So I was reading the other night and came across an entry for an indigenous people of Honduras known as the Jicaque or Xicaque. The thing that caught my eye was the following item, courtesy Encyclopedia Britannica:
Their religion centres around two benevolent male deities and an evil female deity; offerings are made only to the evil goddess, in order to avoid ill fortune.
You know me, I had to snicker. Damn evil women, anyway! But this wouldn't be the first time EB told me something I couldn't back up, so I went in search of. What I am about to impart comes from one or more of many sources:
- First, I found that in their pre-conquest state, they didn't do the "beans and tortillas" thing. In fact, it is said that after several centuries of being exposed to tortillas, they still don't have the hang of making them. In the old days, they hunted exotic birds for their meat.
- One source claims they have adopted Roman Catholicism; another said they've pieced together some Catholic and some native stuff; another said that by 1890 they had rejected Catholicism, forbid priests on their property, and abandoned all religious ritual.
- They had no word for shaman, and evidently did not believe in the practice of medicine- the commenter notes the high mortality rate they had was evidence of this. By more modern times, the dead (wrapped in bark, wearing the clothes they died in) were buried with a cross at the foot of the grave, and an old clay pot, turned upside down with a hole in the bottom at the head- so that the deceased "could breathe".
-Oh, yeah, the Evil Goddess thing. This took me a bit of delving into ancient tomes (older than me, even!), but I came up with an answer. You start with the main benevolent boy god, named Kastariyus. K lives in some kind of heaven where he peers down at earth through "a narrow slatted window". The source doesn't mention whether it was a before-or-after conquest thing, but K has apparently evolved some similarities (in their mind) to Christ Jesus. Also never found out what was so benevolent about him.
- The other boy god was called Hivaro. He lived "in a similar place" to K, but in a different area. He was apparently younger yet than K, but further details are lacking.
- And the main event- the Goddess Tsii. She was the eternal boogeyman, blamed for death, many diseases, and a whole lot of other nasty stuff. She and her band of devil-ettes lived in rocks, and when one was dying, they were said to be "in the grip of Tsii". She is tall, dresses like the natives, but has burning red eyes, and scares them so spitless that the researcher said you would have sworn his two testifiers had actually saw her.
So whatever it is they offer her, it is in order to keep misfortune from happening to them. The benevolent boy gods get no love, which you would think MIGHT just occur to someone down there.
So what? I dunno. It seems pretty odd that most primitive religions featured a benevolent earth goddess, and raging male gods who rape them and let their daughters get abducted causing 6 months of winter. These guys have a raging female god and two guy gods basically saying, "Shhh! She'll find us!" Maybe they shouldn't have asked her to make tortillas...