A Myth is Born... Most tales have Kidul banished to a forest where she wandered until she came to the cliffs overlooking the southern sea (Indian Ocean). This is where the various myths begin to emerge. Some authors claim that Kidul threw herself into the waves in desperation, after which she was drawn into the depths of the ocean to a palace where she was crowned the Queen of the Southern Seas, where she now resides over the evil spirits of Java. However, a majority of authors say that Kidul heard voices of spirits or gods urging her to enter the broiling waves so that she might regain her former beauty and become the queen of the spirit world.
But How? Kidul was able to become a fabled figure due to preexisting beliefs of her socio-geographical area, its cultural use of symbolism, and the roles females assumed as rulers.
Pre-existing Beliefs There is a general tradition in Mataram that founders of new states must marry princesses who come from supernatural origins. This is important because the society of Mataram would want to explain why their king’s consort was exiled from her kingdom in the first place. Otherwise, Kidul would be unable to assimilate into the preconceived notion that the rulers of Mataram were supernatural. Therefore, it would stand to fit that the society of Mataram would create and spread a myth about her in order to accept her into their culture.
Symbolisim Kidul is often characterized as a snake-like figure which is an important factor because snake-spirits are symbols known and used throughout the Indonesian archipelago. In the region, snakes are often the physical manifestation of tutelary spirits and are perceived to the local owners of the soil and guardians of its fertility, wealth, and welfare.
Roles Females Assumed When Ruling A ruler’s consort was partially responsible for the fertility of the region and promotion of fertility is symbolized through water. As mentioned before, Kidul is closely connected to the water, therefore, what is required from the royal consort can be construed as mystical, exemplifying Kidul’s growing mysticism
Therefore.... Nyai Roro Kidul was able to undergo a metamorphosis from a historical figure to a mystical being because of the preexisting beliefs in her geographical area, the cultural use of symbolism, and the role females assumed when ruling.
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