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Savea : The God of the Underworld

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At a glance

Description
Origin Samoan Mythology
Classification Gods
Family Members Nafanua (Daughter), Tilafaiga (Wife)
Region Samoa, Samoan Islands
Associated With Underworld, Death

Savea

Introduction

In Samoan mythology, the god known as Savea ruled over Pulotu, which is the underworld of spirits. Although he has a head, torso, and arms, the rest of his body is made up of an eel. He is also the father of one of the goddesses, Nafanua, and the husband of another, Tilafaiga.

In Samoan mythology, Savea is a complex figure. He is a god, a demon, an oppressor, and a father. He represents death and life, as he is the ruler of the spirits of the dead at Pulotu and the source of the goddess Nafanua’s power.

Physical Traits

The ability of gods to create human and animal forms has been regarded as a significant factor in the development of Samoan mythology. In some cultures, the appearance of Savea as an eel is seen as a sign of his connection to water. Eels are regarded as sacred animals in some regions of the South Pacific, such as Tahiti, and are believed to protect freshwater springs.

Family

Some sources claim that Savea’s ancestors were rocks, and one story states that he was born to Aloa and Taufa. His brothers were Ulufanuaseesee and Salevao. They agreed that he would become the ruler of Pulotu.

One day, Savea came up from his kingdom and wandered the earth. He met his twin nieces Tilafaiga and Taema swimming back to Samoa from Fiji where they had learned the art of tattooing. Savea abducted Tilafaiga and took her to Pulotu as his wife. She later gave birth to their daughter Nafanua, who inherited her father’s strength and her mother’s beauty.

Tilafaiga and Taema were also responsible for bringing a basket of tattoo tools for the peʻa (traditional male tattoo) to Samoa. However, on their way they changed the chant that accompanied the tattooing ritual from “women are tattooed” to “men are tattooed”. This is why only men are tattooed in Samoa.

Other names

Savea is also known as Saveasiʻuleo or Elo.

Powers and Abilities

Savea resides in a cave beneath a burning mountain in Pulotu, and he can send earthquakes, tidal waves, and thunderstorms to assist his daughter, Nafanua, in her battles. He can also transform into a dog or an eel, and he can abduct people on a whim.

Modern Day Influence

In the video game Smite, Savea can summon his eel-like form and unleash his full fury upon his enemies. He has also been mentioned in Keri Hulme’s The Bone People, where he is the mysterious father of Simon, a mysterious boy with underworld connections. He is featured in the graphic novel The Unwritten by Peter Gross and Mike Carey where he is a powerful god and has a rivalry with the Greek god Hades.

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