October 27th, 2007 by sabrina

It’s not hard to see why some of these Goddesses get cranky from time to time–this one is a victim of incest and date rape.¬† Men!!

Hine-nui-te-po is the Maori Goddess of darkness and death, queen of the underworld. Her name translates as “Great Lady of the Night”. Hine-nui-te-po was originally named Hine-titama, meaning “Lady of the dawn”, and she was the daughter of Tane-matua, God of forests, and Hine-ahu-one, “woman created of earth”, the first woman in Maori mythology. Hine-titama married Tane-matua, not aware that he was her father, and they had several children.

One day, Hine-titama asked her husband if he knew who her father was, and he told her to ask the pillars of the house. She knew that her husband had built the house, and then realized that her husband was actually her father. Ashamed, she ran off to the underworld, where she was stopped by Te Ku-watawata, the guardian of the gate. He advised her to go back, to remain in the world of light and life, but she insisted on going forward. Just as she was about to descend into the darkness, Tane-matua caught up with her, but she turned him back, telling him that he was to go and look after their children in the world of light, as she would look after them in the world of darkness. It was at this point that she changed her name to Hine-nui-te-po, symbolic of her descent to the underworld.

Hine-nui-te-po’s descent also marked the beginning of the flow of mankind to the underworld. The great hero Maui attempted to regain man’s immortality by crawling through Hine-nui-te-po’s body while she slept. Maui had with him three birds as companions, and when he turned himself into a worm and crawled into Hine-nui-te-po’s vagina, one of the birds laughed, awakening the Goddess. Feeling the worm crawling inside her, she crushed it to death. Maui thus became the first man to die, and man has been mortal ever since.

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