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  • Oceania's Purview

    After the third view of Oceania i was wondering

    Wich pantheon purview/power the maori gods should have?

  • #2
    Originally posted by ElanConnor View Post
    After the third view of Oceania i was wondering

    Wich pantheon purview/power the maori gods should have?
    If you allow, before making any suggestion, I'd like to unpack a bit of terminology (not that you necessarily don't know, but just to make the overall discussion plainer), namely that Oceania ≠ Polynesia ≠ Maori. Oceania is a vast geographical designation that encompasses everything from the southern Indonesian islands to Australia and New Zealand and further on to the East, including all the uncountable islands between there and the American coast. As far as cultural regions go, this includes the Australian, Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian spheres, all of which have distinct cultural features, origins, languages, identities, and religions. Spread out the furthest out of these are the eponymically "many islands" of Polynesia. The ancestors of the Polynesians probably migrated down the western fringe of Oceania from Taiwan, through the Indonesian archipelago, first settling down definitively on Samoa and Tonga, and beginning to develop a distinct culture there. Over the following centuries, they spread out from there to the Society Islands, Hawaii, far-off Easter Island, and many less well-known Pacific archipelagos; New Zealand, meanwhile, was among the last islands to be settled by these people. In the course of their fascinating migration, done all through canoe voyages across the open sea, Polynesian culture and language diversified, adapted to the different environments of different islands, and formed the distinct identities of Hawaiians, Samoans, Tahitians, Maori, and so on. A core canon of cultural features like tattoos, genealogical chants, a certain set of gods, stone temple platforms, and son, remained relatively constant throughout all the individual expression, though.

    The first question to ask from the vantage point of Scion, then, is whether there is one Polynesian pantheon or a number of distinct pantheons of the Hawaiians, Samoans, Tahitians, Maori, and so on. So far, fans on the Forums here and elsewhere have seemed to lean towards the former, putting the focus on the remarkable cultural unity in the Polynesian sphere. Gods like Tane, Tangaloa, Tu, Rongo, and Hina (to use their Maori names) form a core of recurring figures, but most approaches I have seen so far don't stick to just those common elements. Most make a pantheon named Polynesian that is truly a Maori pantheon, or a Maori pantheon with one or two non-Maori elements. I don't particularly like that kind of doing this pantheon; the Polynesians are one of the cultures that fascinate me the most, and I find a narrow look at only the Maori, those atypical late-arrivals in a far colder climate than most of their cousins, to not be very representative of anything "Polynesian" as a whole. I'll admit, though, that the alternative, separate Hawaiian, Samoan etc. pantheons is at least as problematic; Maori is not without reason the most famous out of the Polynesian mythologies, for it is quite simply the most complete. The record for other archipelagos is far more fragmentary. Also, the PSP, to slowly move closer to your original question, would also always be the same, as the spiritual and philosophical concepts behind the casts of gods remained fairly constant. My own approach, which I would like to realise along with Watcher at some point, would be to make a Polynesian pantheon that incorporates not only the composite "common-core" figures like Tane, Tangaloa, and son, but also the most major deities from as many other Polynesian groups as possible, that is e.g. Pele of Hawaii, Makemake of the Easter Island, 'Oro of Tahiti, Saveasi'uleo and Nafanua of Samoa, and so on. That, however, is still far-off, and I'm sure 2e will get its shot at Polynesia first

