This week, we explore the trinity of demigods that is inspired by the Daughters of Bathala. In Philippine myth, one of the most powerful gods sired three daughters by a mortal woman. These entities seem to really resonate with modern day Filipinx for whom they are symbols of feminine empowerment and energy. This is one of the reasons why we’ve decided not to use existing deities in Bukana, but to allow those spirits to inspire new gods. So we have the Sisters of the Sky. They do not take their moniker from their father, but of their chosen domain. It is they that are the patrons of the druidic Circle of the Sisters, a sub-class that is unique to our islands.
“Gather ‘round, children! Today you will hear the tale of Malawo’s three most beautiful daughters. Many generations ago, the mighty Malawo – protector of our people – married a mortal woman. We do not know her name, so we call her simply “Mother.” Well, her name was forgotten because she died giving birth to our patron’s three children. But you’re making me get ahead of myself. Now be still! Where was I? Oh yes. The day was getting late as the mother went into labor. As the sun approached the horizon, the first of the children was born and our lord held the little female in his hands. She opened her eyes and they beamed with radiance! ‘I will name you Sikat because you are fierce and brilliant.’ The small girl spoke, ‘Thank you, father. I will help you to protect the mortals under your care and give their crops life.’ Her mother smiled.
The last rays had gone and the first constellations painted the night sky. Then the next child came and was a male. Our great patron did not even wait for the child’s eyes to open before he named them. ‘I call my first son Palabba for surely he will follow in my footsteps!” Just then the baby’s eyes opened and Malawo saw them twinkle like far-off lights. The demigod spoke, ‘Father, you are great and powerful, but you have erred. I am not your son, Palabba. My name is Lakad, and I am your second daughter!” The High Father replied, ‘I see now my mistake. You will guide humanity to find their true selves and forge their own destiny!” Lakad and her mother smiled.
When a shadow fell across the moon, the third and final child was born. But Malawo became distraught as the baby was not breathing! ‘Do not fear, my love, our little one will live,’ said the exhausted mother. She put out her hands and the fearful deity placed their still child into their mother’s embrace. She held her baby close and whispered, ‘You, Aninaw, whose little eyes have beheld the world of the dead, will be a light to mortals in their darkest time.’ With these final words, the triplet’s mother smiled and breathed her life’s breath into her daughter’s mouth. Malawo gently bent over to lift his little baby. Just then, the eclipse ended and Aninaw opened her eyes and spoke. ‘Father, my mother’s sacrifice has shown me the delicate balance of mortality. I will guide the souls of the dead to your grace and offer light in the blackness of night.’
‘My beautiful little girls,” Malawo spoke, “without your mother to take care of you, I must take you back to Kaluwalhatian with me so that you may join me in my court.’ The sisters looked at each other and conferred without words. At last, it was the shining Sikat that addressed him. ‘You are our father and our lord, but we are half human and to honor our mortal mother and our vows, we must protect the Middleworld.’ Lakad spoke next. ‘Your kingdom is simply too far for us to watch over humanity.’ Aninaw whispered, ‘we will ascend to the Skyworld, father, but the mortals must still see us, so we look down upon them from the sun, the moon, and the stars.’ Malawo nodded stoically. ‘I respect your wisdom and your honor, but I will miss my daughters too much!” The children spoke in turn. Sikat assured him, ‘Fear not, father, at night when the sun is hidden, I will visit you.’ ‘And I will join you when the moon sinks below the horizon,’ little Aninaw said. However, Lakad looked off in the distance, and with a solemn look, she spoke. ‘I love you father. But I must help humanity walk a winding and dangerous road along their destiny. I cannot promise that I will ever attend your godly court.’ The great spirit closed his eyes and spoke. ‘I know our paths will cross again someday, my beautiful daughter. Until then know that you have made your father proud.’ With a final embrace, he lifted his babies into the sky where they look after us to this very day.”
– The tale of the Sky Sisters as recounted by the storyteller Dalisay the Wanderer