Definitions

tight embrace

Creation myth

A creation myth is a supernatural mytho-religious story or explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, earth, life, and the universe (cosmogony), usually as a deliberate act of "creation" by one or more deities.

Many creation myths share broadly similar themes. Common motifs include the fractionation of the things of the world from a primordial chaos; the separation of the mother and father gods; land emerging from an infinite and timeless ocean; or creation ex nihilo (out of nothing).

The term creation myth is sometimes used in a derogatory way to describe stories which are still believed today, as the term Myth may suggest something which is absurd or fictional. While these beliefs and stories need not be a literal account of actual events, they may yet express ideas that are perceived by some people and cultures to be truths at a deeper or more symbolic level. Author Daniel Quinn notes that in this sense creation myths need not be religious in nature, and they have secular analogues in modern cultures.

Alternative creation myths abound in fantasy literature. J.R.R. Tolkien has his version in the Silmarillion; C.S. Lewis has both a Creation and an End in his Narnia sequence (Magician's Nephew and Last Battle). Also David Eddings 'Belgariad'; Robert Heinlein 'Job' and 'The Cat who walks through Walls'; Lois McMaster Bujold 'Chalion'; Charles Harness 'The New Reality'; Michael Moorcock and numerous others offer huge variety. Both Monotheist and Multitheist versions abound. The struggle between 'good' and 'evil' concept of Abrahamic religions is also a frequent element.

Africa

Bakuba

The Bakuba account of demiurge is as follows. Originally, the Earth was nothing but water and darkness. Mbombo, the white giant ruled over this chaos. One day, he felt a terrible pain in his stomach, and vomited the sun, the moon, and the stars. The sun shone fiercely and water steamed up in clouds. Gradually, the dry hills appeared. Mbombo vomited again, this time the trees came out of his stomach, and animals, and people, and many other things: the first woman, the leopard, the eagle, the anvil, monkey Fumu, the first man, the firmament, medicine, and lighting. Nchienge, the woman of the waters, lived in the East. She had a son, Woto, and a daughter, Labama. Woto was the first king of the Bakuba.

Maasai

The Maasai of Kenya in their creation narrative recount the origin of humanity to be fashioned by the Creator deity from a single tree or leg which split into three pieces. To the first father of the Maasai, he gave a stick. To the first father of the Kikuyu, he gave a hoe. To the first father of the Kamba, he gave a bow and arrow. Each son survived in the wild. The first father of the Maasai used his stick to herd animals. The first father of the Kikuyu used his hoe to cultivate the ground. The first father of the Kamba used his bow and arrow to hunt.

Mandinka

The traditional creation narrative of the Mandinka people of southern Mali begins with Mangala, a singular, powerful being who is perceived to be a round, energetic presence. Within Mangala existed four divisions, which were symbolic of, among many things, the four days of the week (time), the four elements (matter), and the four directions (space). Mangala also contained two sets of dual gendered twins. Mangala was tired of keeping all of this matter inside, so the god removed it and compiled it into a seed. The seed was his creation of the world. The seed however did not hold together well and blew up. Mangala was disappointed with this and destroyed the world he created.

Mangala did not lose hope; the creator began again, this time with two sets of twin seeds. Mangala planted the seeds in an egg shaped womb where they gestated. Mangala continued to put more sets of twin seeds in the womb until he had 8 sets of seeds. In the womb, the gestating seeds transformed themselves into fish. The fish is considered a symbol of fertility in the Mande world. This time, Mangala's creation was successful. This is important, because it illustrates the idea of dual gendered twinship, an idea that permeates Mande culture.

Mangala tried to maintain this perfect creation, but chaos crept in; one of the male twins became ambitious and tried to escape from the egg. This chaotic character is called Pemba. He is a trickster figure whose first trick was to steal a piece of the womb's placenta and throw it down. This action made the earth. Pemba then tried to refertilize what was left of the womb, committing incest against his mother, the womb.

Mangala decided to sacrifice Pemba's brother Farro to save what was left of his creation. He castrated him and then killed him in order to raise him from the dead. Mangala took what was left of the placenta and transformed it into the sun, thus associating Pemba with darkness and the night. Farro was transformed into a human being and was taught the language of creation by Mangala. Farro's knowledge of words is very powerful and the tool he used to defeat Pemba's mischief. Farro and his newly created twins came to Earth and got married (not to each other). This is the basis for the foundation of exogamy in Mande.

Next, a being named Sourakata arrived from the sky with the first sacred drum, hammer, and the sacrificed skull of Farro. Sourakata began to play on the drum and sang for the first rain to come. Sourakata is a magical being who can control nature, and he taught Farro and his followers.

Voodoo

Damballah (Sky-serpent loa and wise and loving Father archetype) created all the waters of the earth. In the form of a serpent, the movement of his 7,000 coils formed hills and valleys on earth and brought forth stars and planets in the cosmos. He forged metals from heat and sent forth lightning bolts to form the sacred rocks and stones.

When he shed his skin in the sun, releasing all the waters over the land, the sun shone in the water and created the rainbow. Damballah loved the rainbow's beauty and made her his wife, Aida-Wedo. (Aida-Wedo represents the sky powers and is symbolized by the rainbow; wife of Damballah, she shares his function as cosmic protector and giver of blessing.)

The revelations of the loa (deity) descended upon the first faithful in Ifé, a legendary city located in Nigeria. Therefore, everything in life and all spiritual strength comes from Ifé. The homeland of all voodoo devotees, where Ifé is located, is Ginen, from where they were forced to flee in the African Diaspora. In death, the higher soul will return to Ginen (the world of the dead, said to be under the water below the earth) to reside with the loa and the ancestral spirits. Because of this, all practitioners of voodoo refer to themselves as ti guinin, sons or daughters of Ginen.

Yoruba

The Yoruba creator is called Olorun or Olodumare and is often assisted by the spirit, or "lesser god", Obatala. In the beginning, there was only water and chaos. The supreme being sent Obatala or Orishanla down from the sky to create some land out of the chaos. He descended on a long chain (umbilical cord) and brought with him a rooster, some iron, and a palm kernel. First, he put the metal on the earth and the rooster on top of that. The rooster scratched the metal and spread it out to create land. Then he planted the palm seed and from it grew the earth's vegetation. Olurun named earth "Ife" and the first city "Ile-Ife." Orshilana created humans out of the earth and got Olurun to blow life into them.

Zulu

The Ancient One, known as Unkulunkulu, is the Zulu creator. He came from the reeds and from them he brought forth the people and the cattle. He created everything that is: mountains, streams, snakes, etc. He taught the Zulu how to hunt, how to make fire, and how to grow food.

Asia

Ainu

The Ainu people of Hokkaidō recount the demiurge with a cosmology consisting 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 highest heaven lived Kamui, the creator god, and his servants. His realm was surrounded by a mighty metal wall and the only entrance was through a great iron gate.

Kamui made this world as a vast round ocean resting on the backbone of an enormous trout. This fish sucks in the ocean and spits it out again to make the tides; when it moves it causes 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.

Hmong

According to Hmong tradition, a long time ago the rivers and ocean covered the Earth. A brother and sister were locked in a yellow wooden drum. The Sky People looked out and saw the Earth. Everything was dead. Only a yellow wooden drum was left on the water.

"Punch holes in the Earth so the water will drain away," said the King above the Sky.

The water went down. Finally, the drum bumped against the ground. The brother and sister came out of the drum and looked around. Everything was still dead.

"Where are the people?" asked the sister.

But the brother had an idea. "All the people on Earth are gone. Marry me, we can have children."

"I can't marry you, we are brother and sister."

But he asked her again and again and she said, "No."

Finally the brother said, "Let's carry the grindstones up the hill and roll them into the valley. If the stones land on top of each other, then you shall marry me."

The sister rolled her stone and then, as soon as the brother rolled his stone he ran as fast as he could down the hill and stacked the stones on top of each other.

When the sister saw the stones she cried. Finally she said, "I will marry you, because it was meant to be."

A year later the wife gave birth to a baby, but the baby was not a real baby. It had no arms or legs. It was just round like a pumpkin. The husband cut it up and threw the pieces away. One piece fell on the garden and it became the "Vang" clan because "Vang" sounds like the word for "garden" in Hmong. One piece fell on the goat house. Some pieces fell on the leaves and grass and they became the other Hmong clans. The Nhia, Mhoua, Pao, Ho, Xiong, Vue, and so on.

