02/8/12

Summary to Some Creation Stories

Summary to Historical Essay – Some Creation Stories

Originally posted July 14, 2011

There are hundreds of creation stories, most all are supernatural, mythic religious tales, explaining the beginnings of humanity, the earth, life, the universe, and representation of the stars and planet’s movements. Putting the shapes and movements of the sky into rhythms which humans could relate to; stories that try to explain these movements in reflection of own lives.  They share the same themes, such as, the forming of life out of primordial chaos, or the earth emerging from an infinite and timeless ocean, or simply from a creation out of nothing at all. This is very similar to the fact that, beyond a reasonable doubt, astronomy and physics have also shown that indeed we had a beginning; before which, there was nothing, and then afterwards, there was the universe.

There are even creation myths in existence that include the beliefs that aliens from space, another species, landed here once, and perhaps still do, and over the millennia, have tried many times to create life on earth. The myths insinuate that millions of years have been spent trying to grow different life forms which would survive on a planet of rock. These aliens then gave the earth’s core an energy source that permeates through all things on the surface, while celestial objects do the same from above. And maybe, they began to get it right, after a meteor extinguished the dinosaurs. They then created one species, humanity but had to re‑create them a few times to get it right, at least something which they were happy with. That would be modern man. Then about 12,000 years ago they would give us food. We quickly ate up all the big game, so they had to return and bring more food, the four basic food groups we still survive on today and that which we can grow ourselves; wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes. But maybe they were just trying to find out where they themselves, came from.

The most interesting thing about creation myths is that most became prominent about 5,000 years ago, when the first civilizations were arising in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Mediterranean, India, China, Mexico, and Peru. Cities were being born, populations expanding and the written word came into being. Many of these civilizations were geographically separated from one another, yet half of them built themselves up from nothing, with just as many not suspecting there was another civilized race in the world. Though there is still so much we simply don’t know about or have found yet as to ancient history.

What we do know is that just as the earth’s population exploded, with many new technologies and inventions, cities grew ever larger and creation myths appeared. Strangely enough, it is also the time when the ego of humans began to dictate the way things were going to be.

Some creation myths seem quite absurd or extremely fictional, if not illogical. But though they may or may not be factual, in the literal sense, most of them do pass on certain basic truths about the meaning and purpose of life on the planet earth. Most are not, religious in nature, and more often than not, they are related to worldly things that are not even connected to religions or sacred meanings. They are myths created by humans and not supernatural beings and/or mythological figures. But because we are a symbolic species, our reality is not necessarily action or feeling, but meaning. The majority of people perceive the world only in terms of the symbols that represent their language and culture. Any symbol that represents a particular meaning or ideal, recognized by the people who share the culture, becomes a belief.

This belief defines our identity to ourselves and to others by shaping what we believe into something that may be true, and then through the use of ritual practises, the belief then is transcended beyond the limits of our knowledge. The symbol then becomes sacred, thus, it becomes magnificent, high and mighty, and people become filled with awe. This is the main reason why many creation stories are very closely linked with the belief systems and religions that arose from them; for creation myths are the seeds of creation for such beliefs and religions. Though the problem that has forever been, is unfortunately, an idea which turns from a philosophy into a religion. It becomes extreme in one way or another, and most always brings only conflict.

The idea that all creation myths are somehow interconnected is common, even among most of the largest religions of the world. Some people interpret creation myths as poetic descriptions of the sun, moon, and stars’ behaviour, which has been distorted over time into tales of gods and heroes. Others are leery toward creation stories because they are suspicious of the broad viewpoints of myths, “particularism.” Then there are others who surmise that perhaps, Enki, Atum, Kinich Ahau, the Grand Unity, Purusha, Brahma, Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Odin, Hah-gweh-di-yu, Wiraqocha, Elohim, Yahweh, Mangela, Allah, the Great Creator, the Great Ruler, Mother Earth, Father Sky, and a tiny, incredibly hot speck are all different manifestations of one single god and that they are all one in the same.

Many of the creation myths are also very comparable; in that most all have a flood story of their local area, and which is viewed as a punishment on a previous people for their disobedient behaviour. There is most always some sort of creative sacrifice, with a god dying then being reborn. Nearly every creation myth includes a life – death ‑ rebirth god. There also seems to always be a most supreme being, who after he creates the world, and especially if he was also a life – death ‑ rebirth god, cuts off contact with humanity and becomes “deus otiosus,” an idle god. Obviously proving the process of creation is an exhausting enterprise. These supreme beings are then sometimes replaced by a stronger and younger group of gods, called a Titanomachy, who most often would gain their powers by either struggling with or conquering an older group of gods who usually represented some sort of chaos. Shamans and priests then created a belief system based on what all creation myths are based on and that is a founding myth.

A myth becomes the origin for the customs, rituals, and identity of people. There were and are many ancient and traditional societies that justified their actions and customs by claiming their gods were the ones who established them in the first place and ignoring the fact that they were actually created by man. Even today, many cultures are still based on belief systems created thousands of years ago, with Evangelical Christians and Muslims especially, acknowledging that their core directives are timeless, and to this day, read their respective scriptures the same way, literally. The Bible and the Qur’an are both deemed to be the direct word of god and the absolute truth handed down for all time.

Most all creation myths also have an “axis mundi.” A place or thing where north, south, east and west meet, as well as being the point where contact with the other levels of the universe can be made. The “axis mundi” is represented as either, the Sacred or Cosmic Tree of Life, the center of the world or its navel. Each culture has its own impression of where the center is, and it appears in many different forms. Many times it is a place, like a mountain, or a temple, or even a pile of rocks. Most times it appears as a tree, sometimes a vine. The Tree of Life in the book of Genesis grows in the center of the Garden of Eden, from which four rivers flow and nourishes the whole world. The Mayans had their World Tree; even the beginning of the big bang theory has a center.

The “axis mundi” could also be a god or human figure, like the Buddha. It would also be represented in the hearth, and the altar. Our earliest dwellings, besides caves, were circular structures most often with a central pole holding everything together, the hearth at the center dug out of the earth. Then it progressed to square homes with the hearth in the middle and from there to square homes surrounding a fountain and a courtyard. Simple altars became the pyramids and great cathedrals. These are all “axis mundi” centers, and are continuing to be built on an ever more massive scale with today’s “axis mundi” represented in our landmark skyscrapers, which are even sometimes called centers. Other representations are the remaining ancient stone formations or mounds, in various locations around the world. In many cases, humanity is obsessed with always looking somewhere else for the center of the world, when in reality all they have to do is to look within. This then brings us to mono myths, the hero’s story. Nearly every single creation myth possesses the same or similar structured, classical stories of the hero. It is characterized in many different ways and has been and still is the basic story line in much of our present day art, music, literature, poetry, religion, and film. It is also a story that is representative of a human’s life, though there never seems to be enough people willing to follow the path that leads to true peace, like heroes do.

Usually they begin after a miraculous birth, and after maturing into adulthood, the hero ventures out from the ordinary world into a supernatural realm. There they face fantastical forces, but are eventually victorious. The return journey is just as adventurous and filled with toils and troubles, and upon the hero’s return, he shares the knowledge and powers he has attained with his people. The story is of departure, initiation, and return; a very familiar tale of life, death, and rebirth.

They all begin when something or someone causes the hero to become aware of a new situation, an adventure he did not know about. They are told that they are desperately needed, that the life or death of humanity and/or creation is at stake. At first they refuse to help out, using the excuses of a sense of duty, obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy perhaps, and even love. Suddenly the hero becomes a victim to be saved. But once the hero commits to the journey there soon appear, consciously or unconsciously, guides that will assist the hero. It is usually an old woman or an old man. Their knowledge makes them representatives of the protecting power of destiny. Soon the hero realizes that all the forces of conscious, even Mother Nature, are at his or her side. The hero leaves their known world and departs from their self, and who they thought themselves were. The hero nearly dies, but is healed and/or reborn. They are then put through trials or series of ordeals or tests, usually three of them. Afterwards the hero feels unconditional love for the first time with a fellow human. The experience is overwhelming, and makes them feel very complete. And then comes some sort of physical or material temptation of life, such as morality, lust, cruelty, or greed.

The high point of the story is now reached, with the hero confronting whomever or whatever holds the ultimate power in the hero’s life. Many times, it is the father or a father figure who possesses powers over life and death. The hero is now faced with the hardest part of his journey, forgiveness and redemption, which requires the abandonment of the attachment to the ego. This is what is so very difficult. But when attained, the hero experiences a period of calm fulfilment and peace with their inner spirit. They come to realize that the immortal, indestructible being they just overcame was not what they were after at all. The benefit of achieving the goal of their quest was actually not the being itself, but the power that sustained it, and its grace, conscience and virtue. Much of Eastern philosophy is based on this principle. “We seek not to imitate the masters. Rather, we seek what they sought.

Having realized profound bliss or enlightenment, many a hero refused to return to the ordinary world. Some even stay and become immortal, others stay and die. The ones who decide to return often need help in the journey, for though they are at peace with themselves they are, more often than not, wounded or weakened in some way. Rescuers or guides appear to help them along their mythical flight home. This represents the classic and all too common, chase scene.

When the hero finally makes it back to their normal world, it is usually a very difficult time for them. They ponder how they are to integrate back into a normal life. The wisdom they have gained has changed them. They are masters of comfort and competency in their inner world, as well as the world around them. And because of their atonement, they are able to give up the attachments of their own personal limitations, traits, hopes, fears, and no longer are willing to live their lives by just going through the motions. The hero is now willing to settle down and relax in the present moment, and whatever they may face, to deal with life as it happens. They contribute to their communities and to everyone they meet. They have come to understand that one earns respect by respecting others, which then gives peace of mind. They neither anticipate the future nor regret the past. They simply make each present moment count. And this is why the true heroes of the world are usually kind, generous, and patient. They understand that no one is perfect and that no one will ever know everything, and that all there is, is how one acts right now in the present moment, and they understand the power and importance of forgiveness. They achieve such awareness through the disciplines of body, mind, and spirit. Their heroism becomes simply, grace under the pressures of life, and their own conduct during times of temptation. They become beings with moral character, putting the interests of others above their own and possess the divine with reserved dignity and patience.

The opposite of the hero’s story is what too many of us have become over the years, and that is, individuals strutting around thinking a spotlight and camera are following us. Indignity is now all the rage. Human nature has now become rarely unbiased or unprejudiced. Instead it is always operating in the extreme, either to the right or the left, but not very often in the middle way, with compromise. We’ve become opinionated, rash, angry, and loud. Living lives of illusion.

Besides the themes already mentioned, there is much to be learned from creation myths. The main problem has always been in how they have been interpreted. Like the foolishness of thinking we are here to rule and subdue the planet and all that dwell on it and to strip it of its resources, instead of the ideological viewpoint of favoured living in harmony with nature and our fellow human beings. But then that is the main problem with language and deep human thought, both are limited only by the metaphors available.

Thousands of years ago a simple group of people, after the men had returned from hunting down some game and the women had gathered up roots, berries, and grubs, they would sit around the fire and watch, listen and tell stories about their adventures of that day. They used various tones of grunting, body movement, gestures, and facial expressions, like smiling or titling the chin or rolling one’s eyes to explain their adventures. Or maybe the group would just sit back and with a clear focus, whittle away on a bone and make it into something or chip away at a stone to make an arrowhead. And then perhaps they’d just lie back upon mother earth and stare up into the expanse of space and wonder about all those twinkling lights. Then over time, some of them, at first with just their finger then a stick, would draw in the dirt and sand, and later hand paint the walls of their caves. Eventually scratching and carving the stories in shapes and symbols representing their tribes’ sign, on stone and pieces of bark, would detail the oral traditions and legends that would be passed down over generations. They believed that they were one with nature and that they would progress forever forward by simply continuing to share and compare the knowledge they gained.

Scribes and priests would begin to record these stories, transforming language into the written word, using their own interpretations and then creating world‑views. Many of the first civilizations would then use these stories on which to base their beliefs, tenets, rules and hierarchy. Everyone would soon succumb to the fears presented to them, which these institutions would then distort into an unconscious need to conquer, defeat and impose their own way of life onto others by force. For a few thousand years the first civilizations would be only concerned with growth, expansion, war, and mega‑projects, while the majority of the ever growing population’s concerns were strife, famine, and drought. Illusions would be created and still are, illusions that enter our minds and become realities, for indeed we are simply myth making mammals.

Creation myths aside, every single life form on the planet behaves in uniform, species-specific ways, most being guided by instincts, such as biological programming. However compared to all other living things, a human’s creative power is vast. But we now rely on culture, rather than instinct to ensure the survival of our kind. At one time, though rare today, we had biological forces within us, called instincts. This is where our soul resides. Where once we listened, we now most often ignore that “gut feeling,” and go in the direction our ego wants to go. Our souls have become cloaked in our egos, capes woven from our reactions to being in the world. This has translated into suffering, struggle, attachments, vulnerability, fear, insecurity, and anguish that come from our particular society.

Our soul is the core of our being. It is the energy that is held there, a frequency if you will, but which is voiceless. It is where peace, calmness, composure, love, concern, and unlimited understanding reside. Though we have become beings that have gained tremendous mental power, we instead occupy ourselves with fashioning the natural environment into something self-serving, to ourselves and to our culture, according to where one happens to have been born and raised. Today it seems, far too many people have forgotten that they even have a soul and for various reasons, all created by the ego, far too many people are willing to forever be victims. The willingness to no longer be a victim comes from the soul, it allows us to either be free to suffer or free to stop suffering. The ego, creation myths, and many religious doctrines, cloud this truth and want us to be unaware that we have this choice. They try to dictate what our conscience is to be, because the act of thinking is what enslaves the soul and our conscious freedom. If one’s soul is free, they are able to meet suffering, to be aware of it, and then consciously choose to let it go.

When it comes right down to it, most all creation stories are make-believe, but where do they end? Will it be extinction, enlightenment, or evolvement? We are the first species, which we know of, to have the ability to stave off extinction, if we decide to. Enlightenment would lead to a better way of living allowing us to make the proper decisions, based on the realization that to stay alive, we need to keep the planet alive. This would be by creating a world of limited, earth friendly consumption, with technology working for us, as a friend, and not working against us like the enemy much of it has become. So basically, evolvement can go either way, enlightenment or a world overpopulated with robots, drones, and worker bees. A world where the privileged few defend that privilege with obese establishments of weapons and propaganda, while the majority of the world faces poverty, desperation, and death, a world of food and water rationing, with the food that is available, genetically altered. A world where perhaps many live indoors or underground, when the sun is out. A world of acid rain, polluted rivers and poisoned oceans. A world where people are wearing paper masks when meeting other people and our thoughts and behaviour dictated by big brother and the corporate elite.

Perhaps we should learn to once again, respect the characters of the creation myths that created such myths. The true creators of life are the sun, the moon, earth, water, the sky, and nature, who don’t care what we call them. At this stage of our history the only way to achieve this is through community and to return to family values, a sense of self, and awareness, for this is where love is found, as well as through mutual cooperation and respect, instead of our present values of corporate greed, television, and egotistical materialism.

Some people will hold their belief in their own particular creation story. Each one based on religion or science. Indeed creationism and evolution have become major issues with many people. The war between religion and science has been at the core of many disputes ever since creation stories came to be, with each side proclaiming the truth. While in reality, the truth happens when true science and true religion are in harmony with each other.

Scientific knowledge and modern technologies are racing forward at an ever quickening pace, yet our societies are still based on concepts and principles created centuries ago. In far too many ways humanity and its morality are being left behind in the dust. Present human activity and all its effects on the planet, the atmosphere and ourselves has been shaped by thinking patterns that are based on structures, needs, and values used by our ancestors six thousand years ago. Our present day societies are burdened under the heavy load of traditional religions, or otherwise considerations of the past. The bulk of scientific knowledge that we have gained has only contributed to environmental degradation and has given us the illusion that our world is better because of it. Instead science should make our lives better, with the driving force being concern for our welfare and the protection of the environment. The problem with science in the last few centuries is that all its focus has been on the sciences of matter, which do nothing to change the natural conditions and spirituality of life itself.

Up until recently the focus of the sciences of human behaviour have been primarily on people themselves, and not on the environmental conditions that created that individual. But we must continue to develop all the sciences of life and start to allow our inner being to make its way from beneath our manufactured, conditioned, personalities. Biology, physiology, and psychology are the only courses that could lead to positive change in our quality of life, not the fabrication of yet a bigger screen television or a faster car or an ever more powerful god. Just studying the individual does not identify the factors regarding that person’s behaviour. It is not human nature, but human behaviour that we need to be concerned with. And up until now, much of our behaviour is based on religious thought, cultural influences and the belief in creation myths.

I shall end this essay with some interesting ways of looking at science and the world, for I believe the future does not just happen, other than natural events of course, but instead comes through the efforts of people and is determined by how well we are informed, of both sides of the story. There need not be so much polarity between us. There is absolutely no right or wrong, instead there are only points of view. If what we want to create are fairness, balance and understanding then we need to give these things to others.

One of the most recent belief systems to have emerged in the world, one of the youngest of all religions, is the Baha’i faith which believes that humanity is indeed a single race and has the fundamental belief of the equality of men and women. One of its fundamental principles is of the harmony of religion and science. They believe that religion without science is merely superstition, and that science without religion is materialism. They believe truth to be one entity, the unity of science and religion. They cannot be opposed for they are both aspects of the same truth. As Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame, while religion without science is blind.” The Baha’i faith believes that a human’s reasoning power is all that is required to understand the truths about religion and that whenever conflict arises between religion and science it is always due to human error, either through misinterpretations of religious scriptures or through the lack of a more complete understanding of science. Religious leaders who only accept the truth by what has been written in scripture many centuries ago, could learn much from scientists who are mortal humans also seeking the truth. The difference though is that the most important trait a scientist must have, is to admit when they are wrong, which then enables them to go on and find perhaps the right conclusion.

The written word of divine scripture is based on one of the main problems with language since it was invented, in that it is extremely limited because it is based on metaphors and comparisons. Most scriptures are interpretations, that more than likely, have nothing to do with the original texts that they are taken from, nor have they survived intact through the multiple translations. Many of them are primitive tales of legend and superstition. Another problem with a lot of scripture is that many people believe it is a goal, when instead the words that are contained within are actually tools. Though there are some religions that do understand that most all scriptures are human attempts to try to understand the incredible actions of the universe, but their attempts were limited by the particular time and culture, in which they were originally written down, more than two thousand years ago.

In most all faiths, when a person’s perception of themselves becomes fundamentally separate from other people, things and obstacles that they encounter, and even separate from the divine, it becomes very difficult to attain spiritual growth. They create limitations upon themselves. For developing a meaningful and personal spirituality takes work, and is an ongoing job. It is a way of walking, not talking.

The powers of logic and reason are also just as limited as is language, when it comes to a belief, for true realization in a faith comes from something that is far simpler and more innocent than logic. The ancient Greeks came to believe that logic (logos), the reasoning side, was only one of three distinct parts that made up a human being and in no way was the most important. There are also the positive and absolute, the (pathos), from where feelings come and which is based on our relationships. And finally, there is character (ethos), our integrity and the trust that one inspires.

As to logic, no matter what our ego thinks, we are not inherently rational. Formal logic is a very recent creation of humankind. It was brought about so that humans could ignore inner knowledge. Our more natural methods of thought is doing what feels right, based on experience and custom, intuition and instinct, and simple gut feelings. We modern humans seem to be happier and feel more comfortable talking about the logical reasons for doing something, instead of being honest and admitting that many times we simply don’t know and go with what we feel. For seeking to understand requires consideration, while seeking to be understood takes courage.  Once again we return to Mr. Einstein who stated, “I didn’t arrive at my understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe through my rational mind.”

Einstein thought of himself as an agnostic in that he did not believe in a personal god, for he felt god was simply an expression and product of human weakness. But he felt himself to be very religious, as he once explained, “If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. Knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which is only accessible to our reason in their most elementary form; it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitutes the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.” He believed that there were three styles of religion.

The first being fear with the weak understanding of causality, of cause and effect, which then creates yet more fear, and the invention of supernatural beings. The second style is the desire for love and support, which then creates a social and moral need for a supernatural being. The third style does not have a concept of god per se, as in a non‑human creature or a being that has human characteristics, but instead, “The individual feels  . . .  the sublimity and marvellous order which reveal themselves in nature  . . .  and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole.” As Einstein, and countless others before him were able to do, and which we must do today, is to give ourselves the freedom to rise above our present realities and seek new and creative ideas, to get past the log jam that we have created.

One way to do this would be by pulling our heads out of the sand, shutting up the voices in our heads, living and understanding the moment, start looking out for one another and find the lost emotion of empathy. Far too many of us feel we must believe in an almighty protector and saviour, and that this deity’s divine power is the source of help and support and makes us feel secure in the thinking there is someone watching over us. Reality may be that we simply start showing just as much compassion to our fellow members of the human family, as we do to a god, that may or may not exist, we will attain help and support, and always have someone watching over us.

I myself try to understand all sides and enjoy doing so, and believe that society is not fixed by a god’s will or by human nature. It is a system that we can study scientifically and based on what we learn about our world and its nature; we can act deliberately to improve, whether it is us or our planet. And yet the flip side of this coin is that many scientific findings are based entirely on mathematics and cannot be practically tested or proven. So one then has the choice of believing or not. Thus, in many ways, science could also be defined as a belief system.

