Monday, September 30, 2013

Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata


Malitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata
is literally a naked weapon
from Deviantart by amontay
Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata is one of the three most beautiful goddesses in ancient Visayan myths along with her sisters Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan and Lubay Lubyok Mahanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan. She is also the wife of Saragnayan, the deity of darkness and it was believed that she is the goddess of lust and seduction due to the heroes of Hinilawod charmed by her beauty and shapeshifting skills.

Born out of a night flower, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata came to the world already in adult form and capable of stirring lustful emotions of men around her. Her name, which usually means "beguiling demoness, bedazzling goddess" is a juxtaposition in itself as she is seen by ancient visayans as both a malevolent deity and also a benevolent goddess all in one.

In the first part of hinilawod, she was married to Saragnayan, lord of darkness and was heavily desired to be owned by Labaw Donggon after he saw her image in his magic crystal ball. She hid away from sight in Saragnayan's house as her husband fought the valiant hero, and contrary to popular beliefs, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata loved her husband and wanted to be by his side, even if he was portrayed by ancient storytellers as grotesque and unsightly, a sharp contrast to her ageless beauty. She is also thought to be an interpretation of the powers all women possess, the ability to seduce men and cause arguments and fights, as well as a helpful, and nurturing member of the society, as seen in the Hinilawod story. It is said that when Saragnayan died at the hands of Labaw Donggon's sons, Nagmalitong Yawa fled and cursed Labaw Donggon with madness and caused him to be lovesick. This caused the hero to wander aimlessly around the world until one of his brother's found and caught him and took him home. Nagmalitong Yawa's curse was so strong that even the skilled magical wives of Labaw Donggon, Abyang Ginbitinan and Abyang Diriinin were perplexed for a long time on how to break it, for everytime he would hear Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata's name, Labaw Donggon would break out in feverish states of madness, though he was eventually ultimately cured by his wives' magic. She was usually invoked by enchantresses, desperate, single women and also by practitioners of black magic and makers of early "lumay" or love potions.

Another story in Hinilawod, shows Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata's benevolent side, and not as a beguiling temptress bent on exacting revenge on lustful men, but as a helper of good. It was also believed that during her time away in exile after her husband's death, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata learned to leave in peace and contentment in the forest, tending to the different animals in need and helping the lost. She took on the guise of a woman simply named Nagmalitong Yawa and aided and rescued Humadapnon when he was imprisoned by the evil enchantress Ginmayunan in the guise of a boy before revealing her true self to him and the two fell in love. Humadapnon however left on to do more adventures and didn't return for many years, Nagmalitong Yawa found another suitor, Buyung Sumagulung and was about to marry the man when Humadapnon returned. She was supposedly stabbed to death in Humadapnon's blind fit of rage but was brought back to life by the hero's sister, Labing Anyag and was given the gift of immortality. She was traumatized, shamed and insulted by Humadapnon's act that she fled to the Underworld and sought for her uncle, Panlinugun, the god of earthquakes for protection while she shapeshifted herself as a pot to hide from Humadapnon. The hero found her, but she was protected by Amarotha, another brother of Humadapnon and was the source of their feud once more, until Alunsina appeared and cut Nagmalitong Yawa into two with a golden sword from Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan, dividing the goddess and turning her into two for her sons to marry.

"White lady of the Forest"
a form of Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata
from clarkmonding
Another interesting angle about Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata is that it was also said that she was the origin of the first tales of bewitchment in ancient Visayas, stories of men who got lost in the forest by being seduced by a mysterious, nude, pale lady, also known as "White Lady" stories in modern times. Storytellers of yore told countless tales of male travelers being seduced by a naked female in the forest or by a lady in white at a night of a full moon, only to never return in their own communities or be found in the heart of the deep forest as a rotting corpse or a bunch of bones. Wives would worry about their husband's leaving at night and would continually warn their spouses about going on hunting expeditions alone. It was believed by the old Visayan folks that this was Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata's revenge to humanity for the death of her husband, Saragnayan, and her ways still continue even until this day. This belief was so strong in provincial Visayas, that even until now, that men who would wander alone in the forest were given "anting-antings" (protective amulets) by their loved ones, or risk being spirited away by the seductive goddess into oblivion.


Labaw Donggon versus Saragnayan
Deviantart by waranghira

Saragnayan is seen as the master of Darkness by the ancient Visayans, and it was him whom the forces of evil and the blackness of night obey as their leader. It was said that he is actually a demigod, son of primordial chaos and a human woman, and lived in the lightless, eternally dark lands of Gadlum with his wife Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata.

The ancient Visayans believed he had a monstrous appearance, usually a gigantic, bald man with dark skin(some say it is even coal-black), deep red eyes with sharp teeth or have tusks like a wild board and long sharp nails.

He is a prominent character in the Sulodnon epic of Hinilawod as a rival of Alunsina's son, Labaw Donggon who wants to carry away Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata. He was also said to be very proficient in evil spellcasting, and it is believed as one of the causes why good men unexplicably do evil actions or why a peaceful community is plunged into chaos. Saragnayan is seen also to be the deity who can control or command malevolent spirits whom he commands to disrupt the community way of life and create war and strife throughout the land at night. He is also believed to be nearly invulnerable to physical weapons and magic as his real weakness, his heart, is said to be kept inside a wild pig that lives in an enchanted forest, instead of being inside his own body. He is also thought to be the deity whom evil sorcerers ask help from in their spellcraft and also to guide them in their chaoswork. Parents would often warn their children not to stay out and play at night for fear they might be kidnapped by the forces of Saragnayan and be sacrificed to him or be turned into slaves. Harmful wards of curses and amulets etched out in wood, bone or metal usually contain a chant or a verse to him in order to be effective, and it was thought that the real cause of wars between ancient Visayan communities is actually his handiwork, as he loves seeing chaos and bloodshed. He is a deity who is only worshipped by "manughiwit" (evil witches), anarchists, and other evil entities whom the ancient visayans believe, to roam the earth during night time, but all in all, most communities fear him and use him as a central antagonist in their stories.

Saragnayan and his evil forces
at the background of this Labaw Donggon cover
DeviantART by waranghira
Although a malevolent deity, it should also be noted that Saragnayan is also a picture of loyalty. He only had one wife and he guarded her with extreme vigilance, never eyed or desired any other maiden just as much as he had loved Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata. He fought Labaw Donggon to safeguard his wife, and for 7 years Labaw Donggon kept his head submerged in water, but he fought back as he can't be drowned, and after that Labaw Donggon beat him with a coconut tree, but it proved to be a futile attempt to kill Saragnayan. Finally Labaw Donggon threw Saragnayan up in the air, but Saragnayan came back, still alive and was able to defeat the hero by crashing down on him (other accounts say he was able to beat Labaw Donggon by beating his head with a coconut tree, the same way the hero tried to kill him beforehand.) and locked him up in the pig pen below his house.Saragnayan and his forces however, is finally defeated and killed by the sons of Labaw Donggon, Asu Mangga and Buyung Baranugan, by capturing the magic pig that contained Saragnayan's heart, and killing and roasting it in their quest to save their father.

Though this dark deity has been destroyed in the Hinilawod epic, it was still believed by ancient Visayans, particularly the Sulodnons, that his spirit lived on, tempting people to do bad deeds and continue to create chaos wherever he goes, even until this modern age.