In 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.
MAHUIKE – 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
Though 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.
HOW 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
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