Monday, June 08, 2009

The Tale of Névazhíno

Pray to the Great Love of the Universe, for today is the Holy Day of Névazhíno, God of Animals!

41-Bear Woodman Lodge

The great god Névazhíno stands twenty-five feet tall, not counting His magnificent antlers. His head resembles that of a stag while the rest of His glorious self appears similar to a man, with muscles aplenty. Around His thick neck slithers a ram-horned serpent, ready to perform Névazhíno’s divine bidding. Despite His imposing stature, Névazhíno uses His strength only to achieve and maintain peace, and never for violence and war. He is the Great Love of the Universe and the holder of all the wisdom of the forest. He would never hurt so much as a gnat.

When the world was young, only gods inhabited the universe; no animals yet existed. Névazhíno saw this as a grave travesty and sought to rectify the situation. Using His impressive creativity and creation skills, Névazhíno began forming each and every animal, one by one, great and small. Beyond their form, He also imbued them each with their traits that make them truly the animals we know them as.

Starting with one of the lesser animals, Névazhíno created the slow and slimy slug, to which He granted lethargy. Next He formed the tiny gnat, to which He gave love and a desire to be around others. Thus warmed up, Névazhíno proceeded to the greatest animal of all, the deer. Basing its head upon His own form, Névazhíno sculpted a most beautiful creature filled with love, peace, and the harmony of nature. To the male of the species, He gave magnificent antlers similar to His own, with strength and stature to match.

After a moment’s rest, He then proceeded to form the crane and the heron based on the appearance of Sívorí, Goddess of Stars, both animals imbued with serenity. Next He created the gelatinous jellyfish, inspired by the hair of His sister Hívuítoví, Goddess of Rain, and infused great melancholy within its soft form. Névazhíno then formed the powerful shark and gave it arrogance and viciousness. Next He made an animal based upon His friend upon His shoulders, the simple yet powerful snake. He gave the new snake patience and poise, and the ram-horned serpent was pleased.

Next created was the rat, full of mischief, based upon the body of Néhété, God of Smoke and Poisonous Air; followed by the cats, both wild and domestic, full of pride and confidence, designed after one of the manifestations of Névazhíno’s mother Ríhíví, Goddess of Hot Springs. He then made the beetle, full of quiet insanity; the octopus of the deep, filled with independence, similar in form to Kara, Goddess of Soil; the buffalo and cattle, filled with composure and might, with heads like Sorosotuzho, God of the Atmosphere; the sea lion, master of the ocean and filled with joy and cleverness, modeled in form after Hívo, God of Clean Water, but without wings; the mighty bear, filled with both indifference and anger; the alligator, full of hidden rage and with a body like Hérazhahívo, God of Humidity, but with black skin; the whistling marmot, full of teamwork and delight; and the armadillo of the desert, incased with fear, based on another of Névazhíno’s mother Ríhíví’s manifestations.

Névazhíno then finished His animal creation with the roly-poly woodlouse, filled with panic; the annoying mosquito, filled with wickedness; the soaring eagle, filled with stolidity and honor; the orca, king of the deep, filled with power and calm; the toad, full of sorrow; the oyster and the clam, full of apathy; the dog and the wolf, both full of greed and loyalty, disparate though that might seem; and lastly the chicken, imbued with folly and futility.

When Névazhíno finished His creations, He sat back and watched, for He was rightly proud of what He had produced. His sister Hívuítoví, however, grew jealous of Her brother’s wondrous fruitfulness. She begged Her husband Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, to create a being that would put Névazhíno to shame. Zhíanoso refused, saying He was a god of fire and not creatures. Hívuítoví flew off in a huff, still quite jealous.

Meanwhile, at the far end of the world, Rana, Goddess of Clouds, was chasing after the Necklace of Desire, which was rumored to make the wearer infinitely desirous to all observers. The necklace was in the possession of four demons deep in a mountain. Rana did not hesitate to dive into the cave and demand they give Her the necklace. The four hideous demons smiled at the opportunity which had presented itself. They agreed to Rana’s demand on one condition: She must let each of them bed Her.

Overcome by lust for the Necklace of Desire, Rana eagerly consented, letting each of the four dark demons have his way with Her heavenly body. After all five had cooled off, the demons presented Rana with the necklace. She placed it around Her neck and returned to the land of the gods, quite smitten with Herself.

The necklace worked. All the gods lusted after Rana even more than usual and She enjoyed toying Them along. That night, as Rana and Rékaré, God of Rock and not Her husband, slept off an evening of debauchery, Zhíanoso slipped into Her bedroom and slipped away with the necklace. He intended to give it to Hívuítoví to improve Her mood, but first He had to hide from Rana and a rampaging Rékaré.

Turning Himself into a sea lion, Zhíanoso swam along the shore, grasping the necklace in His mouth. Soon He came across a rookery teaming with sea lions He could hide amongst. Zhíanoso flopped Himself onto a rock next to another sea lion and made Himself comfortable. He dropped the Necklace of Desire onto the rock and admired it glittering in the sunlight. The neighboring sea lion eyed the necklace, but settled down for a nap. Zhíanoso relaxed, knowing that Rana and Rékaré would never find Him there, and sank into a light sleep of His own. All He had to do was wait. Being immortal, Zhíanoso had all the time in the world.

Suddenly the neighboring sea lion reared up and transformed into a twenty-five-foot-tall god with a stag’s head and antlers that scraped the sky. It had been Névazhíno the whole time! His ram-horned serpent scooped up the necklace and slithered up to Névazhíno’s high shoulders, whereupon the be-antlered god kicked Zhíanoso into the ocean. The startled fire god swam away, ashamed to have been bested at His own game of trickery.

