Tag Archives: Pacific mythology

FIJIAN DEMIGOD TUILAKEMBA

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

Fiji 4TUILAKEMBA – 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

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NANG-GAI: A GOD OF FIJI

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Fiji 2NANG-GAI – Yet another son of Ndengei. Nang-Gai served as the supreme deity’s messenger or emissary. When the sound of the waves crashing on the Rakiraki reefs made so much noise that it was preventing Ndengei from sleeping he sent Nang-Gai to silence it. To this day the surf off Rakiraki is notoriously quiet.

The bats near Rakiraki were also too loud for Nedengei’s liking and the messenger god was sent to coerce them into silence as well. When the birds at Nathilau started making too much noise Nang-Gai was sent to order them to leave the area at night and only visit it during the day.

Once while chasing away yet another hindrance to his father’s comfortable sleep, the god accidentally lost his war-club in the waters off the Fijian island of Naithombothombo. Continue reading

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MYTHS OF FIJI: GODS AND OTHER ENTITIES ON THE SOUL’S JOURNEY

FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LOOK AT OVER TWENTY FIJIAN GODS CLICK HERE

Fiji 4The people of Fiji believed in an epic journey for the souls of the deceased. That journey is even more detailed than the Soul’s Journey envisioned by the Tupari of Brazil.

I. For four days the spirit of the deceased lingers in the vicinity of its host body’s death. Then it begins the long and perilous journey to Mbulu, the land of the dead.

II. Upon reaching the headlands at Naithobokoboko the spirit encounters the goddess LEWALEVU. This deity tries to prevent the soul from proceeding unless she is propitiated by offerings of leaves.

III. If the deceased successfully passes Lewalevu it next encounters the sandalwood tree at Vuniyasikinikini. The spirit is required to pinch the bark of the Yasi/ sandalwood tree with its fingernails.

              If the nails are long and sharp enough to sink into the bark it proves the person did not do much fighting or hard work in life. If its nails are short and dull it proves the deceased worked and fought hard in life and may continue their journey.

IV. Next awaits the goddess NANG-GA NANG-GA, the Devourer of Bachelors. Nang-ga Nang-ga sits on a black rock by the edge of the sea. On one side of her stone perch lap the ocean’s waves and on the other side steep jagged cliffs jut up to the skies. Continue reading

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FIJIAN GOD ROKOMAUTU

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Fiji IslandsROKOMAUTU – 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. Continue reading

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SHARK GOD OF FIJI: NDAKUWANG-GA

For more than 20 other gods from Fiji see my blog post HERE 

Ndakuwang gaNDAKUWANG-GA – The chief shark god of Fiji. Ndakuwang-Ga established his preeminence by defeating in battle all the other shark deities which guarded particular islands. The only figure to ever beat Ndakuwang-Ga in combat was the octopus god of Kandavu Island. For centuries fishermen from there were considered immune to any and all shark attacks.

Though Ndakuwang-Ga mostly travels in the form of a shark his true form is that of a handsome, muscular Fijian man. His tattoos reveal his godly nature. 

Just as a rainbow on land is attributed to the supreme deity Ndengei a rainbow at sea is credited to Ndakuwang-Ga. Supposedly this shark god and all his subordinate shark deities take the thighs of all their human victims to the reef near Yandua for the shark-priests to retrieve and eat. 

The cycle of myths involving Ndakuwang-Ga features countless instances of him saving his worshippers from sinking ships at sea by letting them ride his back to shore. A reverse of that situation involved a canoe-full of Fijians from Yasawa who paddled to an island rich with coconuts, this deity’s favorite offering. The travelers failed to give any to the shark-god so in revenge he overturned their canoe and devoured all but their leader. That man was condemned to labor for eternity at Nathawa, Yandua,  making and serving coconut offerings to Ndakuwang-Ga. Continue reading

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KAMBUYA: A WEATHER GOD OF FIJI

RewaBalladeer’s Blog’s recent look at The Gods of Fiji has been a hit! For another deity from Fiji here is Kambuya, whom I also went ahead and added to the main article. For more than 20 other gods from Fiji see my blog post HERE 

KAMBUYA – A god who can send fair weather or rain showers to the world. The center of Kambuya’s worship was Rewa (see photo). It was forbidden to touch a large rock which was sacred to this deity. Anyone foolish enough to touch it would be punished by Kambuya by contracting leprosy.

The god had a mild tricksterish side, too, and would sometimes put obstacles in the way of hungry people headed for a feast. Anyone who arrived late for the event was laughed at as a victim of Kambuya’s practical jokes and would be served last.   Continue reading

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GODS 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.

ROKOMAUTU – 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. 

Once during a drought in which many were dying, Rokomautu was passing through and used his hair-pin, or milamila, to puncture a hole in a rock from which drinking water then flowed. 

SOBO – The goddess of soft breezes on the Fijian island of Thikombia. Her husband Rasikilau, the patron deity of that island, killed their two sons once it became apparent that their strength might rival his some day if he allowed them to live. Continue reading

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