Beginnings of Beginnings

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Status
Not open for further replies.

Teinz

Back at it again.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
2,440
Reaction score
186
Location
My favourite chair by the window.
Hi guys,

I'm thinking about creation myths or stories. I need one for my story. It'll probably never come up, but it does set the rules which the story must obey. I'm familiar with some of the Judeo-Christian creation stories, but not much else.

I came across this one a few years back. It's in "The Hero with a Thousand Faces". I found it to be particularly beautiful, although I'm unable to explain why. It's a Maori chant.

The Void
The First Void
The Second Void
The Vast Void
The Far-Extending Void
The Sere Void
The Unposessing Void
The Delightful Void
The Void Fast Bound
The Night
The Hanging Night
The Drifting Night
The Moaning Night
The Daughter of Troubled Sleep
The Dawn
The Abiding Day
The Bright Day
Space
Moisture
Great Expanse of Heaven
The Heavens
Earth

According to Campbell, this chant attempts to describe the breaking of formlessness into form. For me, it sounds as if someone has been trying to put 21st century knowledge about the Big Bang into Stone-Age words. Maybe it can even be read psychological and be used as a description of the way our consciousness wells up from the deepest recesses of our mind.

Do you guys know of any other creation stories? Of other religions and cultures. Maybe you have a fresh perspective on the things we think we know?

Lets talk about it.
 

Maxx

Got the hang of it, here
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
3,227
Reaction score
202
Location
Durham NC
Hi guys,

I'm thinking about creation myths or stories. I need one for my story. It'll probably never come up, but it does set the rules which the story must obey. I'm familiar with some of the Judeo-Christian creation stories, but not much else.

I came across this one a few years back. It's in "The Hero with a Thousand Faces". I found it to be particularly beautiful, although I'm unable to explain why. It's a Maori chant.

The Void
The First Void
The Second Void
The Vast Void
The Far-Extending Void
The Sere Void
The Unposessing Void
The Delightful Void
The Void Fast Bound
The Night
The Hanging Night
The Drifting Night
The Moaning Night
The Daughter of Troubled Sleep
The Dawn
The Abiding Day
The Bright Day
Space
Moisture
Great Expanse of Heaven
The Heavens
Earth

According to Campbell, this chant attempts to describe the breaking of formlessness into form. For me, it sounds as if someone has been trying to put 21st century knowledge about the Big Bang into Stone-Age words. Maybe it can even be read psychological and be used as a description of the way our consciousness wells up from the deepest recesses of our mind.

Do you guys know of any other creation stories? Of other religions and cultures. Maybe you have a fresh perspective on the things we think we know?

Lets talk about it.

Very nice. I bet it is even more evocative in the original language.

Interestingly, multiple, quasi-primordial worlds seem to be a pretty common idea.

My current favorite is the 13th Heaven of the generic MesoAmericans where the gods enjoy iced beverages.
 

Teinz

Back at it again.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
2,440
Reaction score
186
Location
My favourite chair by the window.
Interestingly, multiple, quasi-primordial worlds seem to be a pretty common idea.

Can you explain this?

My current favorite is the 13th Heaven of the generic MesoAmericans where the gods enjoy iced beverages.

It's about 30 C around here, so don't talk about iced beverages. :)

Do you have a link for the story?
 

Maxx

Got the hang of it, here
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
3,227
Reaction score
202
Location
Durham NC
Can you explain this?



It's about 30 C around here, so don't talk about iced beverages. :)

Do you have a link for the story?

The Navajo, who are kind of the farthest northern part of the MesoAmerican traditions, have 4-12 earlier worlds stacked up below as well as at least one world above the sky.

Iced beverages -- maybe a Toltec-Aztec extra detail to the delights of the 13th Heaven, but 13 Heavens (note how that sorta fits kinda with 12 lower worlds) is the accepted MesoAmerican number. See for example:

http://www.authenticmaya.com/maya_cosmology.htm
 

RichardGarfinkle

Nurture Phoenixes
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Messages
10,446
Reaction score
1,579
Location
Walking the Underworld
Website
www.richardgarfinkle.com
I believe the Navajo story has us in the fifth world. I recommend the Dine Bahane (those e's should have accents on them) which is as much of their creation story as they tell to outsiders. There are a number of translations.

Changing cultures and religions completely. The Zend Avesta which is a sacred Zoroastrian text can be found online.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/zor/sbe04/index.htm

Their story is intriguing because in it the world is made as a trap for the evil god Angra Mainyu by the good god Ahura Mazda. When he is defeated (sometime in the future) the world will be remade as a retirement home for people who fought him by their good and honest acts.

