Susano’o, Orochi and the Kusanagi

After Susano’o’s exile from Takamagahara (heaven), Susano’o descends to the land of Izumo (Shimane Prefecture). Upon his descend, he sees a pair of chopsticks flowing down the Hii river. Deducing that there would be people living upstream, Susano’o follows the river and finds an old couple weeping with their daughter. According to the couple, Orochi, a snake monster with eight heads, have been eating their daughters. He eats one daughter a year and it has been going on for seven years. Only one daughter is left with the couple; her name is Kushinada.

Susano’o promises to slay Orochi in exchange for Kushinada’s hand in marriage. In order to lure Orochi, Susano’o had the couple build a fence around their house. The fence needs to have eight gates, representing every head of Orochi. Next, Susano’o had the couple prepare vats of very strong sake and had it stand by every entrance. Snakes are known to love sake and could not resist the temptation of it. True enough, Orochi drank the sake until he was so drunk that he passed out. Susano’o took this chance to attack. Piercing Orochi’s tail, Susano’o discovers a sword inside Orochi. He takes the sword, Kusanagi, and offers this to his sister, Amaterasu making Kusanagi one of the three Great Imperial Treasures of Japan.

Part I: Izanagi and Izanami | Part II: Amaterasu and Susano’o

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
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 |
B I S A Y A  , Creation Story

The Bisayan creation story has been recorded down through various Spanish written accounts, each with it’s own local variants of the same myth. In the myth it tells the story of the creation of the islands, the first man and woman, the beginning of the social classes, the creator of war, the reason for death, why people steal, why there is concubinage in the world, and the creation of the laws that were passed down through the generations by the demi-goddess, Lupluban. 

At the very beginning there was nothing in the world except for the sea and sky and nothing in between. Within the world there was only the sky God, Kaptan, and the sea Goddess, Magwayen. Where these two deities came from nobody knew. They fought each other intensely and violently, Magwayen throwing her strong typhoon waves up toward the sky and Kaptan throwing large rocks and lighting back down. This long, bitter feud between the two deities lasted for many moons and many suns, until they drew the sea and sky closer together and created the islands. One day the two deities ceased their fighting, coming and joining together as friends and eventually lovers. The sea and sky deities married and Kaptan planted a seed in the sea where it soon grew to become a bamboo reed. A hawk flew in the sky trying to find a place to rest and soon spotted the reed floating in the sea. Finding a place to stop and rest the hawk flew down and landed on the reed. As it landed the hawk heard voices speaking out. “Oh let us out! Let us out!” The hawk listened to the voices and heard them come from the reed. It pecked the reed open and out came a man and woman with beautiful brown skin, dark brown eyes, and shining black hair. They were named Si Kalak (male) and Si Kabay (female) and they became the original ancestors of the Bisayans. Soon Si Kalak asked Si Kabay to marry him as there was no other people in the world besides themselves. She refused at first because they were brother and sister, born from the same reed. They both then sought out the advice from the tuna fish of the sea, the doves from the sky, and then finally Linog, the earthquake, who approved of their marriage saying that it was necessary so they can populate the world. Si Kalak and Si Kabay listened the advices of the animals of the sea and sky and of Linog and married. 

They had three children, the first son, they named Sibo, their second son, Pandaguan, and their only daughter, Samar. Sibo and Samar married and both had a daughter name Lupluban who would later be the one who issued and left the laws of the people from laws followed for mourning the dead, weaving, dealing with crime, debt, etc. along with her grandson, Panas. Lupluban then married her uncle, Pandaguan, who became the inventor of the fishing net. They soon had a son whom they named, Anoranor, whose own son, Panas would become the inventor of war after declaring war on Mangaran, on account of an inheritance. This became the first war and Panas became the first man to use weapons in fighting. 

Pandaguan used his fishing net they had made and his first catch was that of a shark. He brought it to shore thinking the shark would not die, however it did and as Pandaguan saw this he mourned over the loss and cried out to the diwata, Kaptan and Magwayen. He yelled and complained to them demanding why they let the shark die when no one has died before. Upon hearing his cries Kaptan first sent the flies to find out who the dead one was. The flies dare not go so Kaptan then sent the weevil who agreed to investigate the death and brought the news of the sharks death to the sky god. Kaptan became displeased at all the fuss over a fish and anger directed toward the diwata from Pandaguan. With the help of Magwayen they created a thunderbolt and struck Pandaguan as punishment. He remained in Sulad for 30 days until the god and goddess took pity over him and brought him back to life and returned him to the world. 

During the 30 days Lupluban, after thinking her husband was dead, became a mistress to a man name Marakoyrun. This becomes the time of when concubinage began in the world. When Pandaguan was brought back to life, he came back and did not find his wife home for she was invited by her friend to feast on a pig that was stolen. This then becomes the first theft in the world. Pandaguan sent his son Anoranor to find his mother and tell her to return home. However Lupluban refused, saying that the dead do not return back to world of the living. Angry, Pandaguan returned back to Sulad and remained. This becomes the reason why all those who die, do not return back to life.

(Posting this again because the last post on this myth was accidentally deleted)

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

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

No Thing
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.

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
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

Battle by A. E.

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