creation

General - Each culture has its own version of the creation of the universe, some more than one. (1) In the beginning it was always warm and bright. The creator put the bat in charge of darkness but he allowed it to escape. Earth originally was linked to heaven, in some stories by a tree, in others by a spider's web. (2) The Abulayia say that Wele first made heaven, which he propped up on posts. When he made the sun and moon they fought until Wele separated them into day and night. He next created the features of the atmosphere and then the earth, followed by man and animals. All this was done in six days. (3) The Bakongo say that Nzambi created the first man and woman, Ndosimau and the Prohibition Breaker, whose children were mortal because they failed to obey his instructions not to bury those that died. In another version, he created an androgynous being, Mahungu, in the form of a tree with two heads. When Mahungu tried to embrace a tree called Muti Mpungu, Mahungu was split into male, Lumbu, and female, Muzita. (4) The Bakuba say that there was only water, ruled by the White Giant, Mbombo. From his stomach he brought up the sun, moon and stars and, later, men and women and all the other things in the world. (5) The Bambara say that the creation principle, Pemba, came to earth as a seed and became a tree from which came a female being with which he mated to create all the other things on earth. (6) The Bushmen say the world was created by a god in the form of a mantis. (7) The Dogon say that the god Amma made the sun and moon from clay pots bound with wire, black people from sunlight and white people from moonlight. He made the earth from clay and fertilised it to produce, first, two half-human beings called Nummo, and again to make all the other things. (8) The Fon say that the androgynous deity Mawu-Lisa created the world from the primaeval chaos and then made plants, animals and mankind from clay and water. On day two the world was made a fit home for man, who was given the power of understanding and his physical senses on the third day. On the fourth and final day of creation man was given knowledge of the skills he needed in order to advance. Another version says that the primordial goddess, Nana Buluku, created the earth and then retired, leaving the world to her children Mawu and Lisa. In some accounts, the first created thing was the python, Dan Ayido Hwedo, from whose excrement Mawu made the mountains. (9) The Kono say that one creatorgod, Alatangana, was living above the primaeval waters and another, Sa, living in the waters. The first god made solid land and ran off with Sa's daughter, producing seven black and seven white children, ancestors of the human races. (10) The Mande say that god created seeds and planted them in the corners of the world. From them came Pemba and Faro, his twin, who became a fish, part of which became the trees, the remainder producing a new Faro who came down from heaven in a ship with eight others. Faro made the Niger, containing seed for future generations from his own body. (11) The Nandi say that the god Asis created first the world order, Kiet, and then the sky and the earth, some of which he took to make man and woman. (12) The Swahili say that a selfcreated god first made light and then used that light to make souls. Next he made the sky, the Canopy or Arishi; the throne Kurusi on which he sits in judgement; the Luah, the tablet on which all events are recorded by the angel Kalamu; the Trumpet of the Last Day; Paradise; hell; and, beneath the throne, the Lotus Tree of the End, on each leaf of which is recorded an individual life which ends when that leaf falls. Then he made the sun, moon, stars and the earth, together with all the things in it. A great cock in heaven announces each new day. The earth itself is saucer shaped and is supported on the four horns of a bull or cow standing on the back of a fish swimming in an unfathomable ocean. (13) The Yoruba say that, in the beginning Olorun ruled the sky and Olokun his brother ruled the primitive waters. Olorun sent his son, Obatala, to place a huge sphere in the sea and when this broke into the various land masses he sent his daughter Oduduwa to sow seeds. Another version says that the earth was created by Orishanla or Olorun who scattered soil on the marshy terrain, and a hen and a pigeon scattered the soil about to form dry land. (14) The Zulu say that the Great One appeared out of the earth with the moon and sun, which he placed in the sky, and then created not only the black people but the whites as well. He sent Unwaba, the chameleon, to tell mankind that they would never die, and later sent Intulo, the lizard, to tell them the opposite. The lizard ran faster than the chameleon and delivered its message first so that all races are now mortal. -Australian (1) The stories of the Aborigines start with the