Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Apung Iru

The deity Apung Iru was often visualized as a gigantic crocodile that supported the earth on its back. The crocodile was located under the great World River.

If angry, Apung Iru caused all the rivers to flood, so at Bayung Danum the "New Water," the beginning of the year and the flood season, a fluvial procession was celebrated to propitiate the deity. This festival occured in June like the ancient Egyptian new year which also marked the beginning of the inundation.

Today, the Bayung Danum is celebrated either as a fluvial parade for St. Peter on the Pampanga River or as a time when everyone sprinkles each other with water.

Libad (fluvial procession) of Apung Iru during the Full Moon nearest to the summer solstice

In Sumer, Enki, often portrayed as a part-dragon creature in latter cultures, was known as the Lord of the Abzu and the Illu. The word illu refers to the flood or deep waters i.e., the Lord of the Flood. The flood could also refer to a river or the sea. Thus, when the Hebrews were said to have come from the 'other side of the flood' it probably refers to the rivers of Mesopotamia.

In ancient Egypt, the start of the year and the flood season began with the heliacal rising of the dog star Sirius. This season again was called Akhet, which also was the name of the twin-peaked "Mountain of Light." And, as you may remember, the great eruptions we propose here also would have occured during the month of June near the time of a Venus transit/conjunction and the heliacal rising of Sirius.

It was during a period of flooding and misery when the people cried for help that the sun god Apung Sinukuan sent Tala, the Morning Star, to rescue the world. This motif of a god sending a savior or coming to save in person during times of crisis recurs quite often in Austronesian mythology.

In the great clan war, the king with the title Apung Iru must come to save the day at a time of great decay and despair. This is part of the great cycle. His role is like that of Tala at the start of the cycle.

Paul Kekai Manansala