Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chapter 3: The Gods of Nature

The Visayan pantheon, as a whole, is full of deities that the ancient Visayans show devotion and reverence so that they may be blessed in their everyday lives. Aside from the Elder Gods, the Visayans also worship other deities that do not belong to a certain “family tree”, so to speak. Some of these gods are believed to have risen from the bodies and essences of the elder gods that “ died” in mythical stories to continue with their works. New water deities sprang from Lidagat, while other air deities came about through the essence of Lihangin before he passed away or even from Kaptan or Kan-Laon themselves, and some even believed that earth and nature deities sprang from the body of the ambitious Licalibutan when he was transformed into the world himself to watch over the new earth. These gods are said to continue the work of the elder ones, keeping a watchful eye to the daily activities of humans and their interaction with nature.

One can divide the independent gods into two groups, the gods that watch over nature and the gods who influence the human society. This chapter deals with the gods of the natural world, gods of the wildlife that is revered by the ancient Visayans and respect with utmost esteem for they believe upsetting these gods could incur their wrath on their communities in the form of bad harvests, ill weather, lack of hunting game, volcanic catastrophes, earthquakes etc.

Nature gods with no definite pantheons are usually independent deities found only in a certain community, and whose popularity exceeded expectations and therefore are also known to other communities of the Visayan Islands, these are deities whose fame was spread through the need of migration, the importance of trade, even wars, wherein the introduction of the deities of the winning baranggay or the “captors” are also enforced into the belief system of the losing tribe. The Visayan ancestors are fervent animists, they believe that every plant, place, event or even animals have a dutiful diwata that guards them, and it is no surprise that they have a deity for almost every natural thing, whether they may have been their own or acquired from a co-existing community, these diwatas of nature dictate the cycle of life and surroundings of the people in olden times.

No comments:

Post a Comment