It seems that the essence of the universe is the same energy that we all share, and it is this which we need to become more aware of. To realise that we are all a part of and share the energy source of the atom and therefore we all share the same soul and that our imperfections are what makes us the beings we are. As the revered Leonard Cohen so wrote and sang, “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

If indeed there is a creator, a supreme god, or even a group of gods, whether male or female, mortal or supernatural, man or animal, I can only imagine what they would be thinking as they look down upon their creation today. I wonder if its sadness, disappointment, or embarrassment? Or maybe they have no thought on the matter whatsoever, knowing that regardless of the ignorance of humanity, the future will force us to behave differently, whether we like it or not. If it is true that they can see everything, do they notice that much of the life that they created is gone from the earth, with the remainder abused, used, assaulted, and raped? Do they not see that untold numbers of plants and wildlife have become extinct from their creation? What do they feel about our madness in soiling our own nest, the earth? Are they downcast and shaking their heads because we failed to understand that each living thing on the planet has the divine essence within it or that the messages hidden within their scriptures were not interpreted properly or maybe ignored? Perhaps they are rolling their eyes at us, and trying to figure out why we did not just listen to our inner being. Our spirituality is the wisdom that we each carry within. What do they think about when they see that the world they created has been re‑created by a very few, for the many? Or is it that good and righteous are more often than not, overshadowed by evil and immorality. From their vantage point, I’m sure they notice that the majority of us are living lives that have not changed since the first civilizations. We continue to make lies truths, and that we dream and don’t act, and that far too many of us are moving through our lives on paths of least resistance and distraction. Most people are simply being functions of their culture, living out scripts, based on opinions, perceptions, and standard patterns written by parents, friends, the church, and society. They must feel embarrassed seeing their own followers, the ones that believed in them, more concerned with their own salvation than the planet on which they live or their fellow human being. This, at least to me, seems somewhat of a paradox.

No matter how evolved or sophisticated we think we are today, much has stayed the same for us since creation, though in many other ways we have digressed. No longer believing we are all interconnected, we first separated ourselves from nature. We then separated god from creation, ourselves from other groups of humans, and then went a step further where we separated ourselves from our own families and even our own selves and now find ourselves believing we can do anything we want for our own reasons. We spend our time wandering around looking for the right person, when we should in fact be trying to be the right person. It was a shocking point in time for humanity when it was discovered that the earth was not the center of the universe, though today, we have come to believe as individuals we are the center of the universe.

Too many of us have lost our relationship with our inner selves, our souls, and need something to fill the void. Our soul is the representative of the natural energy that all living things share. Organized religions and the perceived values of our cultures are what usually fill this void when our soul is forgotten and/or ignored, or just missing and lost. They fill the void by dictating how we are to live, how we should feel, and what we are to think. While those without a soul at all and who only listen to the voices in their heads, eventually become ever more greedy and violent. Creation myths and most organized religions are based on these dualities of humankind. Ego represents evil, and good represents the divine, that is within each one of us.

In reality we humans do not need much to seek and develop our true spirituality, which when realized, should benefit all. We need few things, one being to live peacefully, in comfort and ease; secondly, the ability and freedom to explore. We need to test new frontiers, challenge some myth, work on becoming more aware, try new foods, try once in awhile to think outside the box, and be free from the drudgery of regular routines. And finally, we all need a support system to keep us in check whenever we wander, and to believe wholeheartedly, that though we may not be able to control our thoughts all the time, we can act and control our actions.

Besides creation myths, one could look back over the short time we humans have resided on the earth and agree that we have created and re‑created our worlds and ourselves, in countless ways and continue to do so, each and every day. Which direction we go in from here, is simply up to us. Should we even worry about where we came from? Should we learn what has already been taught and seek further knowledge by placing the greatest importance on simply being concerned for what we do today? This is only going to happen but once, and will dictate what happens tomorrow. As for yesterday, well, it already happened, lets learn from that.

As a species we will eventually homogenize and all start to, no doubt look the same, but it will be a very slow process, controlled by our genes, language and cultural, financial and economic choices. But we should always continue to discuss and never lose sight or perspective and that all individuals, no matter the race, are deserving of the same rights and opportunities. That no matter the where, how and why we were created, or what creation story one happens to believe, we were created at the same time, from the same place. Living together on one planet among many revolving round the sun and that if we were to die off as a species the earth and life would continue.

“History is not what was, but what is.”  William Faulkner

 

 

 

 

07/14/11

Some Creation Stories

Part 1 of 3

Mesopotamia – Egypt – Mayan – China – Ainu of Japan

After having spent some twenty years commercially working upon and beneath the ocean’s surfaces, where most days, you are out there on the edge, over time and multiple near death experiences, one’s mind ponders many things. I began to study religion and science through history, then drifted to researching the time before religion and science. I found many answers and as many, if not more, questions. I continued to do my homework and of course ended up at the beginning, where this essay’s seed began to germinate. It was followed by others, but we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, as we most often do.

Throughout my researching and reading I sought to gather as much, and as up to date, information as I could pertaining to creation, human behaviour and history. Encapsulating hopefully what those in the know, know now, and continue to learn, as well as sharing the creation myths of groups of human beings who together inhabit the planet earth as a single species. Thereby perhaps allowing us to get some perspective on many truths and illusions.

Much thanks, admiration and respect goes to anyone who has made it their passion in life to seek truths through the disciplines of science and philosophy. The following essay, Some Creation Stories, grew as an essay and eventually peaked out at a goliath fifty-seven pages, so I will be posting it in parts. It was completed in 2009. Part One includes the Prologue and the creation myths of early Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Mayan, China and the Aniu of Japan. All resource material and bibliography for this essay is listed under Research. Have fun. Much peace and thanks.

Prologue

Most all the cultures of the world have their own creation myths, with many of them rooted in oral traditions and histories that have been passed down through the previous generations, and then with the invention of writing more than 5,000 years ago, they were finally recorded, and then through multiple translations and interpretations, they became hopeful answers to the question of, where did we come from? They represent a time when growing cultures began to dominate the direction our thoughts would take and when memory came into our beings. Though at one time, before the earliest creation stories, the question where we came from was perhaps not even asked, for it had nothing to do with, and was not a concern in one’s life, when most were living in the present moment, with memory used more as a survival tool. Creation stories’ emphasis is on explaining humanity’s place and role in the world.

Thousands of years ago this became important, when small groups of humans grew to form larger populations of hundreds, then thousands of individuals. It was the time when we had to learn how to get along with each other, outside of our traditional small tribal group, and village.

Within these first populations, human morality would become defined by creation stories as a means for social control, conflict resolution and group solidarity. Before creation stories and the subsequent religions that would arise from them, humans already understood how to properly behave with their fellow humans and always had. Our behaviour was based on the ability to be able to understand the present, to be aware of our surroundings and most importantly to remember the behaviour that would be right for the situation at hand and for living peacefully with others.

Even chimpanzees have a deep understanding of the social world around them. Each chimpanzee has the ability to mentally model the impact of its own action on the group, as well are able to guess the intentions of others. Thus, the perceived belief that we only get our morality from religion is layed open. We used to very much, understand that there were many important similarities behind life’s experiences, but then with the emergence of creation stories and religion, we were told only of perceived facts, a specific doctrine, that would be taught to us in a very specific way. We were preached to ignore the truth and that reality is actually nothing but a blurred and confused general definition of life, and truth soon began to disappear. What we thought, what memories we had, all began to be controlled. People would begin to believe in a god, because they would become conditioned to believe in a god.

Personal memories are mostly constructed by us without any influence. While the memories of belief systems are actually deemed factual by way of manufactured knowledge, which soon dilutes the wisdom of a culture and polarizes the races of human beings. Races who are not allowed their individual view on the matter, but instead taught of a right way and a wrong way. Which instantly creates enemies who believe their way is the right way, and therefore have justification for all sorts of actions and behaviours.

These systems would become developed to be easily learned and were, and are, taught in a very systematic and certain way, using proverbs, textbooks, churches, and classrooms. The inflexibility of these teachings has been the disability of anyone actually trying to learn something. Very early on certain individuals found that the way to control a population was to control the population’s mind. And the best way to start is to get them when they are young, and quickly teach them all about fear and guilt, the enemies of human beings. Look at a newborn child, happy as a clam, hears words but they don’t yet appear in their heads, they simply don’t believe in anything yet. Their minds are a blank slate (tabula rasa), and do not even possess an ego yet, which they won’t develop for another couple of years. Babies are even born with the ability to make sounds of any language, but as they learn the language of their parents, they lose this ability.

The dominating values of all societies do not come from the people, but are generally the views held by a domineering, authoritative control group, either the church, the military, banks and corporations, or the power elite. They are the ones who determine the public agenda, which in most cases, is to serve only their own interests, and not, we the people. Rulers and governments become the tools used to suppress or explain away any deviations that may threaten the power of the elite. Today, much of what we call our conscience, or believed to be morality, is unfortunately, not influenced as much by our soul, but more by where we live, the era we live in, and how we are raised. Even government, has given way to the power of the media. Our most cherished beliefs, our thoughts on what is good and evil, and even our concepts of morality has been created by our cultural heritages and experiences, and defined by the media. Where before the rulers and priests ruled with the whip and sword, and revolt and disturbances were put down quickly and viciously, today the media is used instead, to constantly manipulate and control the masses. This method of control is very subtle as it doesn’t use force, but is so successful we don’t even know, or sense, we are being manipulated. Besides many organized religions, the media is also very adept at hiding the realities of our economies, of really what’s going on elsewhere in the world and in our own communities, as well as the realities of life itself. Combined, these concepts represent the perception we would have of our worlds, and would become known as the world-view.

When language was invented, it became the manifestation of the world-view, and began trying to explain our collective sense of existence. This world-view would be the framework for generating, sustaining, and applying all the knowledge that we would gain over the centuries. The concept of a world-view comes from the German word, “weltanschauung,” and is just that, our sense of existence. It operates and is constructed by individuals, mostly at the national level, but also at the community level and/or the unconscious level, and is most always made up of six basic building blocks.

These six building blocks would be used by individuals all though history, for all different reasons and intentions. The using of different scientific disciplines, language and various systems of knowledge give us Ontology, a descriptive model of the world or the ideas and beliefs through which we interpret, to be able to interact with our world. The Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies at the Flemish university, the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, in Brussels, Belgium, lists them as; an Explanation for the world; Futurology – Where are we going? ; Ethical Values – What are we supposed to do? ; Methodology – How are we to behave and attain our goals? ; Knowledge – What is true and false, real or imagined? ; and Etiology – the building blocks of our origins and construction of our societies.

Our hidden being is what is hidden within these symbols, codes, and fables that would become the scriptures, which all appeal to our moral intuitions and have evolved over the centuries by our thoughts and experience about the causes and possibilities of human happiness. We combine science with this knowledge to create our world view. Intertwined and woven into most scripture are truths about our inner being and that all the wisdom we will ever need is within us, it only takes a pure heart and deep need to seek the divinity within each of us. And then to be able to listen and trust what we hear or feel. This ethical wisdom should be desired by each one of us and realized that it has always been within each one of us, instead of being made to believe that if we worship a creator of the universe, he would allow us this wisdom. And yet at the same time, this supreme creator, in most all cases, tends to be an intolerant, jealous, angry, oppressive, demanding, restricting, violent, vengeful, and killing god. For example, people who don’t understand that cruelty and violence are wrong, won’t learn this from reading most scripture, like the Bible or the Qu’ran, which are filled with unmentionable cruelty, especially toward women. Too often it seems that religion gives people bad reasons to behave well, when good reasons have always been within us.

All social animals live in hierarchical societies in which each individual knows their place. Social order is maintained by rules of expected behaviour, while dominate group members enforce order through punishment. Nearly all animals, not just humans, possess this morality, though humans and the higher primates, such as chimps, also have a sense of mutual exchange and fairness. What separates humans from all other animals, at least socially, is the difference in the change of our natural character to a higher level of sophistication and urbanity. Human society’s moral codes are enforced much more with rewards, punishments, and reputation building than other animals. Humans also have a higher degree of judgment and reason.

Most creation stories also represent a time when our expanding cultures began to dominate the direction our thoughts would take and memory would become important to our lives, arising from our development of language and speech. Before speech, early man had considerable reasoning power and were very intelligent, but language soon enabled us to have control over our thoughts. Where once our environment shaped us, speech would now take over that role, though the perception of our worlds would only be in terms of the symbols contained within that language. Instead of living in the moment, we could now chase after thoughts far removed from the present and better plan our behaviour.

Personal memories and history would become an artificial addition to the mind. Because creation stories are very similar to what human memory is, a repetitive, re-creation of events rather than an exact snapshot or video replay of what actually happened. It is one of the ways that beliefs begin to become true, even if they are not. When something is repeated enough, it is held to be true, even though in fact it could be the farthest thing from the truth. To this day society is still controlled this way in our thinking and our behaviour. It is our dogma. Our fantasies and imaginings are only limited by the diversity of our vocabulary and the level of the awareness of the world around us and are most always deliberately fictitious. We are still very much wrapped up in illusions.

Before the dawn of the first civilizations, early man routinely engaged in religious rituals, based on their interpretation of the stars, of their natural surroundings, with certain aspects of their lives becoming sacred, such as births, deaths and the passage to adulthood. People lived more in the present tense and used memory only to assist them in their understanding of what was going on around them from moment to moment, very much like the wordless mind of an animal that reacts only to events that surround them at a particular moment. With a clear uncluttered mind an animal focuses on its environment as each moment happens, its life is lived in the present tense. It has no ability to decide for itself what it concentrates its awareness on. For though it is hard to imagine, we humans, before language and speech, didn’t have voices in our heads. But with language and speech we were then able to control our thoughts more, by using words and visions to deliberately focus our attention on other aspects of our world.

Creation stories are beliefs in our origins and represent a time when not only memory, but reason as well began to become more controlling and dominate in our minds. They represent a time when we began regretting and feeling guilty about the past and forever worrying about the future, when we started to lose our focus on the present moment. It would lead to more dramatic, unwarranted anger, jealousy, and unhappiness in our daily lives. We should not totally ignore our past, for reflection of the past is good for acknowledging things that one can perhaps make right in the present time, situations that call out for healing. But we must not spend all our time trying to analyse every doubt, worry, and regret we’ve ever said and done, either.

The earliest people’s spirituality was based on animism, the belief that natural objects were conscious forms of life that affected humanity. They viewed the forests, mountains, oceans, even the wind, as spiritual forces, and displayed a reverence for the natural environment. The rain was a blessing, the warmth of the sun, the coldness and freshness of the water one would sip, all were probably felt as being a blessing.

Ten-thousand years ago, before the first civilizations, which were really just empires that were ruled by shamans, astronomer-priests, and tyrants, the chief deity of most of the planet was the sun of each day. All over Europe and much of the Indo-Asian continent they called the sun Dyeus, or as it was known all over the world, the Sky Father or Sky Mother, representing life, as well as the position of the patriarch or matriarch of that particular society. Only after humankind had butchered most of the big game and started to use hand tools to raise crops and start the domestication of animals, which led to trade and commerce, and which eventually led to the first civilizations, did the belief that a divine power was responsible for creating the world appeared. Where once everything on the planet was looked at as all on the same level, creation stories deemed humanity insignificant compared to the universe. For instance, the characters in the earliest creation myths were most all represented in animal form and represented in the stars, but with the birth of civilization this changed to where the gods of the creation stories were now viewed in human form, and possessed human traits and behaviours, and in many cases, were considered, basically, reflections of those that worshipped them. In many of the creation myths, after the gods or god had created the universe, these divine beings did seem to act human, but only if you are comparing their behaviour to a dysfunctional, egotistical, immoral human. Many of the gods seemed to just spend the rest of their days wrapped up in all sorts of debauchery. Each day was a party spending the time feasting, drinking, lusting, fighting, intervening in earthly affairs, or even, just sitting back and watching, with no intention of intervening at all.

But the priests would instill in the people that the balance of order and chaos in the universe could only be maintained by the gods and goddesses, or their representatives on earth – the kings, emperors, and the priests themselves. These divine forces required constant replenishment through worship, devotion, and sacrifice to maintain the continuity of the cosmic equilibrium. The gods had to be honoured for the cosmic order to be upheld. What separated these gods from mankind, was they were believed to possess sublime power and immortality. The people themselves would come to believe that their lives were to be totally dependant on the continued goodwill of these most powerful gods. The biggest loss to our collective humanity at this time was, where before we each had a choice, that choice was then taken away from us, and we would come to believe that we have no choice. It would become humanity’s crutch.

Out of these creation myths, two main thoughts on what god actually means began to arise. Pantheism would become the belief that God the creator was transcendent, existing in all living things. Nature and God were the same thing. Theism meanwhile believed God to be transcendent, but even though he works within the world, he also exists apart from, and is not subject to, the material limitations of the universe. These two main beliefs persist to the present day, where half the planet is traditional in their need for spirituality, in the belief that they must worship and pray to a supreme being, while the other half are more eastern in that it’s all about getting in touch with one’s inner self.

What also began happening within these early societies was that other gods, spirits, and ever watchful ancestors would appear in the social realm. It would become a very effective way to restrain selfishness, create order and enhance a population’s survival, by using the adaptive value of building cooperative groups of people, but because of religious belief, groups of humans actually began separating themselves from each other.

In many of the ancient cultures, the priests were the only ones who were literate enough and able to interpret the omens and portents of the gods, and use their creation stories to create order and control over the people’s everyday lives, to govern agriculture, but also, to set apart certain ideas, objects, events and experiences and make them sacred. Instead of trying to seek the truth as it is, many of the early scholars and priests sought what they thought the truth should be. Creation stories are believed to take care of the question of where did we come from, who created us, and emphasize that we should be grateful for being created in the first place, with the histories of both creationism and religion following this same path.

Besides giving interpretations on how and why the world was created, creation myths are limited in the definition of what the author’s world was thought to be at the time as well. The vast majority of humans at the time were completely illiterate, and whose reality of daily life was based only on what they could hear, see, smell, taste and feel. Their worlds were very small. Family, food, and shelter. The early Sumer peoples of Mesopotamia knew of their world to be only the Mesopotamia plain, the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the Arabian deserts, the Syrian hills, and the Zagros mountains. They had no idea how large the planet truly was, or even the concept of what a planet was. Up until the 16th century, most inhabitants of the world still believed the world to be flat and lay at the center of the universe.

Most all creation stories are religiously motivated rejections of evolution as an explanation of humanity’s origins and were, in most cases, successful in replacing the principles of human nature and awareness. The real and unchanging natural laws of being human are deep, fundamental truths, and have always been with us. Principles that govern human effectiveness and are guidelines for human conduct. Universal principles of fairness, on which equality and justice are based on. Integrity and honesty, which creates trust, then service, which is based on quality or excellence and potential, which brings about growth, patience, encouragement, and human dignity. But when creation stories came along, they brought forth aspects of human nature that did not necessarily exist before. These aspects would enter peoples lives and become the illusions of humanity that persist to the present day, and which would become the illusions of need, failure, disunity, inadequacy, judgement, criticism, conditionality, insolence and ignorance. This foundation of illusion would be upon which religion would be created, and adopt the religious view that society would manifest a god’s will. The populations of the first civilizations and cultures worldwide believed very much in what the early priests told them of their creation and why they were in the world. There was somewhat of an appearance of security given and some sort of continued existence above the reality of their daily lives that the people began to believe in. This promise of an afterlife, gave most people hope to get through their own lives as well as the perception that they too were immortal, just like their gods.

At the same time, most creation stories also emphasized that the common people were impure, flawed, and lived error-filled, short lives, but that if one behaved, kept his head down and said his prayers, there would be hope for salvation. Unfortunately much of this is true, we human beings are flawed, this is most obvious when it comes to our conduct during times of temptation. What is not true, is our only hope for salvation is not through prayer or keeping the head down, it is by keeping the head up and interacting respectfully with the people around us. Most of our problems, our flaws, have to do with our behaviour that arises when we succumb to our own passions, thus the artificial systems that would be created, beginning with the creation myth, which more often than not, had to be created to balance and keep within bounds our selfish desires. Before creation myths, humans were not inherently evil, nor was the earth, but after the myths appeared, both would become thought of as much.

Because there are literally hundreds of creation stories, and in different peoples minds, the world was created in a variety of ways, this essay relates only the stories of the people of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Mayan, China, the Aniu of Japan, India, the Greeks, Aztec, Norse, Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands, on the west coast of North America, the Iroquois nation of eastern North America, Inca, Judaism and Christianity, the Mandinka of West Africa, and Islam. There are of course a multitude of other creation stories we know about, just like there are many others that we’ll never hear or know about because they’ve been lost over time. And because the genetic map of an organism of every living thing on the planet is linked in fundamental patterns, and are able to change and adapt in many definable ways, I have also included the chapter, Big Bang and Darwin.

The People of Mesopotamia
In the beginning there were two divine beings, Apsu, god of fresh water and Tiamat, god of salt water. Though at first separate, they one day united and chaos was created. From this chaos arose the four levels of creation. The sky, air, earth, and water. The god of the sky was An (Anu), who would become known as the father of all the gods who would appear after him. He represented the heavens, with his symbol being a star. The god of air and the wind was Enlil (Ellil), who was believed to be the cause of a great flood, due to his angry character. Then there was Enki (Ea), who at first, was just the god of the earth, but he would succeed Apsu and become the god of fresh water as well. Enki was the child of Ninhursag (Nintu), a consort of the sky-god, An. Enki is known for being the god who had saved mankind after a great flood and was also regarded as a fertility god who brought agriculture to the Sumerian people. He was believed to be a benevolent god, the source of wisdom and creativity, and would eventually become the supreme Sumerian deity.

Working as a team, these gods began to create their world. They first dug out channels in the earth which became the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and then proceeded to create the irrigation infrastructure on which the land would depend and would allow vegetation to grow. All this work exhausted the gods though and soon they rested. While they slumbered, they discussed how could they free themselves from the mundane and arduous tasks of creating a world, as well as creating for themselves the idle time they craved and felt they deserved, being that they were celestial, all-powerful gods.

