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
Balladeer’s Blog presents a look at the version of the Polynesian goddess Sina as reflected in the beliefs of Bellona and Rennell Islands. FOR OVER TWENTY MORE BELLONA AND RENNELL DEITIES CLICK HERE
SINA – The Bel-Ren counterpart to the Sina of the Hawaiian Islands (Hina) and the Samoan Islands (also called Sina). Like those figures she was the sister of Maui (Hawaiian) or Ti’i Ti’i (Samoan). However, this Sina was neither a moon goddess like her Hawaiian version nor a love and beauty goddess like her Samoan self.
Instead she fell under the Bel-Ren category called the Kakai. As the Atua were the major deities and the Apai were the unworshipped and/or mischievous deities the Kakai were classed as either pure Culture Gods or as the deities worshipped by the Hiti. The Hiti were the previous inhabitants of the Bel-Ren Islands and were all exterminated by the arriving Eight Clans.
(The Hiti lived on in Bel-Ren myths as impish, supernatural beings like the Menehune in Hawaii. They – like the exterminated Hiti – had once been the original inhabitants of their island group.)
Sina was featured in the myth explaining how the various birds who visited the Bel-Ren Islands got their coloring. The creative and artistically inclined Sina interacted with the birds on a regular basis and her intimacy with them enabled her to paint and craft their feathers, wings, claws, beaks and eyes to give each species its unique look. 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
FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S FULL LIST OF GODS FROM BELLONA AND RENNELL ISLANDS CLICK HERE
TEHAINGA’ATUA – The Chief of the sky gods in Bellona and Rennell (Bel-Ren) mythology. Tehainga’atua ruled the stars, which Bel-Ren astrologers read to determine when (they believed) the sky-god would command particular stars to unleash dangerous seas, rain and thunder storms plus hurricanes. Earthquakes would be unleashed on the two islands by Mahuike, another of Tehainga’atua’s subordinate deities.
Because this deity could dispense or withhold life-giving rains he was often appealed to in rituals. Like Kane/Tane in other Polynesian Islands, Tehainga’atua ruled over wild plant life. Gnetum costatum plants were considered to be “the hair of Tehainga’atua.”
Tehainga’atua’s parents were the goddess N’guatupu’a and the god Tepoutu’uingangi. In some traditions they are his grandparents instead. His wife (and sister) was the goddess Sikingimoemoe. His children included the god Tehu’aingabenga and other district or clan deities. Some traditions hold that those gods are instead his grandchildren. Continue reading
EKEITEHUA – (Also called Singano) This major deity was the god of the northwest wind and was also the main district deity of the Iho (Taupongi) Clan, the archrivals of the Kaitu’u Clan since those two clans are the last survivors of the original eight traditional clans.
Ekeitehua’s celestial home was the far-off land called Mungingangi. This home lay on the horizon to the northwest of Bel-Ren and was the source of the Nohotonu Wind, which Ekeitehua controlled. The Bel-Ren people were undecided on whether or not Mungingangi was above the horizon, below it or on some plane equivalent to it.
Ekeitehua was the son of the god Sikingingangi, having been born from Sikingingangi’s feces, which were yams. Ekeitehua’s sister Teu’uhi the goddess of insanity was also born from their father’s feces/yams and their adopted mother was the goddess ‘Iti’iti. Continue reading