Most likely that Philippine Paganism and Magick now-a-days have influence of Western Magick and Spirituality because of the popularity of magical themed movies and TV shows that been broadcasted on multimedia. And one of the most popular is Harry Potter that makes Filipino turn to magick these days. Though Netflix has a TV Series about the Young Merlin and aside from it there are a lot more. I will not forget also the movie title The Craft, Practical Magic and the TV Series titled The Charmed where most Filipino Magical practitioners became crazy about.
As modern young people turn to magick, we have started to know western Gods and Goddess that been invoked in Magick such as the Goddess Gaia, Hekate, Diana, Isis, Astarte, and so on and so forth. For me personally, I become a Devotee of the Goddess Gaia and Isis. And in one time, i have participated to a class in writing devotional to the Goddess Hekate that been hosted by the Temple of Hekate in Seville, Spain. And this is what i notice, western Gods and Goddess are more popular that made me ask to my self that as a Filipino do we have our own local Gods and Goddesses?
The Philippines is an Archipelago that is composed of 7641 islands. And from these Islands we can find 14 to 17 Million Indigenous groups from 110 ethno-linguistic groups. And each of this indigenous groups are not naturally Christians as they exist prior the colonization of Spain. It is said that the earliest religion of the Filipino People were Muslim as they have arrived earlier in the Philippines in 1380 and established the religion of Islam through trade in several regions in the Philippines by Karim Al Makhdum. Indeed that it was a Peaceful religion that spread in our country without violence unlike the coming of Spain which shed many blood in order to proselyte our people into Christianity. But before 1380, what is the religion of our Ancestors?
It is believed that during the 7th century or from 601- 700 AD that Hindu-Buddhism arrived in the Philippines through the spread of Indonesian Kingdom of Srivijaya followed by Majapahit. And from this Hindu-Buddhist influence we have acquired the belief on the Diwata.
Diwata means Deity. It is derived from the Hindu and Buddhist word Deva which means the Shining one. The most common and popular Diwata that been allowed by Christians to be still known upto date is the Diwata Bathala and he was associated to the Christian God the Father.
Diwatang Bathala was known as the supreme God of the Katagalugan Region, it is still believed that Bathala is derived from the Indonesian God Bathala Guru which is an Avatar of the Hindu God Shiva. Even the muslim who arrived earlier than the Christians believe and associate Bathala to Allah, who is the Supreme Deity of Islam. But in Yuruba, one of the ancient tribe of Nigeria in Africa, they also believe in Obatala who is the eldest orisha authorized by Odolumare to create the Earth and Humanity.
With these we can see even the belief in the Diwata has a western influence that is not native to our Archipelago. But as we dig deeper to understand the Magico- Religious and Spiritual beliefs of our ancestors, we can see through Archeology that they have found an artifact dating from 2300- 50 BC which shows the ancient belief system of our ancestors that pertains to life after death. This evidence is known as the Manunggul Jar that is found at Tabon Cave in Palawan and now is in display at Philippine National Museum.
Through this artifact that is in display at National Museum of Anthropology in the Philippines, it shows that our ancestors believe in the after life and is connected to the austronesian belief of the Anito. This only shows that our country has a shared customs and beliefs with fellow maritime south east asian countries. Anito refers to the spirits of the ancestors, nature spirits and deities of the indigenous animistic spiritual beliefs of our ancestors.
Another artifact that shows evidence of our ancestors having their own belief in God is the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs which can be found in the province of Rizal. In this cave wall we can found numerous engravings that is believed to be prayer of our ancestors for healing and protection.
Through this we have learn that even before the Christianity, Islam, and Hindi- Buddhist influence-our ancestors know who is their God. But now-a-days due to colonization and commercialism, we have lose our sense of identity of who we are. Through their teachings, our people made believe that they need a new God to save them from Damnation of Hell. They have made our people believe that this new God promise us with empowerment; our lives can be better with them in the condition that we should embrace them. As we embrace the new Gods that been introduced to us, we are turning our back to our own God that gave us our life and identity. We turn our self away from the God that form us into the image of the Divine, and these new gods claim that they are the one who creates us.
But if they are our God, why we should study their Divinity? Why we should learn to pray according to their language? Why do we observe their laws and tenets? If they are the one who gave us life, there should be a “lukso ng dugo” or a blood line connection that we are related to them. This is what happen when the new religion arrive. They start their Evangelization or teaching people of what their religion is. The reason for that is because their God is a new God that people don’t know. Their new god is snatching us from the loving arms of our God. But our God will never leave us and forsake us. Every time that we look at the mirror, we can see the image of God in us because we are created according to the image of our God who is our First Ancestors.