    Okay, so, this has been more digression than even I usually allow myself, so let's finally get to those common spiritual concepts I promised you. The concepts you are most likely to have heard of are, of course, mana and tapu, though their precise meanings in Polynesian culture are different from their popular perceptions. Mana, put simply, is like a manifest aura of awesomeness. It derives from fame and ancestral claim, it is a family tree of exalted and pure-blooded ancestors turned into a force of nature, a power that is elemental, raw, creative, and destructive. One is famous because one is great, and one is great because of one's fame, and that is mana; it is power that comes from right and grants right, allowing people to rule not only over other people, but, in the myths at least, to lord over the elements as well. Thus, great deeds increase one's mana, whereas failures decrease it. One's own, personal mana is, however, only ever a part of the whole, for the true lion's share of that power lies, as mentioned, with the ancestors, who willingly grant it as an inheritance, blowing their life breath into their descendants' lungs.
    Mana isn't all sweet life for its possessor, though. The greater the mana, the greater the tapu associated it. Tapu is sacred prohibition; among the most fundamental tapu in Hawaiian culture, for example, was the rule that men and women should eat separate. A person of great mana, then, could willingly lay down and lift new tapu, for example reserving places, people, goods, or services to them, but they were beholden to a greater number of them themselves as well. The most sacred priests on ancient Tahiti were so tapu they couldn't even touch the food they ate with their own hands; they had to be fed, and could be fed only by children from their own families. Breaking a tapu does not mean doing something immoral against society, but is more like trying to break a law of physics. And like what would happen if one tried to just defy gravity by walking off a cliff very optimistically, so breaking a tapu as well usually meant death for the one who did it. This could affect even powerful chiefs, for their right to rule was dependent solely on their keeping what in Hawaii was called pono, the natural order of things. If they broke that order, e.g. by amassing too much power or breaking tapu, rebellion against them would be justified, and supported by the priesthood.
    A last, fascinating link in this chain of mana concepts I would like to add is that of tatau, i.e. tattoo. Traditional Polynesian tattoo varied in its designs from all ofer the islands, and the most famous of them were worn by the men of the Marquesas. But their symbolic meaning is a common thread again. On the one hand, applying tattoo was excruciating: war captives were forcibly tattooed as a form of torture before being put to death, but on the other hand, being heavily tattooed could thus also show stamina and pain-tolerance; an order of fanatic warriors on the Hawaiian island of Maui had one whole half of their bodies tattooed entirely black. Generally, assymetric designs were preferred, as they drew in spiritual elements more strongly; the symmetric stood for this world, the assymetric for the other. Thus, tattoo were not only (though they definitely were) expressions of one's individual personality, personal and family history, and mana, but an amplification of mana as well, something that could add on to that power. Tattoo could inscribe prayers permanently on a person's skin, could depict the generations of one's family tree in so many chevrons, or become magic armour as a pattern of squares.

    An optimal PSP of the Polynesian pantheon (however one configures it) should draw in all of these diverse elements, always coming back to that central theme of mana and the family tree, in which powers and rights are inherited in both paternal and maternal lines, from parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, divine ancestry stacking up from not one, but myriad godly sires.

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    • #3
      Wait, did they sent an email out or something? I didn't get it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Nah, no updates on the KS you're missing or something.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sacerdos View Post

          If you allow, before making any suggestion, I'd like to unpack a bit of terminology (not that you necessarily don't know, but just to make the overall discussion plainer), namely that Oceania ≠ Polynesia ≠ Maori. Oceania is a vast geographical designation that encompasses everything from the southern Indonesian islands to Australia and New Zealand and further on to the East, including all the uncountable islands between there and the American coast. As far as cultural regions go, this includes the Australian, Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian spheres, all of which have distinct cultural features, origins, languages, identities, and religions. Spread out the furthest out of these are the eponymically "many islands" of Polynesia. The ancestors of the Polynesians probably migrated down the western fringe of Oceania from Taiwan, through the Indonesian archipelago, first settling down definitively on Samoa and Tonga, and beginning to develop a distinct culture there. Over the following centuries, they spread out from there to the Society Islands, Hawaii, far-off Easter Island, and many less well-known Pacific archipelagos; New Zealand, meanwhile, was among the last islands to be settled by these people. In the course of their fascinating migration, done all through canoe voyages across the open sea, Polynesian culture and language diversified, adapted to the different environments of different islands, and formed the distinct identities of Hawaiians, Samoans, Tahitians, Maori, and so on. A core canon of cultural features like tattoos, genealogical chants, a certain set of gods, stone temple platforms, and son, remained relatively constant throughout all the individual expression, though.

