mythseries

P r e - c o l o n i a l   M y t h o l o g y   S e r i e s | x |
M a g w a y e n, the Primordial Goddess of the Sea

Magwayen was one of the primordial deities in Visayan mythology, along with Kaptan, God of the Sky, who, in one version of the Visayan creation myth, helped create the world and the first humans with Kaptan. She is also a Goddess who brings all the souls of the dead to Sulad, a purgatory, by bringing them across a spiritual river called Lalangban on her boat, delivering them to Sumpoy, the God of the Underworld, before reaching the final resting place in Saad, land of the ancestors, where they are then brought to the God Sisiburanen, who takes in all souls, good or bad, and brings them to Mt. Madyaa’s, the home of the gods, where the Visayans living in the coastal regions were believed to live out their afterlife or in a tall mountain in Borneo.

Angered by Pandaguan, the youngest child and second son of the first people Sikalak and Sikabay, for blaming her and Kaptan for letting a shark that he caught in a net die that was the first death in the world, she created a lightning bolt with Kaptan, and used it to strike Pandaguan thus killing him. When he is killed they send him to Sulad, however after 30 days Magwayen and Kaptan eventually pity Pandaguan and revive him back.

Struggle by A. E.

She stood
Among the fallen
Valiant turned
To mortal mounds
Of torn muscle
And bleeding flesh

The warriors feet
Had tilled the earth
As they struggled
With demons
Resembling
Their worst terrors
All the mysteries
That only awaken
At the knell 
Of midnight

She cast aside
Her scorched shield
And her pitted helmet
Flame licked and beaten

She took
One ragged breath
And to no one
She cooed
Sleep now 
In the fire
Be forever born
In memories

P h i l i p p i n e  M y t h o l o g y  S e r i e s x | 
L a o n , Goddess of Agriculture, Harvests, & Mt. Kanlaon.

In the Bisayas, one of the most worshiped and revered diwata was the Goddess Laon who resided on Mt. Kanlaon, a dormant volcano on the island of Buglas, which today is called Negros due to the colonization of the island by the Spaniards. She is also the most recorded in depth in the early Spanish accounts.

She is known by many names throughout the ethnic groups in the Bisayas such as Kanlaon, Malaon, Lalahon, Raom, Laon Sina, & Alunsina and was known as a supreme deity for most groups. Agriculture was and still is relevant among the Bisayans, thus it’s no wonder why one of their most important deities was a goddess of agriculture and harvest. The people would invoke her for a good harvest, giving her offerings and prayers for fear of her fiery wrath if disrespected. Though they loved her, she was also to be feared as she had the power to destroy their crops, their livelihood, by sending a swarm of locusts to feast on their main source of food.

She is known as the “creator of all things” and as “the one who disposes everything and renders everything equal” based on another name she was called by some groups such as the Bisayans of Ibabao, known as Makapatag. From this she was equated to the equality of the divine justice. 

P h i l i p p i n e  M y t h o l o g y  S e r i e s | x |
B a k u n a w a, the naga who causes eclipses & guardian of Sulad

Bakunawa is a naga in Visayan mythology who is seen as a gigantic sea serpent deity that lives under the sea. Bakunawa is described as having a mouth the size of a lake, a red tongue, whiskers, gills, small wires at its sides, and two sets of wings, one is large and ash-gray while the other is small and is found further down its body. There was a belief that instead of one moon there used to be 7 moons in the sky. Bakunawa fascinated by the beauty of the moons rose up from the sea and devoured 6 of the moons leaving one left. In order to save and protect the moon the people would try and scare the large serpent by making loud noises often using pots and pans. When an eclipse happened it was believed that Bakunawa was trying to devour the last remaining moon in which in every eclipse people would go out to try and scare the serpent. Today there is a childrens game that represents Bakunawa and the eclipses known as Bulan Bulan, Buwan Buwan, or Bakunawa. Bakunawa is also the guardian of Sulad, the land of the dead ancestors.

The Seven by A. E.

Seven wise ones
Sat at a supper
Of lotus petals
Each with a glass
Of honey
In silenced
They ruminated
Over their trials and travels

One had scoured the seas
From trench to wave
One had climbed the mountains
And slept on a cloud
One had made love to the winds
Chattering melodies
Close and dear

One had burrowed into the earth
Knew every grub and root by name
One had hitched a ride with a comet
Circled the moon again and again
One had waltzed in fire
Turned a midnight black
The last never journeyed
Never left the quiet hovel
Of a quaint cave
But knew that the seas were thirsty
That the mountain sang in the morning
The winds long for quiet
And that the earth cried in the night
That the comet and the moon
Had a forbidden love
And the fire lived a tortured life



Rain (Ode) by A. E.

As Time swung
Its sword
Like a pendulum
Toward them
No Thing and Every Thing
Clung to the lusty heat
Between them
Time grew green
At their tumultuous
Passion
And shot an arrow
Of Fire
Between their lips
And No Thing
Pulled upward
And Every Thing fell
Never to touch
Fingertips again
And the only way
No Thing could caress
Every Thing again
Was to cry clear tears
That seeped into the cracks
Of aging Every Thing’s face
And those tears
Seeped deep
Into arteries
And burst forth
Reaching longingly
With leaves
For hands

...About the Conception of This by A.E.

No Thing
Cradled
Every Thing
In its arms

—I must release you
At this moment

Every Thing
Reached its hand
Made of atoms
To No Thing’s cheek

—But love,
What is a moment—

—This, my beauty

And in that instant
No Thing
Riddled with the most
Delightful passion
Lascivious kisses
Sensual wishes
Solicited a moan of Time
From Every Thing’s
Electron excited painted lips

Creating the dawn
Of This.

Battle

She stood
With the other soldiers
Helmet dented from war
Cape scorched 
From flaming arrows
War paint
Staining her hard cheekbones

Each waited to speak
To the old mystic on the rock
And as her turn
Came to be
The mystic eyed
Her coal eyes

You have no scars
Except three
He rasped as he touched
The bruised knuckles
Of her left war hand

Three flesh rugged lines
Carved the burnt brown wrist

And what battle, child
Did you win these?

A stoic laugh
Slid from her throat

The war with myself