Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chapter 4: Gods of the Human Society

The Ancient Visayans also believed in deities that govern their own day-to-day lives, from important community decisions to even simple household tasks, as they trust that a deity is there to guide them to success or curse them with failure if they fail to acknowledge their presence. They have specific deities that preside upon them through important community events such as choosing leaders, declaring war, weddings, death and birth of a new life. Unexplainable and common human actions, state of being and feelings are also said to be works of diwatas, such as greed, lust, happiness, justice, and even salvation. There are also gods that preside over illness and healing, the body and the soul. These special gods hold a special reverence in every Visayan home, just as much as the people of yore have high respect for the gods of nature. Old folktales in Negros says that after the creation of the world was finished and the world is starting to be populated by the first people, Kan-laon gave a "spark of his/her divinity" which prompted to the different gods of the sky, land and sea to be born, in this story, the nature gods came first to make sure everything was ready for the first humans, and the gods of the human society came second after the first humans have established the first community. Another tale is that, after the mighty Kaptan killed his grandchildren and set them in the heavens as the sun. moon, and stars, and threw the body of Licalibutan on earth to make the first islands, the mysterious god Kan-laon used some of his power to bring back the life to these heavenly bodies and used the essence of Licalibutan to jumpstart the birth of the earth gods and later the gods of the human society. No matter how these deities started and influenced the daily lives of ancient Visayans, they played a role that gives us all a hint of how early civilization and the Visayan culture started and evolved until the Spanish conquistadores arrive, and although most of these deities were no longer worshipped today, they will always have a special part in molding the Visayan culture that we have today.

An illustration of Kan-laon sharing a "spark of divinity"
which gave life to the diwatas of nature and human society.
From Children's artbook of Maria Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by: Bernadette C. Solina

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