Attributes: Goddess of the ocean, rebirth and fertility, spiritual consort of the sultan
Symbols: Maritime themes and green colour
Nyi Roro Kidul, also called Nyai Loro Kidul or Eyang (grandmother), is a deity known as Queen of the Southern Ocean of Java (Indian Ocean, south of Java Island) in Javanese and Sundanese mythologies. According to Javanese mythology, she is also the spiritual consort of the Sultans of Mataram and Yogyakarta, beginning with Senopati (1584-1601) and continuing to the present day.
This Mermaid Goddess is commonly depicted as a mermaid, having a fish or serpent’s tail as the lower part of the body and being called Nyai Blorong in this form. According to popular beliefs, she manages to get the soul of anyone she wants, preferably young fishing men or tourists who bathe on the beaches.
She has many myths surrounding her and some blame her for the violent waves of the Indian Ocean from the bottom of the heart of the sea, where she lives.
The Goddess is intimately connected to the beauty of the Sundanese and Javanese princesses, being an important part of the folklore and popular beliefs of these cultures. Sometimes they may call it a Naga, a mystical serpent. This idea may have derived from some myths about a Pajajaran princess who suffered from leprosy, making her skin flake like a snake.
One of her myths even describes her as the same princess. It says that the king from that time planned to leave the throne, but as he had only her as heir, and a woman could not rule the country, he got married again.
The king’s new wife became pregnant, but due to jealousy, forced him to choose between her and his daughter. There was an ultimatum: If he chose his daughter, his wife would leave the palace, and if he chose his wife, his daughter would be banished and the child to be born would be the next king.
To be sure, the queen resolved the situation by ordering a wicked witch to curse the princess, causing her to suffer from leprosy.
The girl was banished from the palace and, desolate, committed suicide, throwing herself off a cliff in the middle of the waves. The sea restored her beauty and made her Queen of the Southern Ocean.
Nyi Roro Kidul is immortal and this is shown through her appearance as she always renews herself: a virgin that marries with successive Javanese governors. Continuous rejuvenation is also evident in the words of the current Sultan of Yogyakarta, who says that during the Waning Moon, the Goddess appears to him as a Maiden and she ages according to the lunar phases, being reborn in the New Moon.
This cycle of death and rebirth also attributes her the Goddess of fertility feature: always granting a good fruitful government to her devotees.