          The first question to ask from the vantage point of Scion, then, is whether there is one Polynesian pantheon or a number of distinct pantheons of the Hawaiians, Samoans, Tahitians, Maori, and so on. So far, fans on the Forums here and elsewhere have seemed to lean towards the former, putting the focus on the remarkable cultural unity in the Polynesian sphere. Gods like Tane, Tangaloa, Tu, Rongo, and Hina (to use their Maori names) form a core of recurring figures, but most approaches I have seen so far don't stick to just those common elements. Most make a pantheon named Polynesian that is truly a Maori pantheon, or a Maori pantheon with one or two non-Maori elements. I don't particularly like that kind of doing this pantheon; the Polynesians are one of the cultures that fascinate me the most, and I find a narrow look at only the Maori, those atypical late-arrivals in a far colder climate than most of their cousins, to not be very representative of anything "Polynesian" as a whole. I'll admit, though, that the alternative, separate Hawaiian, Samoan etc. pantheons is at least as problematic; Maori is not without reason the most famous out of the Polynesian mythologies, for it is quite simply the most complete. The record for other archipelagos is far more fragmentary. Also, the PSP, to slowly move closer to your original question, would also always be the same, as the spiritual and philosophical concepts behind the casts of gods remained fairly constant. My own approach, which I would like to realise along with Watcher at some point, would be to make a Polynesian pantheon that incorporates not only the composite "common-core" figures like Tane, Tangaloa, and son, but also the most major deities from as many other Polynesian groups as possible, that is e.g. Pele of Hawaii, Makemake of the Easter Island, 'Oro of Tahiti, Saveasi'uleo and Nafanua of Samoa, and so on. That, however, is still far-off, and I'm sure 2e will get its shot at Polynesia first

          Okay, so, this has been more digression than even I usually allow myself, so let's finally get to those common spiritual concepts I promised you. The concepts you are most likely to have heard of are, of course, mana and tapu, though their precise meanings in Polynesian culture are different from their popular perceptions. Mana, put simply, is like a manifest aura of awesomeness. It derives from fame and ancestral claim, it is a family tree of exalted and pure-blooded ancestors turned into a force of nature, a power that is elemental, raw, creative, and destructive. One is famous because one is great, and one is great because of one's fame, and that is mana; it is power that comes from right and grants right, allowing people to rule not only over other people, but, in the myths at least, to lord over the elements as well. Thus, great deeds increase one's mana, whereas failures decrease it. One's own, personal mana is, however, only ever a part of the whole, for the true lion's share of that power lies, as mentioned, with the ancestors, who willingly grant it as an inheritance, blowing their life breath into their descendants' lungs.
          Mana isn't all sweet life for its possessor, though. The greater the mana, the greater the tapu associated it. Tapu is sacred prohibition; among the most fundamental tapu in Hawaiian culture, for example, was the rule that men and women should eat separate. A person of great mana, then, could willingly lay down and lift new tapu, for example reserving places, people, goods, or services to them, but they were beholden to a greater number of them themselves as well. The most sacred priests on ancient Tahiti were so tapu they couldn't even touch the food they ate with their own hands; they had to be fed, and could be fed only by children from their own families. Breaking a tapu does not mean doing something immoral against society, but is more like trying to break a law of physics. And like what would happen if one tried to just defy gravity by walking off a cliff very optimistically, so breaking a tapu as well usually meant death for the one who did it. This could affect even powerful chiefs, for their right to rule was dependent solely on their keeping what in Hawaii was called pono, the natural order of things. If they broke that order, e.g. by amassing too much power or breaking tapu, rebellion against them would be justified, and supported by the priesthood.
          A last, fascinating link in this chain of mana concepts I would like to add is that of tatau, i.e. tattoo. Traditional Polynesian tattoo varied in its designs from all ofer the islands, and the most famous of them were worn by the men of the Marquesas. But their symbolic meaning is a common thread again. On the one hand, applying tattoo was excruciating: war captives were forcibly tattooed as a form of torture before being put to death, but on the other hand, being heavily tattooed could thus also show stamina and pain-tolerance; an order of fanatic warriors on the Hawaiian island of Maui had one whole half of their bodies tattooed entirely black. Generally, assymetric designs were preferred, as they drew in spiritual elements more strongly; the symmetric stood for this world, the assymetric for the other. Thus, tattoo were not only (though they definitely were) expressions of one's individual personality, personal and family history, and mana, but an amplification of mana as well, something that could add on to that power. Tattoo could inscribe prayers permanently on a person's skin, could depict the generations of one's family tree in so many chevrons, or become magic armour as a pattern of squares.