Ninhursag and her son, Enki, came up with an idea. Grabbing fists of clay, they worked together and melded mankind out of the clay. Turning toward one of the more rebellious, lesser deities that was emerging out of the chaos, they grabbed him and killed him, mixing his blood with the clay. The blood gave life to the clay, as well as the divine essence that is a part of mankind, in the form of a soul that would never die. The problem was that the blood had come from a rebel god, so it was deemed to be naturally flawed. Undaunted the gods finally had a workforce to take over their tasks of creating the world. The rules for mankind were that they were to work each day and pay homage to their gods, in the form of praise, worship, and sacrifice. With mankind created to finish the job, the gods retreated to their celestial realm, to live lives of luxury and look down upon their creation.

Then one day a man named Adapa, out fishing upon the river, had his boat overturned by a powerful gust of wind. Scrambling onto the overturned hull he shook his fist at the sky and cursed the wind and everything else he could think of. Unfortunately the gods heard him and they summoned Adapa to appear before them. Adapa stood before the gods and gave such an excellent account of himself during his defence that the father of the gods, An became very impressed by this man. He offered Adapa the bread of eternal life and water. While Adapa decided what to do, the god of water, Enki whispered into Adapa’s ear and told him to reject the offer. So Adapa rejected the bread of eternal life and water and agreed to accept two other gifts that were offered to him, oil and a robe, but Adapa very quickly came to regret his decision. The oil turned out to be the type that was used to dress corpses, with the robe turning out to be a burial shroud. Thus, from that moment on, humans were condemned to mortality. Eventually Enlil (Ellil) god of the air and the wind would unseat An as the supreme god and become, “Father of the Gods and King of Heaven and Earth.”

Though the Mesopotamia people’s earliest gods were worshipped in the form of animals, soon after writing was invented in about 3000BC, the gods began to be described in the form of humans. Over time the people would recognize thousands of different gods, each associated with a different aspect of the universe and their lives. They felt each one of them had to have their own personal god or they would cease to survive. The people would become obsessed with divination and considered themselves to be at the mercy of their gods, reliant on divine goodwill for success in any goal or enterprise. To avoid giving the gods any reason to be angry with them at all, the people employed diviners to seek out omens and portents on earth, as well as in the night’s sky. Even sickness was thought of as a punishment for some transgression, perceived or not against their gods. Many times it was not even possible to know whether or not you had broken any rules. The diviners would gain power and become the earliest priests, who would control the population by retaining their power through an ideology that would arise out of creation myths that they themselves had created.

The priests held their power and would become wealthy, while at the same time they had the populations of their growing city-states believing that they had no free will, which was something only the gods held. The people accepted and believed themselves to be simple slaves to their leaders, priests, and gods.

Egypt
Egyptian creation stories took on different versions of how the earth was created, each attributed to a certain group of scribes and priests, depending on which temple and city they were from. Each story was equally accepted and regarded as no less valid than the next. Though each story is based on the belief that in the beginning the earth was covered with the “Waters of Chaos” and then a huge eruption occurred beneath the surface of the water. From this eruption arose a dark and formless void, known as Nun. Soon after, a primeval mound of earth rose from the depths and it was on this mound that the gods would create life. There are theories that the pyramids are based on the representation of this original primeval mound of creation.

According to the scribes of the Egyptian temple at Heliopolis, the supreme creator was the god Atum, “the All.” At the first sunrise, a lotus flower had sprouted from the ground of the primeval mound, this was Atum, who then created all things. Within himself he held the life force of the universe, the creative power of the sun. The sun god took the form of Re (Ra) and was depicted as a falcon, ram, or a human with a falcon’s or ram’s head. According to two different versions, Atum either ejaculated or spat out, twin gods, Shu, god of air and Tefnut, goddess of moisture. Shu and Tefnut quickly threw themselves at each other and produced Geb, god of earth, and the sky god, Nut. Geb and Nut quickly had intercourse together as well, but Shu stepped in and separated them, but not before they had produced four children, Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys.

The Memphis temple version of creation was based on the idea that the primeval mound that had arisen out of the waters of chaos was in fact the creative world of the god Ptah, who used his mind, and thought the world into being, thus making all things of the earth by simply speaking their names.

According to the temple of Hermopolis, life was formed by the eight gods of the “Ogdoad,” who lived in the waters of chaos. There was Nun and his counterpart Naunet, who represented the waters, along with Heh and his consort, the goddess Hauhet, who represented infinity. Kek and his companion Kauket represented the darkness, the god and goddess, Amun and Amaunet, the hidden forces of life. Working as a group, and combining their energies, they would create the primeval mound of creation. The sun then exploded upon the world and life began. Amun would soon become the “King of all Gods,” and is depicted in human form, but is also seen as a ram, a goose, and as Amun-Kematef (“He who has completed his moment”), in the form of a snake shedding its skin in a constant, forever cycle of renewal. The Egyptians also believed that in the beginning, before the written word, their rulers here on earth were in fact, the gods themselves. The first king was the sun god Re. His realm became known as the golden age of plenty. But then a day came when he abandoned the world for a celestial realm, taking the sun with him. Mankind felt they had fallen from grace at the loss of the life-giving sun and quickly turned against each other and began to fight amongst themselves. As he watched from above, Re quickly sent Thoth, god of wisdom, down to settle the people and restore order. Re then appointed a succession of gods to rule in his place. Some believe this to be the Horus-line of rulers, the first pharaohs.

The twin goddesses’ Nekhbet (Vulture Goddess of Upper Egypt) and Wadjet (Cobra Goddess of Lower Egypt) would become known as the Mighty Ones, and whose roles would be to protect the pharaoh, with Nekhbet able to use her outstretched wings to act as a shield, and Wadjet able to spit fire into the eyes of the reigning pharaoh’s enemies. Indeed one of the royal titles of the pharaoh was “He of the Two Ladies.” In her role of directing the forces of aggression and destruction, the Lioness Goddess Sekhmet also guarded the pharaoh and was able to cause pestilence and disease. The shrewd and perceptive judgement of the northern goddess Neith (Mistress of the Bow and Ruler of Arrows) was respected and sought out by the other gods, with the Scorpion Goddess, Selket another maternal Guardian of the king.

The Goddess Hathor was represented as a cow, and was the goddess of love and beauty. She was also known as the “Mistress of Darkness,” who oversaw music, dancing and all forms of revelry. Also known as the Lady of the West, and though she received souls of the dead in the afterlife, she would become a much loved and joyful goddess, and became one of the peoples most popular goddesses.

Another myth accounts for Osiris being the first king, inheriting the right by being the firstborn of the four offspring of the gods Geb (God of the Earth) and Nut (Goddess of the Far-Reaching Sky). Osiris ruled alongside his sister Isis and together they brought peace and prosperity to the world and gave wisdom to mankind. Isis was the first daughter of Geb and Nut and over time would merge with many of the attributes of the goddess Hathor, and become the Goddess of Motherhood, Magic and Fantasy. She would be known as the ideal mother and wife, a friend to both, the downtrodden and the wealthy. One of her many other titles was the Mistress of the House of Life and she would become one of the most powerful figures in the Egyptian pantheon. Osiris was murdered by the god Seth (Lord of Chaos), his brother, who took his crown, dismembered him and scattered the remains around the world. The grieving Isis would use her magical powers to gather up all the pieces and revive Osiris. The virgin Isis then gave birth to a son, Horus (Lord of the Sky), whose eyes were the sun and the moon. As soon as Horus reached adulthood he would avenge Osiris’ death, and take back the crown. All the gods supported Horus in his claim of the throne except for the Sun god Re, who thought the stronger Seth should have kept the throne. Horus would be the last in a long line of gods who had ruled Egypt, after him, would arise the pharaohs, who would now be counselled and aided by priests, who began to record great stories of gods and creation. The priests themselves began to accumulate great wealth and power, which rivalled the pharaohs themselves. The gods became to be many and were nearly all symbolized aspects of the natural world, such as the sun, sky, land and the river. The early priests also had an incredible knowledge of the sky and the movements of celestial objects, which led them to be able to keep track of time, keep records, create calenders, and keep order in the world by performing the necessary rituals at the proper time of the day or season. They appeased the gods and kept the general population eternally grateful and afraid at the same time.

These priests would invent writing and be the only ones that could read the words, which the population thought to be sacred and divine, and which was believed to hold great power. It was something that the general population felt they could never attain themselves. Great temples would be built, which the priests maintained and directed for the good of the country. Scrolls and the best of the artisans works were kept inside them. They were also totally forbidden to the public, and in many cases to the nobility as well. Only the astronomer-priests could enter them. The priests would become the agents between the mortal and the divine worlds. The knowledge they gained they shared only with the pharaoh and the nobility, thus keeping their power intact. They would honour, soon to be, hundreds of gods, with a constant stream of offerings, festivals, music and dance. Every aspect of ancient Egyptian life would have a god, each represented by combined elements that were both male and female, active and passive, aggressive and temperate.

As with most all inhabitants of the earth, the sky, especially on a clear night, was and is everything, with the most supreme being, the almighty sun. To the Egyptians the sun rising in the east was the god Khepri (the evolving one), represented by the scarab or dung beetle pushing the day along. As the sun rose it was also known as the falcon god, Horus (the far one) or Harakhty (Horus of the horizon). Combining Khepri and Horus was the single solar deity, Re-Harakhty (the Dawn god). As the sun set in the west it was Re-Atum and it would then be swallowed by the sky goddess Nut, as they sank down into the underworld of Duat. All night the sun god, Re, confronted the forces of darkness and the giant serpent of chaos, Apep (Apophis). With each dawn, Re would emerge victorious, reborn in the east as a child of Nut, amid the “redness of her birth blood”. With each day after, Re would come to represent life, death, and rebirth.

The Mayan
In the beginning there was nothing except the sky and a vast ocean. Then one day the sky gods met with the ocean gods and they talked about the need for worshippers, and where these beings could live. They all agreed that to create the earth, they would simply say “earth”,which they did, and suddenly a cloud that, “formed and unfolded “, arose out of the water. The earthly realm was square and flat with four sides and four corners. Above this earthly realm was the celestial realm which had thirteen layers, each with its own god, and is from where they would tell stories in the night sky using the movements of the stars and planets. Below the earth lay the underworld, Xibalba, which had nine layers, also each with its own god. At the center, rising up through all three levels was the World Tree, with four other trees standing at each corner of the earth, holding up the sky.

Each side of the square and flat earthly realm, faced either north, south, east or west, with each direction having its own distinct colour. The east was the red of the rising sun, the west was black, signifying death, the south was yellow and the north was white. The center of the earthly realm was green, representing vegetation and life.

The Mayans had many gods, but the sun was the most important element in the life of the Maya. The sun was a male god known as Kinich Ahau, the “Sun-faced Lord”. He had created the light and heat that had created life. In the morning, Kinich Ahau was portrayed as being young, but as the day progressed he aged and by sunset was old, bearded, and withered, only to be reborn the next morning. The moon was a goddess who at first was just as bright as the sun, but one day the other gods threw a rabbit into her face to make her paler.
Hieroglyphic inscriptions gave the date of Mayan creation as 13.0.0.0.0.4 Ahau 8 Cumku. By using the two main calenders of the Maya this translates to Aug.13th 3114BC, or about the time that extreme global environmental change occurred due to a catastrophic event, and was recorded the world over. Interestingly enough, it is also about the same time as the great flood of the Bible, of the Mesopotamia plain in the Middle East.

The Mayans believe the earth goes through cycles, though unlike other creation myths, their cycles of time are more determined by the solar and lunar cycles of the sky. The current world age is a cycle of about 5,200 years and is due to end on December 23, 2012, though it is rarely determined to be apocalyptic in any way, but rather a change in universal consciousness. Even up to the present time, each year, on the night of August13th, Orion rises in the sky near to a point at which the Milky Way crosses the ecliptic and then, just before dawn, it reaches its highest point in the sky. The Mayans believed that this is when the gods placed the first thing onto the earth, the “Three Stones of Creation,” which is interpreted as the setting up of the first fireplace.

Other accounts of the Mayan creation tell that the earth was supported on a turtle’s back and since they believed the constellation of Orion was a turtle, the three stars of Orion (Alnitak, Saiph, and Rigel) are linked to the “Three Stones of Creation.”

After the gods had placed the first three stones, they began the task of somehow creating worshippers. At first they created animals. Instead of worship and praise all they heard from the animals were grunts, hisses, chirps, howls, and squawks. This didn’t impress the gods at all, so they then went about trying to create a human. On the first attempt to create a human they used mud. Though the human they created could speak, what was coming out of its mouth made no sense at all and its form soon dissolved into a shapeless puddle of slime. On their next attempt the gods made humans made out of wood. Once again these wood people looked human, spoke, and seemed to be very attracted to each other. Unfortunately they lacked a soul and the gods saw that these humans would not recognize them as divine beings, which would make them therefore useless. The gods became ever more angry and frustrated and began to destroy these wooden people by many means, including a great flood and attacks from wild animals like the jaguar. They even got the domesticated animals to turn against the people. Still not satisfied the gods even ordered the peoples’ cooking utensils, like pots sitting in a fire and grinding stones, to attack, at which time incredible damage was caused. Soon most all of the wooden people were destroyed. The very few that were left standing were transformed into monkeys to live forever in the forests.

The gods regrouped and decided to give one last attempt at creating humans. They each gathered up handfuls of maize kernels, then the goddess, Xmucane took the kernels and ground them up nine times. Adding some water, she made a paste, which she used to create the first four people. These people could speak and be understood by the gods, and seemed to hold up well to the earth’s environment, and most important, the gods found that these humans were able to quickly learn how to worship and make appropriate sacrifices to their creators. This made the gods very happy. They finally had their worshippers and began to teach them how they should perceive the world.

And from the very beginning, these first Mayans began to study the skies in reverence to their creation and to seek direction. With astronomer-priests soon arising, interpreting what the sky was saying and controlling any knowledge gained through the use of fear of the gods, they were able to keep the people, and their rulers, in their place and subdued.

China
In the beginning there was nothing, no light, no dark, no hot, no cold, nor time or space. But within this formless mass was a slimy substance that contained all matter. It was called Grand Unity (Tai Yi). Out of this nothingness, water was born, and when it mixed with Grand Unity, heaven was created. Heaven then mixed with the Grand Unity and made the earth. Heaven and earth then united to produce the spirits, the sun, and the moon, as well as intellect, spirituality, and moral qualities. As soon as this was all accomplished and everything had come together, the Yin and Yang were born, who in turn, gave birth to the four seasons. The two natures’ Yin and Yang were in the beginning only shade and sunshine, though they were made up of all the energy and matter of the world. Soon enough they became a series of oppositions that would carry onto the humans that were to still be created and represent both inner and outer, private and public, good and bad, male and female. The four seasons that had been created brought forth both hot and cold, after which moisture and dryness appeared, which would from then on determine the cycles of the seasons.

Everything was now set for the creation of humans. Chinese mythology has two different explanations for the creation of mankind, one about a man, and one about a woman.

The man, Pan Gu “Coiled Antiquity” was the personification of Grand Unity. When he neared his death, his body suddenly exploded. His breath became the wind, his left eye the sun, his right eye the moon, his arms and legs the four quarters of the world, his blood and semen the rivers and seas. The lice on his skin were touched by the wind and these became people.

The woman was Nu Wa. She used clay of the earth to make people, the noble ones were yellow, the meaner ones were darker. Another version of Nu Wa is that she coupled with her brother, Fuxi, the only other person alive, and together they made children. Whichever method was used, it was agreed that the body was to be made up of two elements, or souls. The Po, which was viscous and material, and Hun, which was vaporous and transparent. When combined they produced life, but upon death Hun would separate from the body, as it did when people slept, where its wanderings produced dreams.
The Chinese universe was complete, and contained three realms, the heaven, the earth and humankind, with an emperor becoming the living link among them. The first emperor was Fuxi, brother and husband of NuWa. He was responsible for all important cultural inventions, including the first marriage. Fuxi would invent the carpenter’s square, the hexagrams that would become the book, I Ching, and also would become the models for the building of nets used for hunting and fishing.

The second emperor was Shen Nong, the divine farmer, who would continue on Fuxi’s work, inventing the plow and the first market, where the people could exchange goods. Next up was the emperor Huang Di, the yellow emperor. He would invent armour, medicine, pottery, and the compass. These first three emperors would forever be known as the “Three August Emperors.”

The August emperors would be followed by the Five Emperors of Antiquity. Zhuan Xu, Di Ku, Yao, Shun, and Yu. Collectively they made government an institution, with emperor Yu The Great, dividing China into nine regions, each with it’s own particular traits.

Very much like other ancient creation stories, the stars and planets were believed to be gods and that their movements affected people and events on Earth. Chinese mythology also included the idea that the human realm had corresponding effects in the natural world, though not necessarily reactions, and vice versa.

The five visible planets in the sky at that time were Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Each were each believed to have their own personalities, with Jupiter considered the most important because it governed time as it appeared to pass from one constellation to another, and like elsewhere, time was deemed to be cyclical rather than linear. These five planets also could be related to the myth of the Wu Xing or “Five Motions” or “Five Phases” of which all matter was thought to be composed. Of all the ancient Chinese myths, the most important aspect seems to be the idea that the universe is a self-contained entity with no abstract, supernatural, and supreme being outside of it, and that civilization is a legacy from generations of divine beings and imperial ancestors.

The Ainu of Japan
The Ainu people of Hokkaido recount that in the beginning their cosmology consisted of six heavens and six hells where gods, demons, and animals lived. Demons lived in the lower heavens. Amongst the stars and the clouds lived the lesser gods. In the highest heaven lived Kamui, the creator god, and his servants. His realm was surrounded by a mighty, metal wall and the only way in was through a great iron gate.

Kamui made the world a vast, round ocean that rested on the backbone of an enormous trout. As the trout sucked in the ocean and spit it out again he made the tides and whenever the trout moved it would cause earthquakes. One day Kamui looked down on the watery world and decided to make something of it. He sent down a water Wagtail to do the work. By fluttering over the waters with its wings and by trampling the sand with its feet and beating it with its tail, the wagtail created patches of dry land. In this way islands were raised to float upon the ocean.

When the animals who lived up in the heavens saw how beautiful the world was, they begged Kamui to let them go and live on it, and he did. But Kamui also made many other creatures especially for the world. The first people, the Ainu, had bodies of earth, hair of chickweed, and spines made from sticks of willow. Kamui sent Aioina, “the divine man,” down from heaven to teach the Ainu how to hunt and to cook, after which the people soon began to multiply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sunrise photo by Sean Macentee : http://farm1.static.flickr.com/39/86898564_8450ac24a7_m.jpg

earth photo: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/39/86898564_8450ac24a7_m.jpg

07/26/11

Some Creation Stories Part 2

Part 2 of 3

India –  Greece –  Aztec – Norse – Haida – Iroquois Federation.

India

As with other ancient civilizations, India had many creation stories. One story tells that creation was the result of a ritual sacrifice involving the god, Purusha.

In the beginning there was one massive deity, called Purusha, who had 1,000 heads, 1,000 eyes, and 1,000 feet. Then came a time when gods and sages emerged from his body. They held down their creator and carried out a fire sacrifice upon him. Throwing butter into the flames became the season, spring. Then oil was thrown in and summer appeared. The sacrifice itself would become autumn. After the fire was out, the gods and sages sifted through the ashes and found large amounts of clear butter, which they used in rituals to create the birds and animals, as well as creating the sacred hymns, mantras, and formulas later used by priests. Next, the gods and sages cut Purusha into pieces, creating the earth from his feet, the air from his navel, the sky from his head and the sun from his eyes. His breath became the wind god Vayu. His mouth became the thunder and sky god, Indra, and Agni, Lord of Fire. His soul became the moon. The myths also tell that a part of Purusha’s sacrifice was to create the Indian caste system, where one follows their allotted path in life. In this story his mouth represents the Brahmins (priests), his arms Kshatriyas (warriors and kings), his legs Vaishyas (traders and farmers) and his feet, Shudras (labourers and artisans).

Another account of creation has that the universe had always existed in a mysterious way as the soul and spirit of  Purusha. But it took form only when Purusha became self-conscious and declared “I am.” It is when he discovers his deepest inner self and at the same time understanding the whole of creation. He forms into the shape of a man. At first he feels loneliness as he looks around and sees no one else. Then fear, but realizes there was nothing, no other humans or animals to be afraid of. So out of his loneliness he created a woman. At first they were very happy together and produced the first humans. But then one day his wife became conscious of the fact that their love was just not right, since her husband was also her father, she took off running. As she ran, she became a cow, but Purusha, chasing her now, became a bull and when he caught up to her and mounted her, the first cattle were made. The wife broke away again and fled as fast as she could go, becoming a horse. But the ever persistent  Purusha transformed himself into a swift stallion and quickly caught up to her and fathered the first horses. The wife kept breaking free and running away but was caught each time. They created the first donkeys, the first goats, the sheep and all forms of animal life, even the insects, by the time they were done. After some time Purusha knew he was the whole creation, for looking around he saw that he had created everything and his final act was creating fire, then the gods. Purusha is also identified with Atman(the individually deepest inner self) and Brahman(the divine consciousness).

The Taittiriya Brahmana creation myth, tells of an act of self-sacrifice by the first being and describes that in the beginning the only thing that existed was a universal mind (manas). It had come into being by having such a desire to exist that it produced smoke and flames, which condensed to create a vast ocean. From this ocean emerged Prajapati, the lord of all creatures. At first he was in the form of a magical formula that the future priests (brahmins) would use in worship. Consciousness hurt Prajapati though, and he became depressed, not understanding why he had come into being. As he wept, the tears that fell from his eyes became the earth. The tears he would wipe away upwards became the heavens. He then created demons (asuras) and soon after sacrificed his body to make the darkness of night. Prajapati came back to life and created men and women to populate the earth, and then once again he sacrifices his body and creates the glow of the moon. And then, for the third time, his body returns and he goes about creating the seasons and then sacrifices himself once more, to make the twilight. For a fourth time he is reborn and he makes the gods, then with finality, sacrifices his body to create the light of day.