The next morning the village was full of houses. Everyone came to the husband and wife and said, "Mother and father, come have breakfast with us."

The husband said to his wife, "I asked you to marry me because all the people on Earth were dead. Now these people are our family -- our sons and daughters."

Korea

There were heavenly ones in the sky domain. JoMulJu created everything in the universe, and the heavenly ones had their own kingdom. The son of the Supreme Being (JoMulju or Hwan-in) came to the Earth with ministers (people and animals) who control rain, cloud, wind, and 360 kinds of things to govern the Earth, as he is in fact a human being as well as some kind of deity. A bear and a tiger wished to become humans. They prayed to the Supreme Being, Hwan-ung, and he gave them 20 cloves of garlic and a handful of mugwort, and told them to live in a dark cave for 100 days. The bear was patient enough to withstand the hardship of the cave and the starvation from eating only garlic and mugwort, but the tiger failed at the last minute and ran out of the cave. The bear became a girl and wanted to have a child, so the son of the Supreme Being married her. The son was Dangun who established the kingdom of Korea.

Mansi

The traditional account of creation by the Mansi people of Siberia involved two loons which dove to the bottom of primeval waters to retrieve a piece of the bottom and placed it on top of the water. From there the Earth grew. After a time, at the behest of his daughter, the spirit of the sky ordered his brother, the spirit of the lower world to create humanity. His brother made seven earthy, clay figures and which were quickened by the gods' sister, Mother Earth.

Mongol

There is no singular Mongol account of the creation and the beginning of the world, but from a variety of accounts from Mongol tribes of Central Asia, a general outline can be made. The creation of the world is attributed to a lama named Udan who is sometimes also conflated with God or Buddha Sakyamuni by the tribes influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. The primordial world is usually described as being covered in darkness with no separation between earth and sky. The construction of the cosmos proceeds in a variety of fashions. One account describes ninety-nine golden columns holding apart the sky and earth. In this description the world has three stories, the upper one being heaven where gods and goddesses live, the middle one being earth where man dwells, and the lower one being the place where man goes after death; heaven (sky) is the father and earth is the mother of man, animals, etc. Another narrative recounts that when the creator divided the heaven and earth he created a nine-story heaven, a nine-story earth, and nine rivers. In some accounts, the world first was a vast ocean, but dust and sand rose to cover the ocean surface and become earth. In another account, the land is placed on the back of a golden frog who was pierced with arrows causing fire and water to spew from him at various places

After the creation of the Earth itself, the first male and female couple were created out of clay. They would become the progenitors of all humanity. The various tribes and peoples were placed there with different characteristics. In the north, the men were paired with ewes as sexual mates and this was the spawn of the Mongol ethnicity while the Han Chinese were the spawn of hens while the Dorbed and the Buryats recount that they are the descendants of a coupling between hunters and Swan Maidens.

Another account tells that in the beginning, seven suns rose in the sky so that the rivers and vegetation on earth dried up, so the people asked the archer Erkei-Mergen to shoot the suns out of the sky. The archer shot down six, but while he was taking aim at the seventh a martin flew in front of the sun and was shot in the tail. From then on, the martin had a forked tail and there was a single sun remaining in the sky. The archer was so distressed that he fled to the steppe, cut off his thumbs in shame, and became the ancestor of the marmot.

Orok

The traditional creation narrative of the Orok people of Sakhalin begins with three suns shining in the sky. The earth was completely liquid, but the liquid was slowly diminishing and the earth was hardening. Under the heat, cliffs and stones boiled. At that time, on earth there were no living creatures except the family of a man named Hadau. When the earth hardened, Hadau shot arrows at two suns first killing the older sister sun with one arrow, and then the younger sister sun with another leaving only the middle sun. Sundogs are said to be the visible shadows of the two earlier suns, as if imprints of one on each side. After this, Hadau created a family of eagles and a family of ravens. Therefore upon seeing an eagle on a hunt, the Oroks call him their elder (grandfather). The flight of these birds allowed people to be dispersed across the Earth.

Shinto

Shinto, being focused on Japan, relates its narratives about Japan, rather than other places. The god Izanagi and goddess Izanami churned the ocean with a spear to make a small island of curdled salt. Two deities went down to the island, mixed there, and bore main islands, deities, and forefathers of Japan.

Beyond this, Shinto belief is that everything else has, simply, always been.

Taoism

Tao is the nameless void, the mother of the Ten Thousand Things. Tao is considered by Laozi to be that which eternally gives without being depleted, and eternally receives without being filled. That which does not exist for its own sake is able to endure.

This is the only original Taoist idea about the origins of everything. All of the following myths were added at much later dates to the original core Taoist writings and only came into existence as Taoist philosophy became more structured, religious and therefore a need for a more detailed cosmology grew among its adherents. Even today there are two main traditions of Taoism: the religious tradition with its more detailed cosmology and the original philosophical tradition which does not accept any creation myths at all.

Taoist genesis appeared in two versions. The first Division-Genesis in Tao Te Ching and partially in I Ching described out of tao- nothingness or Wuji gave rise to existence Taichi, this existence splitting into the binary yin and yang, yin and yang splitting into the four realms and then the Eight countenance, and from which every beings or non-beings are created.

The myth of Pangu around 200 CE describes a universe which starts as a cosmic egg with Pangu born within. He broke it into two halves, and came out of it. Panqu was a man in a bearskin, and he had two horns. He separated Yin and Yang and turned them into heaven and earth. He himself was the center, standing on earth and supporting heaven. With hammer and chisel he produced sun, moon, and stars. In doing this, he grew a little bit every day. When the work was finished, Pangu died to make the world live. His voice became the thunder, his limbs the four quarters of the earth. His flesh became the earth, his hair the trees, his sweat the rain, his bones the stones. Finally, men were the insects which were crawling over his body. This was an allegorical version of the Division-Genesis.

Despite the fact that this tale is accepted as a legacy of ancient China, it is probable that is was imported from South East Asia. However, it is usually ascribed to Ko Hung, Taoist writer of the fourth century CE, who also wrote on the preparation of an elixir of life, and similar subjects. He also wrote Biographies of Spirits and Immortals, which is a prime source of mythological material. This clearly places it at a much later date than the core Taoist writings.

A second version with metaphysical reference was given in a late 20th century book called Tiantang Yiuchi in which genesis was detailed, that out of Tao or Wuji came a non-being called Xuanxuan Shangren (玄玄上人) who hatched into the Three Pure Ones the Daoist Trinity and then the Five Supremes. Three of the Five Supremes incubated the first man and woman as well as all living beings.

Europe

Finnish

Ancient Finns believed that the world was formed from an egg that was broken.

A bird was flying above the sea, seeking a place to make a nest and lay her eggs. She searched everywhere, but found nothing but water. Then she noticed the first dry place. In some stories it was an island, in other stories it was a boat and in other stories it was a body part of a floating being, like the wizard Väinämöinen. The place was too unstable for a nest: a big wave came and broke the eggs, spreading their parts all over. However the eggs were not wasted: the upper part of egg covers formed the sky, yolk became the sun, and lower parts of egg formed the mother earth. The first human was Väinämöinen, he was born from the maiden of air Ilmatar that was made pregnant by the sea. Väinämöinen ordered forests to be planted, and started human culture.

Greek (Classical)

Plato, in his dialogue Timaeus, describes a creation myth involving a being called the demiurge.

Hesiod, in his Theogony, says that Chaos existed in the beginning, and then gave birth to Gaea (the Earth), Tartarus (the Underworld), Eros (desire), Nyx (the darkness of the night) and Erebus (the darkness of the Underworld). Gaea brought forth Ouranos, the starry sky, her equal, to cover her, the hills, and the fruitless deep of the Sea, Pontus, "without sweet union of love," out of her own self. But afterwards, Hesiod tells, she lay with Heaven and bore the World-Ocean Oceanus, Coeus and Crius and the Titans Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and Phoebe of the golden crown and lovely Tethys. "After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire." Cronos, at Gaia's urging, castrates Uranus. He marries Rhea who bears him Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus. Zeus and his brothers overthrow Cronos and the other Titans, then draw lots to determine what each of them will rule. Zeus draws the sky, Poseidon draws the sea, and Hades draws the underworld. The Earth was contested and no one of them had absolute sovereignty over it, as shown by Poseidon's anger when Zeus forced him to leave the battlefield in the Iliad.

