca is the friendliest and most approachable of the gods and may be addressed as “Cousin Zaca” if spotted in the fields. He dresses in denims and a straw hat just like the rural Haitians do. In addition, Continue reading
FOR OVER TWENTY MORE GODS AND GODDESSES OF FIJI CLICK HERE
ADI-MAILAGU – This goddess was one of the evil deities driven from the Skyworld by the Fijian demigod Tuilakemba. When Adi-Mailagu first fell from the sky humans witnessed her landing in Uruone, Fiji. She fell into the small Kele Kele River and caused the water to overflow the banks. Embarrassed, the goddess emerged from the water in the form of a large grey rat and fled into the jungle since Fijian deities are vulnerable when in animal form. Continue reading
FOR CHAPTER LINKS CLICK HERE
HODADEION PART 11: THE WRATH OF HODADEION – As the demigod Hodadeion stalked angrily toward the large longhouse lodge in which the cannibal wizards and their women were tormenting his younger brother Otgoe, he had but one regret. That was that the Chief of the cannibal wizards, Dagwahgweoses, was away at his private lodge and would need to be dealt with separately.
On the plus side, the absence of the long-eyebrowed leader of the vile sorcerors made Hodadeion feel sure that his own magic powers would be strong enough to overcome the entire village of cannibal wizards.
The demigod burst into the longhouse lodge before him and angrily took in the tableau of his brother Otgoe bound and being tortured with firebrands. The firebrands brought forth tears from Otgoe and, as the wampum-god, Otgoe’s tears, spit and mucous manifested as precious wampum.
One of the women of the village noticed the way Otgoe’s eyes lit up at the entrance of his older brother and drew everyone’s attention to the new arrival. The cannibal wizards ceased their smoking and the women ceased torturing their bound victim with firebrands.
Hodadeion was concentrating intently, partly speaking and partly singing his latest conjuration. After a few verbal challenges went ignored by the god of magic the cannibal wizards tried to stir themselves from their seated position to attack the intruder. Continue reading