In one version of Indian creation, the divine consciousness experienced a powerful desire to create living things, so water was created and upon these waters he cast his seed. From the seed came a golden egg that shone as bright as the sun and contained Brahma. The egg floated on the water for a year until Brahmas’ divine powers split it open. He then used the two halves to create the sky and earth, then he created the gods, the plants and all the creatures to fill the earth.

Much like other creation stories the world over, the Brahma myth also explains that the universe moves through cycles. In this case they are very long cycles of time indeed. One day of Brahma’s life was equivalent to 8.64 billion years on Earth. In the morning he created the universe, then in the evening after 4.32 billion years of life on Earth, he allowed order to collapse and chaos reigned supreme. That night he slept for 4.32 billion Earth years. At dawn the next day creation began once again with a new day (kalpa). Any beings who had not achieved moksha (liberation from rebirth) were brought back into being, according to what virtues they had attained in their previous lives. Each day of Brahma was split into one thousand great ages, and with each passing age the spiritual quality of life would gradually decline. The first age was the Kritayuga, which lasted 1,728,000 years. It was an age where everyone was wise, and was enlightened as to the true nature of reality. Because no one was concerned with the worldly, materialistic elements of life, nobody worked. There was a total lack of fear and hatred among the people, with no religious rites or ceremony, no egotism or disease.

The next age was the Tretayuga, which lasted 1,296,000 years. Morality and virtue declined by one-quarter. The people began to lose their belief of being in union with the universal soul, and started to partake in sacrifice and the numerous rites of religious life. People became jealous of each other, and conflicts arose.

Dvaparayuga was the third age, when human morality dropped by one-half. It lasted 864,000 years. It was an age of human misery and the advent of disease. The people were only concerned with selfish desire. Though there still were a few people who tried to live honest lives. The Kaliyuga, lasting 432,000 years, is the current age of the world. Virtue has fallen by three-quarters. The rulers of the people no longer follow their dharma, (path of duty) but instead now rule by force. It is an age where there are many natural catastrophes with the majority of the human population living in cities. When this age ends it is said Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, will appear on a white horse, and with a flaming sword in hand will usher in the destruction of the universe. This destruction is in no way a punishment of humanity, but simply an extension of the proper and divine cycle of time, with both creation and disintegration being parts of one vast cycle.

After the initial and many different versions of the creation of the universe, there came to be an incredible number of gods and goddesses. Each could have many forms, often with totally different natures. The people themselves believed that the material world was sustained by a unifying divine energy.

The ancient Indian priests created all these sacrificed-based creation myths to consolidate their social position, by claiming that the sacrifices re-enacted the primal moments of creation and so sustained the order of the universe. The people were taught to turn to their fabricated myths and believe in them, for they contained profound insights into human capacities, duties and the right way to live, and that life itself was created and sustained by sacrifice (Yajna), of both self and ritual. The priests preached to the people to give up selfish desires in worship and learn to meditate, as well as understand and accept that it was everyone’s dharma (duty) to follow one’s allotted path in life, according to his caste. One of the most important aspects of Indian thought that came out of their many creation myths, and which would prove to be a huge step forward for their peoples, was the punishment and reward system. A simple belief that every action had its consequence. It would become known as Karma. Absolute accountability.

The Greeks

Much like other creation stories, the Greeks believed that in the beginning there was only chaos. Their version has the Earth arriving first, out of the chaos, followed by Eros, and then Tartaros, the lowest part of the underworld. The sun god, Helios, appeared and then Earth gave birth to Heaven (Ouranos). Together they gave birth to the twelve “Titans,” as well as Ocean, the one-eyed Cyclopes, and the hundred-handed monsters, Kottos, Briareos, and Gyges. Heaven though, did not like his children very much and hid them all away. Then a day came when, just as Earth had finished making a flint sickle, the youngest of the Titans, Kronos “the crooked-planning,” reached out and grabbed it. He then proceeded to castrate his father, Heaven, with it. The blood that flowed fell on Earth, which resulted in the birth of the Giants and the Furies, while the severed genitals produced Aphrodite, who would become the goddess of love and fertility and have power over all living things and even over the other gods.

Kronos continued his rampage and overwhelmed with lust slept with his Titan sister Rheia, who bore him Hestia, Dementer, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. Soon after the births, Kronos became paranoid and very jealous of his position as the king of the gods and swallowed each child in turn. Rheia was pregnant at the time, with her sixth child, and was afraid this baby would be swallowed too, so she went to her mother, Earth, and begged for assistance. When the baby was born, he was named Zeus and then quickly taken away by Earth, who hid him until his adulthood. After which, Zeus came out from hiding, overthrew his father and forced him to vomit up his five swallowed brothers and sisters.

Living atop Mount Olympos, Zeus and his siblings faced off against Kronos and his Titan brothers, and so began the ten-year battle of the Titanomachy, “the Battle of the Titans.” When it was over, Zeus and the Olympians were victorious. They gathered up the Titans and imprisoned them in Tartaros, the deepest pit of the underworld, forever.

Zeus’ brother Hades, also known as Pluto “the wealthy”, because of the wealth of the natural resources within the earth, would become the god of the underworld and marry Persephone. Besides Tartaros, the underworld was a cold, damp, and sunless place. Five rivers ran through it, the Styx, “the hateful,” the Acheron, “the river of woe,” Kokytos, “river of wailing,” Phlegethon, “river of flame,” and the Lethe, “river of forgetfulness.”

Another brother of Zeus, Poseidon became the lord of the seas, and the god of earthquakes. He was associated with Neptunus, god of water. Together, Poseidon and his wife Amphitrite, bore all the creatures that lived in the sea.

Zeus himself, received power over the heavens and became the true king of the gods. While many challenged Zeus for his authority and power, including the youngest son of Earth, the monster Typhon, he was able to overcome them all and as he did so, would banish them to Tartaros. The Olympians would have many years of peace before being challenged by the Giants. And in the final battle of the Gigantomachy (war against the giants), with the warrior-hero Herakles at their side, the Olympians would triumph over the forces of Chaos. With Zeus now supreme god of Olympos the lives of the gods became relatively peaceful. They both prospered and multiplied.

As for Zeus’ sisters; Hestia would become the noblest of the goddesses, representing the hearth, placing the fireside as the center of family life. She was a virgin goddess and held much respect. Eventually she would become worshipped in every household. Dementer would marry her brother Zeus and become the goddess of grain. Hera would also wed Zeus and become his official consort. They would have three children together; Ares (god of war), Eileithyia (goddess of childbirth), and Hebe (god of youth).

Though Zeus was “father of gods and men,” he also had many other roles and was worshipped for his concern for strangers and the poor. He ruled over the marketplace and public gatherings, believed in fair commerce and protected individual households. Besides his many admirable attributes, he was the strongest of the gods, and also very much a womanizer and known for his extreme sexual prowess, which drove his number one wife and sister, Hera, crazy. Throughout their lives, Hera would gain the reputation for being a very vengeful queen and a constant thorn in Zeus side.

One of Zeus’ sons that he had with the mortal woman, Semele, so angered Hera that she sent the Titans to kill this child and eat its body. The child was Dionysus, and his body was torn apart, his flesh eaten. However either, Hestia, Rhea, or Dementer saves his heart and from it Dionysus is reborn. He is then hidden away, some said disguised as a girl, until he becomes an adult and becomes known as the god that was “twice-born,” and becomes one of the Olympians and the god of wine, theatre, music, intoxication, mystery, and inspirer of ritual madness and ecstasy.

Zeus took many wives besides Dementer and Hera, including Metis, the goddess of the mind, who would give birth to Athene (wisdom), “the farseeing one,” Athene was a warrior-goddess, who held much power for also being a virgin goddess, she began to civilize cloth making, metalwork, carpentry, invented the chariot, the bridle, the first ship and built the Trojan Horse. She became the patron to the heroes, Odysseus, Herakles, and Theseus, with the great city of Athens being named after her, as would, the great temple, the Parthenon, which was built to celebrate her status as a virgin and a goddess. Zeus’ wives also included Themis, mother of the seasons and fates; the sea-nymph, Eurynome, mother of the graces; Mnemosyne, mother of meditation and memory, and the goddess Leti, who would give birth to the twins Apollo and Artemis. Apollo became the god of prophecy, purification, and music. He was also the “guardian of flocks” and also known as Phoibos, the “bright and radiant one.” Apollo was associated with the sun, while his sister, Artemis, was associated with the moon, as was the goddess Selene. Artemis was most well  known as the virgin goddess of hunting, and was “the protector of all wild things,” as well as the protector of the young.

Between the feasts and orgies, the gods finally found the time to create humans. The first people created were a golden race, and they lived their lives as though in a garden of Eden. Earth provided everything they would ever need. After this golden era, the gods created a silver race of humans. These humans were rather ignorant and did not worship the gods, so Zeus soon replaced them with a bronze humanity, but these people were so violent and psychotic that they eventually destroyed themselves. The fourth race of humans did not become associated with a metal, instead Zeus created the Heroes, a race of mixed, divine and mortal parentage, a righteous and noble race of hero-men who became the predecessors of the gods on the earth. After the Heroes, the current race of mankind, iron, began. And hence forth one divinity or another, whether the major Olympian gods and goddesses or a host of minor deities including nymphs, river gods and groups of semi-divine heroes and heroines, ruled over every facet of human life.

Unlike the gods of creation of other ancient civilizations, those of the Greeks were all in human form and were all immortals. There is no universally accepted religious text or creed among the Greek creation stories, but oddly, from Greece’s beginnings in about 900BC until their demise in 312A.D. most elements of their rituals never changed. In Greek ritual and belief the importance was on the present moment, the here-and-now rather than the afterlife. This defines the most prominent features of ancient Greek civilization, awareness and the constant yearning to understand all things.

The Aztec  

For the Aztecs, creation is a continuing story, based on the belief that the world goes through cycles, where the gods have destroyed and remade the world many times. Each cycle is known as a world age and is named after the day in which it ends. The first world was known as the “Jaguar Sun”(Nahui Ocelotl) because according to the Aztec calenders, it ended on the day Four Jaguar in the year One Reed. There are a few different versions of their creation, due to influence of earlier myths, and much earlier cultures.

The central story line to many of the Aztec creation myths, is that in the first days of the first world age, the divine primal couple, Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, who were twins, male and female, and were the children of the one supreme god and lord of duality, Ometeotl. They would give birth to Black Tezcatlipoca, who became the sun. He was one of four Tezcatlipocas to be born, all distinguished by a colour and each representing a world age, as well as a region of the universe. Much like the Inca legend, the Aztecs believed the universe consisted of a flat earth, which lay beneath thirteen layers of heaven, with nine layers below, which was the underworld, though the Aztecs also pictured their world as a flower with four petals fanning out in four directions.

Black Tezcatlipoca represented the north, with his job being to create the gods, the world, and the first humans. He would later also become known as the god of destiny and darkness, Tezcatlipoca.  His era would become associated with the element of earth. As a god he would become associated with darkness, hurricanes, deception, strife, confrontation and immoral conduct.

The first to inhabit the earth was a race of giants, who lumbered around pulling trees out of the ground and hurling them into the sky, surviving on a steady diet of pine nuts. This went on for 676 years until Tezcatlipoca’s brother, White Tezcatlipoca, also known as Quetzalcoatl, grew extremely jealous of the brilliance of the sky that  Tezcatlipoca had created, and in a rage, pushed his brother out of the sky and into the seas at the far end of the earth. Tezcatlipoca did not go quietly into the night though, anger consumed him and he turned himself into an avenging jaguar, and quickly returned, killing and eating all the giants, before throwing himself into the night sky to forever become the constellation, Ursa Major (the Great Bear).

Quetzalcoatl began creation anew by becoming the great sun god in the form of the wind god Ehecatl. He represented the western region and this second age of the world would become associated with the element of air. The people that were created lived a simple life, their diet the seeds of the mesquite tree. This age would be known as the Wind Sun (Nahui Ehecatl) and lasted 364 years, ending on the day of Four Wind in the year One Flint. A time when Tezcatlipoca returned as the storm and wind god, and using hurricanes, drove the sun, his brother, from the sky and chased the survivors of the Aztec predecessors into the surrounding jungles, where he transformed them into monkeys, and forced them to live deep in the deep forest in an age of darkness. Blue Tezcatlipoca, the rain god Tlaloc, also known as Huitzilpochtli, was a great sun and war god and would begin the third age by rising into the sky as a new sun and with his warmth and light, created a new race of people. The realm of this third age was representative of the south, the element of fire, and lasted 312 years. Besides bringing gentle rains for crops to grow, Tlaloc also had the power to bring deluges that would crush the harvests. He would become the most feared and respected, of a great number of fertility gods that would appear. Indeed most all religious sacrifices that would one day come about would be concerned with, above all else, the fertility of the earth. The earliest of the Aztec priests believed to maintain the flow of energy behind the rising of the sun, and to bring forth rain clouds to germinate the seed of the earth to grow into crops, sacrifice to the gods was extremely important.  Tlaloc would take a wife, Xochiquetzal, the goddess of flowers, fine arts, and dancing. But one day she would touch the blossom of a flowering tree, that the supreme god, Ometeotl, had proclaimed forbidden to touch. She was banished from heaven and became known as Ixnextli, condemned to wander the earth the rest of her days. The people of this third age, which were known as the Rain Sun (Nahui Quihuitl), were the earliest farmers, as well, successful hunters and gatherers. They both thrived and multiplied.  But on the day of “ Four Rain in the year One Flint,” Quetzalcoatl appeared once more and once again, destroyed creation, by sending a fiery storm of ash across the world. The force of which swept the sun from the sky and plunged the world, once again, into darkness. The firestorm was devastating, and burned up much of the earth, including the people who lived upon it. Any survivors that Quetzalcoatl found, he transformed them into butterflies, dogs, and turkeys.

The fourth age was associated with water and was ruled by the goddess of rivers, lakes, and oceans, Chalchiuhtlicue, who was personified with the east and the color red. In some Aztec myths this era was ruled by the Red Tezcatlipoca (Xipe Totec), the lord of germination. This age was known as Water Sun (Nahui Atl) and lasted for 676 years. The people that were created lived off the land and were very primitive. But this era would go the way of the previous eras, though this time the destruction was carried out by Chalchiuhtlicue herself. She swept away her creation in a great flood, with the people transformed into fish and sea creatures. This world ended on day, Four Water in the year One House.

After the destruction of the fourth world age the gods agreed to meet in the sacred city of  Teotihuacan.  The gods’ Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl decided to put their differences aside and work together on the new creation, alongside the other gods who had grown in number over the years. As a team and in the form of two powerful snakes they first attacked the earth monster, Tlatecuhtli, and tore her in two, throwing one half upward to make the sky and laying the other down to form the earth. The other gods began to lend their powers to the creation and used the earthly portion of the monster as their raw material. From its eyes, formed sacred springs and caves, with pools of light. From Tlatecuhtli’s mouth flowed the many rivers, from her hair and skin came edible plants, trees and flowers of all kinds, with mountains and valleys forming from her nose. Because the previous sun had been destroyed at the end of the last world age the gods Tecuciztecatl and Nanahuatzin volunteered to act as the sun, and after going through rites of penitence and self-denial, they sacrificed themselves by leaping into the flames of a huge sacrificial pyre. A new sun was formed, but it had a problem, where, though it shone brightly, it did not move from its zenith in the sky; the same thing with the moon. Understanding the importance of the movement of both the sun and the moon so that time could progress, the gods tore out their own hearts and offered them up, along with their blood, to get them moving. This worked and the sun and the moon began to make their way across the sky. This act by the gods set the pattern for the many blood sacrifices performed by the future peoples of the Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec, who would carry on this tradition to maintain cosmic order and sustain the earth’s fertility.

Quetzalcoatl, as the wind god, Ehecatl, then swept into place clouds formed by his brother, the rain god Tlaloc, who had formed the clouds using the light and heat from the sun. This gave life to the first maize crops. They then created fire and the underworld, which was ruled by Mictlantecuhtl and his consort, Mictlancihuatl. Also present, were Coatlicue, the earth goddess; Tlazolteotl, goddess of childbirth, sexual indulgence, and purification; Chal, the patron goddess of babies and protector of faithful lovers and married couples, and Tonantzin, “Holy Mother,” also known as Teteoinnan-Toci, the mother of the gods, and who was represented in the moon.

Very similar to the Egyptian belief, the Aztecs believed the sun took on different forms over the hours of the day and night. In the morning the sun is Tonatiuh, a youth whose body was dyed red. At noon it is Huitzilopochtli, the bravest of gods, but then at sunset the sun is consumed by the earth monster Tlatecuhtli. But Huitzilopochtli claws and fights its way through the night in the form of Tepeyollotl, the fearless jaguar.

Finally, all that was left to do was to create humans. Quetzalcoatl began this task by travelling down into the underworld and dealing with the lord Michtlantecuhtl, who tested him, before handing over all the bones of the fish-men and fish-women of the previous age. Quetzalcoatl brought the bones to the mother goddess, who ground up the bones into a powder. She then mixed the blood of the gods to make a paste, which she then shaped into the first human babies, boy and girl, which some myths name as Oxomoco and Cipactonal. After this, Quetzalcoatl rises up into the sky to become  Venus, the Morning star. This fifth new world age would be ruled by the sun god Tonatiuh, who would become the leader of the gods in heaven, and is the world age we are currently living in today. This era is called the Four Ollin (Four Earthquake) and is named for the day the gods began to create it. Aztec tradition holds that the current age will end one day with earth shattering earthquakes, followed by severe famine.

Though the Aztecs had many gods, with most derived from earlier cultures and beliefs of other Mesoamerican groups, only one major Aztec god is unique to its people, Huitzilopochtli, the “Humming Bird of the South,” the patron deity of the Mexica tribe who founded the Aztec Empire. The Aztecs were constantly reminded of their creation myths by the priests, and as one, they paid daily and fearful homage to their many god and goddesses, who all had many forms, abilities, and attributes. The people came to believe that their very survival relied on keeping the gods happy, and that human life was but a part of a cosmic movement of energy. If not honoured through blood sacrifice the gods would become displeased and send forth  famine, flood or plague upon the land, or they would not allow the sun to rise in the morning, or would even cause the people a humiliating defeat in battle. Blood sacrifice and ritual human sacrifice was sometimes extreme and got worse as time went on. Astronomy would become very important, for besides tracking the seasons and time, it was important to carry out the rituals and sacrifice at the proper time of the day.  The Aztec sacred calender created by these astronomer-priests and their interpretation of the celestial realm of such things as portents, omens, and behaviour, would organize and control each aspect of everyone’s life.. The sky was the sacred arena and because the meanings could only be deciphered by the priests who controlled the elite, their creation stories would soon include the need to divide Aztec society into two groups, the pipiltin (nobles) and the macehuales (commoners) and then to whatever group you were born, and no matter what one did with their life, you were to stay in that group all your days.

Near the end of the Aztecs, as their empire crumbled, the level of blood sacrifice to their gods reached ungodly levels. As their city-states imploded upon each other, sometimes more than 20,000 people per week were being sacrificed to keep the gods on their side. Imagine, twenty thousand people, one at a time held down upon an altar, their hearts torn and ripped out of their bodies, while they are alive. And then hoped their gods would accept the offering. They didn’t of course and then at the height of the bloodletting the Spanish would arrive to complete the job and make any atonement to the Aztec’s gods mute. More violence in the name of another god and plague would practically erase the Aztecs, as well as many other peoples, from the Americas.

The Norse

In the beginning there was nothing but a dark, deep hole, Ginnungagap (the Yawning Void). Then two worlds emerged. To the south of Ginnungagap arose the realm of fire, Muspellheim. In the north was the freezing land of Niflheim, where twelve rivers soon appeared and began to flow into the void. Eventually the rivers filled the void and reached the heat of Muspelheiml, where fire and ice collided. From this clash of elements came clay, which eventually began to take on life and formed into the primeval frost giant Ymir. To feed this great being, a huge cow was created, Audhumla (the Nourisher). Ymir would feed off her milk, while Audhumla had only the salty rime that lay around the edges of Ginnungagap to sustain herself. After she had begun to lick up the rime, an outline of a man appeared under her tongue, which she spat out. This man was the first god, and would represent good. His name became Buri, (the Producer), grandfather of Odin. From the sweat that would continuously drop off Ymir’s skin, giants would be born, representing evil. It was a cold and dark world with no sky, the only light was what erupted from the flames of Muspellheim and their glittering reflections off the ice of Niflheim.

Buri would have many children. One of his sons, Bor, coupled with one of the giantesses, who would give birth to their first son, Odin. After reaching adulthood, Odin and two of his brothers, Vili and Ve, began a war against the giants. They went right to the source and killed Ymir, whose blood ran out in such volume that it drowned the giants, all except a single couple who fled to Jotunheim. There in the cold and dark world it was where they would give birth to a new race of giants, who would grow up filled with revenge.

