Tala (goddess)

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Tala
Goddess of stars
Gender Female
Region Philippines

Tala is the name of the goddess of the morning and evening star in Tagalog mythology. Her origins are varied depending on region.

The most popular myth of Tala is that she is one of the three daughters of Bathala to a mortal woman. Her sisters include Mayari, the goddess of the moon and Hanan, the goddess of morning. She is known to have supported the creation of the Tagalog traditional constellations. Tala used light spheres or orbs to ferry men to safety at night, however, when the Spaniards came, they demonized the light orbs and called it santelmos in a bid to convert the natives into Christianity. The natives eventually regarded the orbs as deadly beings that kill men or get humans to lose their way.

In another, more modern story,[1] sun god Arao (probably Apolaki) and the moon goddess Buan (probably Mayari) both had large families of stars, but Buan believed her stars could not survive the heat of Arao. They both agreed to destroy their stars. While Arao devoured his, Buan hid hers in the clouds, where they would occasionally emerge. Upon seeing this, Arao was filled with rage and is eternally in pursuit of Buan, trying to destroy her. Eclipses are explained by Arao getting close enough to bite her. At dawn, Buan hides the stars and brings them forth only when her eldest daughter, Tala (the evening and morning star) says the sun is too far away to pursue them.

Derived from this myth are the Tagalog words tala, which means "bright star", araw (sun) and buwan (moon).

This story has very close parallels to stories among non-Filipino cultures such as the Bihar, Semang, Savara and the Bhuiya tribes.[2]

In Kapampangan mythology, a deity named Tálâ is also present. For the Kapampangans, Tálâ is the bright star and the one who introduced wet-rice culture in Pampanga.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hill, Percy. A. (1934). Philippine Short Stories, p65. Stories reproduced in ISBN 971-542-083-4.
  2. ^ Rahamann, R. (1955). Quarrels and Enmity between the Sun and the Moon: A Contribution to the Mythologies of the Philippines, India, and the Malay Peninsula. Folklore Studies, 14, 202-214.