Shifting again, Taoist cosmology is a bit abstract and doesn't really fit the outlined pattern apart from starting in a void.

Hindu cosmology is both cyclic and illusary so I don't know if it fits either.
 

Gateway

You Are My Density
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 29, 2011
Messages
210
Reaction score
9
Hi guys,

The Void
The First Void
The Second Void
The Vast Void
The Far-Extending Void
The Sere Void
The Unposessing Void
The Delightful Void
The Void Fast Bound
The Night
The Hanging Night
The Drifting Night
The Moaning Night
The Daughter of Troubled Sleep
The Dawn
The Abiding Day
The Bright Day
Space
Moisture
Great Expanse of Heaven
The Heavens
Earth

That's the base of TREE OF LIFE.
 

Raventongue

little orphan anarchist
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
7,137
Reaction score
999
Age
29
Location
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Changing cultures and religions completely. The Zend Avesta which is a sacred Zoroastrian text can be found online.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/zor/sbe04/index.htm

Their story is intriguing because in it the world is made as a trap for the evil god Angra Mainyu by the good god Ahura Mazda. When he is defeated (sometime in the future) the world will be remade as a retirement home for people who fought him by their good and honest acts.

The version I always heard was that he would also defeat the aspects of Angra Mainyu in all of us. The Earth was to be engulfed in molten metal, which would burn and torture each person until they were pure, then once there was no evil left in them they'd swim around comfortably in it like water. I was taught that after a few days, even the most wicked of us would be at that stage, and then I can't remember what's supposed to happen when everyone's pure. Presumably the Earth remade as a reward for all who strove to do right, as you say.

The Jews in exile and, through them, later the Christians and Muslims, added some Zoroastrian concepts to their worldviews, though to my knowledge not their creation myth. Mostly the idea of there being spiritual beings other than their god, angels and devils and such.
 

Teinz

Back at it again.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
2,440
Reaction score
186
Location
My favourite chair by the window.
Changing cultures and religions completely. The Zend Avesta which is a sacred Zoroastrian text can be found online.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/zor/sbe04/index.htm

Their story is intriguing because in it the world is made as a trap for the evil god Angra Mainyu by the good god Ahura Mazda. When he is defeated (sometime in the future) the world will be remade as a retirement home for people who fought him by their good and honest acts.

Thanks for the link Richard.

I know some about Zoroastrianism, mainly through books that deal with Christianity or Islam describing the differences or clashes between the religions.

What stayed with me the most are the fire tempels which all represent the World-fire, the way Persian society prohibited lying (people believed lying further advanced the cause of Angra Mainyu in a very real way) and the way the religion was tied to Achaemid and later Sassanid rule. Oh, and the fact that not brushing your teeth was seen as a major religious no-no.

But with my cosmogony. I wanted to stay clear of the Good-Evil conundrum, so Zoroastrianism, although interesting, I cannot use.
 

Teinz

Back at it again.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
2,440
Reaction score
186
Location
My favourite chair by the window.
The Earth was to be engulfed in molten metal, which would burn and torture each person until they were pure...

The Jews in exile and, through them, later the Christians and Muslims, added some Zoroastrian concepts to their worldviews...

That's what I always thought, too. Jewish Gehinnom and Christian Hell are comparable with the Zoroastrian concept.
 

RichardGarfinkle

Nurture Phoenixes
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Messages
10,446
Reaction score
1,579
Location
Walking the Underworld
Website
www.richardgarfinkle.com
That's what I always thought, too. Jewish Gehinnom and Christian Hell are comparable with the Zoroastrian concept.

There are a number of concepts that entered Jewish folklore and through that Christianity that look like they have Zoroastrian origin. But there's a lot of scholarly dispute about it. The ones that I've found most interesting are

The idea of an enemy deity or spirit (Christian concept of Satan) as opposed to the Jewish concept of Satan which is a subsidiary spirit more like a prosecuting attorney than an enemy in war.

The idea of a Messiah. Zoroastrianism has the concept that three Messiahs will appear one every 2000 years until the end of the world.

The end of the world.
 

RichardGarfinkle

Nurture Phoenixes
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Messages
10,446
Reaction score
1,579
Location
Walking the Underworld
Website
www.richardgarfinkle.com
Thanks for the link Richard.