Thinking the giants were finally out of the way, Odin, Vili, and Ve, now began the task of creation. They started by creating the world as we know it, from the body of Ymir. His blood was used to create the rivers and seas; his flesh became the land; his bones, the mountains; and his skull became the sky. Four very strong dwarfs were then created, North (Norori), South (Suori), East (Austri), and West (Vestri), to support the corners of the heavens, while sparks were taken from Muspell and scattered across the sky to become the stars. The sun and moon were brother and sister, Mani and Sol, both born to Mundilfari. Sol was the sun goddess, aided by her husband Glen, with her brother Mani becoming the moon. Odin placed them each in their own chariot, so that they could  follow each other across the sky. To keep them always moving, two wolves were made, Skoll (Repulsion) and Hati (Hatred), who were also placed in the sky, forever, relentlessly trying to chase the sun and moon down. The creation of the physical world was now complete, so the gods began to create beings that would inhabit it.

From the maggots that were now infesting Ymir’s rotting corpse, the gods would make dwarfs. The dwarfs were given a consciousness and would become the master craftspeople of the Norse world, but because dwarfs would turn to stone if the sun’s rays fell upon them, they were sent underground to search for gold. Next came human beings, which the gods created using debris that floated on the water and lay along the shores. This human race was placed in a central region, called Midgard, which was protected by a fence made from Ymir’s eyebrows. Nearing the end of creation, the gods built their own realm, Asgard. They filled it with the great halls and palaces that they and all the gods would reside in and could only be reached from across a bridge called Bifrost. Humans could see the bridge from their homes at Midgard, but to them it appeared as a rainbow.

By the time the gods, the elements and the primeval beings were all done and finished, and somewhat satisfied with their creation, the Norse world contained nine different realms. All nine worlds would revolve around the great ash tree, Yggdrasil.  Its top rose up through the middle of Asgard, where the gods lived, while one of its roots ran down to the deepest level, where life originated and was ruled by Hel, the goddess of the underworld, who was half living woman and half rotting corpse. A third root, grew in Midgard, watered from the Well of Knowledge.

The levels of the underworld that lay beneath Asgard and Midgard included the world of the giants, who avoided sunlight at all costs, along with their rude, and just plain mean servants, the trolls. The dark, though sometimes light, world of the dwarfs was of industry. They would become the craftspeople and inventers of all that was needed in the worlds above them. Another part of the underworld lived the elves, an extremely ambivalent race. The beautiful ones were seen as fairies, the ugly ones as goblins. Dragons were also a part of the underworld and would become the guardians of all buried treasures.

Though the gods and the giants were still enemies they, at times, were able to get along and coexist, as did all the other worlds. But they were uneasy alliances and very competitive. With everyone’s daily life often filled with much danger and a belief that they were ruled by an unforgiving fate.

With creation complete, the supreme Norse god Odin, the “All Father,” looked out over the nine worlds of his domain from his perch atop the rock of Hlidskjalf, in Asgard. He was accompanied by his two loyal ravens, Higinn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory). Odin then realized what was missing in the world- knowledge. He firmly believed that knowledge was power, and would become obsessed with attaining it. So he gave up an eye, in exchange for a copy of all that lay within the Tree of Knowledge and then using fermented honey wine he tricked a giant’s greedy daughter into giving him poetic inspiration. Odin found out that the secret to writing and language, the runes, was held in the dark underworld domain of Hel. To obtain these runes, which would become the alphabet of the Norse, Odin gashed open his side with a spear, then crucified himself by hanging from the great tree, Yggdrasil, for nine nights, after which Hel gave up the runes. Odin then used the runes as the medium to bring together religion, language, and art.

Two divine families lived in Asgard. The larger group were the Aesir, which Odin led himself. Also included in this group were other important gods, such as Thor, Baldar, Heimdall, the divine watchman, Tyr, and the goddess’ Frigg, Sif, Nanna, and Iduna. The other group was the Vanir, led by Freyr, his twin sister Freyja, the goddess of love, and their father Njord. Their mother was the giantess Skadi.  All these gods had many powers, including the ability to change shape and raise the dead. But differences between the two groups began to escalate from the very beginning. The Aesir were more combative and warlike, while the Vanir were all about sexual fertility and presided over the sunshine, rain, crops, and all that grew out of the ground. Soon they were at war with each other. The fighting ended with a truce and an exchange of hostages.

From then on, the Aesir would represent the warrior, while the Vanir would embrace wealth and prosperity. Odin became the “Father of Victories” and built Valhalla, the “Hall of the Slain.” Battle maidens known as Valkyries, would escort the fighting dead to Valhalla. Odin became the most respected of the gods, but was also feared the most and was never truly loved. Thor, the greatest warrior and strongest god on the other hand would become the most admired. He was a son of Odin and Jord (Earth) and lived with his wife Sif in a fantastically grand palace in Asgard. He was a dedicated enemy of the giants, but like many of the other gods he would co-mingle from time to time, and had two sons by the giantess, Jarnsaxa, of the Iron Knife. Thor was responsible for upholding order against the forces of chaos, and was also known as the “Defender of Asgard and Midgard.”

Freyja, besides being the goddess of love, became the goddess of birth, death, and fertility, representing the entire human cycle of life. She also was the patron of passion and compassion. Another god, Loki, the son of a giant, became a good friend to Odin. Loki was smart and handsome but was a master of mischief and eventually would evolve into pure evil, “the slander-bearer and promoter of deceit.”

The Norse culture would go on to glorify courage, strength and loyalty, as well as accepting the belief in destiny and predestination. Their society was to be founded  upon the idea of shame, not guilt, as the negative behavioural pole. They didn’t really feel guilty about anything, but would defend their honour intensely and avoid a shameful act at any cost.

Many of these Norse gods are still honoured today, as seen in the names of the days of the week. Saturday is the only day whose name is not taken from the Norse language, it is based on Roman mythology and is related to the planet Saturn. Sunday is, oddly enough, the day of the sun (sunnudagr) and celebrates the sun as the most supreme deity of the entire world. Monday is named after, and celebrates, the moon; Tuesday is named after the Norse god of war Tyr, and is associated with the planet Mars; Wednesday is the day of the greatest Norse god Odin, and is also related to the planet Mercury; Thursday represents Jupiter and is derived from the great warrior god Thor; with Friday’s name based on the goddesses Freyja and Frigg, the day identified with Venus.

Along with their creation, the Norse have an ending as well, the story of Ragnorak or “The Doom of the Gods.” It is a time when the worlds of the gods and humanity will be destroyed. First there will be savage warfare, then a dark and freezing winter that would last three years until earthquakes would wreck destruction upon the world and the earth will sink into the sea. The two wolves, Skoll and Hati, who had been trying to chase down the sun and the moon, will finally catch up to them and devour them both. Chaos will then return. There will be survivors though, gods, humans, and giants alike, and a fresh earth will emerge and a brighter sun will rise and life will continue.

The Haida

In the beginning there was only darkness, with the world  covered in water from a great flood. As the flood’s waters receded,  Raven flew along the now exposed shorelines and fed for the first time. The Raven held incredible supernatural powers and had many traits and a variety of appetites. He was a magician, a practical joker, somewhat of a sexual deviant, a provocative meddler in others’ affairs and was greedy. All the Raven myths passed down over the generations, would teach important lessons on how to live a good life, usually by using the traits of the Raven as a counter-example. But a the same time, the Raven was known and respected for assisting humans in their encounters with other supernatural beings.

With his belly full Raven landed on a desolate stretch of beach and slowly made his way along it. Strutting by a half opened clamshell, he heard something and stopped. At first he saw nothing, then realized the sounds were coming from the shell. In checking it out, he saw that there were tiny people hiding fearfully within the shell. The Raven was extremely curious and despite their fear was able to coax the little people out with repeated calls of, “Come out! Come out!” Once out of their shell, Raven was mesmerized by them, and quickly noticed they were all males. With no feathers or fur with pale skin, stick-like arms, and naked except for the dark hair on their heads,  Raven at first didn’t know what to think. The little people began to explore the beach. Sometimes they seemed to help each other, other times they fought over something they had found. The raven played with them, taught them some tricks, and began to feel sorry for them because they seemed so helpless, had no real shelter, and were very fearful. He began to get bored with them, so he went off down the beach and soon spotted some marine mollusks that were clinging to an exposed rock. These mollusks were the Chiton (pronounced “kaiten”) and beneath each one Raven discovered female counterparts of the little men. Gathering them up, he brought them over to the males and dropped them upon the sand, so that they could perhaps mingle. Right away Raven noticed the differences with these beings. The males, though still fearful, were more proud, agile, and stronger than the females, while the females were softer, rounder, and gentler. Of all the creatures Raven had ever seen, no other males and females were so very different.

At first the tiny people, all very curious and scared, stood there dumbfounded, staring at each other. They were extremely shy and quickly began to be embarrassed for being nude, so they began to use strips of kelp and woven pieces of seaweed to cover themselves. They were filled with confusing feelings, never before felt, and had no idea how to behave. Then the males started to do things that would attract the females. They jumped up and down, ran around in circles and even showed the females the tricks Raven had taught them. Raven became a little worried about their goofy behaviour, but eventually they became attracted to each other and began to pair off. But some of the males played too rough and caused some females to cry. The tears that were shed had an incredible emotional power over the males, and it brought out protective instincts. Raven was amazed at this, for it seemed that the strengths of each human, balanced out the weakness of others.

Besides seeing that the people were getting along, Raven also couldn’t help but notice that they were also cold and hungry, so he fed them some fish and then gave them fire. Before leaving, he taught them the secrets of hunting, fishing, and of the world that was to come. Raven was feeling quite good about himself. With such a successful pairing of these people, the first Haida, he would become very protective of them, and would become the provider for humanity. Raven soon left, taking with him the power of the spirit world’s ability to communicate and connect with humans. The Haida grew in both stature and numbers. Raven then created the trees so the people could build their long-houses and live together with their growing families.

Flying off, Raven would eventually spy the beautiful daughter of the god Gray Eagle, the guardian of the sun, moon, stars, freshwater and fire. Gray Eagle hated the humans that had begun populating his lands, so he kept the sun, moon, stars and freshwaters hidden from them. The Raven, up until now, was a brilliantly white bird, and had been noticed by Gray Eagle’s daughter. They fell in love and she invited Raven into her father’s long-house. Looking around inside, Raven saw the sun, the moon and stars, water and a fire-stick all hanging along the walls. When nobody was looking, he stole them and left Gray Eagles home. Upon leaving he flew up and hung the sun in the sky. Flying great distances while waiting for the sun to set, he returned and hung the moon in the sky, placing the stars in patterns and shapes upon the night sky, dividing the night from the day. Under the dim light of the moon, Raven then flew over the land and dropped the freshwater onto it, creating the source for the streams, rivers and lakes, and from which trees of cedar would grow. He then began to pull on the tides of the ocean, giving them rhythm. Upon the rivers and lakes he scattered the eggs of salmon and trout, and upon the land and within the young forests, he placed the animals.

All the while Raven had been flying around creating things, he had held the smoldering fire-stick in his beak and the smoke from it had been blowing back over his white feathers turning them black. From then on he was to be the black bird he is today. When his bill began to burn, he dropped the stick, which plummeted down to some rocks below and hid within them. This is why today when one strikes two stones together there are sparks of fire.

The Raven was not alone in the spirit world. There were the death gods, Ta’xet and Tia;  Ta’xet representing violent death, and Tia representing peaceful death. Gyhideptis was the kind forest goddess, and Lagua, an invisible spirit who brought knowledge and iron. The shamans of the Haida could speak Lagua’s voice by clenching their teeth. A part of the Haida creation myth also tells of the Bear god, Kaiti, and his wife, Dzalarhons, the goddess of frogs and volcanoes. They arrived from somewhere out on the ocean after a great flood, with six canoes full of the original people.

Most all Native American creation stories and mythologies are intertwined with the natural world and often used animals as creators, messengers, protectors, guardians, and advisors. The animals were often thought to possess human qualities and could speak, think, and act like humans. Animals such as the raven, coyote, bear, eagle, spider, and turtle are found in nearly all stories recounting the origin of a tribe. Animals were thought to be spiritual guides and important players in the community’s daily existence. In the lore of many tribes, animals walked the earth before man, and helped to shape, teach, feed, and spiritually nurture the people who eventually lived with them. They played a vital role in the life of the people, and honouring their spirits could bring blessings, life balance, and abundance. Native Americans believe in the special medicine or power that each animal holds. Mythic beasts, like the Thunderbird, are often given the highest respect that could be bestowed on a spirit, in the role of creator. When an individual or tribe needed assistance, it called upon an individual animal’s knowledge, power, and spirit. Even up to this day, animals are considered sacred by the Native Americans and are appealed to in times of need. Many of these creation stories also included humanized beings that act as gods of the sky, earth, water, and sun, like Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the Earth Maker.

Native American creation stories tell that there was are no differences between the natural and the supernatural. The material world and the spiritual world were one, a unified realm of being, where plants, animals and humans partook of divinity through their connection with guardian spirits, the supernatural and with nature. Everything is connected. When there was a need to enlist the aid of the spirits to control something of the natural or social worlds, each tribe had its own set of rituals. Individuals used private prayer or sacrifices of valuable items to appease or gain assistance from the powerful spiritual entities. There were also times when whole communities sought divine assistance. During such times, they would call upon the shamans and priests for guidance whom they believed had gained supernatural powers through visions.

Besides a plethora of lesser spirits and deities, nearly all Native American cultures worshipped an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator or “Master Spirit.” The people themselves would live simple, social lives mixed within a framework of complex spirituality. They believed all things were related and that they themselves were a part of something that was far larger then themselves, and which depended on the balance of forces to keep the universe operating in an orderly and harmonious manner. Anything the people could do to help maintain this balance, through rituals, ceremonies, and taboos was a deeply felt responsibility. With everyone held accountable for their actions; most all tribes believed in the immortality of the human soul, and in an afterlife that was filled with an abundance of every good thing that made earthly life, safe, calm, and peaceful.

The Iroquois Federation

The Iroquois are not one people, but a federation of six nations. The Cayuga, Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga and Tuscarora peoples cultures are predominate around the southeast shores and of Lake Ontario, in North America.

In the beginning there was nothing except a floating island, where a lone, stately tree grew. It floated on a great white cloud sea and was visited from time to time by the Sky People. It was so large a tree that its branches had grown beyond the range of vision and were always heavily laden with fruit and blossoms. The air all around was fragrant with its scents. Once in awhile the Sky People would gather in it’s shade and hold councils. At one of these councils, the Great Ruler, decided a place should be created where another people may grow, for each time they had met, the Sky People could make out faint cries for help that whispered out of the great cloud sea upon which their island floated. The calls were filled with a melancholy tone and would sound lonely, knowing of no rest and which were desperate for assistance.

The Great Ruler said that since their council tree’s branches rose above them, the roots of the tree which pointed downward to the cloud sea, would show them the way. He then pulled the great tree out of the ground and held it above him. Peering into its depths, he didn’t see much, so he summoned the sky goddess Ata-Hen-Sic, who was with child, and asked her to look down as well.  Ata-Hen-Sic did not see anything either. But they could still hear the faint cries that called to them from the cloud sea, so he wrapped Ata-Hen-Sic up in a cloak of light and sent her down into the cloud sea.

The voices the gods heard were animals that lived beneath the great cloud sea. And when they noticed a bright light slowly descending, there was much confusion and distress among them, and they became very alarmed. It was really starting to freak them out. The Duck was afraid that the descending bright light would fall and destroy them, and cried out, asking “Where will it rest?” “Only the oeh-da (earth) which lies at the bottom of our waters can hold it,” answered the Beaver, “I will bring it.” The Beaver headed downwards but never returned. Then the Duck gave it a shot, but soon its dead body floated to the surface. Many others dived down but all failed. Finally the Muskrat, who knew the way, volunteered and soon returned, holding a small portion of the earth in his paw. “It is heavy and will grow fast,” said the Muskrat, “Who will bear its weight?” The Turtle was willing, and so the oeh-da was placed on his hard shell. Having made a resting place for the light that was descending, the water birds, guided by its glow, flew upward and took the woman onto their widespread wings and brought her down to the Turtle’s back.

The Turtle became Hah-nu-nah, the Earth Bearer. And from then on, whenever he moved, the seas would rise in great waves, and when he became restless or violent, earthquakes would yawn and devour great swaths of the earth. But the earth grew quickly upon Ata-hen-sic’s body and became an island, but Ata-hen-sic, hearing voices under her heart, one soft and soothing, the other loud and contentious, knew that her mission to people this island, was nearing. Two lives were growing within her, one peaceful and patient, the other restless and vicious. The latter, discovering light under his mothers arm, thrust himself through to become conflict and strife, and was called Hah-gweh-da-et-gah, while the other entered life for freedom and peace and would become Hah-gweh-di-yu. These twin brothers would become the Spirits of Good and Evil. As soon as they were born, they understood the powers they each held and each claimed dominion over the dawning world. Hah-gweh-di-yu claimed the right to beautify the island, while his brother Hah-gweh-da-et-gah was determined to destroy it. Each would go their own way, only to have peace and good thwarted by contention and evil, every step of the way.

After their births, their mother Ata-hen-sic died and the Earth began to rise from her lifeless body, and earth and mother would become “Mother Earth.”  Hah-gweh-di-yu alone, mourned his mother’s death and from his grief he shaped the sky with the palms of his hands in her honour and created the sun from her face and spoke the words, “You shall rule here where your face will shine forever.” But his wicked brother set darkness in the western sky and pulled the sun down behind it. Hah-gwen-di-yu then took from his mother’s breast, the moon and the stars, to become his sisters who would guard the night sky when the sun lay behind the darkness. Next he planted maize in Mother Earth, from where all things would grow. He then created towering mountains, and in their valleys he put straight rivers that ran into the sea. He set up high hills along each side of the rivers to protect them, and placed forests on them. On the low plains he planted fruit-bearing trees and vines, which could scatter their seed upon the winds. It was beautiful. But soon enough the evil one, Hah-gweh-da-et-gah, noticed and completely lost it. He viciously tore apart the mountains and threw the pieces into different directions. Enraged he pushed the hills into wavering valleys, and wherever he found them he’d put bends in the rivers. He scattered the forests, and led monsters into the sea where they were to dwell. He then herded together hurricanes in the sky, that chased after the sun, moon, and stars.

Hah-gweh-di-yu could not watch the beauty he had created be assaulted and destroyed, so he made his way across a vast ocean that had appeared, and there met a being who told him that he was his father. “How high can you reach?”, the being asked. Hah-gweh-di-yu reached up and touched the sky. The being then asked, “How much can you lift?” and Hah-gweh-di-yu took hold of a mountain and threw it far into space. The being then said, “You are worthy to be my son” and quickly lashed upon Hah-gweh-di-yu’s back two packs, and asked him to return to the earth. Hah-gweh-di-yu swam back, taking many days and for his entire journey the sun did not leave the sky until he had made it back to the earth. The burdens on his back were heavy. Though Hah-gweh-di-yu was strong, when he reached the shore they fell apart and opened.

From one pack flew an eagle, who guided all the birds that were to follow. They filled the sky with song and flew into the forest. From the other pack came animals led by a deer, and they all sped off into the mountains.  Hah-gweh-de-at-gah had been watching though, and chased the animals with, “wild beasts that devour, and grim flying creatures that steal life without sign, and creeping reptiles to poison the way.”

With the earth finally created, amid the distractions of his evil brother, Hah-gweh-di-yu bestowed a protecting spirit upon each of his creations.  The personification of the wind was Gaol. The winter god would become Gomone, with Adekagagwaa ruling over the summer. The patron of farming was to be Onatha, while the giant Tarhuhyiawahku would hold up the sky. He then decided to face off with his brother.

Hah-gweh-di-yu asked Hah-gweh-de-at-gah if they could reconcile their differences and asked if he would put his vicious behaviour aside and enter the peacefulness of his own. Hah-gweh-de-at-gah laughed in his brother’s face and instead challenged Hah-gweh-di-yu to a fight, with the winner becoming the ruler of the earth.

Hah-gweh-da-et-gah proposed weapons which he could control, such as poisonous roots, strong as flint, monster’s teeth and fangs of serpents. But these Hah-gweh-di-yu refused, instead selecting the thorns of the giant crab apple tree, which were pointed like an arrow and strong. Using such thorns, the brothers fought, with the battle lasting many days and with no quarter given. But eventually  Hah-gweh-da-et-gah was beaten down and banished to a pit under the earth, a place from which he would never be able to return. The only things he was able to retain were his servants, who were half-human and half-beasts, who he would send out from time to time, to continue his destructive work.

Hah-gweh-di-yu now the Ruler of the Universe, was faithful to the prophecy of the Great Ruler of the floating island, that stated the earth should be peopled, and in an instant, created the first human beings. Hah-gweh-di-yu would watch over the people continuously, creating new things and faithfully protecting the sky, the seas, and the earth. Ha-wen-neyu came down to assist in watching over creation, becoming the Great Spirit, with the god, Oki, representing the life force of the Iroquois. One of the last gods to appear was Losheka, the Benevolent One, Healer of Disease, Defeater of Demons, and creator of magic, rituals and introducing tobacco into ceremony. The human beings prospered in this bristling, over abundant land of life and nature.

The human beings would eventually become six nations, with the people of each nation being divided into one of nine clans. The clan that one would become a part of, was based, according to matrilineality, where the lineage was traced through the mother. The nine clans were the Wolf, Bear, Turtle, Snipe, Deer, Beaver, Heron, Hawk, and Eel.

Though there were many variations of creation myths among the Native Americans, most all their traditions’ emphasis; balance, completion, integrity, and personal wholeness were within sacred natural processes. When North America was invaded by Europeans, the conquerors called them primitives, but what the conquerors were ignorant of was that the natives “primitiveness” was self chosen. The Native Americans had been evolving, isolated from Europe and much of the rest of the world, in a pristine environment, much like the ancestors of the conquerors had lived, before Egypt and Mesopotamia, in a lush garden of Eden. They not only lived close to nature, they believed that they had a symbiotic relationship with nature and were very aware of the present moment. Their cultures, though not perfect, still held a great sense of sacred intimacy with the natural environment. Their lives were dictated by the elements of nature and of each other, and many would achieve enlightenment in their lives. They were civilizations that had chosen to develop along its own lines, instead of by the doctrine of a church and of the ego, like their invaders.

