Tag Archives: Polynesian myths

TANGAHAU, A FIGURE FROM BEL-REN MYTHOLOGY

Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the gods and myths of Bellona and Rennell Islands has proven very popular as a sub-category of Polynesian myths. (CLICK HERE )

Solomon IslandsTANGAHAU – In my opinion Tangahau is more like an Odysseus of Bellona and Rennell Islands than Takitaki (covered previously). However, Tangahau’s reputation as a wanderer originally from the Duff Islands seems to tip the balance to Takitaki. Here’s a brief look at Tangahau’s cycle of myths.

If there is enough interest I will do one of my exhaustively detailed examinations, like with Nayanazgeni in Navajo myths, Pele and Hi’iaka from Hawaiian myths, Mwindo from Africa or Baybayan from the Philippines and so many others that I’ve covered.

I) On Taumako Island, Tangahau, a sea captain renowned for his raids on many islands, was preparing for another voyage. The young bachelor’s mother was crying and rending her ears in sorrow since she knew every one of his dangerous journeys might be his last.

II) Tangahau and his crew, which included the priest Nasiu and his son, set out and eventually passed between two flaming islands which Nasiu warned were one of the entrances to the realm of the dead. (Rationalizations of the flaming islands of this tale attribute them to volcanic activity during the early stages of island formation.)

III) Next the voyagers spotted Rennell Island off in the distance. Like many ancient mariners they at first mistook it for an enormous whale. As they drew closer, they spotted Mount Gugha and realized their mistake. They determined to stop and mount a raid. Continue reading

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TAKITAKI: THE ODYSSEUS OF BELLONA AND RENNELL MYTHOLOGY

Solomon IslandsBalladeer’s Blog’s look at the gods and myths of Bellona and Rennell Islands has proven very popular. (CLICK HERE ) The figure Takitaki is not a deity but he is often considered the Bel-Ren equivalent of the mortal hero Odysseus from Greek myths.

TAKITAKI – This hero of Bel-Ren myths was a very clever thief whose nautical adventures took him all around the Solomon Islands. Sometimes Takitaki traveled in a canoe small enough for one person but other stories feature him commanding an entire crew on much larger vessels.  Here is one of the best-known exploits of this member of the Togo Clan:

Arriving at one of the other Solomon Islands after a long voyage from Bellona and Rennell, Takitaki surreptitiously made his way inland until he came across a populated village. The famished hero began stealing taro from one of the gardens.

At length Takitaki was caught in the act by the owner of the garden. A general alarm was sounded and our protagonist ran, stuffing his mouth as he fled. He took shelter in an abandoned home but soon found himself surrounded and besieged by the villagers.

Takitaki wielded his spear so expertly that he finished off the first few villagers who tried coming in after him. The others contented themselves to settle in for a siege, knowing the intruder would have to emerge sooner or later. Takitaki nearly despaired when those surrounding him announced themselves as cannibals who would use him as a meat dish to complement their servings of taro. Continue reading

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BEL-REN DEITIES NGUATUPU’A AND HER HUSBAND TEPOUTU’UINGANGI

bellona-and-rennel-5NGUATUPU’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

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TEHU’AINGABENGA: A GOD OF BELLONA AND RENNELL ISLANDS

bellona-and-rennellBalladeer’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

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TITIKANOHIMATA: GOD OF FLYING FOXES

Flying FoxTITIKANOHIMATA – The god of flying foxes, animals which figure very prominently in the myths and culture of Bel-Ren.

Rituals would be performed in this god’s honor before going out to hunt flying foxes. Titikanohimata was considered the brother of the goddess Tehahine’angiki. Continue reading

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MOANA FANS ARE LOVING THE TALE OF PELE AND HI’IAKA

moana-movie-posterThe hit movie Moana seems to have caused a lot of people to refer each other to my various Polynesian myth articles. A few of them even claim that it feels like my articles (written and posted years ago) may have inspired the creative team behind Moana.

At any rate the extra attention for my highly detailed look at the Hawaiian epic myth about the fire and volcano goddess Pele and her sister Hi’iaka is great.

For readers’ convenience here are links to each of the chapters:  

Pele and Hi'iakaPART ONE: When Pele offends the love goddess Laka that deity takes revenge by causing Pele to fall in love with the mortal Prince Lohiau of Kauai. CLICK HERE 

PART TWO: While Pele remains on Mount Kilauea, the Axis Mundi in Hawaiian mythology, she sends her younger sister the goddess Hi’iaka to the island of Kauai to bring back Prince Lohiau to become Pele’s husband. CLICK HERE 

PART THREE: Hi’iaka and her traveling companions – the fern goddess Pa’u’o’pala’e plus the mortal woman Wahine – encounter men love-struck at the sight of them. Later, Hi’iaka proves her godhood to the Hawaiians with a display of power. CLICK HERE 

PART FOUR: In Pana Ewa Rainforest, Hi’iaka and her companions do battle with an entire legion of mo’o monsters. CLICK HERE 

PART FIVE: Hi’iaka must save her traveling companions from the gigantic shark-monster named Maka’ukui. CLICK HERE    Continue reading

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KAITAHITAHI: GOD OF BELLONA AND RENNELL ISLANDS

bellona-and-rennellBalladeer’s Blog’s recent examination of the myths of Bellona Island and Rennell Island has been pretty popular. Here is a look at the god Kaitahitahi. FOR THE FULL LIST OF BEL-REN GODS CLICK HERE

KAITAHITAHI – A very unusual deity who had a peculiar specialty. Kaitahitahi would cure constipation, which, joking aside, CAN be fatal if not treated properly. This god would be invoked to clean out the bowels of a person already afflicted with constipation (think of the Disemboweling Goddess from Inuit myths) and would be prayed to in order to prevent people from becoming constipated in the first place. Continue reading

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