Are Male Chauvinists Modern-Day Spiritual Pigs?
Male chauvinist pigs are not an invention of modern feminists. The macho pig is a male archetype found in many cultures. Hawaiians, Greeks, and Celts all had myths featuring male pigs or boars. They were aggressive and acted with overbearing machismo.
Pele, the powerful goddess of the volcano and fire vs Kamapua’a, the hog-man demigod.
In Hawaii, the pig myth explains many landforms and is the tale of opposites. Pele, the Goddess of the Volcano and Fire had to fend off the advances of Kamapua’a, the hog-man demigod.
Kamapua’a, was a tall, handsome chief with sparkling eyes and firm muscles. He wore a cape to hide the pig bristles on his back. He could also take the shape of an eight-eyed hog. Strong and virile, he carried a war club called Kahiki-kolo. It could ward off all spears and strike down all challengers. He had many lovers and constant fights with outraged husbands.
One day, Kampua’a saw Pele and her sister Kapo traveled through the rainy valley that was his home. The sight of Pele filled him with lust. He ran after her, but Kapo had a detachable vagina, and she threw it to distract him. He chased after it and the women escaped. The vagina landed on the island of Oahu, at Koko Head.
There is a hill inland from Hanauma Bay named Kohelepelepe, “detached vagina.”
When Kampua’a realized Kapo’s trick, he tried a gentler approach. He wooed Pele with compliments and words of love, but the goddess shamed him with her hot scorn.
“Pig-man. Mud-wallower who roots in the dirt. Filthy animal. You are beneath me,” Pele declared with fire in her eyes.
She hurled molten lava at him and drove him into the sea. Kampua’a changed himself into a humuhumu-nukunuku-’ā-apua’a fish. This aggressive little fish had tough skin. It protected him from the boiling water created as the lava poured into the sea.
Leaving the sea, Kampua’a drenched Pele with storms of rain. He called up tusked hogs which overran her lands and destroyed the plants. Pele fought back, but water douses fire. To save her, Pele’s brothers ordered her to submit.
Kamapua’a raped Pele near the coast in Puna, in an area called Ka-lua-o-Pele.
Hawaiian Landform Created by Pele Fighting Against Kamapua’a
In Ka-lua-o-pele, the land is still torn and desolate as a sign of the great struggle that took place there.
Afterwards, Pele took Kamapua’a as a lover. However, they had a love-hate relationship for eternity.
To keep the peace, they divided the island in half. Pele took the drier leeward side of the mountain slopes which are streaked with lava flows. Kamapua’a lived on the windward side, moist with rain and green with plant life.
Hawaiian Folktale Warns of Dangers of Driving with Pork
On the island of Oahu, there is a legend that says you must never carry pork in your car when you drive on the Pali Highway. This highway which connects Honolulu with Windward Oahu. Pele sees pork as an attempt to bring Kampu’a over to her side of the island. She will cause your car to stall until you throw the pork out.
Spiritual Pigs Explained by Mythologist Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell explained the spiritual pig in his book, Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation. Historically, cultures that hunted had a patriarchy. This was because males were the hunters and warriors.
Yet, cultures that had abundant food, like those in the Tropics, were typically matriarchal. The mother earth gave birth to all life and nourished it. Women were the food gathers, tilled the garden plots and raised the children in these places.
Men Formed Secret Men’s Clubs to Feel More Powerful
Men felt marginalized in a matriarchy. To boost their self-esteem, men formed secret societies that excluded women. In these men’s clubs, the spiritual pig came into existence. Campbell describes the rituals in Melanesia. This is an area making up a sub-region in Oceania in the Pacific Ocean.
In the first step, a father gives his young son a pet pig to raise. This moves him away from his mother and teaches him responsibility. The child must then sacrifice his pig, with the help of his father, to learn to sacrifice what he loves.
Next, the boy gets another pig to learn competition. He knocks out the pigs upper canines and this allows the bottom tusks to grow long. They curl back into the jaw and the pig suffers and grows thin from starvation. The boy must keep the pig alive through his care.
His thin pig is now a spiritual pig. The sacrifice of other pigs symbolically gives their power to the spirit pig.
The pig tusks make loops, and only the best, most powerful pigs, can grow three loops. These give the man great prestige in the tribe. Only the owner of the pig, or another three-looper can sacrifice the spiritual pig. When sacrificed, the power of the pig goes into the owner.
After Death Journey to the Underworld with Pig Power
When the owner dies, he meets a spirit woman in the Underworld. She draws a labyrinth and then erases it. The man uses his pig power and redraws it. He then gives his spirit pig power to the woman. She allows him to enter the labyrinth. He navigates the maze until he reaches the Volcano Underworld to dance in the flames.
After spending his life gaining power, the man relinquished it to a spirit woman so he could dance in the home of Pele.
The Next Time You Meet a Male Chauvinist…
The next time you see a politician, celebrity or lover acting like a male chauvinist pig, pause. Think of the spiritual pig. Look and see ways in which the man is feeling marginalized by powerful women. Reframe his words and see if he is acting out the archetype of the boar. You might still feel offended. But, it will give you insight into his psychology and know that it comes from the fear of female power.
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