Norse & Germanic

The Voluspa opens with the Norse account of the creation of the present universe :

Old tales I remember | of men long ago. I remember yet | the giants of lore [...] Of old was the age | when Ymir lived; No Sea nor cool waves | nor sand there were; Earth had not been, | nor heaven above, Only a yawning gap, | and grass nowhere.

In the beginning there was nothing except for the ice of Niflheim, to the north, and the fire of Muspelheim, to the south. Between them was a yawning gap (the phrase is sometimes left untranslated as a proper name: Ginnungagap), and in this gap a few pieces of ice met a few sparks of fire. The ice melted to form Eiter, which formed the bodies of the hermaphrodite giant Ymir and the cow Auðumbla, whose milk fed Ymir. Auðumbla fed by licking the rime ice, and slowly she uncovered a man's hair. After a day, she had uncovered his face. After another day, she had uncovered him completely: Búri.

Ymir fathered Thrudgelmir, as well as two humans, one man and one woman. Búri fathered Borr. Borr had three sons, Vili, Ve, and Odin, who killed the giant Ymir. In the vast flood of Ymir's blood, both the primordial man and woman died. Thrudgelmir was also drowned, although not before he had fathered Bergelmir. Bergelmir hid in a hollow tree trunk and survived. Odin and his brothers used Ymir's body to create the universe : they ground his flesh into dirt, and the maggots that appeared in his flesh became the dwarves that live under the earth. His bones became the mountains, and Odin strew his brains into the sky to create the clouds. The universe comprises nine worlds, of which this earth (Mannheim) is central.

They placed the four dwarves Nordri (North), Sudri (South), Austri (East), and Vestri (West) to hold up Ymir's skull and create the heavens. Then using sparks from Muspelheim, the gods created the sun, moon and stars. As Odin and two others (the Eddas say Hœnir and Lóðurr, these are thought to be kennings for Vili and Ve) walked along the beach, they found two pieces of driftwood. From these, they created the 'first' human beings (the previous two having drowned in the flood of Ymir's blood), Ask and Embla. Ymir's eyebrows were used to create a place where the human race could live in; a place called Midgard.

The gods regulated the passage of the days and nights, as well as the seasons. Sol is the goddess of the sun, a daughter of Mundilfari, and wife of Glen. Every day, she rides through the sky on her chariot, pulled by two horses named Arvak and Alsvid. This passage is known as Alfrodull, meaning "glory of elves," which in turn was a common kenning for the sun. Sol is chased during the day by Skoll, a wolf that wants to devour her. Solar eclipses signify that Skoll has almost caught up to her. (It is fated that Skoll will eventually catch Sol and eat her at the end of the world; however, she will be replaced by her daughter.) Sol's brother, the moon Mani, is chased by Hati, another wolf. The earth is protected from the full heat of the sun by the dwarf Svalin, who stands between the earth and Sol. The flaming manes of Arvak and Alsvid provide the light for the earth.

India

Buddhist

Buddhism itself generally ignores the question regarding the origin of life. The Buddha regarding the origin of life has said "Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it." AN IV.77, and in regard to ignoring the question of the origin of life the Buddha has said "And why are they undeclared by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are undeclared by me.. The Buddha also compared the question of the origin of life - as well as many other metaphysical questions - to the parable of the poison arrow: a man is shot with a poison arrow, but before the doctor pulls it out, he wants to know who shot it (arguing the existence of God), where the arrow came from (where the universe and/or God came from) why that person shot it (why God created the universe), etc. If the man keeps asking these questions before the arrow is pulled out, the Buddha reasoned, he will die before he gets the answers. Buddhism is less concerned with answering questions like the origin of life, and more concerned with the goal of saving oneself and other beings from suffering by attaining Nirvana (Enlightenment). However, the esoteric Buddhist teaching, the Kalachakra Tantra, deals with the formation and functioning of reality. Modern day Buddhists such as the Dalai Lama don't perceive a conflict between Buddhism and science and consider they are complementary means of understanding the world around us.

In the Buddhist scriptures, there is a story in the Dīgha Nikā ya about how this world has come about. It is in the 27th Sutta, the Aggañña Sutta, and the Buddha uses it to explain how castes have come about, and why one caste is not really any better than the other. At a point in time, this world contracts. When it expands again, beings are being reincarnated in it. All is water, and it is dark, but the beings are luminous. Later, earth is formed on the surface of the water. The beings start to eat from it, because this is tasty earth. Doing this, however, their own light disappears, and sun, moon, days and nights and seasons come into existence. The beings continue eating from the earth. They degenerate further: ugly ones and handsome ones come into existence. On top of that, the handsome ones get a bit arrogant. All of this makes the tasty earth disappear. Nice mushrooms take its place. The degeneration continues: beings become coarser, arrogant, and mushrooms are replaced by plants, and, then, good, ready-to-eat rice. Beings do still get coarser. They also become male or female. Sex is frowned upon, so people build shelter to be discrete. The next step is when people start to gather rice for a few meals at a time. Now, the rice's quality starts to deteriorate, and it does not grow back immediately. Later, people create rice fields with boundaries. This is the origin of theft and crime. To combat this crime, they offer a share of the rice to one of them to be their leader. In the end, all the different castes come about, originating from the same kind of beings.

Hindu

In Hindu philosophy, the existence of the universe is governed by the Trimurti of Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Sustainer) and Shiva (the Destroyer). The sequence of Avatars of Vishnu - the Dasavatara (Dasa—ten, Avatara—divine descents) is generally accepted by most Hindus today as correlating well with Darwin's theory of evolution i.e. the first Avatar generating from the environment of water. Hindus believe that the universe was created from the Word (Aum/OM : ॐ) - the sacred sound uttered by every human being at the time of birth. The first five great elements or Panchamahabhuta (Sanskrit: Pancha—five + Maha—great + Bhuta—elements) are: Akasha, Vayu, Agni, Ap, and Prithvi.

Hindus believe that the cycle of creation, preservation, and destruction has no beginning, Anadi. Hindus thus do not see much conflict between creation and evolution. Another reason for this could also be the Hindu concept of cyclic time, such as yugas, or days of Brahma. A day of Brahma lasts 4.32 billion years and the night of Brahma also lasts for 4.32 billion years. Days and nights follow in cycles (unlike the concept of linear time in many other religions). In fact, time is represented as Chakra, the wheel of time.

In earlier Vedic thinking, the universe emanated from a cosmic egg, Hiranyagarbha (literally, 'the golden embryo'). Prajapati was born from the Hiranyagarbha world egg. Prajapati was later identified in the Puranas with the Demiurge Brahma. Various devas are credited with certain acts of the process of creation, as personified entities representing the laws governing the universe. For instance, the act of propping apart the Sky and the Earth suggests early ideas of an expanding universe. The Purusha Sukta hymn of Rig Veda further personifies and describes the story of the creation of the universe from the remains of a gigantic primaeval Cosmic Man, Purusha, sacrificed at the Purushamedha yajna.

In Hinduism, nature and all of God's creations are manifestations of Him. He is within and without His creations, pervading the entire universe and also observing it externally. Hence all animals and humans have a divine element in them that is covered by the ignorance and illusions of material or mundane existence, as a result of avidya (ignorance).

Several scholars have attempted breaking the code of cosmogenesis of the Rig Veda. According to Rig Veda, creation happened gradually. The universe in its primitive form was made up of Ishwar Tattva, which primarily spread homogeneously throughout the universe. The complete equilibrium and homogeneity, when broke, arose an inhomogenous state of the primordial fluid, Ap. With the transformation of undifferentiated primordial fluid into differentiated fluid through polarization of opposites, the universe moved from a homogenous to inhomogenous state when particles were formed first.

Jainism

According to Jain beliefs, the universe was never created, nor will it ever cease to exist. It is eternal but not unchangeable, because it passes through an endless series of cycles. Each of these upward or downward cycles is divided into six world ages (yugas). The present world age is the fifth age of one of these "cycles", which is in a downward movement. These ages are known as "Aaro" as in "Pehela Aara" or First Age, "Doosra Aara" or Second Age and so on. The last one is the "Chhatha Aara" or Sixth Age. All these ages have fixed time durations of thousands of years.

When this reaches its lowest level, even Jainism itself will be lost in its entirety. Then, in the course of the next upswing, the Jain religion will be rediscovered and reintroduced by new leaders called Tirthankaras (literally "Crossing Makers" or "Ford Finders"), only to be lost again at the end of the next downswing, and so on.

(see: universe history section in the Jainism article.)