Dreamtime, the alchera, a period of indeterminate length, when the earth already existed but was unformed and unpopulated. Various beings, some human, some spirits, slept in or under the earth in this period and later woke, performed their preordained duties and returned whence they had come. Stories vary from tribe to tribe but it is commonly held that these ancestral beings created men by singing, and when they returned to their original home, left behind songlines which form a means of communication between the Aborigines. (2) One such being was the kangaroo-man, Minawara, who appeared with his brother Multultu when the primordial waters subsided and together they created all living things. (3) Another pair of beings, the lizard-men, known as Watikutjara, awoke to create rocks, plants and animals. Strangely enough the story implies that humans already existed because they found the moon spirit, Kidilli, chasing a group of women. They killed Kidilli who became the moon. The women became the Pleaides and the twins, Watikutjara, became Gemini. (4) Two other beings, the Bagadjimbiri, rose from the earth in the form of dingos, and mated a toadstool with a fungus to produce the first humans. The brothers were killed by the catman, Ngariman, but were restored by the goddess Dilga. When they finally died, they became water snakes. (5) A different story says that the woman Imberombera mated with Wuraka. She immediately gave birth to all living things and her consort gave them names. (6) Some say that the earth was shaped by the rain-spirits, the Wandjina, who later caused the flood. (7) One story has three beings, known as the Djanggawuls, arriving from the island of the dead and creating plant life and shaping the earth with magic rods known as rangga. (8) In the South-east of the country they tell of Ngurunderi, a creator spirit who caught a large cod, at that time a land animal. He cut it into pieces, gave them names and threw them into the sea where they became the first fish. (9) In the Bathurst and Melville islands to the north of Australia, the blind ancestral heroine, Mudungkala, emerged from the earth with three children who became the ancestors of the islanders. -Basque A huge, seven-headed serpent under the earth moved, throwing up the Pyrenees and then opened its jaws to pour out fire which cleansed the world and from which the Basque people emerged. -Buddhist The authors and mechanism of creation are not addressed but the structure of the universe is given as consisting of several distinct regions, each occupied by a different class of being or existence. In ascending order they are Kama Loka (desires), Rupa Loka (material form) and Arupa Loka (spirit). The Tibetans envisage a further layer occupied by the Dhyanibuddhas, the highest part of which is the home of Adi Buddha. Nirmanarati the home of the gods of creation, Paranirmita-Vasavartin the home of Mara, Trayastrinska the home of Indra, and Tushita the home of the bodhisattvas are four of the six parts of Kama Loka; the other parts are occupied by the guardians of the four cardinal points and by Yama's realm, the kingdom of the dead. Below these come the realms of men, the Asuras, the animals, ghosts and, at the lowest level, several hells. -Cambodian (1) In the beginning there was a holy state of nothingness from which appeared the holy jewel, Prah Keo, from which arose the earth, Prah Thorni, and all that is in it. Man was created from the earth and woman from man's shadow. (2) An alternative version says that everything arose from the original unformed, uncreated state known as Prah Prohm. There are three disc-shaped worlds, each some ten million miles in diameter and surrounded by enormously high mountains. -Central American (1) A monster with many mouths swam in the primaeval waters. The gods split the monster into two parts, making heaven and earth. The earth was supported by four crocodiles swimming in the primaeval waters. One ladder led from the centre up to heaven, another down to hell. The supreme god was on the top rung of the ladder to heaven. The lower ladder was the road to rebirth before which ordinary mortals stayed in the paradise of the rain-god, Tlaloc. For initiates, there was a higher heaven and an even higher one, the House of the Sun, for the fully enlightened who were rewarded with eternal life and happiness. (2) Heaven was supported on four pillars. The Sun sprang first from Earth, then Air, Fire and Water and, in its fifth and present form, from all four elements combined. (3) In Mayan lore, men were first created by the gods Gucumatz and Tepeu (or Hurakan) from soil. These proved to be unsatisfactory so the gods destroyed them and carved the next race from wood. These beings were attacked by their own tools, or a flock of huge birds, and turned into monkeys. Next a race of giants, led by Vucub- Caquix, was defeated by the twin gods Hanapu