Moon Goddess: Hina

A goddess of many names in Pacific Island mythology.

She is sometimes called the goddess of many names. She is Ina, Hina, Sina, the Great Lady of the Night. This goddess of the moon — who rides the back of a fish — is part of the mythology and culture of the Pacific Islands.

Hina, in Polynesian, means “girl”, and there are many different legends associated with the name.  The trickster god, Maui, had a wife named Hina, as did the gods, Tane and Tangaroa. In other legends, Hina is said to be the sister of Maui.

In Samoa, she is known as Sina, and in other islands, she is called Ina.

However she is named, she is described as a beautiful, intellient, and very determined young woman who is pursued by men and by other creatures, as well. In one of the most popular stories, young Hina enjoyed bathing in a pool that housed many eels. One day, as she bathed, one of the eels transformed himself into a young man and became Hina’s lover.

After they had been together for some time, the young man told Hina that a great downpour would come the next day and that he would be washed up onto the threshold of her house in his eel form. He instructed her to cut off his head, bury it, and to visit the site frequently.

Hina dutifully obeyed. She faithfully returned each day to the place where she had buried the head. One day, she noticed shoots sprouting from the spot. The shoots grew into a pair of coconut trees — the first of their kind. Hina is praised for giving this gift to the world.

In Hawaiian mythology, Hina grows tired of her earthly existence and escapes to the moon, eventually becoming its goddess.

As the ruler of the moon, Hina watches over women below, guiding them through the cycles of life, from creation, to womanhood, to aging, and to death. She is believed to be an intermediary between humans and the gods.

Today, the goddess is believed to return to the islands to take possession of young girls who are facing troublesome situations, imparting her strength and determination to them to help them through their ordeal.

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