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One thing that really fascinated me about the movie “Avatar”, in addition to the great characters, eye-popping action scenes and awesome, prehistoric-looking beasts, was the cosmology. I found it amazing that the native people of Pandora had their own religion. As someone who used to make up fake races and religions, I appreciate the hard work this must have taken. While their faith could be likely described as somewhat animistic, the Pandora natives believed in one supreme, feminine deity.  Eywa (I ask that the blue people forgive me in advance for spelling this name wrong) was something like a Great Spirit crossed with the Christian God. I say this because of the detailed creation narrative and deity’s involvement in the planet’s fate. Also the manner in which the hero, Jake was chosen to save them, is reminiscent of an Old Testament war-saga.

Right away, I noticed that the natives had a representative for their deity, one who discerns her will. Very sensibly, this high-priestess/shaman was also female. Think about it. The supreme deity of Pandora is female; she is a she, called “The Mother”. So the high-priestess assumes a physical presence of “Mother”. In the image of Eywa, she leads and consoles. Now, her husband is not high-priest nor are male priests ever mentioned. Obviously, they do not exist- nor can they. A priest of Eywa, who is the essence of maternity; a warrior in place of the life-giver, would simply be absurd! Why? Because the deity of Pandora is female and only fit to be represented by…wait for it…females.

For a moment, let us travel back to earth with its totally separate human race and separate cosmology. According to Christianity, the supreme deity of this universe is God Almighty: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Naturally, He is the Father-God, the essence of paternity. Who is chosen as His representative to the people? Well, a man of course! A high-priest- not a priestess. In the same way, warrior cannot be mother, mother cannot be warrior. Yet, we silly humans insist on forcing our ways onto natural order by saying that women should be able to stand at the altars, assuming a physical presence of “Father.” This malarkey wouldn’t fly in Pandora…

Why? Because the humble folks of Pandora recognize their gender roles- and are happy with them. Men are great warriors and women to some degree, also. Men however, lead the war-charge. Women do an equal share of hunting but it is they who hold and teach children. It is they who pass on the old stories. The Chief may declare war but the high-priestess tells if it is divine will. There’s no pushing and shoving here. We don’t see the men of Pandora clamoring to be priests or women rallying to be “chief-ettes”. No, the natural order is set and all have made peace, cherishing each of their unique, equally-important roles.

We goofy humans could really take a lesson from the blue people…

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