Saturday, May 18, 2013

Luyong Kabig Profile

Luyong Kabig
Goddess of Snakes 

A deity found in the Panay pantheon of deities, Luyong Kabig (Kabig means tight embrace or draw/pull to oneself)
is the wife of the lesser Tungkung Langit, the Pillar of Heaven, sister-in-law of Panlinugon the god of earthquakes who lives in Idadalmun(Underworld). She is known in mythology as a guardian goddess in Idadalmun(Underworld) guarding the entrance against invaders/escapees together with her stream of snakes. She guards the entrance also from lost souls who wants to escape from the Underworld to join the mortal world, pulling them back into the realm of the dead with the help of her serpentine subjects. Naturally, she is seen by ancient Visayans of Panay as a goddess of snakes, reptiles that the ancient ancestors both revere and fear, and sometimes seen as a source of protein. She is venerated by babaylans, since snakes are seen in ancient times as messengers of the nature gods, they are creatures who are sensitive even to the slight changes occurring in the area, particularly, typhoons, floods and earthquakes. The ancient visayans have observed that snakes come out of their hiding places/burrows during earthquakes and floods, seeking higher ground away from danger, and encountering a large group of snakes running away is said to mean a big earthquake or flash flood is about to happen, and the ancient people follow suit. The babaylans would then offer live meat outside the community for the snakes to feast on, giving thanks to Lubyong Kabig for sending her servants to warn them of the incoming danger. She is also an important deity during the last rites of the deceased, they pray to her that she would guard the wandering soul of the dead, that she may keep a watchful eye on them in Idadalmun so that they will not come back to haunt them or get lost in limbo in the process of escaping from the Underworld. 
Hunters would pray to her asking for her blessing when they are hunting for snakes to accomodate the needs of their communities whether as food, as an accessory, or for medical/apotherical usage. 

Role as Goddess of Snakes, Sex and Fertility

Luyong Kabig is usually portrayed as a woman, with a snake around her waist or shoulder, or standing beside/on a stream of snakes, naturally, all types of snakes were sacred to her, and should be treated with reverence and respect, especially when killing it. People who have been bitten by snakes outdoors were said to have offended this goddess by committing a taboo against her subjects (these taboos usually include stealing eggs of a snake, eating a snake without praying, killing a snake without remorse or reverence, killing a pregnant snake to name a few) She is also said to have poor eyesight and relies on her nose a lot, a characteristic she shares with her subjects. There is even an old belief that when a person senses a snake has intruded their home, one should crush and throw garlic in all corners of the house to drive them away, since killing them outright is considered bad luck for the owner. She is also considered as a fertility and sex goddess due to the ability of snakes in coupling for a long period of time and prolificity giving birth/laying eggs and is invoked by pregnant mothers of some tribes for an easy delivery of her baby.

Importance during Spanish Acquisition:

When the Spanish arrived and introduced Catholicism, Luyong Kabig was regarded as an abomination, due to her affiliation with snakes, due to their bad reputation of being venomous or eating small livestock like chickens... but more importantly because ancient Visayans also practice very strange sexual customs, which the Spanish considered unnatural and inhumane. It was even said when they banned the rituals and practices linked to the goddess, the Visayan women wept all day and night with sorrow. Today, Luyong Kabig only exists in oral tradition, there is not much written about her or the mythical stories she played a part in, but her memory will always be preserved through the memories of village elders, ready to pass on the knowledge about this enigmatic goddess to the younger generation.

Snake Goddess

Sexual Practice associated with Luyong Kabig

The Spanish found out that the mating rituals of ancient Visayans can be quite sadistic/masochistic in nature. They want to emulate how the snakes mate for a long time by being stuck together for HOURS. They have "spurs and pins" for the male genitalia which allows the man to make love to the woman for along time,which of course could cause harm to the woman's sex organ. These genital accessories were designed for longer copulation and the Spanish observers thought of it as barbaric and decided to banned it's usage, they even thought they were doing the Visayan women a favor, and much to their chagrin the women WEPT day and night because their "exotic" treat is now a taboo !


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