Gods of Irukandji

Hiahungi, god amongst gods

Gods of Irukandji – legends from the islands of Irukandji

Irukandji Ministry of Heritage and Culture, stories and legends

Like other nations in the South Pacific, Irukandji has deities that have been worshipped since time immemorial. However, unlike Irukandji’s less fortunate neighbours, western religions never gained a foothold.

Irukandji’s gods are represented by monuments throughout the kingdom.

Materials & Techniques

A statue of Hiahungi, one of the gods of Irukandji, guards the Princes Palace
Hiahungi stands guard outside the Princes Palace. Both the statue and palace columns are made of the same pink coral, ground then mixed with oil, heated and cast into a strong marble-like stone.

Most statues and monuments in Irukandji are made from four mediums found locally in abundance; black marble, bleached coral, gold, and blue sapphire.

Gold, marble, and sapphire are used to accentuate finery, while the multi-coloured corals are ground to a coarse powder. They are then mixed with water and coconut oil to produce a pastel coloured paste.

The paste is poured into moulds made in the sand to create the approximate shape required. Once dried, a pit of charcoal and green banana leaves are placed around the cast for several days.

The result is a hard marble-like material that comes in a wide variety of coral colours. The cast slabs are then carved and sanded by hand, and the pieces pinned together to create the finished monument.

Tungatuna ~ Goddess of the sea

Goddess of the ocean, Tungatuna commands the water animals and tides. Her womb is bountiful and she is worshipped for keeping the seas full.

Her skin is blue and she has eight legs, a gift from her octopus mother. As such, her human subjects, the fishermen, revere the octopus and no one would ever dare harm one. In return, it is said that octopi often lead divers to the richest fishing grounds.

Tungatuna loves harmony. She despises her fellow deity, Notahapi for sending ill winds and storms to thwart her efforts.

Her heart softens however, for Hiahungi, the god of fertility. Alas though, she cannot live on dry land for long, and he cannot live in the sea. They make love in the shallow lagoons, their couplings intense but brief.

She then returns to the warm sea and lays her seeded eggs amongst the coral. This is their precious gift to the ocean. She and Hiahungi created all the coral in the world.

Tungatuna’s statue is often found not far from Hiahungi’s, at the mouth of many rivers in Irukandji. She stands there with shield and spear, giving protection to the fishermen who leave the shore and keeping a watchful eye upon the weather.

Tungatuna, goddess of the sea is one of the gods of Irukandji
Tungatuna, the eight legged goddess of the sea

Notahapi ~ God of chaos

Notahapi commands the elements. He is an angry god. He envies the love that mortals have for Hiahungi, and is enraged by Tungatuna’s refusal to be his mate when he alone can live with her beneath the waves.

Each summer when his fury becomes too great, he bleaches the corals to punish Tungatuna, and sends cyclones and lightning to hurt those who revere Hiahungi.

As the god of chaos, he is worshipped by man with combat and tournaments to stay his destructive hand. All things violent and ill are attributed to Notahapi.

Hiahungi ~ God of fertility

Hiahungi is the god of fertility and dates back to the Aboyan tribes of south Irukandji 3000 years ago.

He is a warrior god and wears a helmet, spear, and shield, to defend against enemies who try to steal the women of the tribe.

Hiahungi is represented puffing his cheeks in warning and possessed of exaggerated genitals. Often, he is shown copulating with women, men, or animals, as he represents the fertility and passions of all living things.

One god, many interpretations

In pre-colonial times, Hiahungi was interpreted differently by opposing tribes.

In the most extreme case, the natives of Nouvelle Kiribas determined life and death in Hiahungi’s name. At 12 years old, whether physically matured or not, each boy was paired off to a girl of his age. They had three years to produce a child. Any couple who failed to do so were thrown from the cliffs of Mount Kiribati into the river below.

Those who died were deemed guilty of withholding their bounty and Hiahungi was satisfied. Those who survived, however, soon wished they were dead.

Males were tied to rocks on the beach just above the tide so they could not drown. They were then castrated and left for the crabs and sea birds to devour while they slowly bled to death. Their wives fared little better, sentenced to a lifetime of isolation and celibacy taking care of the children of the tribe. Their families never saw them again.

Thus, when Portuguese missionaries arrived on Nouvelle Kiribas, the natives desperately wanted a benevolent god and discarded Hiahungi for the new European religion.

Meanwhile, the neighbouring tribes of Tamita, revered Hiahungi as a protector and not a spiteful god. They feared that their neighbours on Nouvelle Kiribas had forged a new alliance with the white faced devils.

The Tamita elders responded by erecting a giant statue of Hiahungi on the bordering shore. They then began a month-long festival of feasting and fornication to celebrate his passion for life.

Within months, all the natives of Nouvelle Kiribas were dead.

Hiahungi, the greatest of all gods

Centuries later, western history would suggest that influenza or measles brought by the missionaries caused the mass extinction of Tamita’s foes, but not then. Hiahungi gained the credit, and throughout all the Irukandji islands, he was elevated to the rank of ‘highest god’.

That season, Hiahungi brought cool rains, plentiful crops, and many births. No further proof was needed. The tribes of Irukandji knew that he was flexing his muscles against Notahapi. The god of chaos had brought the missionaries to the islands to stir up trouble, and Hiahungi struck them down.

At a time of such high prosperity, the missionaries left, and the rise of European religion was thwarted. Additionally, by defeating the Kiribas natives, the Tamita elders were seen to possess the ability to harness the powers of Hiahungi.

A liberating god

It is 2023 and still Hiahungi stands guard at the Arius Naval Base, alongside the modern weaponry of cannons, submarines, and amphibious vehicles.

Two centuries later when the British colonisers followed the path of the missionaries, the invaders actively sought out pagan idols and destroyed them. This destruction of local culture lay at the heart of the hundred year rebellion against the colonisers, which eventually forced the British to leave.

Since Irukandji’s independence in 1979, Hiahungi is depicted with the Irukandji Star on his shield instead of earlier versions denoting each tribe.

Hiahungi has been returned to his rightful place, and is worshipped now as the god of fertility and the seasons, and protector of all living things.

His imposing statues are everywhere, protecting each islands’ occupants. Regular festivals and orgies are performed in honour of this god amongst gods, and the peoples of Irukandji prosper.

Note: if you are trying to visit the current Irukandji world, the landing sim is Arius on the DigiWorldz grid. The region is hypergrid enabled for easy teleportation from other Open Simulator virtual worlds. If you have the Firestorm viewer, use this link to teleport to Arius.

Andrew Thompson a.k.a. Xay Tomsen

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