Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Creation Myths - do we really still need them?

There are more creation myths amongst our world's many cultures than there are any other type of story. These myths are not meant to be taken literally, but they hold the basic profound truths held by each society. These myths are many and varied, but they all tell of how the world as we know it came to be.

Science is a fairly new concept. It has been around for as long as we have, but as with a lot of things, has only been labelled as separate and distinct in the last few hundred years. In fact, before the seventeenth century, the words "science" and "philosophy" were pretty much used interchangeably, modern day science having been born from the realm of ancient philosophy. Philosophy being the use of reason to explain general and fundamental problems.

Creation myths were one method of explaining how the world came to be, how a culture and it's associated deities came to be, without having to know the actual scientific mechanics of the process. They are meant as metaphore, a symbolic story that speaks directly with the sunconscious, with imagery to capture the imagination of our waking minds. A culture's creation myth will reflect their knowledge of the world, and their observations of their part to play within it.

The most famous creation myth of our western civilisation is that of Genesis - where God took six days to create the heavens and earth, to populate it, and to have enough spare time at the end of the project to sit back and relax. This is one popular mechanism of a creation myth, in that a Supreme Being actively moulds the world we live on, and places humankind at the pinnacle of their creation.

Many myths will contain a birth of some kind, whether of the world, or of a new generation of deities, more closely resembling human-kind who then go on to form the world and it's inhabitants. There can be one Supreme Being, two, or even more. The more "advanced" the culture, the more complex become their pantheons.

Some myths have divinity coming to an already existant but barren world. For example, one that is covered in water, and which the land is brought up from the bottom of the sea and then populated. Or, as with an Australian myth, the Mother-creation goddess coming down to a bare earth and giving form to plants, animals and humans.

The creation myths often attempt to explain the origins of the Sun and the Moon, day and night. Many will also explain a "fall from grace" of the peoples, acknowledging the imperfect nature of humanity.

I recently had cause to write a creation myth of my own. In fact I wrote two! I wanted to write a myth that would work with the state of modern scientific thinking, being compatible with the theories of quantum physics and the theories as to the evolution of the Universe until present day. A myth that mixed science with spirituality.

My other myth I wrote from the perspective of an ancient ancestor. No specified historical period nor culture, but one that was completely remote from a scientific background. One that attempted to explain the origins of the known world. I never thought that I could ever write a credible creation myth, would ever need a creation myth - I have science (and magick is definitely a science) but creation myths? They were for those less advanced or ancient cultures...weren't they?

Love and hugs


1 comment:

  1. It is a thought provoking and interesting article you have posted here! Do Contniue to expand your curiosity beyond the horizon of the past.