top-rated free essay

Creation Myths

By LillianMcGill May 07, 2008 801 Words
MYTHICAL EXPLANATIONS – the creation myth
Creation myths evolve in nearly as many ways as there are cultures. Sometimes they are used to solidify political power, as when Egypt moved back and forth from the gods Aten and Amen. More frequently they are used to explain the unknown. Some cultures used the familiar (animals, clay, mud, etc) to explain their existence, while others used the sun and moon, which were IN their lives, but not OF them. The Inuit creation myth turns the emergence tradition upside down; the sea goddess is the survivor of acts of extreme violence. Her parents cannot feed her and cast her into the sea to drown. When she survives and swims back to their canoe, they cut her fingers off, to prevent her from clinging to the boat. Those fingers becomes all the features of the sea, but she returned to the depths, sealed in by ice.

I’ve always found it interesting that where some peoples gave all power to a single entity (like the sun or Judeo-Christian God), while others, like the Japanese and the Maori, created a more balanced myth. (these are versions of the two-creator myth, but more critically in terms of culture, myths of balance) In Japan the Sun was female and the Moon male: to make the Sun a man would have given it too much power. The Maori used the sky and the earth as the father and mother of the universe (and no doubt many a dissertation has been based on the concept of the distant father).

Curiously, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic cultures have no true creation myths. The native peoples of Britain base their histories on invasions, which was their actual history. The very word “Heathen” comes from the word “heath” or rural areas of the UK.

Reading these various myths and the enormous faith people had in them, I cannot help but wonder – did the gods die, or are they perhaps still there, just awaiting the return of the faithful?

Most of the myths can be traced to the needs and rhythms and requirements of daily life. The Sun rose and brought light and life. It set, and the less-reliable Moon waxed and waned, sometimes providing light, often governing water. People planted food and it grew in relation to the sun, earth and water. Animals could hold secret powers within them; even today we associate cats with witchcraft, and dogs with demons. Hell, the opposite of creation, was ruled by a cloven hooved creature, and in many cultures, the more intelligent animals with coven hooves – the pigs and goats – are still considered unclean or demonic. Sheep and cows, however, don’t seem to have to same connotation.

The earth mother nurtured and fed; the fire demons had to BE fed in order to sate their appetites. It would also seem that the way people viewed their world had a great deal to do with how they created their mythologies. Fire gods have fearsome roles in many cultures with volcanic activity, such as Aztec, Hawaiian and Japanese cultures, where storm gods also held court. Inuits depended on the sea, which is where their creation goddess resided, which leads to another common point – from wherever the people drew their sustenance, they created a goddess, while at first glance, most destruction is caused by males. Death is also often a woman – we come from the darkness of the womb and return to the darkness of grave; the use of black and red as the primary colors of death or mourning is hardly by chance.

We believe what we need to believe or what provides the most comfort to the heart or head. I garden and marvel and the extraordinary and complex interrelationships in each phase of life. Like foxholes, there are few atheists in gardens. To see a small seed grow into a complex plant that feeds a multitude of other life forms, and continues to regenerate, even after death, is to watch a miracle. The deep-throated trumpet vine draws the long-billed hummingbird, each perfectly suited to the others physiology. Planting man-made hybrids and allowing them to self-propagate is a lesson in the power of nature; over generations artificial colors gradually disappear and only the original tones remain, even as the plants increase in number. Conversely, to suddenly find a sport, unlike anything seen before, and help it to re-propagate is its own creation myth. From one thing comes something very different, but equally strong.

The shocking new green of spring is the sole constant of life across time and space. All of mankind has marveled at the new growth of a new crop, the first bright buds of life returning to keep body and soul alive.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Creation Myths

    ...Throughout history there have always been questions about the origin of the world, creation and divine power. In the creation stories, The Book of Genesis and Shinto Myth from the Nihongi, there are similar beliefs that there is a stronger higher power creating and controlling events throughout the world. Both stories profess that man and woma...

    Read More
  • Creation Myths

    ...Creation Myths: Norse & Egyptian Hokulani Kitayama HUM105 August 14, 2012 Creation Myths: Norse & Egyptian Creation myths are present in all cultures of the world, and while these stories reflect very different beliefs of creation, they also possess many similarities as well. Each culture from around the world has developed belie...

    Read More
  • Iroquois Creation Myth: a Review

    ...The Iroquois creation myth has been around since at least 1142 A.D. in the Iroquois nation in North America, in what is now known as New York, Quebec, and Ontario. While the minor details may change depending on who tells you the story, the main premise remains the same. Each story describes the planet pre-dating humans as an unlimited expanse ...

    Read More
  • Cosmic Creation Myth

    ...Cosmic Creation Myth across Culture Paper Kristin Sheffield HUM 105 For decades myths have been told about the development of the world. Each culture has their version of how life began. These myths are centered on creation; how the earth was created, how the sky, land or the sea was created, and how humans and animals were created. These...

    Read More
  • Maori Creation Myth Essay

    ...of almost every culture in the world has a creation myth explaining how the wonders of the earth came to be. These myths have a powerful influence over the people’s culture, and the way they think about their surroundings. Creation myths usually begin with the theme of birth; birth represents new life and a new beginning. Creation myths develo...

    Read More
  • Cosmic Creation Myths Across Cultures

    ...Cosmic Creation Myths Across Cultures The story of Rangi & Papa and Viracocha Leah E. Johnson University of Phoenix HUM/105 World Mythology Instructor: Kristen McQuinn July 21, 2013 Reading the various stories of how the world came to be is absolutely enthralling and totally captivating. One can lose hours reading story after st...

    Read More
  • Norse Creation Myth

    ...Norse Creation Myth At the beginning of time, nothing existed. The earth, the gentle oceans lapping up against its shores, man and animal had not yet been created. Only a great yawning abyss was present in the void of nothingness. Out of the abyss, a land of eternal mist, darkness and terrible cold was formed to the North; to all beings, this l...

    Read More
  • Creation Myth

    ...English H, Period 2 16 December 2013 Pangu: Creator of the world           "The Creation of Heaven and Earth" is a myth that first appeared in Sanwu Liji written by Xu Zheng in the Three Kingdoms Period of ancient China and was spread from the southern ethnic minorities since then, including the Miao and Yao. The story began wi...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.