Thu 1 Jul 21 in History

Chaos creation myths

#Mythology

Creation myths have existed ever since humans became aware of their impending mortality and sought out meaning in their lives, and a reason for existing. Questioning where they came from and where did everything else come from, they spun stories to better grasp existence. Creation myths come in different forms, many have origins in chaos. 

Enuma Elis - Babylon

Babylonians had Enuma Elis, which explored their creation myth in the form of an all-out God’s war. In the beginning, before anything else existed, there were only two primordial beings, Apsu or Abzu and Tiamat. Apsu was the male side of the duo and he represented sweet water. Tiamat was the female, and she represented saltwater. She is most often depicted as a sea serpent. 

The two have had many children together, so many in fact that the commotion they made angered Apsu. Advised by Mummu, Apsu proposed to Tiamat that they kill their children so that he may have quiet. Tiamat did not want to kill her children so she refused. Apsu then decided he would kill them himself, but the other gods had heard of his plan, unbeknownst to him. 

The god Ea put a sleeping spell on Apsu, killed him, took his power and created a dwelling out of his body. After that Ea and Damkina gave birth to the god Marduk. 

Tiamat heard about the assassination of her mate, Apsu and reconsidered his plan of killing all the other gods. So she created monstrous creatures to aid her in killing them. A whole epic battle ensued, and it ended with Tiamat’s death at the hands of Marduk. Thus Marduk became the patron god and he split Tiamat’s body into two pieces to make the heavens and the Earth. 

 

Theogony - Greece

Greeks have Hesiod’s Theogony, in which everything came to be from chaos. Out of this chaos, Gaia or mother Earth surfaced, along with the other primordial beings, Erebus (shadow and darkness), Eros (love and sex), Tartarus (a form of hell). 

Gaia gave birth to Uranus (air or sky). Gaia and Uranus copulated and made the 12 titans, the cyclops and the hecatonchires (giants). Uranus was a cruel father and husband, be imprisoned the giants and cyclops in Tartarus, and never let the Titans be born out of Gaia’s womb. 

Gaia and Uranus were closely sealed together, so Uranus constantly pressed Gaia and the Titans back into her. She had had enough and plotted with the youngest and most terrible of her Titan sons, Cronus. He agreed and upon their copulation again, Cronus castrated his father Uranus, who backed away from Gaia and formed what is now air or the atmosphere. All the titans were thus released. 

Cronus became the ruler of the Titans and married his sister Rhea, who together gave birth to many of the Greek gods. But out of fear of betrayal, as he betrayed his father Uranus, Cronus ate all his children. 

Rhea hid Zeus and tricked her husband into thinking he ate him by replacing the baby with a rock. Zeus ultimately grew up and killed his father, releasing all his siblings thus becoming the patron of the Greek pantheon. 

 

Pangu myth - China

China has the myth of Pangu, where the beginning is presented as a nondual, stark amorphous primordial state. From it, a cosmic egg took form and existed for 18 000 years. 

Inside it, the two principles of yin and yang, previously in opposition, became balanced, and Pangu surfaced from the egg. He is commonly portrayed as a giant covered in hair with horns on his head. He is accredited with the creation of the world by separating Yin from Yang with a swing of his axe, thus forming earth (yin) and sky (yang). To maintain the separation of the two, Pango strung in between them holding them apart. This task took another 18 000 years, after which he exhaled, creating wind, clouds and fog. 

Other parts of him made other aspects of the world, like thunder from his voice, rivers from his blood, mountains from his head, the sun from his left eye, the moon from his right eye, stars from his facial hair, forests from his fur, jewels from his marrow, minerals from his bones, fertile land from his muscles, rain from his sweat, and animals from his fleas. This is only one of China’s creation myths as it has multiple. 

 

Depending on the culture, there are many mythical stories about what created the universe and how. Most of them sound magical or divine, and it’s no wonder, for existence itself could not be anything but magical.