 




 

 

 

 

www.flickr.com/photos/mckaysavage/497682113/
Everest to the right, Nuptse/Lhoste to the right.

www.flickr.com/photos/erwlas/5476259571/sizes/m/in/photostream/

 

08/18/11

Some Creation Stories Part 3

Part 3 of 3

Incan – Judaism/ Christianity – Mandinka – Islam – The Big Bang and Darwin – Summary

 

The Inca

There are many different versions of the Inca’s creation as their empire was ever expanding, with each tribal community having their own idea of how and when they were created. Most all share two basic and similar foundation stories, that the world was created around the Andes mountains and that the source of all life came from the sacred waters of Lake Titicaca.

In the beginning the earth was covered in darkness when the “Creator of All Things,” Wiraqocha ( Viracocha) Pachyachachic, emerged out of a lake called Collasuyu ( Lake Titicaca). Wiraqocha quickly began creating humans, with the first beings made from gigantic solid blocks of stone, Wiraqocha soon realized that these first people were way too large. So he then created a new humanity in the form we are today. He ordered these new people to live together peacefully, but before too long, pride and jealousy appeared and the world became embroiled in greed and conflict. These first peoples lived in darkness, for Wiraqocha had not created light yet, and were very primitive; not really knowing how to do anything, including not knowing about clothing or building shelter. Their behaviour soon enraged Wiraqocha. He turned many of them into stone, then sent down rains for sixty days and sixty nights and a great flood washed away all traces of the beings of his earlier creation. He kept only two people alive, which were to act as his servants.

Wiraqocha felt one of the reasons the first humanity had become so immoral was because they lived in darkness, while the earth consisted of only rocks and mountains. Still determined to create humanity, he felt these other matters should be dealt with first before he would attempt to create people again. So he created light at the lake Collasuyu, calling forth the sun (Inti) and the moon (Mama-Quilla) from the waters. He set them in the sky and told them to take turns decorating the earth with light and darkness. In the beginning the moon was the brighter one, but the sun took offense, throwing ashes into the moon’s face and ever since, the moon is the paler of the two. Wiraqocha then began to create humanity a second time.

With the help of his two servants, he made statues and images of all the people from stone. They were painted distinct colours and had costumes that each community would wear. After this was done Wiraqocha then instructed his servants to memorize each new persons’ name, their countries, and the prominent landmarks of where they were to live. He then brought them all to life by reciting their names. He sent one of his servants to the ocean in the west, the other he sent east into Amazonia, while Wiraqocha himself stayed in the Andes, where he called forth to all his people and told them who they were and named every peak, cave, lake, and stream. Later, Wiraqocha came to a place he named Pacariqtambo, the “Inn of the Dawn,” a cave from which he summoned forth four brothers and four sisters who would be the parents of his new race.

The first to emerge would bear the title, “the first Inca,” his name was Manqo Qhapaqh (Manco Capac), the “first Rich Ancestor.” Next was his sister, Mama Oqllu ( Plump Mother), who Manqo Qhapaqh quickly married. With them came Ayer Awka and his consort Mama Waqo. Then Ayar Kachi and his wife, Mama Kura, arose, with Ayar Uchu and Mama Rawa arriving last. From these eight siblings the entire Inca nation would descend and from their beginning they believed their destinies were to be the conquerors of a great empire. As Mama Waqo soon told her brothers and sisters, “We are born strong and wise and with the people who will here join us, we shall be powerful. We will go forth from this place to seek fertile lands and when we find them we will subjugate the people and take the lands, making war on all those who do not receive us as lords.”

Wiraqocha then made his way to the Pacific Ocean where he addressed his people for the final time. Wiraqocha was content with what he had done, feeling everything was in its rightful place and rightfully named. He told his people he was returning to the celestial realm, but from now on the ruler of the heavens was to be his son Inti, the god of the sun, who lit up the sky, made life possible, warmed the earth, and allowed crops to grow. Inti was to marry Mama-Quilla, goddess of the moon, whose natural rhythms would form the Inca calender. Wiraqocha also told his people that one day he would send them two messengers and that they were to always beware of intruders. When he was finished speaking, Wiraqocha, with a few servants at his side, strode out across the ocean, walking on the crests of the waves until disappearing over the horizon. From then on, though the people never really worshipped Wiraqocha, they forever honoured him.

Another foundation story of creation was that a great being, Con Tiqui (Viracocha) emerged from Lake Titicaca, bringing  human beings with him.  Con Tiqui (Viracocha) quickly created the sun (Inti), the moon, and the stars to light the world. Out of great rocks he created more human beings, many of them women who were already pregnant. He sent these people to the four corners of the world, keeping a male and female with him at Cusco, “the navel of the world,” near the sacred place,  Machu Picchu. The founder of the first dynasty of the kingdom of Cuzco was Manco Capac. In one legend he was brought up from the depths of Lake Titicaca by the sun god, Inti. In another he was the son of Con Tiqui Viracocha. However, commoners were not allowed to speak the name of Viracocha, which is possibly an explanation for the need for two foundation legends that follow.

In one myth, Manco Capac was the brother of Pachacamac, both were sons of the sun god, Inti. Manco Capac himself was worshipped as both a fire and a sun god. He and his siblings were sent to the earth by Inti, by way of the cave, Pacariqtambo. Carrying a golden staff called ‘tapac-yauri’, Manco Capac and his brothers and sisters were instructed to create a “Temple of the Sun” in the spot where the staff sank into the earth at Cusco. They combined their efforts and built such a temple where they could honour their father, the sun god Inti. In another version of this legend, instead of emerging from a cave in Cuzco, the siblings emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca.

In the Tici Virachocha legend, Manco Capac was the son of Tici Viracocha of Pacari-Tampu, just south of Cuzco. He and his brothers – Ayar, Anca, Ayar, Cachi, and Uchu, and sisters – Mama Ocllo, Mama Huaco, Mama Raua and Mama Cura, lived near Cuzco at Paccari-Tampu, and united their people to conquer the tribes of the Cuzco Valley. This legend also incorporates an ornate golden staff, which is thought to have been given to Manco Capac by his father. Accounts vary, but according to some versions of the legend, the young Manco jealously betrayed his older brothers, killed them, and became the sole ruler of Cuzco, the capital of what would become the Inca Empire.

Besides the many differences in their creation stories, the Inca people universally believed the creation of humans and the creation of the earth were two entirely different things. Their early consciousness was developed around their relationship with their environment; the rocks and mountains of the Andes, and believed that no Inca should ever feel the need to subdue or master their environment. They felt they did not just inhabit their environment, but instead the landscape inhabited them. They felt the rocks, nature and the mountains of their world were firmly established and could not be changed, much like the eternal divine presence of life itself and humanity. They believed that the creations of both humans and the earth existed in endless cycles of tragedy, upheaval, and re-creation, with each cycle lasting one thousand years. Though each cycle brings about both hope and fear, each one also brings about an improvement in the human condition.

The first creation was when Wiraqocha created the giant stone people who lived in darkness. The second creation cycle was when the sun appeared and the new people learned to clothe themselves, build shelters, and begin to farm. During the third cycle, systematic agriculture, spinning and weaving, mining, and metal working would evolve, with gold coming from the sweat of the sun and silver from the tears of the moon. But rivalry between communities also came into play. The fourth creation was filled with conflict, suspicion, animosity, and war. Tribal divisions began to form. The fifth creation was the thousand years before the invasion by the Spanish in the 16th century. It was a golden time; a classical age of order and stability. But then Francisco Pizarro and Christianity appeared, and nothing in the Incan world was ever the same.

Judaism and Christianity

The book of Genesis in the Bible tells of two different accounts of creation; each perhaps simply a difference in perspective on creation. The first account being gods’ perspective, when the earth and heavens were created, and the second being, humanity’s perspective.

The first account tells that in the beginning, Elohim (God), created the heavens and the earth, but the earth was nothing more than a formless, dark void. So Elohim created light and the earth appeared. And since this was the first day, from then on, before each new day he would create morning and evening anew. On the second day he created the waters and the skies. Then on the third day he separated the waters from parts of the land and upon this dried earth sprouted vegetation, plants bearing seed of their kind and trees bearing fruit, with seed within the fruit, of their kind.

On the fourth day he began to populate his creations, and created heavenly bodies for the night and day skies. There were two great lights, a greater light to govern the day, and a lesser one that would govern the night. The next day, the fifth day, he created birds to fly above the earth, and told them to be fruitful and to multiply and fill the skies. Then he created all the sea creatures, including the Leviathan and the Rahab, and told them to also go forth and fill the seas.

On the sixth day Elohim created animals, “living creatures and cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth.” Lastly he created man and woman in the image and likeness of himself, the one god, Elohim. And he told these first people they also should go forth and multiply and to be fruitful. They were to fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over all the fish, birds and animals. They were to use the seeds of the plants, and all the vegetation and fruit was to become their food. And Elohim stood back and looked over all that he had created and saw that is was very good, so the next day, the seventh, he rested and blessed and sanctified this day as a day of rest, for in six days he had created the heavens and the earth and all their inhabitants.

The second account of creation begins after the moment that the earth and heaven had been created. In the beginning there were heaven and earth. There were no plants, shrubs or trees yet because Yahweh Elohim (Lord God) had not sent rain upon the earth, nor a man to cultivate its fields; but a mist arose from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Yahweh Elohim then formed man from dust off the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils and man became a living being. Yahweh Elohim then planted a garden in Eden, and out of the ground grew trees which were both, pleasing to the eye, and could be used for food. One great tree grew out of the middle of the garden, the Tree of Life. Another nearby tree was called the Tree of Knowledge, of good and evil. He then created four rivers; the Pishan, that flowed around the land of Havilah, where gold, bdellium and onyx were; Gihon, the river that flowed around the land Cush; the Tigris, that flowed east out of Assyria; and the river Euphrates. All becoming the great rivers of the Middle East. He then set the man upon the earth to cultivate it and care for it, and told the man that he may eat from the garden freely, except for the Tree of Knowledge, where both good and evil lay. From this tree the man should never eat for if he were to, he would die. Yahweh Elohim then thought how lonely it must be for this one man and that he needed a helper, so he created every creature on the land and every bird in the sky. He allowed the man to name each creature and as he did, they became living creatures. But the man still seemed lonely so Yahweh Elohim put the man into a deep sleep. And as the man slept he took out one of the man’s ribs, then healed the flesh there. And when the man awoke, Yahweh Elohim showed him what he had created and told him he had used one of the man’s ribs.

Naming this new human was left up to the man and he decided to call her woman, for she was taken out of himself. “The bone of my bones, and the flesh of my flesh.” This first man and woman coming together, represents that from then onwards when a man takes a woman he shall leave his father and his brother, and take her for a wife, and they become one flesh. Man and woman lived in the garden of Eden. The man toiled in the fields and though they were still naked they were not ashamed.

Of all the creatures created, the serpent was the most crafty and one day he told the woman that if she were to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge she would not die, but instead have her eyes opened and like the, Lord God Yahweh Elohim, she would know good from evil. When she saw that the fruit of this tree would be good food, and that eating the fruit would bring her wisdom, she plucked one of its fruits and ate it, giving a piece to her husband, who ate as well. Suddenly, the man and woman saw that they were naked and they quickly sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. Yahweh Elohim confronted man and woman, asking why did they eat from the Tree of Knowledge. The man admitted that his wife had picked the fruit but that he had also eaten. The woman blamed the deceiving serpent. Yahweh Elohim went to the serpent and vowed that because he had done this, forever shall he be cursed and onto his belly he will go, to eat the dust for the rest of his days. To the woman he said; from now on a woman’s pain in childbirth will greatly multiply and only with this pain will you bring forth children. Woman will also be forever cursed with the blood of menstruation, and her only desire will be for her husband, and that he rule over her.

Yahweh Elohim then turned to man and told him that because he had listened to his wife’s voice and had eaten from the tree, he would forever be a slave to the cultivation of the fields, all the days of his life until he dies and returns to the ground, “For you are dust. And to dust you shall return.” The man would be named Adam, the woman, Eve (mother of all living). Yahweh Elomin made garments of skin and clothed them both. He then sent them out of the garden of Eden and out into the fields to cultivate the ground  from which man was originally taken. By eating from the Tree of Knowledge, man and woman now knew good and evil and to prevent them from eating from the Tree of Life, Yahweh Elohim placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard it. Adam and Eve headed off into the fields and before long, began to have children, who would eventually populate the earth.

The primitive, innocent world came to an end with Adam and Eve. The temptation of the unknown, the all too human quest for knowledge had become the “mortal sin,” and started mortal man’s struggle and suffering in the descendants of primeval Adam.

Adam and Eve named their firstborn Cain. Their second child, Abel. Cain became a farmer of the fields while Abel became a herdsman over his flock. One day Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil to Yahweh Elomin. Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. It was no contest. Yahweh Elomin preferred the fat over the fruit, which enraged Cain. Later that day he ambushed his brother and killed him. Cain was banished and became a nomad. While wandering Cain found a wife and they had a child, which he named Enoch and soon after settled down to build a city, which he would name after his son.
When Adam and Eve were 130 years old they had another child, Seth, born in the likeness and image of Adam. Adam would live for 930 years and would father many sons and daughters. Seth would also have many children and lived for 912 years. Each generation afterwards would last hundreds of years, with Methuselah the last to live over 900 years. One of his sons, Lamech, would also have many children and when Lamech had lived 182 years he fathered a son, Noah.

It had been thousands of years since the creation and man had multiplied and covered the face of the earth, But Yahweh Elomin saw the wickedness of man and that the intent of their hearts was only evil. He saw how violent and corrupt the world had become and was sorry he had made mankind and was grieved by it. So he found a righteous man, Noah. After Noah was 500 years old, he fathered three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. One hundred years later, Yahweh Elomin instructed Noah and his sons to build an ark and to fill it with all the creatures of the sea, sky and land. At first he told Noah to gather two of every living thing, male and female. He then changed his order to say gather seven of every clean animal, including  a male and female, and Noah was to also include a male and female of every unclean animal. They were all loaded onto the ark, including Noah, his wife, their three sons and their son’s wives.

To destroy the evil in the world, Yahweh Elohim then sent a rain that didn’t stop for forty days and forty nights. All the flesh that moved on the earth perished, whether man or beast, with all living things being blotted from the earth. The water covered the highest mountains and after the forty days and nights of rain, the earth was flooded for a hundred and fifty years. The waters then began to subside, but it would take months before even the mountain tops would become visible. After the ark had come to rest on the side of a mountain, Noah sent out a raven which flew back and forth and dried up much of the earth. Then he sent out a dove, but the dove returned, unable to find anywhere to land. Noah waited seven days then sent out the dove again. This time when the dove returned it held a freshly plucked olive leaf in it’s beak. Waiting another seven days Noah sent out the dove a third time but this time the dove did not return.

After the flood had subsided entirely and the earth was dry once more, Yahweh Elohim made a covenant with Noah and blessed him and his family. He then told them to go forth, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and from then on the fear and terror of man shall forever be on every beast, every bird, everything that would creep on the ground and all the fish in the sea. Every moving thing that is alive and all the green plants were to become man’s food. And that from this day onwards man was to worship Yahweh Elohim, as the one true Lord God.

The descendants of Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth would go forth and populate the earth. One of these groups of people would become the Hebrew and be led by men such as Abraham, Isaac, Moses and Joshua, who would eventually make their way to Palestine and conquer the peoples living there and claim the land as theirs, the land promised to them by God.

The Mandinka

The Mandinka was the largest ancient West African empire and today makes up the majority of the Mande people. They believed their creation began with the god Mangala, a singular, powerful being who was perceived to be a round, energetic presence who resided in a vast expanse of nothingness. Within Mangala existed four divisions, which would become symbolic to many things, including the four days of the week (time), the four elements (matter), and the four directions (space).  Mangala felt bloated all the time and was tired of keeping all of this matter inside. Mangala removed all his insides and compressed it all into a seed. This represented the creation of the world, but the seed was not strong enough and could not hold all of creation within it and eventually exploded. Disappointed, Mangala destroyed the world he had tried to create, but did not give up and decided to give it another shot. This time Mangala used two sets of twin seeds, planting them in an egg-shaped womb. As the original sets began to gestate, Mangala kept adding sets of twin seeds into the womb until he had eight sets of seeds. Over time the gestating seeds transformed into fish, the symbol of fertility in the Mande world. Mangala saw that this time creation was going to be successful and concentrated on maintaining its perfection. But soon enough chaos slowly crept in and caused one of the male twins to become ambitious and he tried to escape from the egg. This chaotic character called, Pemba, was a trickster figure whose first trick was to steal a piece of the womb’s placenta and throw it down into the void where it landed and made the earth. Next, Pemba  tried to re-fertilize what was left of the womb, but he could not find it. Mangala had taken the remaining pieces of the placenta and had used them to form the sun. So Pemba stole male seeds from Mangala’s clavicle, and took them to the barren earth and planted them there. Only one of them could germinate in the dry earth, a male eleusine seed which grew in the blood of the placenta. But because Pemba had stolen the seed and it germinated in Pemba’s own placenta, the earth became impure and the eleusine seed turned red. Darkness and the night would become associated with Pemba.

Mangala was very upset about all this and decided to sacrifice Pemba’s twin brother, Faro to save what was left of his creation and to purify it. Faro was castrated then cut into sixty pieces which fell to the earth where they became trees. Faro was then raised from the dead and transformed into a human being and was sent down to earth in an ark made from his placenta. With him came four pairs of male and four pairs of female twins who became the original ancestors of mankind, all made from Faro’s placenta. The ark also held all the animals and plants, which also carried the male and female life force. Faro was then taught, by Mangala, the language of creation. Faro’s knowledge of words would become very powerful and was the tool he used to defeat Pemba’s mischief. Faro and the rest of the newly created twins then came to earth and soon married other humans, apart from themselves. A being named Sourakata, then arrived from out of the sky with the first sacred drum, made of the sacrificed skull of Faro, and a hammer. Sourakata began to play on the drum and sang for the first rain to come. But the rain would not arrive, so the ancestral smith came to the earth and grabbing the hammer, struck a rock. Only then did it begin to rain. Sourakata was a magical being who could control nature, and he taught Faro and his followers how to achieve this to their benefit.

Faro would go on and create all the world from the descendants of Mangala’s original egg seeds. Then one day he caused the land to flood, to once and for all wash away the impure seed of his brother, Pemba, and to rid the world of everything that had gone bad. Sheltered on Faro’s ark, only the good were saved.

Islam

The creation story of Islam is split among many verses in the Qur’an, which is written in Arabic and is considered authoritative only in that language. So please excuse my ignorance. The myth is similar to the Judaism-Christian accounts of creation, since the Islamic creation myth was recited, then recorded after the Old and New testaments had been written, over five centuries earlier.

In the beginning the sky and the earth were separate and stood apart from each other. After going through a phase where they were covered in smoke, they simultaneously came into their present shape and joined together to become one, the “unit of creation.” The whole process had taken six days or eras. The one all-powerful god, Allah “The God”, spread out, stormy, wind swept waves across the earth and created the depths of swollen seas. Though the waves clashed, surged, and tried to leap over one another, Allah subdued much of the agitation by pressing down the weight of the earth with his chest. When the chaotic seas reached his shoulder blades, they meekly submitted and became tame and obedient, forever becoming the prisoners of disgrace. The earth continued to spread itself out and became solid in the depths of the waters. Continuing to spread, it became solid even in the stormy depths of the water. At which time the earth finally ended the feeling of pride, self-conceit, and superiority the waters had held. The earth then gained control over the strength of the water’s flow and it became less of a disturbance.

The waters subsided around the earth’s sides and beneath the weight of the high mountains that Allah had placed upon it, and then from these mountains Allah flowed springs of cool water and distributed them throughout the plains and low places, and then controlled their movement by placing rocks and mountains along their routes. When all the trembling came to a standstill, high mountains stood on the plains, and deep valleys were formed from the mountains that grew downwards. Then Allah created a vast atmosphere between the earth and heaven that held blowing winds. Thus, the world and the cosmos were created.

Allah then created all the creatures of the earth and the water. Some he made to fly, some swam, some slithered and some crawled, and some walked. He next created the angels, and then the sun, moon, and stars, which would all reside in the heavens. He then made one big cloud, by collecting together a bunch of smaller clouds. When the water was heavy within this one big cloud, lightning began to flash around it and Allah brought forth strong winds to push against the great cloud and it began to rain. By the time the great cloud reached the ground emptied of its water, vegetation began to grow on the plains of the earth and herbage on the slopes of the mountains.

The rain, which had poured down in torrents had broken up the soil and brought forth the corn, the grapes and olive, palm, the fruit trees, the grass and all other vegetation. When this was done, he told the world’s creatures to spread out over its surfaces. Then while looking around, Allah noticed that there were still places, barren tracts of the earth, which did not have water to feed its life, so he created floating clouds which would regularly nourish these unproductive areas with rain. The earth finally felt at peace, being so decorated with gardens covered in soft vegetation and the beauty of its blossoms upon it. Allah had created all these things as the means of sustenance for the people that were to come and feed for all the creatures.