For His part, Névazhíno bounded across the land and presented the enchanted necklace to Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth, for She was His high goddess and the Queen of the Gods. Although She didn’t need it, the necklace would be safe with Nuvíní for all time. The rest of the gods begrudgingly congratulated Névazhíno for His skill and wit.

Zhíanoso, however, was preparing for revenge. He had to prove to the gods that He was greater than the Love of the Universe, Névazhíno. To do so, Zhíanoso finally agreed to Hívuítoví’s request: He would make a creature greater than any of Névazhíno’s animals.

Fashioned in His own image, Zhíanoso carefully created the first man. Hívuítoví was at first quite proud, flying around Névazhíno and hurling taunts down upon Him, but then They both realized that the man was rather dull. He had no attributes; he had no emotions. Zhíanoso had omitted an important step.

In an attempt to right Her wrong, Hívuítoví decided to take the fire of the gods and give it to the man. Névazhíno warned Her not to do so, for it would upset Sozho, High God of Air and King of the Gods, Who would see man’s possession of fire as an affront to the natural order of the universe. Hívuítoví ignored Her brother’s sage advice and flew down to the man with a small horn filled with embers. The man quite appreciated the gift, which indeed lifted his spirits as he learned fire’s many uses.

Much as Névazhíno predicted, though, Sozho became quite agitated. He captured Hívuítoví and chained Her to a boulder, whereupon He had one of His eagles peck out Her liver. Since She is immortal, Her liver grew back overnight; thus the eagle returned to eat it every day. If only Hívuítoví had listened to Névazhíno, She could have avoided the agony of this torture; but mankind would be nowhere without Her.

Not to be outdone by Zhíanoso, Sozho created a woman for His own amusement, having explored every opportunity with the goddesses and demigoddesses. He named her Vétaurosí, had His way with her, and soon grew weary of her less-than-divine stamina. Thus Sozho gave Vétaurosí to the man to be his wife. She willingly went to him, but she did not know love till she met Névazhíno. He treated her with great respect and devotion, caring for her as one would expect the Love of the Universe to do.

By Névazhíno, Vétaurosí gave birth to a daughter and named her Víhosí. Víhosí grew up strong and beautiful and married a young man named Tokéríané. These two human beings were among the few good and decent persons in the world. At this time, most of the descendents of Vétaurosí and the first man had fallen to evil ways, thanks to the trickery and treachery of the god Hívo. Murder, brutality, and chaos ruled the land for mankind. Névazhíno wanted dearly for His daughter and her family to live in a prosperous, peaceful land, but this seemed unattainable, despite how great and powerful Névazhíno was.

What He really needed was a great flood to wash away the wicked human beings, but Névazhíno, while magnificent, could not create a flood. He needed Hívuítoví, Who could bring endless rains upon the earth. With the help of a well-respected demigod healer, Névazhíno released His sister from Her bindings. She thanked Him profusely as They ran from Sozho’s sight.

Hívuítoví had seen what had become of humanity and so She was more than willing to help Her brother erase the evil scourge from the earth. Acting quickly, Névazhíno had Tokéríané and Víhosí build a large boat so they could ride out the flood, while Névazhíno rounded up a male and female of each and every animal He had created. Hívuítoví began the rains as the Víhosí and her husband herded the two chickens aboard, last of the animals.

The rains pounded the earth, obliterating what little remnants of civilization had not been destroyed by humanity itself. Men died by the thousands, as did animals, which made Névazhíno extremely sad. He knew it had to be done, though, for the good of the future of the universe, which would be placed in humanity’s care.

For ten fourdays, Hívuítoví’s rains never ceased nor so much as eased in the slightest. Soon not a mountain peak protruded from the waves. Upon seeing the endless ocean and knowing what lay buried beneath, Névazhíno told His sister to stop, and She did. Gradually and ever so slowly, the waters receded, until Víhosí’s boat scraped bottom on a mountain top. Víhosí and Tokéríané emerged from the boat, to be greeted by Névazhíno, Who informed them that it was up to them to rebuild civilization in a new and healthy manner.

While the rest of the floodwaters subsided, Tokéríané herded the animals out of the boat and down the mountainside. Víhosí, for her part, began making a home for them, with Névazhíno’s help. The woman, though, became quite infatuated with Névazhíno, for He is the Love of the Universe, after all. In order to help rebuild the human race, Névazhíno decided to give Víhosí what she wanted. While her husband was away, the god mated with the woman.

When Tokéríané realized what had happened, he was furious. If not for Névazhíno’s intervention, he very well may have struck his wife. Névazhíno calmly explained to the man, though, that the child born would be Harasé, father of all slaves. Tokéríané considered this, saw the good, and when Harasé was old enough, Tokéríané put him to work.

Névazhíno visited his favorite human family again to find Tokéríané and Harasé out in the field while Víhosí worked in the house. Since there were still not enough human beings, Névazhíno mated with Víhosí once more. This time their son was Karasé, father of all peasants and commoners. Tokéríané put him to work, as well.

When once again Névazhíno paid Víhosí a visit, He saw Tokéríané struggling to control all his slaves and peasants. Thus Névazhíno mated with Víhosí to produce Soroso, the father of all nobles. Tokéríané welcomed Soroso’s help and raised him as his own son. In this way humanity grew and flourished.

If you trust in Névazhíno, you too shall flourish and your soul shall grow. He is the Great Love of the Universe, the embodiment of all natural wisdom, the powerful peacemaker Who can outsmart the tricksters. He created every animal, so treat them well, whether beautiful deer or lowly woodlouse. He is the father of humanity, whether master or slave, so treat each other with great care. We are all brothers under Névazhíno.

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