A few blog posts ago, we touched on whether the atua (elemental force, ancestor) live into their names; were they named after demonstrating particular characteristics,
or did their attributes and behaviours inform what they would be named?
Add to that, the fact that our atua would be attributed new names to acknowledge phases of their life, after accomplishing various feats or demonstrating specific behaviours. The assigned names are something of a CV; they describe relevant skills, accomplishments, learnings, challenges and growth that had to occur for the task to be achieved.
For instance, of the 40+ names documented for Tāne Mahuta (atua of the forest, light), some include Tānetewaiora (Tāne who bathed in the life giving waters of Rā), Tāneuetika (Tāne the upright - probably a reference to his body position after successfully separating Rangi and Papa (Earth Mother) and Tānenuiārangi - Tāne of the heavens; assigned to him either upon his descent from the heavens with the baskets of knowledge or due to him being a descendant of Rangi.
Papatuanuku, Whiro (atua of misfortune, disease), Rūaumoko (atua of earthquakes, volcanoes), Tūmatauenga (atua of man, war), Rongo (atua of peace, cultivated foods) and almost all other atua have multiple names, which paint a more detailed picture of who they were, who they are.
Could the same be said of Ranginui?
There are twelve heavens, all placed upon each other in an ascending other. Each of the heavens has its own name, different tipua (supernatural beings) and guardians who occupy them, and the tapu (sacredness) of each level increases as they near closer to the twelfth heaven, closer to Io (Supreme Being, existence, energy).
Could this be a metaphor of the varying layers that make up our identity? That the deeper we delve into trying to understand who we are, or in reference to Ranginui; the higher we ascend and level up in our lives, the closer we come to knowing our true selves, at our core? He aha ō whakaaro? What do you reckon?
Which one of the heavens would you be at in your life right now? What names would you give yourself to acknowledge the different learnings you've had, challenges you've overcome or skills you've developed?
What would your atua name be?
Kia ora rawa atu,