Sikhism

The Sikh Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), recorded in the 16th century CE, details include planning and execution by the Creator and are briefly as follows, (pages are those of SGGS): prior to creation, all that existed was God (Vāhigurū) and his will (hukam). God contemplated over myriad ages in utter darkness when he alone existed. When the planning was complete all the resources required were created and enclosed in a shell like that of an egg. When God willed, the entire cosmos was created as the shell was burst and all elements of the universe started moving away from the point of bursting (P 839). It has been stated that in the process of creation involved first the creation of the ability for the living creatures and then the creatures came into being (P 130). From these beginnings, God nurtured "enticement and attachment" to māyā, or the human perception of reality.

Surat Shabda Yoga

Surat Shabda Yoga cosmology depicts the whole of creation (the macrocosm) as being emanated and arranged in a spiritually differentiated hierarchy, often referred to as eggs, regions, or planes. Typically, eight spiritual levels are described above the physical plane, although names and subdivisions within these levels will vary to some extent by mission and Master. (One version of the creation from a Surat Shabda Yoga perspective is depicted at the Sant Ajaib Singh Ji Memorial Site in “The Grand Scheme of All Creation”) All planes below the purely spiritual regions are subject to cycles of creation and dissolution (pralya) or grand dissolution (maha pralya).

The constitution of the individual (the microcosm) is an exact replica of the macrocosm. Consequently, the microcosm consists of a number of bodies, each one suited to interact with its corresponding plane or region in the macrocosm. These bodies developed over the yugas through involution (emanating from higher planes to lower planes) and evolution (returning from lower planes to higher planes), including by karma and reincarnation in various states of consciousness.

Middle East

Sumerian

The Sumerian creation myth, the oldest known, was found on a fragmentary clay tablet known as the "Eridu Genesis", datable to ca. the 18th century BC. It also includes a flood myth.

Where the tablet picks up, the gods An, Enlil, Enki and Ninhursanga create the Sumerians (the "black-headed people") and the animals. Then kings descend from the sky and the first cities are founded - Eridu, Bad-tibira, Larsa, Sippar, and Shuruppak.

After a missing section in the tablet, we learn that the gods have decided to send a flood to destroy humankind. Zi-ud-sura, the king and gudug priest, learns of this. (In the later Akkadian version, Ea, or Enki in Sumerian, the god of the waters, warns the hero (Atra-hasis in this case) and gives him instructions for the ark. This is missing in the Sumerian fragment, but a mention of Enki taking counsel with himself suggests that this is Enki's role in the Sumerian version as well.)

When the tablet resumes it is describing the flood. A terrible storm rocks the huge boat for seven days and seven nights, then Utu (the Sun god) appears and Zi-ud-sura creates an opening in the boat, prostrates himself, and sacrifices oxen and sheep.

After another break the text resumes, the flood is apparently over, the animals disembark and Zi-ud-sura prostrates himself before An (sky-god) and Enlil (chief of the gods), who give him eternal life and take him to dwell in Dilmun for "preserving the animals and the seed of mankind". The remainder of the poem is lost. (translation of the text)

Babylonian

The Babylonian creation myth is recounted in the "Epic of Creation" also known as the Enûma Elish. The Mesopotamian "Epic of Creation" dates to the late second millennium B.C.E.

In the poem, the god Marduk (or Assur in the Assyrian versions of the poem) is created to defend the divine beings from an attack plotted by the ocean goddess Tiamat. The hero Marduk offers to save the gods only if he is appointed their supreme unquestioned leader and is allowed to remain so even after the threat passes. The gods agree to Marduk's terms. Marduk challenges Tiamat to combat and destroys her. He then rips her corpse into two halves with which he fashions the earth and the skies. Marduk then creates the calendar, organizes the planets, stars and regulates the moon, sun, and weather. The gods pledge their allegiance to Marduk and he creates Babylon as the terrestrial counterpart to the realm of the gods. Marduk then destroys Tiamat's husband, Kingu using his blood to create humankind so that they can do the work of the gods. (Sources, Foster, B.R., From Distant Days : Myths, Tales, and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia. 1995, Bethesda, Md.: CDL Press. vi, 438 p., Bottéro, J., Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia. 2004, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. x, 246 p., Jacobsen, T., The Treasures of Darkness : A History of Mesopotamian Religion. 1976, New Haven: Yale University Press. 273.)

Bahá'í

This topic is covered extensively in Bahá'í Faith and science.

Bahá'ís believe that humanity, the universe and everything therein are creations of God and were both formed and developed by him. However, creation is not seen to be confined to the material universe, and individual material objects, such as the Earth, are seen to come into being at particular moment and then subsequently break down into their constituent parts. Thus the current universe is seen as a result of a long-lasting process (cosmological time scales), evolving to its current state. Bahá'ís believe that humanity was created to know God and to serve his purpose. Regarding the mechanisms or time frame of creation acts or processes, Bahá'ís refer to the religion's teachings on the harmony of science and religion.

Egyptian

There were at least three separate cosmogenies in Egyptian mythology, corresponding to at least three separate groups of worshippers.

Over time, the rival groups gradually merged, Ra and Atum were identified as the same god, making Atum's mysterious creation actually due to the Ogdoad, and Ra having the children Shu and Tefnut, etc. In consequence, Anubis was identified as a son of Osiris, as was Horus. Amun's role was later thought much greater, and for a time, he became chief god, although he eventually became considered a manifestation of Ra.

For a time, Ra and Horus were identified as one another, and when the Aten monotheism was unsuccessfully introduced, it was Ra-Horus who was thought of as the Aten, and the consequent cosmogony this inspired. Later, Osiris' cult became more popular, and he became the main god, being identified as a form of Ptah. Eventually, all the gods were thought of as aspects of Osiris, Isis, Horus, or Set (who was by now a villain), indeed, Horus and Osiris had started to become thought of as the same god. Ptah eventually was identified as Osiris.

A late version of the narrative has it that the Supreme Being (God) was Atum-Raa and he uttered the words of creation to create the Primordial water of Nu (The celestial Ocean) Naunet. Naunet contained everything in embrionic form. From this, Atum-Raa uttered the words of creation to bring life into the world. This life took the form of an egg. From this egg came Raa, the light of God who caused all life to come into existence. Raa was represented by the Egyptian solar disk (also symbolised in Nordic, Germanic, Greek & Vedic tradition by a Sun chariot as well as referenced by biblical texts Elijah (prophet)). Raa, the light of God in nature, later became manifest on earth through the disc of the sun (eten) & appeared in the form of Dosher - the sunrise at the beginning of life on earth.

Hermeticism

In Hermeticism, the origin belief is not taken literally, but an attempt is made to understand it metaphorically. Not all Hermeticists understand it in the same way, and it is mainly up to personal understanding. The tale is given in the first book of the Corpus Hermeticum by God's Nous to Hermes Trismegistus after much meditation. Also, not all Hermeticists put much weight on the symbolic texts, and may be unaware of the story.

It begins as God creates the elements after seeing the Cosmos and creating one just like it (our Cosmos) from its own constituent elements and souls. From there, God, being both male and female, holding the Word, gave birth to a second Nous, creator of the world. This second Nous created seven powers (often seen as Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun and the Moon) to travel in circles and govern destiny.

The Word then leaps forth from the materializing elements, which made them unintelligent. Nous then made the governors spin, and from their matter sprang forth creatures without speech. Earth then was separated from Water and the animals (other than Man) were brought forth from the Earth.

The Supreme Nous then created Man, hermaphroditic, in his own image and handed over his creation. Man carefully observed the creation of his brother, the lesser Nous, and received his and his Father's authority over it all. Man then rose up above the spheres' paths to better view the creation, and then showed the form of God to Nature. Nature fell in love with it, and Man, seeing a similar form to his own reflecting in the water fell in love with Nature and wished to dwell in it. Immediately Man became one with Nature and became a slave to its limitations such as gender and sleep. Man thus became speechless (for it lost the Word) and became double, being mortal in body but immortal in spirit, having authority of all but subject to destiny.

The tale does not specifically contradict the theory of evolution, other than for Man, but most Hermeticists fully accept evolutionary theory as a solid grounding for the creation of everything from base matter to Man.

Islam

The creation narrative of Islam is split among many verses in the Qur'an. This narrative is similar to the Judeo-Christian accounts of creation. According to the Qur'an, the skies and the earth were joined together as one "unit of creation", after which they were "cloved asunder" . After the parting of both, they simultaneously came into their present shape after going through a phase when they were smoke-like . The Qur'an states that the process of creation took 6 days or epochs (depending on the interpretation).

