Friday, August 25, 2006

This is the story of Mahuika, healer of wounded warriors.
Soon after the separation of Rangi and Papa, the gods fell to fighting in order to establish territories, political divisions and mandate. This was based on the knowledge that from chaos came order and also gave them the excuse for a rumble.
The world shook for centuries whilst Tawhirimatea battled with Tangaora and Tangaora with Tane Mahuta and Tu matuenga with them all. It was driving Papatuanuku mad! Here she was, suddenly, shockingly separated from her darling, a solo mother no less and all these scrapping kids!
She boiled with longing for her husband and rolled earthquakes across her thighs as she slept. The heat provided from the wispy remnant of one sigh of longing was enough to cook a hangi for hundreds continuously. Dotted all over the land sighs escaped from vents in her flesh, and bubbling pools rose to the surface which hissed and steamed when fed with the tears of Rangi for his wife.

Thus Papatuanauku knew the red hot anguish of bereavement whilst her sons rumbled on oblivious to her distress. Her daughters were more sensitive to their mothers’ plight and this is why you don’t hear any tales of female goddesses from the time of then. All the daughters of Rangi and Papa fed their lives back into the cycle of creation by throwing themselves alive into the boiling fires of Papas desire. Thus the mauri of the fire that feeds the world was born. This is the original source that provides such things as the steam off a hangi, the spark in a lover’s spat and the deep release of a ngawha; it is the original flame which springs now in the hearts of lovers, drips in beads of perspiration on their skin, is the heat between them as they sleep.

There is a place now hidden from us by the mists of time; a mountain of desire formed by the endless longing of Papatuanuku named Te Puia Awata kia Rangi. It was there on the sacred peaks of that maunga that Papa opened herself to Rangi like a flower as his tears rained down on her. In this manner Mahuika was conceived and grew to longing within. One day the mountain could no longer contain the life which throbbed within, it cracked open with an earth shattering sound and out sprang Mahuika, Fire Goddess.
She stood nine feet tall, her hair coiled licks of fire over her cheeks, when she rolled
her eyes sparks flew from them. She was so beautiful it seemed as if another sun sung in the sky as she swayed her hips in mesmerising motion.
The gods left off scrapping and gaped in awe, their jaws dropped on the ground! The women trembled with anxiety when they set eyes upon the lusty Mahuika, old grandmothers slapped their thighs; the combined twinkle in the eyes of the koroua lit up their entire corner. Mahuika danced the dance of desire and sweet slow seduction, her hips rocked the cradle of creation, her buttocks rolled, firm as gourds. They left off their fighting to woo her.
But Mahuika was unperturbed by the slavering devotion of the gods, she danced for her own pure pleasure, she sang for joy and she loved the way a fire burns, in an all consuming manner. The gods were mesmerised, they could have stood there and watched her swaying and swinging those hips for years or perhaps it was centuries, but then one god happened to break free of his trance to notice his brother gazing in open admiration at the object of his desire and thumped him on the chest! All of a sudden fighting broke out again only this time it was over ownership of Mahuika. Blood was spilled and the gods raged for many more years.
Mahuika danced and sang and swung her hips, she gathered the wounded to her ample bosom and lulled them back to vitality. She danced in the battlefields of the Gods to spur them on to feats of bravery, she sang to them to give them courage, she healed them in their dreams. Revived, they swore to possess Mahuika and fell to fighting with their brothers yet again.
It is from this time that Mahuika gave these as gifts to the world the healing heat that resides in rongoa, the warmth that coddles a newborn baby and the slow combustion in your veins as life courses through you. She is the spark in the song of a ringawera and the heat in the heart of a kitchen; she is the dance within the flame of fire as it burns.
Out of jealousy and insecurity the women busied themselves to spreading vicious scandal about Mahuika. Before long even the gods themselves began to realise that Mahuika alone was responsible for the troublesome fire which boiled in their veins. They hatched a plan to do away with her.
A handsome young man named Rangitoto was selected to woo Mahuika then steal her powers whilst she slept the sleep of an exhausted lover.

One day Mahuika was dancing on clouds and melting them with her feet when she noticed a handsome young man approaching. As he drew near, he leapt in the air and landed like a bird, she rolled her hips in response. He crouched low and advanced she crooned at him like a kereru. He rolled his eyes and stuck out his tongue, she made a motion with her thighs and shook her breasts. Closer and closer he advanced, entranced. She held her ground and her breath; he was so handsome she felt she might scorch him with the heat of her desire. So close now she could feel the warmth of his breath on her skin. When they touched it was like larva melting into the earth.
He was swallowed by the red sea of her sex, pulled under until he thought his lungs would burst then breathing under water. He was somewhere between pain and pleasure, she opened and closed on him like the eternal lotus, his heart was on fire and his loins would surely burst. They rolled like mountains and created larva spill which now form valleys in your mind; they clung together for years.

Finally Mahuika was satiated, she slept smiling. It was time for her lover to make his move and totally disarm this temptress but when he looked at her in the fading light of dusk he realised that Mahuika had quite melted his heart. It was all that he could do to pluck one small fingernail of fire from her and take it back to the world. When Mahuika awoke and saw that not only had her lover gone but that he had ripped her off as well, her anger was a rumbling earthquake. The earth shook, the westerly wind scorched the fresh young leaves of the kumara plant, a geyser erupted!
The tribe was hardly satisfied with Rangitotos’ results anyway and sent him straight back as he had hoped because by now he was madly in love with Mahuika.
When her lover returned with sheepish smiles and promises Mahuika stormed and wept but he stroked her and wept too. She smouldered, they made love for months until once again she slept and once again her lover slipped off with another nail of fire. There was an explosion that gave birth to an entire island and the errant lover scurried back to the heat of Mahuikas’ fire. She stormed, he wept. She loved him up like fire and welcomed him into her bed again. She burned for him.
He couldn’t live with her and he couldn’t live without her. He wanted to possess her but she closed off from him like a flower. She promised him nothing and gave him everything. She rolled her hips and he was destroyed. Caught between love and fear, Rangitoto blew hot and cold with Mahuika, it hardened her edges.

So passed the years of Mahuika as she fed them to Rangitoto like logs on a fire while he betrayed her again and again until she had almost burned herself out with loving him.
No longer was she the proud vibrant woman of her youth, the personification of the fire of life burning in us all. Her fire had dulled to a small glow of a flickering candle and her hips swayed rather sadly as she danced, she loved the mortal man but she learned that she could not to stay in his world.

She realised that her desire for Rangitoto was an island frozen in time. She drew the line. Rangitoto made love to her one last time and she sent him running back to the world with his ure on fire. Nothing burns more white hot than the scorn of a wronged woman, Mahuika really let off steam!

She threw fire around like a knife thrower at the circus! As a legacy to this day we have the scorch in the steam, the sting in a kuias’ tongue, the sizzle in passionate lust, the heat in self-loathing and the fire that burns in murder. Poisoned by irony, bent over with the bitterness of discovering that generosity and forgiveness (unlike love) did not last forever, Mahuika trudged off to the world of the night long past.
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