Nareau, myths and legends contest Picture

Nareau is the Kiribati creator god (Gilbert Islands). The legend has a lot of different versions, but my favorite is actually one I found in a book, not the internet, so I can'l link to it, sorry. I shall summarize it instead, since that is the story I used primarily to get this picture.

In the beginning, Nareau was, and nothing else. Gradually, Nareau changed: there came to be a Nareau the Elder and a Nareau the Younger. Nareau the Elder was the Creator, and he said to Nareau the Younger, "You are my thought, and will soon have my power. With the last of my strength, I shall make a world for you to rule." He created the world like a closed clam, sky pressed close to earth, then disappeared into the darkness.
Nareau the Younger looked into the world, and it was dark, and he couldn't get in, so he used his power to create a luminous moth to see what was in the world. The moth flew down and reported that there were people down there, but they all slept because it was dark. Nareau managed to open a hole in the sky and came down. He found that the reason it was so dark was that the sky was too close to the earth, so he summoned up the lord of the eels, with the longest body. The eel stretched the sky dome high up into the sky (this eel became the Milky Way), and Nareau latched down the corners. Now a dim twilight filled the world, but the people were still dozy. Finally, Nareau the Elder reappeared in the world. Nareau the Younger took a spear and killed his father, to make the sun and moon from his eyes and the stars from the rest of him, a source of light powerful enough to brighten the entire world to day. Then, Nareau the Younger vanished just as his father had in the dark outside the world.

The reason I liked this version so much was actually because it reminded me of Thomas Aquinas' theological proof of the Chrisian Trinity: God the Son is knowledge, an inevitable product of the existence of God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit is love, an inevitable product of the existence of God the Son in the presence of the Father. But I digress. A note on the art: Nareau in other versions of the story is called the Lord Spider, but I didn't want to just draw a big spider because my version of the story has him more anthropomorphous. However, I really wanted to show Nareau the Younger and the World before light--I wanted him to hold it and to gaze at it, but not to enter it. Therefore, for the spidery-ness, I just gave him more hands, so he ends up having 8 limbs total. Plus he gets a spider tattoo on his forehead. I also wanted to show the shadowy existence of Nareau the Elder with the larger hands. Thus, in my interpretation of the story, Nareau did not vanish, but merely faded, holding his son and creation close, but not letting himself be easily seen. That way, rather than a murder to create the sun and moon, we have a selfless sacrifice.

For online versions of this story and other Kiribati mythology, see…… and…

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