          An optimal PSP of the Polynesian pantheon (however one configures it) should draw in all of these diverse elements, always coming back to that central theme of mana and the family tree, in which powers and rights are inherited in both paternal and maternal lines, from parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, divine ancestry stacking up from not one, but myriad godly sires.
          Could you tell me more about Saveasi'uleo? I know a little bit about the others but this one is new to me.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post

            Could you tell me more about Saveasi'uleo? I know a little bit about the others but this one is new to me.
            Not too much yet, sadly. He's Nafanua's father and the lord of the Samoan underworld, half man, half eel, born of rock deities. He's a cannibal and slightly demonic creature, I'm not sure yet whether he is truly a Major God, or maybe a Titan or Primordial. He kept cropping up when I was tallying up god mentions from Western Polynesia, and I increasingly got the feeling he could be someone important, but I haven't come to fleshing him out in-depth yet.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sacerdos View Post

              Not too much yet, sadly. He's Nafanua's father and the lord of the Samoan underworld, half man, half eel, born of rock deities. He's a cannibal and slightly demonic creature, I'm not sure yet whether he is truly a Major God, or maybe a Titan or Primordial. He kept cropping up when I was tallying up god mentions from Western Polynesia, and I increasingly got the feeling he could be someone important, but I haven't come to fleshing him out in-depth yet.
              Thank you ,he sounds interesting

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              • #8
                I was thinking about the ritualistic of the tatoos

                looks very important

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ElanConnor View Post
                  I was thinking about the ritualistic of the tatoos

                  looks very important
                  Well, like I said, the tattoos are only a part of the greater complex. Mana in its myriad manifestations is what you really want to get at. Tattoos and taboos are part of it, but mana is the root cause, so to say.

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                  • #10
                    What it's boiling down to is connecting to the world-universe through your family tree and conections to your family's home territory. Low levels of the PSP would do things like let you use the skills and gifts of recent human ancestors. Mid levels would link you to gifts and powers linked by tradition to your home territory. High levels would conect you to the universal ancestors and their gifts.

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                    • #11
                      It's worth mentioning that, two or three shapes of the forum ago, someone (P. Cutrera and J. Cutrera), made a fanmade Polynesian Pantheon and posted it around here.

                      It is still the best fanmade pantheon I've seen to date, if you ask me, and constantly made me feel like a talentless hack as I was writing my less respectable Cthulhu Mythos Pantheon (something I still think to be a decent job, taking in account my much younger age and hugely minor experience but admittedly a variation from what Scion is).

                      It was based mostly on the Maori culture and I'm sure the writers made some choices rather than others, not to mention it happened a long time ago, but I felt like I had to mention it.

                      There's a remote chance I might manage to find it saved somewhere, if people are interested. I have no credit whatsoever for it, I joined the forums as the creators had recently posted it, but I loved it back in the day.

                      EDIT: if the creators are looking at this or you happen to know them and know there's any sort of reason the original writers would not be ok with me posting their work here, let me know. I'm not sure I still have that file, but don't want to ruin anyone's day.
                      Last edited by Cinder; 01-02-2018, 09:12 PM.


                      Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                      I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

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