Avatar: The Way of Water just came out, and boy, oh boy, was it a good one. From amazing CGI to the endearing story of getting in touch with nature, all its living beings, and yourself, Avatar: The Way of Water brought us back to 2009 when the first movie came out and made us rethink our connection with one another and the nature surrounding us. The pivotal character in everything that the Na’vi do seems to be Eywa, but who is she, is she even real, and why is she so important?
To The Na’vi people and all other creatures of Pandora, Eywa is a goddess they worship, but Eywa is more than that. She’s a spirit that connects all living things on Pandora. Every bit of energy native to Pandora, whether it is a tree, a member of the Matacaya, or something as simple as grass, everything breathes, thinks, and connects
Do we know more about Eywa and the philosophy behind worshiping such a goddess? How do they connect and pray to her, and how do we know she’s real and not some bogus tale passed on through generations? Let’s uncover everything to know about Eywa throughout the rest of this article.
Eywa, in a nutshell
As previously mentioned, Eywa is a goddess of all living things on Pandora that they respect and worship. In their books, the definition of a goddess would be that she’s a spirit that connects all living things. She is the great mother, as many like to call her, and she never ceases to amaze and deliver to the people of Pandora.
In Avatar 1, Jake Sully goes to pray to the Hometree in the clan’s village before going into battle with the Sky People. Neytiri hears his prayers and says that the Great Mother doesn’t work like that; she only seeks to bring balance to life. When all hope seemed lost for the sky and ground squadron of the Na’vi people, the Ikran, Palulukan, and other animals appeared to fight off the evil that is the Sky People. Eywa heard Jake’s prayers and called for help.
Is Eywa real?
Eywa may not have a physical body, and Eywa may not be able to speak, but Eywa is as real as you and me, though she speaks not through words but only through actions. You could also say that Eywa is the glue that ties everything together on Pandora. If Eywa had a physical body, it would perhaps be a large core filled with souls of the deceased that branches out the connections to the ones still breathing and walking the ground of Pandora.
Everything in Pandora lights up when you come into contact with it, especially at night. The Na’vi people have star-like dots all over their bodies, The Tulkuns have stripes, and the grass lights up when you walk on it. These markings could present the neural pathways they all have which connect them.
Jake was seen as a smelly outcast in the first part because he had no connection to the pathways that connect all of them. Na’vi people can access and feel these connections to one another through something we can think of as the spirit realm.
How do we know she’s female?
Well, to start with, Eywa sounds like a female, but that won’t cut it when it comes to proof. They all refer to Eywa as the Great Mother or the All-Mother, so that should cover the proof department, but why is she female? How do they know?
Perhaps the reason why Eywa is considered female is that she’s the mother to all things. She created every living thing on Pandora, so it’s only natural to see her in the female form. She is to the Na’vi what mother nature could be to us if we respected and cared for her more.
Why is Eywa so important?
Without Eywa, the physical connections between living things may be there, but the spiritual connections wouldn’t. With Eywa, you take only as much as you need and make sure you return the spirit of what you took to the Great Mother. Without the spiritual connection, there would be no respect, leading everyone to overhunt and the destruction of Pandora, like humans did to planet earth.
The people of Eywa are never truly gone. They live in the complex system of those neural pathways forever and get brought back as memories. They’re always there, they’re always listening, and they are never really gone. If anything, they make the system stable and stronger because all energy is only borrowed, and there will come a time when we have to give it back.
What does Eywa mean to Metkayina?
Every tribe and clan on Pandora worships the same goddess. It’s just that their interpretations are different because they feel a connection to different beings and things. To the Metkayina clan, where Jake, Neytiri, and their children sought refuge and had to learn their ways, their prime connection is everything related to water.
This does not mean they don’t respect and care for other beings on Pandora, but the water is where they feel at home. The water is around them, and in them, the sea takes, and the sea gives, alluding to the balance of life that Eywa brings to Pandora.
The laws of Eywa
Unlike people, the Na’vi don’t believe that Eywa is there to punish them with natural disasters. They know these things are out of their control and don’t hold any grudges when they occur. They don’t worship Eywa in the sense that people worship a God on earth but still pray to, celebrate, and give thanks to her.
Each clan has a Tsahik with the biggest connection to Eywa and can communicate with her to transfer her will. A Tsahik is meant to guide a clan but not as a leader, but as a translator to what Eywa wants. They can heal all things that get in touch with Eywa and even help transfer consciousness into another body.
Eywa has three laws, but the guiding law is that Na’vi should protect the environment. The three laws state, ”You shall not set stone upon stone. Neither shall you use the turning wheel. Nor use the metals of the ground.” The laws are vague but easy to interpret. The third law explains why the Na’vi were unwilling to move from Hometree in the first movie when Sky People were there to mine Unobtanium.
The first law states that they shall not set stone upon stone. Although vague, we know that stone is not renewable, so the Na’vi should not build with stone, only with renewable sources like wood, for example. The second law is a direct reference to a piece of technology that marks the early development stages of technology in an intelligent species. To utilize the wheel, the Na’vi would have to build roads which would lead to the destruction of nature.
The last law forbids the Na’vi people from harvesting metals from the ground. Mining metal would lead to an imbalance and might result in over-mining and depleting Pandora’s natural resources. Every law of Eywa is in place to protect the ecosystem and environment and is a direct reference to what humans did to destroy their dying planet.
For humans, it’s hard to stop when they’re led by greed and money. Money determines how much power an individual holds, so with every step, humans take on earth, they are guided by their hunger for power, which in turn gives them leisure and other benefits. We’ve already done so much to destroy the planet, and it’s hard to come back from the damage already done.
We could all learn something from Na’vi and their belief in Eywa. We could learn to respect the environment and other species in our world. We could learn about the dangers of overhunting and killing innocent beings for money. We could learn to ground ourselves a bit and stop to think that our intelligence will be our inevitable demise if we don’t change something now.
We could learn that we are all connected, and we could learn to share the love with the most unexpected beings and other humans. Avatar as a movie can only hope to bring together people and even though we have a long way to go to even begin to fix things on our planet, perhaps watching Avatar is a good way to start coming to an understanding of what’s wrong with our ways and how we can begin to change for the better.