Allah then took clay, earth, sand, and water and mixed them together, which he then used to mould a model of a man. He breathed life and power into it, and it immediately came to life. This first man was to be named Adam. Allah then guided Adam to a beautiful, wondrous garden called paradise, where he created Eve (Hawa), the first woman, from out of Adam’s side. He then taught Adam the names of all the creatures and brought him to the angels, where he had them all bow down before Adam. Allah then told Adam and Eve that they could eat whatever they wanted from the garden, except the fruit of a forbidden tree. But Iblis (Satan) tempted them to disobey Allah and they ended up both eating the fruit. When Allah found out that they had disobeyed him he cast them out of paradise.

In the creation myth of the Old Testament, much of the blame of this “original sin” was placed on Eve, and both she and Adam were kicked out of Eden, forever. Their god also told them that from that time forward, death would be the wage of sin. Allah would treat the situation very differently.

Allah did not blame Eve and eventually forgave the pair, and also stated that death is not the wage of sin, it is a reality. Death does not happen because of misbehaviour, but because all humans are to be tested throughout their lives, by life itself, and then will be brought back to the one god Allah, through death, and only then, will they be judged.

All events in a person’s life would be seen as a trial. All the circumstances of human experience, no matter how one perceives it to be, are preparations for the eventual encounter with Allah. From that moment on life would be proclaimed to be only a test; for Allah’s believers have no reincarnation or son of god. Their reckoning is with Allah alone and each person is held accountable by their choices and actions. That success in life will not be in the accumulation of material goods, or in self-gratification of one’s physical desires, or their seemingly, virtuous actions. Actual success will be defined as being able to turn away from anything that causes one to lose sight of the will of Allah; in other words to ignore and turn away, from the temptations of the world and any self-centered approach to life. This daily struggle with life and one’s own faults and worldly desires would be called jihad, for all that Allah required of humans is both moral behaviour and devotion.

The rest of the Islamic creation myth is intertwined with the Judeo-Christian story. Islam, roughly meaning “submission,” as in to god, but also means “peace,” believes that Abraham, Moses, Noah, and Jesus were all prophets of God, which to them was Allah. But the most important prophet of Islam was Muhammad, who would be the instrument through which Allah would pass on his divine revelations and scripture. This would be achieved through visions that Muhammad would have. Whatever Allah had said to him, had to be memorized and recited out loud by Muhammad and his followers. This would later be written down and become the Qur’an. The people of Islam would become Muslims, “those who submit” to their gods will.

The Big Bang and Darwin

In the beginning there was nothing and then at a finite time in the past, there formed a very small, infinitely hot, and infinitely dense dot, about the size of a period on this page. It held four forces of nature within it. The “weak force,” what keeps the particles of an atomic nucleus together; the “strong force,” which allows particles (quarks), that make up the protons and neutrons in a nucleus to stick together; “electromagnetism,” which keeps solids from falling apart, and “gravity.” All four forces of nature compressed into a single force, the “grand unified force.” There was really no explosion but more of an expansion and as the dot began to expand, it also began to cool. The gravitational force separated from the grand unified force, then the strong force separated and finally the weak force separated from the electromagnetic force. This all happened by the time the universe was only about one-ten-thousandth of a second old. At this point the temperature is calculated to have been more than 100,000 million degrees Centigrade.  At one-one hundredths of a second and with more happening in that time than in the next million years, the universe had expanded to about the size of a pea, and by 60 seconds the temperature had fallen to 10,000 million degrees. Then quarks began to form and combined to form particles. In comparison to today, the universe’s average temperature was -270 degreesC (-454 degrees’ F), just three degrees C (four degrees F) above absolute zero, the lowest possible temperature. By the age of 100 seconds, the first nuclei had formed and the dense expanding mass became matter, with the dominant form being cold dark matter. A few minutes after the beginning, neutrons began to combine with protons to create Helium and Hydrogen nuclei.

This new universe of space, time, matter, and energy continued to expand and cool and it wasn’t until about the 300,000 year old mark that the universe cooled down enough to become transparent. Around this time much of the incredible heat began to cool and a form of radiation called cosmic microwaves, began to expand outwards. This cosmic background radiation, a remnant of this beginning time, still blankets the entire universe to this day. One hundred thousand years or so later, electrons and nuclei combined to create atoms, mostly Hydrogen.

A billion years after the beginning, the denser regions of the ever expanding, unevenly distributed matter, mostly Helium, Hydrogen and a variety of subatomic particles, gravitationally began to attract nearby matter and grew denser, forming gas clouds, quasars, stars and galaxies. Then began to move away and outwards from the starting point at unbelievable speeds. Still, to this day, all the galaxies and stars are heading away from us, with the farther away they are, the higher their velocity, though at the same time there is no geographic center to an expanding universe.

Because of the incredible pressure that formed within these stars, the original two elements of Helium and Hydrogen evolved into the other 88 naturally occurring chemical elements of the universe. These complex chemical elements evolved within the ancient stars and when these stars would end their stellar lives and die, the elements would be released as great clouds of swirling compounds. These clouds of chemical elements formed solar systems, including our own.

About 4.5 billion years ago one of these molten masses of matter became the earth and as it cooled off it became a solid, dry rock. Because of its heat and the cooling of the universe, moisture formed and rained upon the earth with vapour being brought in from impacts of asteroids and meteoroids for millions of years. Eventually this process would form great oceans. The first atmosphere was about 80% water vapour, 10% carbon dioxide, 6% hydrogen-sulfur with traces of many other compounds. With the earth nearly, entirely covered in oceans, the water would enrich carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and various other inert gases. These oceans also contained sorts of ammonia, methane, phosphoric salts, light, heat and electricity. Eventually within this soup of water and dissolving rock, the first self-replicating organic systems spawned and produced simple single-celled organisms, and the very slow process of evolution began.

Before Oxygen (in the form of ozone) the earth had no protection from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and the primitive compounds were bombarded with huge amounts of radiation from the sun. This form of energy promoted the self organization of simple molecules into organic compounds, which formed themselves into proto-cells, then eventually into true organisms. These micro-organisms gave the earth an oxygen rich atmosphere about five hundred million years ago.

The evolution of the cell, the basic unit of life, began with prokaryotes, single-celled organisms, or bacterium, which had no bound nucleus and their DNA was not organized into chromosomes (the hereditary information necessary for life). They inhabited the Earth approximately 3–4 billion years ago.

Over the next three billion or so years, through variation, reproduction, and selection, the inherited traits of groups of these organisms changed from one generation to the next, with new traits (genes) arising through mutations in the genes or transfer of genes between groups and between species.  Each cell would become a small, miniaturized factory containing thousands of pieces of molecular machinery and made up of thousands of millions of atoms. Nearly all life was now made up of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), meaning a full set of chromosomes with all the inheritable traits of an organism. The DNA molecule had become an incredible micro, digital, error-correcting, redundant, self duplicating, information storage and retrieval system, with its own inherent language, that had the potential to develop any organism from raw biological material. Basically, the DNA contained all the instructions for making and controlling every living thing and very tiny DNA changes could make profound differences.

Within cells are strands of DNA that associate with proteins to form condensed structures called chromosomes. A specific location within a chromosome is its locus. Genes on the other hand are parts of the DNA molecule that can be deemed the units of evolution. The mechanism of evolution are natural selection, mutation, and the influence of the environment it lives in, which gives such diversity of life on our planet. It is not the number of genes that give all life such diversity, but how they are used. The genetic code for all living things consists of four letters, which in unlimited combinations make up each being’s genetic code. Codes which make all living things grow and survive. Our species have three billion letters in its genetic code, while our human genome has 23,000 genes. Strangely enough, the same number of genes as a chicken, and actually less than an ear of corn.

Inherited traits of an organism are controlled by these genes, and together make up that organism’s genome, with the complete set of genes within an organism’s genome is its genotype. These inheritable traits are then reproduced between generations via the DNA molecule. Each gene specifies a single functional unit.  The complete set of observable traits that make up the structure and behaviour of an organism is called its phenotype.

Multi-cellular organisms first appeared in the oceans, then on the shores, and included sponges, brown algae, Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), slime moulds and myxobacteria (a gliding bacterium). The oldest existing fossils found are from this time.

About 600 million years ago photosynthesis had caused the level of oxygen to rise on the planet and its accumulation was probably somewhat accountable for the single cell evolving into remarkable biological diversity. And from these earliest beginnings nature would prove that nothing happens in isolation, that one event or action affects another and that the activity of one living organism will change the lives of other organisms. The world would now become a very complicated place.

Amid all the complexities of the evolving world, all living things on the planet earth, human or otherwise, would share common processes and traits, such as everything would have to feed, which in most cases causes growth. To assist in converting the food eaten into energy, all living things respire to take in and use the gases found in the air and water, and all living things excrete their waste material. They also reproduce in order to carry on their species, and all are sensitive and react to outside stimuli. And finally all animals, as well as most plants, have the ability to move.

Plants and fungi colonized the land, and were soon followed by arthropods and other animals, with some of the life forms of this time appearing in fossil records. These more complex creatures and plants began to evolve slowly over millions of years, by random genetic mutations that occured within an organism’s genetic code. The beneficial mutations were passed on to the next generations and over time these beneficial mutations accumulated and resulted in an entirely different organism and species, with the record of evolution remaining in an organism’s genome which revealed when species diverged through mutation.

Geographically, the surface of the earth was mostly water, except for the super continent of Pangaea, the Greek word for, “all the earth.” The single great ocean that surrounded it was the Panthalassa, Greek for “all seas.” Much like the fact that all living things contain a large proportion of water, a simple compound of oxygen and hydrogen, the earth also was and is mostly water.

Around 300 million years ago Pangaea began to slowly move and break apart through continental drift. Hundreds of a million years later it would form the current configuration of the continents. And still today, very slowly, its crusts continue to shift upon the earth’s surface creating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The earth also changes through cycles of weather patterns and ice ages, with most all ice ages usually lasting about 100,000 years. There were brief warm periods in between, lasting anywhere from 10,000 -20,000 years. Changes are also brought about by all sorts of other natural occurrences, such as impacts from celestial objects. All these factors combined, have been what dictates the growth and evolvement of every species on the earth.

Amphibians first appeared around 300 million years ago, followed by early amniotes (vertebrates with an embryonic sac), then mammals around 200 million years ago and birds around 100 million years ago (both from “reptile”-like lineages).  The age of the dinosaur began about two hundred and fifty million years ago, and ended in extinction 140 million years later. In their one hundred plus millions of years of evolving, the dinosaurs would go from two legged herbivores, called Prosauropods, who were smaller grazing animals to creatures who would dominate the land. These earliest dinosaurs would eat so much that over time their bellies would grow and eventually they would evolve to where they would drop down on all four legs, to support the weight. These were the Sauropods with huge bodies, four legs, a small head at the end of a very long neck, and who consumed huge amounts of foliage, especially trees. Twenty million years ago the monkey appears and evolves, branching off into different directions until about 14 million years go by, and then a fully walking, upright, bipedal, tool-making humanoid appears on the scene. The humanoid, Ramapithecus, was the first ape-like creature who had fingers and could grasp things; who had a thumb that was able to swing around and “oppose” the other fingers, and also had a more rounded tooth area, allowing for a better diet. American physical anthropologists Richard Wrangham gives the name, Pan Prior, for the species from where we and the chimps descended.

These new creatures would come out of Africa, the birthplace of man, humanity’s garden of Eden, and were dark, hairy, and ape-like. About two million years ago, tools are invented and when the human species, Homo-erectus appeared, about one million years ago the technology of fire was mastered. About 400,000 years ago the first shelters began to be built, with the short-limbed, thick-bodied, and cold-climate, adapted Neanderthal man, showing up about 200,000 years ago. At 100,000 years ago, we began to hold burial ceremonies and before 50,000 years ago art and language would  appear. Outwards from Africa the evolving humans spanned out over the planet. Anatomically modern humans, Homo-sapiens, became the predominate species and began to blanket the globe 100,000 years ago. They migrated to Asia and Australia 65,000 years ago, Europe 32,000 years ago and finally into the Americas about 15,000 years ago. For thousands of years Neanderthal and Homo-sapiens would alternately occupy the Middle East and parts of Europe until about 30,000 years ago, when the Neanderthal became extinct due to either being killed or they died off due to decreasing numbers. More likely they were simply assimilated into the species Homo-sapiens.

Being so spread out humans soon began to develop their own cultures, language and way of life, according to the environment that they lived in. And through human variation through physical adaptation to their climatic conditions, the races of humanity would begin to form and continue to evolve.

In the northern regions, with less and weaker sunlight, the humans there would become more pale. To aid in the proper growth of bones, their body took vitamin D from the sun’s energy. With less sunshine the skin had to lighten to let more of it through. Conversely, humans in equatorial latitudes needed more protection from the sun’s UV rays, so it began to secrete melanin into the skin which is the bodies’ natural sun screen. The effect of the sun on skin affected our DNA and caused the skin to protect itself by becoming thicker and browner. This sun screen reaction is, in reality, an anti aging product of the human body. The whole process of a black human becoming a white human or a white human becoming a black human takes about 25,000 years.

Burial ceremonies would become important and beliefs in an afterlife would evolve. The original gods were the sun, the earth, and all the life that dwelled upon it. Before civilizations and religions, the inhabitants of the earth had what we now call pagan beliefs. Wherever on the planet, modern humans migrated, they worshipped the sun and lived their lives according to the cycles of seasons that the celestial realm provided them. The seasons determined their ability to survive, and represented life, death, and rebirth.

The time when the earth goddess was reborn as an infant, and the darkness of night represented the womb became the winter solstice. This, the shortest day of the year, was worshipped for representing renewal and the rebirth out of the darkness of winter, for after this day, each day’s light would grow.

Then came the spring equinox, where daylight and darkness are in balance. It is the time when plants and animals awaken from the death of winter. It would be then followed by the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and represented the earth goddess at the peak of her fertility, sexuality, and power. It was the time for commitment to one’s beloved and where the hope and promise of a new life were to be found. At the same time the summer solstice would also represent a time of mourning, and worry for the often murderous heat, and killing drought that were to come.

The fall equinox would complete the cycle of life, representing the harvest was complete, and that the earth would no longer bear fruit. The earth goddess was seen as passing into a menopause. It was the time for giving thanks to the harvest and hope that it would be enough to see the people through the coming darkness of winter.

These early modern humans would prosper and would eventually build great cities and develop incredible technologies, invent music, art, and the written word, all by themselves, with no outside assistance from any gods whatsoever. Where once they used sticks, leaves, and mud to build their homes, like the birds and the beaver, they would eventually build majestic skyscrapers, apartment buildings, and sprawling suburbs, like the bees and ants.

However, despite the evolution of all the larger animals, including humans, the smaller organisms, similar to the types that evolved early in this process, continued to be highly successful and dominated the earth. The majority of both biomass and species covering the planet today are single celled organisms and bacteria.

All organisms on the earth are descended from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool, all related, in the fact all living things share the same set of nucleotides (having the basic components of DNA) and the same amino acids. For instance, all human DNA has forty-six chromosomes, arranged in 23 pairs, and oddly enough, the largest human cell is the female egg cell, which can be seen with the naked eye as a tiny dot, while the smallest human cell is male sperm.

The diversity of the current species that makes up the planet, is firstly because of a long series of speciation, meaning the formation of new species as a result of geographic, physiological, anatomical, or behavioural factors that prevented previously interbreeding populations from breeding with each other. Secondly, the many extinction events that occurred over the millennia. In a nut shell, all things on the planet have adapted to their environment through biological and natural evolution, with the mechanism of evolution being natural selection. If it was able to adapt, it survived. If it was unable to adapt, it either evolved into a new species, moved away, or died.

Today there are about 1.8 million species of living creatures. Nearly 95% of animal species, more than 1.2 million species, are invertebrates, animals without a backbone. All told there are one million species of insects, 59,000 species of vertebrate, 30,000 of fish, 8,240 of reptiles, 10,000 of birds, 5,415 of mammal, and one species of human. Though the largest populations of living organisms on the planet, by far, is the 5 to 10 million species of bacteria and the 74,000 -120,000 species of fungi.

It took Albert Einstein to come up with the theory that time and space do not have an existence independent of human experience. If all material things, like the stars and the planets, including earth, were to disappear out of the universe, it was formerly believed that all that would be left was time and space, but according to his Theory of Relativity, time and space would disappear too, along with everything else. It concludes that there are incredible and vast energies contained within a single atom and that all matter is nothing but another form of this energy.

The energy represented in the atom is the energy of the sun. It provides the synergy of all living things, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Its essence is the value in its differences, which should be respected, for synergy builds on strengths so that they can compensate for weaknesses. Nearly all of our energy comes from the sun. Nothing can live, move, grow, give off light, heat, or make a sound without energy.

It begins when sunlight touches a plant, which converts the sun’s energy into chemical energy and stores it in its leaves through the process of photosynthesis. We humans then eat the plants and/or other animals who have also fed on them, and store that chemical energy within our bodies. The energy is then released through chemical reactions that occur within our bodies. This process is performed by mitochondria, which are parts of the cell, called organelles, that break up food to make energy. These reactions need oxygen, which is why we breathe in air. When we exert ourselves, we get short of breath, because the body is turning chemical energy into kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion. This same chemical energy that reacts in our bodies is also stored in food, fuel, batteries, and many other forms. These chemical reactions are then able to become electrical energy, which can be converted into light, sound, or heat energy.

Though in reality, it seems that human behaviour is often far more complex than events in the natural world or the energies that created the universe, and that the six billion people living on the earth today are members of a single biological species, Homo Sapiens. We all come from the same place and from the very beginning strived to just get along and love each other, which we are still trying desperately to do today. Because of this, it has been said  that compassion will test our ability to survive as a species, not cleverness.

Summary

There are hundreds of creation stories, most all are supernatural, mythic-religious tales, explaining the beginnings of humanity, the earth, life, the universe, and representation of the stars and planet’s movements. Putting the shapes and movements of the sky into rhythms which humans could relate to; stories that try to explain these movements in reflection of own lives.  They share the same themes, such as, the forming of life out of primordial chaos, or the earth emerging from an infinite and timeless ocean, or simply from a  creation out of nothing at all. This is very similar to the fact that, beyond a reasonable doubt, astronomy and physics have also shown that indeed we had a beginning; before which, there was nothing, and then afterwards, there was the universe.

There are even creation myths in existence that include the beliefs that aliens from space, another species, landed here once, and perhaps still do, and over the millennia, have tried many times to create life on earth. The myths insinuate that millions of years have been spent trying to grow different life forms which would survive on a planet of rock. These aliens then gave the earth’s core an energy source that permeates through all things on the surface, while celestial objects do the same from above. And maybe, they began to get it right, after a meteor extinguished the dinosaurs. They then created one species, humanity but had to re-create them a few times to get it right, at least something which they were happy with. That would be modern man. Then about 12,000 years ago they would give us food. We quickly ate up all the big game, so they had to return and bring more food, the four basic food groups we still survive on today and that which we can grow ourselves; wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes. But maybe they were just trying to find out where they themselves, came from.

The most interesting thing about creation myths is that most became prominent about 5,000 years ago, when the first civilizations were arising in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Mediterranean, India, China, Mexico, and Peru. Cities were being born, populations expanding and the written word came into being. Many of these civilizations were geographically separated from one another, yet half of them built themselves up from nothing, with just as many not suspecting there was another civilized race in the world. Though there is still so much we simply don’t know about or have found yet as to ancient history.

What we do know is that just as the earth’s population exploded, with many new technologies and inventions, cities grew ever larger and creation myths appeared. Strangely enough, it is also the time when the ego of humans began to dictate the way things were going to be.

Some creation myths seem quite absurd or extremely fictional, if not illogical. But though they may or may not be factual, in the literal sense, most of them do pass on certain basic truths about the meaning and purpose of life on the planet earth. Most are not, religious in nature, and more often than not, they are related to worldly things that are not even connected to religions or sacred meanings. They are myths created by humans and not supernatural beings and/or mythological figures. But because we are a symbolic species, our reality is not necessarily action or feeling, but meaning. The majority of people perceive the world only in terms of the symbols that represent their language and culture. Any symbol that represents a particular meaning or ideal, recognized by the people who share the culture, becomes a belief.

This belief defines our identity to ourselves and to others by shaping what we believe into something that may be true, and then through the use of ritual practises, the belief then is transcended beyond the limits of our knowledge. The symbol then becomes sacred, thus, it becomes magnificent, high and mighty, and people become filled with awe. This is the main reason why many creation stories are very closely linked with the belief systems and religions that arose from them; for creation myths are the seeds of creation for such beliefs and religions. Though the problem that has forever been is unfortunately an idea which turns from a philosophy into a religion. It becomes extreme in one way or another, and most always brings only conflict.

The idea that all creation myths are somehow interconnected is common, even among most of the largest religions of the world.  Some people interpret creation myths as poetic descriptions of the sun, moon, and stars’ behaviour, which has been distorted over time into tales of gods and heroes. Others are leery toward creation stories because they are suspicious of the broad viewpoints of myths, “particularism.” Then there are others who surmise that perhaps, Enki, Atum, Kinich Ahau, the Grand Unity, Purusha, Brahma, Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Odin, Hah-gweh-di-yu, Wiraqocha, Elohim, Yahweh, Mangela, Allah, the Great Creator, the Great Ruler, Mother Earth, Father Sky, and a tiny, incredibly hot speck are all different manifestations of one single god and that they are all one in the same.

Many of the creation myths are also very comparable, in that most all have a flood story of their local area, and which is viewed as a punishment on a previous people for their disobedient behaviour. There is most always some sort of creative sacrifice, with a god dying then being reborn. Nearly every creation myth includes a life-death-rebirth god. There also seems to always be a most supreme being, who after he creates the world, and especially if he was also a life-death-rebirth god, cuts off contact with humanity and becomes “deus otiosus,” an idle god. Obviously proving the process of creation is an exhausting enterprise. These supreme beings are then sometimes replaced by a stronger and younger group of gods, called a titanomachy, who most often would gain their powers by either struggling with or conquering an older group of gods who usually represented some sort of chaos. Shamans and priests then created a belief system based on what all creation myths are based on and that is a founding myth.