I know some about Zoroastrianism, mainly through books that deal with Christianity or Islam describing the differences or clashes between the religions.

What stayed with me the most are the fire tempels which all represent the World-fire, the way Persian society prohibited lying (people believed lying further advanced the cause of Angra Mainyu in a very real way) and the way the religion was tied to Achaemid and later Sassanid rule. Oh, and the fact that not brushing your teeth was seen as a major religious no-no.

But with my cosmogony. I wanted to stay clear of the Good-Evil conundrum, so Zoroastrianism, although interesting, I cannot use.

Can you clarify what ideas you need to explore for your cosmogony? It would make it easier to find real world examples that fit. Assuming there are any. I like making cosmogonies that have no analogues. But that's just me.
 

Teinz

Back at it again.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
2,440
Reaction score
186
Location
My favourite chair by the window.
Can you clarify what ideas you need to explore for your cosmogony? It would make it easier to find real world examples that fit. Assuming there are any. I like making cosmogonies that have no analogues. But that's just me.

Basically I've come up with the following punch-line: The Normal World (i.e. Creation, The Universe) is the mirror the Divine uses to reflect on itself. I interlace this with macrocosmic and microcosmic principles. So I guess my cosmogony is partly Gnostic or Alchemic.

But I'm interested most in the images that accompagnie creation stories. Why the slaying of mighty beasts (Marduk and Yahweh), the bringing of order (The Logos), the succession of Voids in the Maori example? I want to know their function. I want to infuse my story with those images.
 

RichardGarfinkle

Nurture Phoenixes
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Messages
10,446
Reaction score
1,579
Location
Walking the Underworld
Website
www.richardgarfinkle.com
Basically I've come up with the following punch-line: The Normal World (i.e. Creation, The Universe) is the mirror the Divine uses to reflect on itself. I interlace this with macrocosmic and microcosmic principles. So I guess my cosmogony is partly Gnostic or Alchemic.

But I'm interested most in the images that accompagnie creation stories. Why the slaying of mighty beasts (Marduk and Yahweh), the bringing of order (The Logos), the succession of Voids in the Maori example? I want to know their function. I want to infuse my story with those images.

Their function in the stories is certainly intriguiging, and there's obviously a lot of debate among scholars about it. It may simply be an attempt to find images or words for ineffable concepts so the story tellers fall back on drama.

This does beg the question is your cosmogony meant to be what actually happened in your world or how the people tell the story of what happened?

The various gnostic cosmogonies tend toward fairly vivid stories, but they seem largely to answer the question how is it that pure souls are trapped in impure flesh and how can we get out?

Alchemic stories tend more toward connecting physical processes with spiritual meanings, so that the bubbling retort is also the transforming soul.

Which returns to my earlier question. Are you trying to write the story of what happened or the story people tell about what happened?
 

Teinz

Back at it again.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
2,440
Reaction score
186
Location
My favourite chair by the window.
The various gnostic cosmogonies tend toward fairly vivid stories, but they seem largely to answer the question how is it that pure souls are trapped in impure flesh and how can we get out?

Alchemic stories tend more toward connecting physical processes with spiritual meanings, so that the bubbling retort is also the transforming soul.

Both of these are elements that indeed play a role in my story.

Which returns to my earlier question. Are you trying to write the story of what happened or the story people tell about what happened?

With this, I intend to write the rules of my universe. The people however, will believe something entirely else.

It was a very good question though. It's something I regularly struggle with. :) Trying to keep things straight can be a pain.

Thanks.
 

RichardGarfinkle

Nurture Phoenixes
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Messages
10,446
Reaction score
1,579
Location
Walking the Underworld
Website
www.richardgarfinkle.com
By the way, if you are interested in the Gnostics there's a book I can't recommend highly enough.
It's
The Tree of Gnosis: Gnostic Mythology from Early Christianity to Modern Nihilism by Ioan P. Couliano.

I'm sorry to say the book is out of print and expensive from used booksellers. But it's a fascinating study.
 

Teinz

Back at it again.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
2,440
Reaction score
186
Location
My favourite chair by the window.
By the way, if you are interested in the Gnostics there's a book I can't recommend highly enough.
It's
The Tree of Gnosis: Gnostic Mythology from Early Christianity to Modern Nihilism by Ioan P. Couliano.

I'm sorry to say the book is out of print and expensive from used booksellers. But it's a fascinating study.

Hmm, eighty bucks. There's a good used-book-shop in Utrecht, that has a vast English section, I'll give that a try first.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Featured Book