and Ixbalanqué and finally the present race evolved from maize planted by animals, or, in some versions, the gods used ground-up maize and broth to create four brothers, Balam Agab, Balam Quitzé, Iqi Balam and Mahucutah, together with their wives. When, after much travelling, the brothers witnessed the birth of the sun, bringing light to the darkness of the earth, they disappeared for ever. Another Mayan story says that Month was created first. He then created the heavens and earth and all living things over a period of nineteen days, using the twentieth day as a day of rest to recover from his labours. (4) The Guatemalan version of the Mayan creation story says that the gods Gucumatz and Tepeu caused the primordial waters to recede to allow dry land to appear and then made animals and men from moist soil. (5) The Mixtec tell of two beings who appeared when the earth rose out of the primaeval waters. These were the deer-god, Puma-Snake, and his female counterpart, the deer-goddess, Jaguar-Snake. They placed a copper axe on edge for the sky to rest on and built a palace where they lived for hundreds of years, finally producing Wind- Nine-Snake and Wind-Nine-Cave, two sons to whom they gave the power to change into any bird or animal and to become invisible. These four became the progenitors of the human race, many of whom died in a flood, following which the creator-god formed heaven and earth and a new race of humans. (6) The Zapotecs say that Cozaana created the world and all the animals, while the fishes and human beings were created by Huichaana. -Chinese (1) The universe was created by eight rulers - the Five Emperors and the Three Sovereigns. (2) Chaos produced the world when pierced by lightning. (3) Chaos, a cosmic egg, split to form yin and yang, Earth and Sky. In between was the first human, P'an-ku, who grew for 1,800 years, pushing the sky away from earth. All the physical features of the earth and sky were made from his body when he died. The earth was square with a sea on each side under the dome of the sky. The Milky Way, a heavenly river, discharged into the Eastern Sea in which floated the island paradises of P'eng-lai. Pillars supported the sky but these were broken by Chuan Hu to prevent confusion between gods and men. Chung then ruled heaven and Li ruled the earth. The sun passed from a hollow mulberry tree in the East to a jo tree in the west ten times daily in a chariot drawn by dragons. Nine of the suns were shot out of the sky by I. (4) In the beginning there was only Wu-wu, nothingness, but this changed to Wu Chi, no limit, when Tao arrived on the scene. Hun T'un, chaos, then evolved giving rise to T'ai Chi, the Great Pole, which engendered T'ai I, the Great Change. This had two stages, T'ai Ch'u, the Great First, when Hsing (form) came into being, and T'ai Shih, the Great Beginning, when Ch'i (breath) appeared. Together, these two attributes formed T'ai Shu, the Great Primordial, which had substance (Chih). (5) A modern version says that the universe was created by Pan-ku. One story says that he was hatched from an egg and pushed the two halves apart to form earth and sky. His left eye became the sun, his right eye the moon. Some say he made men from clay, others that they developed from fleas on his body. The effort took 18,000 years and he died from it, parts of his body forming mountain ranges. In another story, Pan-ku, a dwarf, chiselled the universe into its present shape for 18,000 years, growing some six feet every day as he worked. -East Indian (1) The Dayak say that the world lay in the mouth of Watersnake. Gold Mountain and Jewel Mountain clashed together to produce all the things that make up the world. In the first epoch came the sky and the rocks, then the land and hills and finally, in the third epoch, the Tree of Life. Another Dayak story says that a spider came down a thread from heaven and wove a web to which adhered the things such as soil and trees that fell from heaven and made the earth. Later, two spirits descended from heaven to start the human race. They carved a loom and a sword from wood and these two objects produced two human heads which bred successively more complete beings until proper beings existed in the form of Amei Ami and Burung Une, gods of agriculture. They had children who became the ancestors of the tribes and Amei Ami made various birds and animals from bark. (2) The Elema say that in the beginning there was only the primordial ocean in which a huge turtle swam endlessly. Finally, needing rest, it dug up mud from the bottom and formed dry land. Here it laid eggs from which emerged the first people and all the plants and animals. (3) The Iban say that the primordial creators were Ara and Irik. They flew in the form of birds over the primitive waters from which they drew two eggs, out of which they made the world. Then they made men from the soil and