A myth becomes the origin for the customs, rituals, and identity of people. There were and are many ancient and traditional societies that justified their actions and customs by claiming their gods were the ones who established them in the first place. Ignoring the fact that they were actually created by man. Even today, many cultures are still based on belief systems created  thousands of years ago, with Evangelical Christians and Muslims especially, acknowledging that their core directives are timeless, and to this day, read their respective scriptures the same way, literally. The Bible and the Qur’an, are both deemed to be the direct word of god and the absolute truth handed down for all time.

Most all creation myths also have an “axis mundi.” A place or thing, where north, south, east and west meet, as well as being the point where contact with the other levels of the universe can be made. The “axis mundi” is represented as either, the Sacred or Cosmic Tree of Life, the center of the world or its navel. Each culture has its own impression of where the center is, and it appears in many different forms. Many times it is a place, like a mountain, or a temple, or even a pile of rocks. Most times it appears as a tree, sometimes a vine. The Tree of Life in the book of Genesis, grows in the center of the garden of Eden, from which four rivers flow and nourishs the whole world. The Mayans had their World Tree, even the beginning of the big bang theory has a center.

The “axis mundi” could also be a god or human figure, like the Buddha. It would also be represented in the hearth, and the altar. Our earliest dwellings, besides caves, were circular structures most often with a central pole holding everything together, the hearth at the center dug out of the earth. Then it progressed to square homes with the hearth in the middle and from there to square homes surrounding a fountain and a courtyard. Simple altars became the pyramids and great cathedrals. These are all “axis mundi” centers, and are continuing to be built on an ever more massive scale with today’s “axis mundi”  represented in our landmark skyscrapers, which are even sometimes called centers. Other representations are the remaining ancient stone formations or mounds, in various locations around the world. In many cases, humanity is obsessed with always looking somewhere else for the center of the world, when in reality all they have to do is to look within. This then brings us to mono myths, the hero’s story. Nearly every single creation myth possesses the same or similar structured, classical stories of the hero. It is characterized in many different ways and has been and still is, the basic story line in much of our present day art, music, literature, poetry, religion, and film. It is also a story that is representative of a human’s life, though there never seems to be enough people willing to follow the path that leads to true peace, like heroes do.

Usually, after a miraculous birth, and after maturing into adulthood, the hero ventures out from the ordinary world into a supernatural realm. There they face fantastical forces, but are eventually victorious. The return journey is just as adventurous and filled with toils and troubles, and upon the hero’s return, he shares the knowledge and powers he has attained with his people. The story is of departure, initiation, and return; a very familiar tale of life, death, and rebirth.

They all begin when something or someone causes the hero to become aware of a new situation, an adventure he did not know about. They are told that they are desperately needed, that the life or death of humanity and/or creation is at stake. At first they refuse to help out, using the excuses of a sense of duty, obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy perhaps, and even love. Suddenly the hero becomes a victim to be saved. But once the hero commits to the journey there soon appears, consciously or unconsciously, guides that will assist the hero. It is usually an old woman or an old man. Their knowledge makes them representatives of the protecting power of destiny. Soon the hero realizes that all the forces of conscious, even mother nature, are at his or her side. The hero leaves their known world and departs from their self, and who they thought themselves were. The hero nearly dies, but is healed and/or reborn. They are then put through trials or series of ordeals or tests, usually three of them. Afterwards the hero feels unconditional love for the first time with a fellow human. The experience is overwhelming, and makes them feel very complete. Then comes some sort of physical or material temptation of life, such as morality, lust, cruelty, or greed.

The high point of the story is now reached, with the hero confronting whomever or whatever holds the ultimate power in the hero’s life. Many times, it is the father or a father figure who possesses powers over life and death. The hero is now faced with the hardest part of his journey, forgiveness and redemption, which requires the abandonment of the attachment to the ego. This is what is so very difficult. But when attained, the hero experiences a period of calm fulfilment and peace with their inner spirit. They come to realize that the immortal, indestructible being they just overcame was not what they were after at all. The benefit of achieving the goal of their quest was actually not the being itself, but the power that sustained it, and its grace, conscience and virtue. Much of Eastern philosophy is based on this principle. “We seek not to imitate the masters. Rather, we seek what they sought.

Having realized profound bliss or enlightenment, many a hero refused to return to the ordinary world. Some even stay and become immortal, others stay and die. The ones who decide to return often need help in the journey, for though they are at peace with themselves they are, more often than not, wounded or weakened in some way. Rescuers or guides appear to help them along their mythical flight home. This represents the classic and all too common, chase scene.

When the hero finally makes it back to their normal world, it is usually a very difficult time for them. They ponder how they are to integrate back into a normal life. The wisdom they have gained has changed them. They are masters of comfort and competency in their inner world, as well as the world around them. And because of their atonement, they are able to give up the attachments of their own personal limitations, traits, hopes, fears, and no longer are willing to live their lives by just going through the motions. The hero is now  willing to settle down and relax in the present moment, and whatever they may face – they deal with life as it happens. They contribute to their communities and to everyone they meet. They have come to understand that one earns respect by respecting others, which then gives peace of mind. They neither anticipate the future nor regret the past. They simply make each present moment count. And this is why the true heroes of the world are usually kind, generous, and patient. They understand that no one is perfect and that no one will ever know everything, and that all there is, is how one acts right now in the present moment, and they understand the power and importance of forgiveness. They achieve such awareness through the disciplines of body, mind, and spirit. Their heroism becomes simply, grace under the pressures of life, and their own conduct during times of temptation. They become beings with moral character, who put the interests of others above their own and possess the divine with reserved dignity and patience.

The opposite to the heros’ story is what too many of us have become over the years, and that is, individuals strutting around thinking a spotlight and camera are following us. Indignity is now all the rage. Human nature has now become rarely unbiased or unprejudiced. Instead it is always operating in the extreme, either to the right or the left, and not very often in the middle way with compromise. We’ve become opinionated, rash, angry, and loud. Living lives of illusion.

Besides the themes already mentioned, there is much to be learned from creation myths. The main problem has always been in how they have been interpreted. Like the foolishness of thinking we are here to rule and subdue the planet and all that dwell on it and to strip it of its resources, instead of the ideological viewpoint of favoured living in harmony with nature and our fellow human beings. But then that is the main problem with language and deep human thought, both are limited only by the metaphors available.

Thousands of years ago a simple group of people, after the men had returned from hunting down some game and the women had gathered up roots, berries, and grubs, they would sit around the fire and watch, listen and tell stories about their adventures of that day. They used various tones of grunting, body movement, gestures, and facial expressions, like smiling or titling the chin or rolling one’s eyes to explain their adventures. Or maybe the group would just sit back and with a clear focus, whittle away on a bone and make it into something or chip away at a stone to make an arrowhead. And then perhaps they’d just lay back upon mother earth and stare up into the expanse of space and wonder about all those twinkling lights. Then over time, some of them, at first with just their finger then a stick, would draw in the dirt and sand, and later hand paint the walls of their caves. Eventually scratching and carving the stories in shapes and symbols representing their tribes’ sign, on stone and pieces of bark, would detail the oral traditions and legends that would be passed down over generations. They believed that they were one with nature and that they would progress forever forward by simply continuing to share and compare the knowledge they gained.

Scribes and priests would begin to record these stories, transforming language into the written word, using their own interpretations and then creating world-views. Many of the first civilizations would then use these stories on which to base their beliefs, tenets, rules and hierarchy. Everyone would soon succumb to the fears presented to them, which these institutions would then distort into an unconscious need to conquer, defeat and impose their own way of life onto others by force. For a few thousand years the first civilizations would be only concerned with growth, expansion, war, and mega-projects, while the majority of the ever growing population’s concerns were strife, famine, and drought. Illusions would be created and still are, illusions that enter our minds and become realities, for indeed we are simply myth making mammals.

Creation myths aside, every single life form on the planet behaves in uniform, species-specific ways, most being guided by instincts, such as biological programming. However compared to all other living things, a human’s creative power is vast. But we now rely on culture, rather than instinct to ensure the survival of our kind. At one time, though rare today, we had biological forces within us, called instincts. This is where our soul resides. Where once we listened, we now most often ignore that “gut feeling,” and go in the direction our ego wants to go. Our souls have become cloaked in our egos, capes woven from our reactions to being in the world. This has translated into suffering, struggle, attachments, vulnerability, fear, insecurity, and anguish that comes from our particular society.

Our soul is the core of our being. It is the energy that is held there, a frequency if you will, but which is voiceless. It is where peace, calmness, composure, love, concern, and unlimited understanding reside. Though we have become beings that have gained tremendous mental power, we instead occupy ourselves with fashioning the natural environment into something self-serving, to ourselves and to our culture, according to where one happens to have been born and raised. Today it seems, far too many people have forgotten that they even have a soul and for various reasons, all created by the ego, far too many people are willing to forever be victims. The willingness to no longer be a victim comes from the soul, it allows us to either be free to suffer or free to stop suffering. The ego, creation myths, and many religious doctrines, cloud this truth and want us to be unaware that we have this choice. They try to dictate what our conscience is to be, because the act of thinking is what enslaves the soul and our conscious freedom. If one’s soul is free, they are able to meet suffering, to be aware of it, and then consciously choose to let it go.

When it comes right down to it, most all creation stories are make-believe, but where do they end? Will it be extinction, enlightenment, or evolvement? We are the first species, which we know of, to have the ability to stave off extinction, if we decide to. Enlightenment would lead to a better way of living allowing us to make the proper decisions, based on the realization that to stay alive, we need to keep the planet alive. This would be by creating a world of limited, earth-friendly consumption, with technology working for us, as a friend, and not working against us like the enemy much of it has become. So basically, evolvement can go either way, enlightenment or a world overpopulated with robots, drones, and worker bees. A world where the privileged few defend that privilege with obese establishments of weapons and propaganda, while the majority of the world faces poverty, desperation, and death. A world of  food and water rationing, with the food that is available, genetically altered. A world where many live indoors or underground when the sun is out. A world of acid rain, rivers and oceans. A world where people are wearing paper-masks when meeting other people, with our thoughts and behaviour dictated by big brother and the corporate elite.

Perhaps we should learn to once again, respect the characters of the creation myths that created such myths. The true creators of life are the sun, the moon, earth, water, the sky, and nature, who don’t care what we call them. At this stage of our history the only way to achieve this is through community and to return to family values, a sense of self, and awareness, for this is where love is found, as well as through mutual cooperation and respect, instead of our present values of corporate greed, television, and egotistical materialism.

Some people will hold their belief in their own particular creation story. Each one based on religion or science. Indeed creationism and evolution have become major issues with many people. The war between religion and science has been at the core of many disputes ever since creation stories came to be, with each side proclaiming the truth. While in reality, the truth happens when true science and true religion are in harmony with each other.

Scientific knowledge and modern technologies are racing forward at an ever quickening pace, yet our societies are still based on concepts and principles created centuries ago. In far too many ways humanity and its morality are being left behind in the dust. Present human activity and all its effects on the planet, the atmosphere and ourselves has been shaped by thinking patterns that are based on structures, needs, and values used by our ancestors six thousand years ago. Our present day societies are burdened under the heavy load of  traditional religions, or otherwise considerations of the past. The bulk of scientific knowledge that we have gained has only contributed to environmental degradation and has given us the illusion that our world is better because of it. When instead, science should make our lives better, with the driving force being concern for our welfare and the protection of the environment. The problem with science in the last few centuries is that all its focus has been on the sciences of matter, which do nothing to change the natural conditions and spirituality of life itself.

Up until recently the focus of the sciences of human behaviour have been primarily on people themselves, and not on the environmental conditions that created that individual. But we must continue to develop all the sciences of life and start to allow our inner being to make its way from beneath our manufactured, conditioned, personalities. Biology, physiology, and psychology are the only courses that could lead to positive change in our quality of life, not the fabrication of yet a bigger screen television or a faster car or an ever more powerful god. Just studying the individual does not identify the factors regarding that person’s behaviour. It is not human nature, but human behaviour that we need to be concerned with. And up until now, much of our behaviour is based on religious thought, cultural influences and the belief in creation myths.

I’ll end this essay with some interesting ways of looking at science and the world, for I believe the future does not just happen, other than natural events of course, but instead comes through the efforts of people and is determined by how well we are informed, of both sides of the story. There need not be so much polarity between us. There is absolutely no right or wrong, instead there are only points of view. If what we want to create, are fairness, balance and understanding then we need to give these things to others.

One of the most recent belief systems to have emerged in the world, one of the youngest of all religions, is the Baha’i faith which believes that humanity is indeed a single race and has the fundamental belief of the equality of men and women. One of its fundamental principles is of the harmony of religion and science. They believe that religion without science is merely superstition, and that science without religion is materialism. They believe truth to be one entity, the unity of science and religion. They  cannot be opposed for they are both aspects of the same truth. As Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame, while religion without science is blind.”

The Baha’i faith believes that a human’s reasoning power is all that is required to understand the truths about religion and that whenever conflict arises between religion and science it is always due to human error, either through misinterpretations of religious scriptures or through the lack of a more complete understanding of science. Religious leaders who only accept the truth by what has been written in scripture many centuries ago, could learn much from scientists who are mortal humans also seeking the truth. The difference though is that the most important trait a scientist must have, is to admit when they are wrong, which then enables them to go on and find perhaps the right conclusion.

The written word of divine scripture is based on one of the main problems with language since it was invented, in that it is extremely limited because it is based on metaphors and comparisons. Most scriptures are interpretations that, more than likely, have nothing to do with the original texts that they are taken from, nor have they survived intact through the multiple translations. Many of them are primitive tales of legend and superstition. Another problem with a lot of scripture is that many people believe it is a goal, when instead, the words that are contained within are actually tools. Though there are some religions that do understand that most all scriptures are human attempts to try to understand the incredible actions of the universe, but their attempts were limited by the particular time and culture, in which they were originally written down, more than two thousand years ago.

In most all faiths, when a person’s perception of themselves becomes fundamentally separate from other people, things and obstacles that they encounter, and even separate from the divine, it becomes very difficult to attain spiritual growth. They create limitations upon themselves. For developing a meaningful and personal spirituality takes work, and is an ongoing job. It is a way of walking, not talking.

The powers of logic and reason are also just as limited as is language, when it comes to a belief, for true realization in a faith comes from something that is far simpler and more innocent than logic. The ancient Greeks came to believe that logic (logos), the reasoning side, was only one of three distinct parts that made up a human being and in no way was the most important. There are also the positive and absolute, the (pathos), from where feelings come and which is based on our relationships. And finally, there is character (ethos), our integrity and the trust that one inspires.

As to logic, no matter what our ego thinks, we are not inherently rational. Formal logic is a very recent creation of humankind. It was brought about so that humans could ignore inner knowledge. Our more natural methods of thought is doing what feels right, based on experience and custom, intuition and instinct, and simple gut feelings. We modern humans seem to be happier and feel more comfortable talking about the logical reasons for doing something, instead of being honest and admitting that many times we simply don’t know and go with what we feel. For seeking to understand requires consideration, while seeking to be understood takes courage.  Once again we return to Mr. Einstein who stated,  “I didn’t arrive at my understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe through my rational mind.”

Einstein thought of himself as an agnostic in that he did not believe in a personal god, for he felt god was simply an expression and product of human weakness. But he felt himself to be very religious, as he once explained, “If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitutes the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.” He believed that there were
three styles of religion. The first being fear with the weak understanding of causality, of cause and effect, which then creates yet more fear, and the invention of supernatural beings. The second style is the desire for love and support, which then creates a social and moral need for a supernatural being. The third style does not have a concept of god per se, as in a non-human creature or a being that has human characteristics, but instead, “The individual feels  . . .  the sublimity and marvellous order which reveal themselves in nature  . . .  and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole.” As Einstein, and countless others before him were able to do, and which we must do today, is to give ourselves the freedom to rise above our present realities and seek new and creative ideas, to get past the log jam that we have created.

One way to do this would be by pulling our heads out of the sand, shutting up the voices in our heads, living and understanding the moment, start looking out for one another and find the lost emotion of empathy. Far too many of us feel we must believe in an almighty protector and saviour, and that this deity’s divine power is the source of help and support, and makes us feel secure in the thinking there is someone watching over us. Reality may be that we simply start showing just as much compassion to our fellow members of the human family, as we do to a god, that may or may not exist, we will attain help and support, and always have someone watching over us.

I myself try to understand all sides and enjoy doing so, and believe that society is not fixed by a god’s will or by human nature. It is a system that we can study scientifically and based on what we learn about our world and its nature; we can act deliberately to improve, whether it is us or our planet. And yet the flip side of this coin is that many scientific findings are based entirely on mathematics and cannot be practically tested or proven. So one then has the choice of believing or not. Thus, in many ways, science could also be defined as a belief system.

It seems that the essence of the universe is the same energy that we all share, and it is this which we need to become more aware of. To realise that we are all a part of and share the energy source of the atom and therefore we all share the same soul and that our imperfections are what makes us the beings we are. As the revered Leonard Cohen so wrote and sang, “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

If indeed there is a creator, a supreme god, or even a group of gods, whether male or female, mortal or supernatural, man or animal, I can only imagine what they would be thinking as they look down upon their creation today. I wonder if its sadness, disappointment, or embarrassment? Or maybe they have no thought on the matter whatsoever, knowing that regardless of the ignorance of humanity, the future will force us to behave differently, whether we like it or not. If it is true that they can see everything, do they notice that much of the life that they created is gone from the earth, with the remainder abused, used, assaulted, and raped? Do they not see that untold numbers of plants and wildlife have become extinct from their creation? What do they feel about our madness in soiling our own nest, the earth? Are they downcast and shaking their heads because we failed to understand that each living thing on the planet has the divine essence within it or that the messages hidden within their scriptures were not interpreted properly or maybe ignored? Perhaps they are rolling their eyes at us, and trying to figure out why we did not just listen to our inner being. Our spirituality is the wisdom that we each carry within. What do they think about when they see that the world they created has been re-created by a very few, for the many? Or is it that good and righteous are more often than not, overshadowed by evil and immorality. From their vantage point, I’m sure they notice that the majority of us are living lives that have not changed since the first civilizations. We continue to make lies truths, and that we dream and don’t act, and that far too many of us are moving through our lives on paths of least resistance and distraction. Most people are simply being functions of their culture, living out scripts, based on opinions, perceptions, and standard patterns written by parents, friends, the church, and society. They must feel embarrassed seeing their own followers, the ones that believed in them, more concerned with their own salvation than the planet on which they live or their fellow human being. This to me, seems somewhat of a paradox.

No matter how evolved or sophisticated we think we are today, much has stayed the same for us since creation, though in many other ways we have digressed. No longer believing we are all interconnected, we first separated ourselves from nature. We then separated god from creation, ourselves from other groups of humans, and then went a step further where we separated ourselves from our own families and even our own selves and now find ourselves believing we can do anything we want for our own reasons. We spend our time wandering around looking for the right person, when we should in fact be trying to be the right person. It was a shocking point in time for humanity when it was discovered that the earth was not the center of the universe, though today, we have come to believe as individuals we are the center of the universe.

Too many of us have lost our relationship with our inner selves, our souls, and need something to fill the void. Our soul is the representative of the natural energy that all living things share. Organized religions and the perceived values of our cultures are what usually fills this void when our soul is forgotten and/or ignored, or just missing and lost. They fill the void by dictating how we are to live, how we should feel, and what we are to think. While those without a soul at all and who only listen to the voices in their heads, eventually become ever more greedy and violent. Creation myths and most organized religions are based on these dualities of humankind. Ego represents evil, and good represents the divine, that is within each one of us.

In reality we humans do not need much to seek and develop our true spirituality, which when realized, should benefit all. We need few things, one being to live peacefully, in comfort and ease; secondly, the ability and freedom to explore. We need to test new frontiers, challenge some myth, work on becoming more aware, try new foods, try once in awhile to think outside the box, and be free from the drudgery of regular routines. And finally, we all need a support system to keep us in check whenever we wander, and to believe wholeheartedly, that though we may not be able to control our thoughts all the time, we can act and control our actions.

Besides creation myths, one could look back over the short time we humans have resided on the earth and agree that we have created and re-created our worlds and ourselves, in countless ways and continue to do so, each and every day. Which direction we go in from here, is simply up to us. Should we even worry about where we came from? Should we learn what has already been taught and seek further knowledge by placing the greatest importance on simply being concerned for what we do today? This is only going to happen but once, and will dictate what happens tomorrow. As for yesterday, well, it already happened, lets learn from that.

As a species we will eventually homogenize and all start to, no doubt look the same, but it will be a very slow process, controlled by our genes, language and cultural, financial and economic choices. But we should always continue to discuss and never lose sight or perspective, that all individuals, no matter the race, are deserving of the same rights and opportunities. And that no matter the where, how and why we were created, or what creation story one happens to believe, we were created at the same time, from the same place. Living together on one planet among many revolving round the sun and that if we were to die off as a species the earth and life would continue.

“History is not what was, but what is.”  William Faulkner

 

 

 

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/osvaldorove/5976998701/    (Machu Picchu)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilspicys/2349783572/sizes/z/in/photostream/      (Waterfall)

 

07/14/11

Resource Material/ Bibliography- Some Creation Stories

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Baggini, Julian, Why do we have creation myths?, The Guardian Co. UK, March 28th 2006.

Barbour, Ian, When Science Meets Religion, Harper San Francisco, 2000.

Brooks, David, (New York Times), “The regrettable death of personal dignity,” Times Colonist, Victoria, BC, July 12th, 2009.

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