The Qur'an states that God created the world and the cosmos, made all the creatures that walk, swim, crawl, and fly on the face of the earth from water . He made the angels, and the sun, moon and the stars to dwell in the universe. He poured down the rain in torrents, and broke up the soil to bring forth the corn, the grapes and other vegetation; the olive and the palm, the fruit trees and the grass.

God molded clay, earth, sand and water into a model of a man. He breathed life and power into it, and it immediately sprang to life. And this first man was called Adam. God took Adam to live in Paradise. In Paradise, God created Eve (or Hawa), the first woman, from out of Adam's side. God taught Adam the names of all the creatures, and then commanded all the angels to bow down before Adam. But Iblis, one amongst the Jinns (a special being in the Qur'an - who is also considered to be Satan), refused to do this, and thus began to disobey God's will.

God placed the couple in a beautiful garden in Paradise, telling them that they could eat whatever they wanted except the fruit of a forbidden tree. But Iblis (Satan) tempted them to disobey God, and eat the fruit. When God knew that Adam and Eve had disobeyed him, he cast them out of Paradise.

Judaism and Christianity

The Judeo-Christian accounts of creation have their basis in the Book of Genesis; beliefs regarding creation differ among Judeo-Christian groups, both today and in the past. The grammar of the opening verse of Genesis is ambiguous, and can be read as either "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void..." (King James Version), or, equally valid, as "At the beginning of the making of heaven and earth, when the earth was unformed and void..."(Rashi, and with variations Ibn Ezra and Bereshith Rabba). The second reading, which supposes a pre-existing cosmos which God uses as the raw material for his work, is preferred by most scholars on a number of grounds: the phrase "heaven and earth", for example, is a set phrase in Hebrew denoting "everything," and the word commonly translated as "created" (in "God created the Heavens and the earth") is commonly associated with molding something from already-existing raw material.

Genesis has two creation narratives. In the first (Genesis 1:1-2:3), God progressively creates facets of the world during each day of a 7-day week. Creation is by divine command: God says "Let there be light!" and light is created. Mankind (the Hebrew implies the simultaneous creation of male and female, and leaves open the possibility of more than a single pair) is created after the entire world is prepared for them; they are created in the "image" of God, which probably carried the meaning that mankind was to be God's representative on earth, with dominion and care over all other created things. The final day marks the sanctification of the Sabbath as a day sacred to God. The second story (Genesis 2:4-25) is in one sense an aetiology of the origins of morality: it begins with the creation of man and woman (separately - unlike the first story, one of the themes of the second is the origin of marriage and of male dominion over the female) in God's garden of Eden; Adam and Eve live in harmony with God until they gain "knowledge of good and evil" (the Hebrew is another set phrase, meaning "knowledge of everything" rather than strictly moral knowledge) and are expelled from God's presence into the fallen world.

There is no single or comprehensive cosmology in the Hebrew bible, so that it is difficult to state with any degree of confidence just what the world created by the Hebrew God looked like. The Book of Job mentions the pillars that support the earth, the foundations for the world, the "gate" which closes the sea and marks its boundary, the celestial storerooms of the snow and hail, and the channels through which the rain to pours out of the heavens (which are plural - other Biblical verses make clear that there are three heavens, with the stars being set in one and Yahweh having His throne above the highest).

2 Peter implies belief in a Hebraic word-created, geocentric cosmos: "by the word of God the heavens were of old, the earth standing out of the water and in the water," this being the waters of chaos which filled the entire cosmos. Christianity's major innovation was the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, creation "out of nothing". The Church of the first few centuries AD, writing and thinking in Greek rather than Hebrew, and drawing heavily on Greek philosophical ideas as transmitted by the Philo of Alexandria (a 1st century BC Jewish thinker who tried to reconcile Judaism with Platonism), the Church lost the ambiguity of the Hebrew text and replaced it with Greek clarity and "In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth" became the accepted reading of Genesis 1 for both Christians and Jews.

The Church was not, however, literalist, and Biblical commentators throughout the ages discussed the degree to which the accounts of Creation were to be taken literally or allegorically. Maimonidies, in particular, commented that the account of Creation should not be taken literally.

Mandaeism

According to the traditions of Mandaeism creation proceeds from a supreme formless Entity, the expression of which in time and space is creation of spiritual, etheric, and material worlds and beings. Production of these is delegated by It to a creator or creators who originated in It. The cosmos is created by Archetypal Man, who produces it in similitude to his own shape. Inherent to this creation is Dualism, taking the forms of a cosmic Father and Mother, Light and Darkness, Right and Left, syzygy in cosmic and microcosmic form. Instead of a large pleroma, the Mandaeans believe in a discrete division between light and darkness. The ruler of darkness is called Ptahil (similar to the Gnostic Demiurge), and the originator of the light (i.e. God) is only known as "the great first Life from the worlds of light, the sublime one that stands above all works". When this being emanated, other spiritual beings became increasingly corrupted, and they and their ruler Ptahil created our world.

Zoroastrianism

The Zoroastrian story of creation has Ahura Mazda creating 16 lands, one by one, such that each would be delightful to its people. As he finished each one, Angra Mainyu applied a counter-creation, introducing plague and sin of various kinds. The dualistic idea of two primordial spirits, called twins by Zoroaster, goes back to an Indo-European prototype. Although the idea of dualism came from the idea that "god" could not create evil so both evil and good pre-existed before time.

Mesopotamia

The name of the most famous Mesopotamian creation myth goes by Enuma Elish. It opens up in a state of chaos where nothing exists but two gods named Tiamat and Apsu, in which they give birth to the first generation of gods, which one is Ea. Apsu cannot sleep because of these god children so he plans to kill them. Ea finds out and kills Apsu and Tiamat plans to avenge her husband. Ea has a son named Marduk. Tiamat assembles a huge army to avenge her husband and names Qingu the commander. Marduk is named as commander of the younger gods as long as he kills Tiamat; which he does through an arrow to the throat. Marduk splits her body in half and uses the back half to make the sky (which holds back the cosmic ocean) and the front half to make the earth (which holds the subterranean ocean). Marduk takes out Tiamat’s eyes and allows some of the subterranean ocean to flow out into two streams that become the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Finally, Marduk and Ea (and other gods) decide to create human beings to bear the burden of the gods, so that they can rest and not have to do all the hard work. Marduk creates people by killing Qingu and mixing Qingu’s blood with clay.

There is considerable overlap with the Babylonian version - see above.

North America

Kiowa Apache

In the beginning nothing existed, only darkness was everywhere. Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above. When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the east, he created yellow streaks of dawn. To the west, tints of many colours appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colors. He also created three other gods: a little girl, a sun god and a small boy. Then he created celestial phenomena, the winds, the tarantula, and the earth from the sweat of the four gods mixed together in the Creator's palms, from a small round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean. The world was expanded to its current size by the gods kicking the small brown ball. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up. The tarantula, the trickster character, spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the east, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the south, a yellow cord to the west, and a white cord to the north. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to immeasurable size--it became the earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared. Then the Creator created the rest of the beings and features of the Earth.

Aztec

The Aztec narrative describing creation proceeds with an Earth mother, "Coatlique", the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes. She was decorated with skulls, snakes, and lacerated hands. At first she was whole without cracks in her body -- a perfect monolith (a totality of intensity and self-containment, yet her features were square and decapitated). Coatlique was first impregnated by an obsidian knife and gave birth to Coyolxauhqui, goddess of the moon, and to a group of male offspring, who became the stars.

Then one day Coatlique found a ball of feathers, which she tucked into her bosom. When she looked for it later, it was gone, at which time she realized that she was again pregnant. Her children, the moon and stars did not believe her story. Ashamed of their mother, they resolved to kill her. A goddess can only give birth to a litter of divinity once. During the time that they were plotting her demise, Coatlique gave birth to the fiery god of war, Huitzilopochtli. With the help of a fire serpent, he destroyed his brothers and sister, murdering them in a rage. He beheaded Coyolxauhqui and threw her body into a deep gorge in a mountain, where it lies dismembered forever.

This precipitated a great civil war in heaven which crumbled to pieces. Coatlique fell and was fertilized, while her children were torn apart by fratricide and them scattered and disjointed throughout the universe. Who remained were Ometecutli and his wife Omecihuatl that created life. Their children were: Xipe Totec the god of spring, Huitzilopochtli the Sun god, Quetzalcoatl the "light one" and "plumed serpent", and Tezcatlipoca, the "dark one" and god of night and sorcery.

Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca saw that whatever they created was eaten by Coatlique who floated in the abyss eating everything with her many mouths. To stop her, they changed into two serpents and descended into the water. One grabbed the goddess by the arms while the other grabbed her by the legs, and before she could resist they pulled her apart into different pieces. Her head and shoulders became the earth and the lower part of her body the sky.

The other deities were angry at what the two had done and decided, as compensation for her dismemberment, to allow her to provide the necessities for people to survive; so from her hair they created trees, grass, and flowers; caves, fountains, and wells from her eyes; rivers from her mouth; hills and valleys from her nose; and mountains from her shoulders.

Still the goddess was often unhappy and the people could hear her crying in the night. They knew she wept because of her thirst for human blood, and that she would not provide food from the soil until she drank. So the gift of human hearts is given her. She who provides sustenance for human lives demands human lives for her own sustenance.

Cherokee

In the beginning, there was just water. All the animals lived above it and the sky was overcrowded. They were all curious about what was beneath the water and one day Dayuni'si, the water beetle, volunteered to explore it. He explored the surface but could not find any solid ground. He explored below the surface to the bottom and all he found was mud which he brought back to the surface. After collecting the mud, it began to grow in size and spread outwards until it became the Earth as we know it.

After all this had happened, one of the animals attached this new land to the sky with four strings. The land was still too wet so they sent the great buzzard from Galun'lati to prepare it for them. The buzzard flew down and by the time that he reached the Cherokee land he was so tired that his wings began to hit the ground. Wherever they hit the ground a mountain or valley formed.

The animals then decided that it was too dark, so they made the sun and put it on the path in which it still runs today.

Choctaw

The Choctaw who remain in Mississippi recount a narrative explanation of how they came to the land where they live now and of how Naniah Waiya Mound came to be. Chata and Chicksah, two brothers, led the original people from a land in the far west that had ceased to prosper. The people traveled for a long time, guided by a magical pole. Each night, when the people stopped to camp, the pole was placed in the ground and in the morning the people would travel in the direction in which the pole leaned.

After traveling for an extremely long time, they finally came to a place where the pole remained upright. In this place, they laid to rest the bones of their ancestors, which they had carried in buffalo sacks from the original land in the west. The mound grew out of that great burial. After the burial, the brothers discovered that the land could not support all the people. Chicksah took half the people and departed to the North and eventually became the Chickasaw tribe. Chatah and the others remained near the mound and are now known as the Choctaw.

Creek

The Creek believe that the world was originally entirely underwater. The only land was a hill, called Nunne Chaha, and on the hill was a house, wherein lived Esaugetuh Emissee ("master of breath"). He created humanity from the clay on the hill.

Digueno

The Digueno creation narrative tells of the beginning of creation with the male sky coming down upon the female Earth. The extant deities were weighed down by the sky being so close to the ground and all walked with a stoop. To combat this problem, a creator deity, Tu-chai-pai, separated the Earth from the heavens by blowing on rubbed tobacco three times. He had his brother, Yo-ko-mat-is, do the same, and then the two brothers placed the four cardinal directions at the ends of the Earth. Tu-chai-pai then proceeded to create hills, valleys, forests and lakes for the benefit of humanity. The brothers made men easily but had trouble making women. Initially, human beings were not subject to fatigue, but to prevent them from hurting themselves in the dark they were made to sleep at night. Tu-chai-pai then made the Sun and Yo-ko-mat-is made the moon to help humanity find the light they were instructed to race towards.

Hopi

The Elders say that the first Hopi had chosen to live in the barren desert so that they would always need to pray for rain. Thus, they would not lose faith in their ceremonies, which maintain their bond with the Mother Nature and creator. They said that the True Hopi people represent the Red race through the authority vested in them by the Creator, Maasaw.

Haida

The Haida have a story of a raven who was both bored and well fed, found and freed some creatures trapped in a clam. These scared and timid beings were the first men of the world, and they were coaxed out of the clam shell by the raven. Soon the raven was bored with these creatures and planned to return them to their shell. Instead, the raven decided to search for the female counterparts of these male beings. The raven found some female humans trapped in a chiton, freed them, and was entertained as the two sexes met and began to interact. The raven, always known as a trickster, was responsible for the pairing of humans and felt very protective of them. With the Raven perceived as the creator, many Haida myths and legends often suggest the raven as a provider to mankind.

Inuit

The traditional account of the Inuit people is that the trickster in the form of Raven created the world. When the waters forced the ground up from the deep Raven stabbed it with his beak and fixed it into place. This first land was just big enough for a single house occupied by a single family: a man, his wife and their son, Raven who had fixed the land. The father had a bladder hanging over his bed. After much pleading by Raven the father allowed the boy to play with it. While playing Raven damaged the bladder and light appeared. The father not wanting to have light always shining took the bladder from the boy before he could damage it further. This struggle is the origin of day and night.

Iroquois

In the beginning, the world was not as we know it now. It was a water world inhabited only by animals and creatures of the air who could survive without land.

Up above, the Sky World was quite different. Human-type beings lived there with infinite types of plants and animals to enjoy.

In the Sky World, there was a Tree of Life that was very special to the people of the Sky World. They knew that it grew at the entrance to the world below and forbade anyone to tamper with the Tree. One woman who was soon to give birth was curious about the Tree and convinced her brother to uproot the Tree.

Beneath the Tree was a great hole. The woman peered from the edge into the hole and suddenly fell off the edge. As she was falling she grasped at the edge and clutched in her hand some of the earth from the Sky World. As she fell, the birds of the world below were disturbed and alerted to her distress. The birds responded and gathered a great many of their kind to break her fall and cradle her to the back of a great sea turtle. The creatures of the water believed that she needed land to live on, so they set about to collect some for her. They dove to the great depths of the world's oceans to gather earth to make her a place to live. Many of the animals tried to gather the earth from the ocean floor, only the muskrat was successful. With only a small bit of earth brought onto turtle's back from his small paws, Turtle Island began to grow.

The Sky Woman soon gave birth to a daughter on Turtle Island. The daughter grew fast. There were no man-beings on Turtle Island, but a being known as the West Wind married the daughter of Sky Woman.

Soon the daughter of Sky Woman gave birth to Twins. One was born the natural way, and he was called the Right-Handed Twin. The other was born in a way that caused the death of the mother. He was called the Left-Handed Twin. When their mother died, their grandmother, Sky Woman, placed the fistful of earth that she grasped from the edge of the Sky World, and placed it on her daughter's grave. The earth carried special seeds from the Sky World that were nourished by the earth over her daughter. So from the body of her daughter came the Sacred Tobacco, Strawberry and Sweetgrass. We call these Kionhekwa. The Life Givers.

The Right and Left-Handed Twins were endowed with special creative powers. The Right-Handed Twin created gentle hills, beautiful smelling flowers, quiet brooks, butterflies and numerous creatures, plants and earth formations. His brother the Left-Handed Twin made snakes, thorns on rose bushes, thunder and lightning and other more disturbing attributes of today's world. Together, they created man and his many attributes. The Right-Handed Twin believed in diplomacy and conflict resolution. The Left-Handed Twin believed in conflict as resolution. They were very different, but all that they created is an integral part of this Earth's Creation.

Their Grandmother, Sky Woman, now came to the end of her life. When she died, the Twins fought over her body and pulled it apart, throwing her head into the sky. As part of the Sky World, there her head remained to shine upon the world as Grandmother Moon. The Twins could not live together without fighting. They agreed to dwell in different realms of the earth. The Right-Handed Twin continued to live in the daylight and the Left-Handed Twin became a dweller of the night. Both of them continue their special duties to their Mother the Earth.

Lakota

The Lakota recount in their version of demiurge that the gods lived in the heavens and humans lived in an underworld without culture. Creation was initiated by Inktomi ("spider"), the trickster, who conspired to cause a rift in the heavens between the sun god Takushkanshkan ("something that moves") and his wife, the moon. Their separation marked the creation of time. Some of Inktomi's co-conspirators were exiled to the Earth where the gods of the four winds were scattered and created space.

To populate the Earth, Inktomi traveled to the underworld in the form of a wolf and met with humanity, telling them about a paradisical world aboveground. Inktomi convinced a man named Tokahe ("the first") to travel to the surface for a brief visit. When Tokahe emerged through a cave (Wind Cave in the Black Hills), he found the world to be strikingly beautiful. Returning to the underworld, Tokahe persuaded other families to accompany him to the surface, but upon arrival they discovered that the Earth was full of hardship. Inktomi had by this time prevented humanity from returning below ground, so the families had no choice but to scatter and eke out their livelihoods.

