The Maori culture is rich in mythology and traditon, and although much may have changed in their world, little has changed in their beliefs and traditions; the essence of the old mythologies remains intact. In the following tale, the introduction of evil (incest) into the world through the following myth which connects the creation of the first women with the origin of death.
Hinetitama is the daughter of Tane Manuta, the Maori God of the forest and birds; it was he who fashioned the first woman from the sand of the Hawaiki Island, and she bore him a daughter....Hinetitama (Dawn Maiden). She was very beautiful and her father intially wanted for her to marry a young man which he approved of, but then realized that he lusted after the young Goddess and wanted Her for himself. He tricked Her into marrying him by changing himself into a handsome young man. Thus, Hinetitama married Her father without knowing what was happening, and She bore him many children.
Eventually, though, when the wind whispered in Her ear, "Who is your father?" and then later a wave did the same, a great dread came over Hinetitama. She confronted Her father, insisting that he tell Her the truth. In response, he made a gesture which convinced Her that what She suspected was true. She told him that She could no longer continue living in the world of light, that this was not how She wanted to live Her life. She fled into the Underworld, leaving Her children sleeping in their beds. There, She became the Underworld diety who welcomes the new souls into the land of the dead, changing Her name to Hinenuiitepo; it is said that She now stands waiting at the end of the path to welcome Her children and catch their spirits in an everlasting light.
We should not forget that Hinenuiitepo as a young woman fled from Her shame but had unconditional love for Her children and all their descendants throughout the centuries. We can take strength from Her story in that She stood up to Her own father...even though it meant abandoning the children that She loved...determined was She that would not to go down a path She thought was wrong. This is an important theme for us women who may need the strength to challenge other people's beliefs or presumptions, or if we feel pressured to choose a career or follow a path simply because our family or friends expect it of us.
Where in your life to you feel repressed and unacknowledged by others? Do you ever find yourself in situations where others are forcing you to do things that you disagree with or don't really want to do? How do you handle it? Do you feel strong enough to stand up to them as Hinetitama did to her father, or do you hold it all inside, festering, until your repressed anger explodes into fury, rage, or tears as you finally voice your disatisfaction?
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