Hinetītama: becoming Hine-nui-te-pō
Is it just me or are these weeks passing by like nobody's business! I was just getting into whakaaro (concepts) about Tāne, but Whiro (new moon) has come around, which means a new atua (deity, elemental force, celestial being) to observe and I'll admit, I was at odds about which atua to cover next.
Hinetītama (The Dawn Maid) first came to mind; she's Tāne Mahuta first child which made for an easy transition... but the connection between Tāne and his daughter are confronting and show some of the flaws, darkness and uncomfortable aspects of Te Ao Māori and let's be honest - who wants to share their dark history, I mean...
there's dark, then there's daaaaaaark.
Their story is the latter. But since this blog and my kaupapa (passion) is about self-awareness and whakapapa (origins, process, connection); we must acknowledge the darkness and the role it's had to shape us. Avoiding discomfort, awkwardness and uncertainty doesn't make the thing go away; it just accumulates over time, somewhere out of sight and out of mind, readying for a bigger explosion.
Instead, if we bring the darkness to the forefront and into the light - like, you can bet the sting and discomfort will be intense - but we'll have no choice but to face the fear, darkness or problem and eventually overcome it. We'll cause an effect of our own choosing, rather than be determined by circumstances of our past fears or darknesses.
Hinetītama is the first daughter of Tāne Mahuta (atua of the forest, light, knowledge) and Hineahuone (the first woman, fashioned from the earth). Without her knowing their connection to each other, Tāne pursued then married Hinetītama, and they went on to conceive and give birth to their daughter, Hinerauwhārangi.
Hinetītama had never met her father and over time, her yearning to know him grew stronger and stronger; she asked Tāne if he knew who he might be. Well, about that . . . Eventually, Hinetītama learned Tāne was her father and overcome with shame, distress and humiliation; she fled to Rarohenga (underworld) and transitioned into becoming Hine-nui-te-pō, the Goddess of Death.
Is this the origin of suicide in te ao Māori?
The Dawn Maiden who became the Goddess of Death? And as a result, made mortality certain for all living things? How could Tāne be the god of light if he caused his daughter so much pain and hurt? An analogy for how 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions' perhaps.. e aua, I don't know.
Our creation stories and the interactions between atua hold so much wisdom and knowledge and most of the time, the takeaways are inspiring and empowering as whak-apapa. But there are also aspects of our history and whakapapa such as the interaction between Tāne and Hinetītama, we must also acknowledge. Dysfunction, darkness and pain serve a purpose and have much to teach us, too.
A blueprint of what not to do or what the consequences of incest, of adultery, of feeling helpless in a situation could be.