Maidu

In the beginning there was no sun, no moon, no stars. All was dark, and everywhere there was only water. A raft came floating on the water. It came from the north, and in it were two persons,--Turtle and Father-of-the-Secret-Society.

The stream flowed very rapidly. Then from the sky a rope of feathers, was let down, and down it came Earth-Initiate. When he reached the end of the rope, he tied it to the bow of the raft, and stepped in. His face was covered and was never seen, but his body shone like the sun. He sat down, and for a long time said nothing.

At last Turtle said, "Where do you come from?" and earth Initiate answered, "I come from above."

Then Turtle said, "Brother, can you not make for me some good dry land so that I may sometimes come up out of the water?"

Then he asked another time, "Are there going to be any people in the world?"

Earth-Initiate thought awhile, then said, "Yes."

Turtle asked, "How long before you are going to make people?"

Earth-Initiate replied, "I don't know. You want to have some dry land: well, how am I going to get any earth to make it of?"

Turtle answered, "If you will tie a rock about my left arm, I'll dive for some."

Earth-Initiate did as Turtle asked, and then, reaching around, took the end of a rope from somewhere, and tied it to Turtle. When Earth-Initiate came to the raft, there was no rope there: he just reached out and found one.

Turtle said, "If the rope is not long enough, I'll jerk it once, and you must haul me up; if it is long enough, I'll give two jerks, and then you must pull me up quickly, as I shall have all the earth that I can carry." Just as Turtle went over the side of the boat, Father-of-the-Secret-Society began to shout loudly.

Turtle was gone a long time. He was gone six years; and when he came up, he was covered with green slime, he had been down so long. When he reached the top of the water, the only earth he had was a very little under his nails: the rest had all washed away. Earth-Initiate took with his right hand a stone knife from under his left armpit, and carefully scraped the earth out from under Turtle's nails.

He put the earth in the palm of his hand, and rolled it about till it was round; it was as large as a small pebble. He laid it on the stern of the raft. By and by he went to look at it: it had not grown at all. The third time that he went to look at it, it had grown so that it could be spanned by the arms. The fourth time he looked, it was as big as the world, the raft was aground, and all around were mountains as far as he could see.

The raft came ashore at Ta'doikö, and the place can be seen today.

Navajo

"Holy Supreme Wind" being created by the mists of lights arose through the darkness to animate and bring purpose to the myriad Holy People, supernatural and sacred in the different three lower worlds. All these things were spiritually created in the time before the earth existed and the physical aspect of man did not exist yet, but the spiritual did. In the first world the insect people started fighting with one another and were instructed by the Holy People to depart. They journeyed to the second world and lived for a time in peace. Eventually they fought with each other and were instructed to depart. In the third world the same thing happens again and they are forced to journey to the fourth world. In the fourth world, they found the Hopi living there and succeeded in not fighting with one another or their neighbors, and their bodies were transformed from the insect forms to human forms. First man and First woman physically appear in the narrative here by being formed from ears of white and yellow corn, but they were also created back in the beginning. There is a separation of male and female humans because each did not appreciate the contributions of the other, and this laid the ground work for the appearance of the Monsters that would start to kill off the people in the next world. Coyote, the trickster, also appears and steals the baby of water monster, who brings a great flood in the third world which primarily forces the humans as well as Holy People to journey to the surface of the fifth world through a hollow reed. Some things are left behind and some things are brought to help the people re-create the world each time they entered a new one. Death and the Monsters are born into this world as is Changing Woman who gives birth to the Hero Twins, called "Monster Slayer" and "Child of the Waters" who had many adventures in which they helped to rid the world of much evil. Earth Surface People, mortals, were created in the fourth world, and the gods gave them ceremonies, which are still practiced today.

Seminole

The Seminole recount that when the Creator, the Grandfather of all things, created the earth, he made all animals and birds and put them in a large shell. When the earth was ready, he set the shell along the backbone (mountains) of the earth. "When the timing is right," he told the animals, "the shell will open and you will all crawl out. Someone or something will crack the shell and you must all take your respective places on the face of the earth." The Creator then sealed up the shell and left, hoping the Panther (his favorite animal) would be first to emerge.

Time went along, and nothing happened. Alongside the shell stood a great tree. As time passed, the tree grew so large that its roots started encircling the shell. Eventually a root cracked the shell. The Wind started enlarging the crack and the Creator reached down to help the Panther take its place on earth. Next to crawl out was the Bird. The Bird had picked and picked around the hole, and, when the time was right, stepped outside the shell. Bird took flight immediately. After that, other animals emerged in different sequences: Bear, Deer, Snake, Frog, Otter. There were thousands of others, so many that no one besides the Creator could even begin to count them all. All went out to seek their proper places on earth.

Tlingit

According to Tlingit tradition, creation proceeded with help from the trickster figure of the raven. At the time there was no light or water. Raven had to steal light from where it was hoarded in the house of a rich man far up the Nass River, which was dry at the time. He accomplished this by making himself small and getting the daughter of the house to swallow him and become pregnant. When the child was born, it cried for the bundles of light hanging on the wall of the house. Finally, the family gave the raven the bundles of stars and moons to soothe him each of which he let escape through the chimney and which scattered across the heavens. He left with a box of daylight which was the last bit of light the family owned.

Raven then proceeded to trick the man who owned the everlasting spring of water into giving him a drink, but before he could escape through the chimney, the man made a fire and blackened raven to his current color. First, he spit out water creating the Nass Stikine, Taku, Chilkat, the Alsek, and all the other large rivers. Smaller drops created the salmon creeks.

Raven then proceeded to a town that had never seen daylight. The people of the town quarreled with him, so raven decided to scare them by opening his box of daylight. Upon seeing the Sun, the villagers scattered, some to the ocean where they became sea creatures and some to the forest where they became forest creatures.

Raven made the winds, the races, and dogs who were human beings that Raven cursed to walk on all fours.

Mayan

The Maya of Mesoamerica creation story is recounted in the book "Popol Vuh". Tepeu and Gucamatz came together to create the world. Whatever was thought of by Tepeu and Gucamatz came into being. Next for creation are the creatures of the forest: birds, deer, jaguars and snakes. They are told to multiply and scatter, and then to speak and "pray to us". But the animals just squawk and howl. So Tepeu and Gucumatz try to make some respectful creatures from mud. But the results are not great, and they allow the new race to be washed away. They call upon their grandparents, who suggest wood as an appropriate medium. But the wooden people are just mindless robots, so Tepeu and Gucumatz set about the destruction of this new race by means of a rain-storm. This causes the animals to turn against the wooden people; even their pots and querns rebel, and crush the peoples' faces. The wooden people escape to the forests and are turned into monkeys. Heart-of-Sky then make yet another attempt at creating a suitably respectful race, and finally succeed by fashioning humans out of maize-corn dough.

South America

Incan

The Incan account of creation is known based on what was recorded by priests, from the iconography on Incan pottery and architecture, and the myths and legends which survived amongst the native peoples. According to these accounts, in the most ancient of times the earth was covered in darkness. Then, out of a lake called Collasuyu (modern Titicaca), the god Con Tiqui Viracocha emerged, bringing some human beings with him. Then Con Tiqui created the sun (Inti), the moon and the stars to light the world. It is from Inti that the Sapa Inca, emperor of Tawantin Suyu, is descended. Out of great rocks Con Tiqui fashioned more human beings, including women who were already pregnant. Then he sent these people off into every corner of the world. He kept a male and female with him at Cusco, the "navel of the world."

Con, the Creator; was in the form of a man without bones. He filled the earth with good things to supply the needs of the first humans. The people, however, forgot Con's goodness to them and rebelled. So he punished them by stopping the rainfall. The miserable people were forced to work hard, drawing what little water they could find from stinking, drying riverbeds. Then a new god, Pachacamac, came and drove Con out, changing his people into monkeys. Pachacamac then took earth and made the ancestors of human beings.

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 Tici Viracocha. However commoners were not allowed to speak the name of Viracocha, which is possibly an explanation for the need for two foundation legends.

In one myth Manco Capac was the brother of Pachacamac, both were sons of the sun god Inti who is also known as Apu Punchau. Manco Capac himself was worshiped as a fire and sun god. According to the Inti legend, Manco Capac and his siblings were sent up to the earth by the sun god and emerged from the cave of Pacaritambo carrying a golden staff, called ‘tapac-yauri’. They were instructed to create a Temple of the Sun in the spot where the staff sank into the earth, they traveled to Cusco via underground caves, and built a temple in honor of the sun god Inti, their father. During the journey to Cuzco, one of Manco’s brothers, and possibly one of his sisters, were turned to stone (huaca). In another version of this legend, instead of emerging from a cave in Cuzco, the siblings instead emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca.

In the Tici Virachocha legend, Manco Capac was the son of Tici Viracocha of Pacari-Tampu (today Pacaritambo, 25 km south of Cuzco). He and his brothers (Ayar Anca, Ayar Cachi and Ayar Uchu) and sisters (Mama Ocllo, Mama Huaco, Mama Raua and Mama Cura) lived near Cuzco at Paccari-Tampu, and united their people and ten ayllu they encountered in their travels to conquer the tribes of the Cuzco Valley. This legend also incorporates the 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.

Pirahã

Perhaps unique among cultures, the Pirahã people of the Amazon rainforest seem to have no creation myth. They also possess no concept of time, history, mathematics, and almost no art. Despite this, linguist Daniel Everett reports that the Pirahã have "the most complex verbal morphology I am aware of [and] are some of the brightest, pleasantest, most fun-loving people that I know." Everett suggests a Sapir–Whorf hypothesis-like cause for this, "Pirahã culture constrains communication to non-abstract subjects which fall within the immediate experience of [the speaker].

Pacific

Australian Aboriginal

There is no single creation story among Aboriginal peoples, who have a diverse mythology. Some traditions hold that the Earth was created by one of the gods of the Dreamtime (see Dreaming), others that particular creatures were created by particular gods or spirit ancestors. More common is the view that although unformed, the Earth itself was eternal.

Polynesian

Hawaiian

For many months Pele followed a star from the northeast, which shone brighter than the rest, and migrated toward it. One morning, Pele awoke to the smell of something familiar in the air. In the distance could be seen a high mountain with a smoky haze hiding its peak. Pele knew she had found her new home. She named the island Hawai'i.

Pele, carrying her magic stick Pa'oa, went up to the mountain where a part of the earth collapsed into the ground. She placed the stick into the ground. Pele called this place Kilauea. Inside the Kilauea Crater was a large pit. She named it Halema'uma'u, maumau being the fern jungle surround the volcano. Halema'uma'u would be her new home.

There was a fire god living on Kilauea named ‘Ailaau. He and Pele both wanted Kilauea for their home. They started throwing fire balls at each other, causing considerable damage. 'Ailaau fled and still hides in the caverns under the earth. Pele alone would rule the Island of Hawai'i. The people of the island loved and respected the goddess Pele. The egg her mother gave Pele hatched into a beautiful girl. Pele named her new sister, Hi'iaka'i-ka-poli-o-Pele. Kamohoali'i, the shark god, taught Hi'iaka the art of surfing.

Pele fell in love with a man she saw in a dream. His name was Lohi'au, a chief of the island of Kaua'i. Pele sent her sister Hi'iaka to fetch Lohi'au on Kaua'i to bring him back to Hawai'i to live with Pele. Hi'iaka would have forty days to bring Lohi'au back or Pele would punish the girl by hurting Hi'iaka's girl friend Hopoe. Upon reaching Kaua'i, Hi'iaka found Lohi'au dead. She quickly rubbed his body with herbs and chanted to the gods for help; bringing the young chief of Kaua'i back to life. Grateful for Hi'iaka's help, Lohi'au agreed to return with her to the Big Island.

The forty days had passed. Pele suspected that Hi'iaka and Lohi'au had fallen in love and were not coming back. In her fury, Pele caused an eruption which turned Hopoe into stone. On her return to Hawai'i with Lohi'au, Hi'iaka found Hopoe, a statue in stone. Hi'iaka, filled with sadness and anger decided to take revenge. Leading Lohi'au to the edge of the Halema'uma'u crater where Pele could see them, Hi'iaka put her arms around Lohi'au and embraced him. Furious, Pele covered Lohi'au with lava and flames.

The two sisters, anger subsided, were remorseful. One lost a friend, the other a lover. Pele decided to bring Lohi'au back to life to let him choose which sister he would love. Pele was sure Lohi'au would choose her. Lohi'au chose Hi'iaka. Pele, with aloha, gave the two lovers her blessing and Hi'iaka and Lohi'au sailed back to Kaua'i.

Pele still lives on Hawai'i where she rules as the fire goddess of the volcanoes. The smell of sulphur reminds the natives that she is still there in her home, Halema'uma'u, her fiery lava building a new island to the south, still submerged, named Loahi.

Māori

The Māori creation myth tells how heaven and earth were once joined as Ranginui, the Sky Father and Papatuanuku, the Earth Mother, lay together in a tight embrace. They had many children who lived in the darkness between them. The children wished to live in the light and so separated their unwilling parents. Ranginui and Papatuanuku continue to grieve for each other to this day. Rangi's tears fall as rain towards Papatuanuku to show how much he loves her. When mist rises from the forests, these are Papa's sighs as the warmth of her body yearns for him and continues to nurture mankind.

Tagalog

The traditional belief of the Tagalog people is that three deities were created from the collision of the Sky (Langit) and the Sea (Linaw). They were Bathala, who reigned over the Sky, Aman Sinaya, who reigned over the Sea, and Amihan, the North Wind, who took over the realm in between.

Bathala and Aman Sinaya then became fierce rivals that led them to fight each other. In one of their battles, Aman Sinaya sent a tempest into the Sky to cause a commotion. Bathala threw giant boulders to stop her. This caused thousands of islands to be created onto the surface of the Sea (which became to be the Philippine archipelago). As the situation worsened, Amihan decided to intervene. In a form of a bird, Amihan flew back and forth between them causing the Sky and the Sea to become closer than it was before. Soon, the two realms met and both gods agreed to end the fight and become friends.

As a sign of friendship, Bathala planted a seed underneath the ocean floor. It soon grew into a bamboo reed, sticking out of the edge of the Sea. One day, Amihan flew by and heard voices, coming from inside the reed. "Oh, North Wind! North Wind! Please let us out.", the voices said. Amihan pecked the reed once, then twice, and all of a sudden, it cracked open. Inside were two human beings; a male and a female. Amihan named the man, Malakas ("strong"), and the woman, Maganda ("beautiful"). Both were flown then onto one of the islands where they settled, built a house, and had millions of offsprings that populated the Earth.

Modern

Evolutionary Spirituality

"The Great Story", "the Story of the Universe", or "the Epic of Evolution" are titles for the core belief of a social movement that tells the history of the universe in a way that is simultaneously scientific and sacred. It articulates the understandings of modern science – especially the evolutionary sciences ranging from stellar evolution to biological evolution and cultural evolution – as a sacred creation story, much like the traditional creation myths passed down through oral cultures and sacred texts.

Mormonism

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as Mormons) have their own interpretation of the creation according to Genesis; they believe that physical reality (space, matter and/or energy) is eternal, and therefore does not have an absolute origin. The Creator is an architect and organizer of pre-mortal matter and energy, who constructed the present universe out of the raw material. In addition to the pre-mortal organization of the earth from existing matter, Joseph Smith taught that "there is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; we cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter." (Doctrine and Covenants 131:7,8) It is also found in the Book of Abraham, a book in Latter-day Saint scripture, mentions Jehovah, who would later be born as Christ, and Elohim, who is God the Father, the father of Christ and all inhabitants of the Earth.

Raëlism

Raëlism is a modern UFO religion founded by former motor racing journalist Claude Vorilhon, in 1974. Raëlians believe that humanoid aliens called Elohim, created both life on earth and the conditions necessary to support it, through use of terraforming, genetic engineering and nanotechnology.

Randomness

Some philosophers like Hakim Bey and occultists like Peter Carroll think randomness, chaos or the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics is the prime mover according to science, and should accordingly be treated as divine.

Scientology

Scientologists believe an alien called Xenu (also Xemu), , was the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs. Scientology holds that their essences remained, and that they form around people in modern times, causing them spiritual harm.

Wicca

Modern Wicca arose relatively recently, and, though some relevant poetry exists, there is no consensus among Wiccans as to what myth, if any, is definitive of Wiccan theology. Many followers believe in a scientific explanation such as the big bang and combine it in various forms with pre-existing creation myths.

See also

References

External links

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