gave them life. (4) In Sumatra a primordial god mated with the cosmic blue chicken Manuk Manuk, which laid three eggs from which came three gods who respectively made the earth, the heavens and the underworld. -Egyptian (1) The universe consisted only of the primordial ocean, Nun, from which arose a fertile hill. The early sun-god, Atum, brought light to the world, separating earth from sky, which was supported on a pillar at each of the four corners of the earth. Nun created a son, Shu, and a daughter, Tefnut. Tefnut was lost for some time and when Nun found her the god's tears of pleasure became the first men. Shu and Tefnut produced Geb and Nut who produced Isis, Osiris, Nephthys and Set. (2) Alternatively, the world was hatched from an egg laid by Geb as a goose, or by Thoth in the form of an ibis or from the lotus flower. (3) The pairs Amon and Amaunet, Huh and Hauhet, Kuk and Kakuet, Nan and Naunet, swimming in the primitive waters, produced an egg from which light was born. Alternative pairs of deities were Heru and Hehut, Kekui and Kekuit, Qeh and Qerhit, created by Thoth. (4) A lotus appeared, floating on the primitive waters, and opened to reveal the sun that created the world. (5) Thoth, a self-created deity, spoke and his words became living things. (6) Khnum, the potter-god, made the universe from mud taken from the Nile and shaped man from the same material on his wheel. In other versions Ptah was the creator, creating all things merely by uttering their names. -Finnish An eagle flying over the primitive waters seeking a nesting site landed on the knee of the sleeping magician, Vainamoinen, built a nest and laid an egg. When Vainamoinen moved, the egg fell out of the nest and broke. The shell became the sky and earth and the contents of the egg became the heavenly bodies. Other accounts say that the bird was a teal and the eggs were laid on the knee of Ilmatar, Vainamoinen's mother. -Greek In general, the Greeks believed that the world pre-existed the gods who were created from a union of its parts. (1) Chaos gave rise to the goddess Euronyme who produced the serpent Ophion in conjunction with the North Wind. The union of Ophion with Euronyme produced the universal egg from which everything else hatched. (2) In the Homeric version all living things arose from the union of the stream Ocean with Tethys, and in the Ophic version the union of the three-headed goddess Night with the wind produced a silver world-egg from which sprang Eros who created the sky and the heavenly bodies. Night continued to rule until the coming of Uranus. (3) In another story, Earth arose from Chaos and bore Uranus who thereupon fertilised Earth to produce the plants and animals of the world. Earth also produced the 100-handed giants, Briareus, Cottus and Gyges, the one-eyed Cyclopes and Arges, Brontes and Sterope, the original Titans. (4) Yet another version says that from the void of Chaos there emerged Erebus (darkness), Gaea (earth) and Nyx (night). The union of Erebus and Nyx produced Hemera (day), Aethir (air) and many of the forces controlling human life, such as fate and fortune. Gaea produced a son, Uranus, whom she married to produce the early gods such as Cronus, the Titans, the Cyclops and the Hundred-handed Ones. Cronus castrated his father, usurped his throne and started the second divine dynasty. A variation of this story has Aether and Hemera producing a son, Eros, who helped in the creation of Gaea and Pontus and then created all the plants and animals, breathing life into the first humans, moulded from clay by Epimetheus and Prometheus. -Hindu (1) The early Vedic version says that Varuna was the creator of all things. Prithivi (earth) and Dyaus (heaven) begot Indra who fought the deities and took over as supreme god, rearranging the universe. There were three heavens: Indra's for major gods; Varuna's for minor gods; and Yama's for the less virtuous. The universal spirit was known as Brahman. (2) In the Rig Veda, a primordial being, Purusha, was dismembered by the other gods who then built the universe from parts of his body. (3) The universe is egg-shaped, with twenty-one zones. The first six, starting from the top, are heavenly realms, earth comes next and then seven lower worlds where the nagas live and, below these, seven hells. At the start of each kalpa, Vishnu is asleep on the coils of the cosmic snake, Ananta. Brahma emerges from the lotus growing from Vishnu's navel and makes the universe. Vishnu awakes to rule for a kalpa then sleeps again and the universe is merged with his body. (4) Having slept in the lotus flower floating on the primitive waters, Brahma awoke and created the universe. He made some errors, which resulted in the demon rakshas and yakshas. There is a cycle of life, death and rebirth governed by Vishnu, who preserves life; Shiva, who destroys it; and Brahma the creator. The life cycle of the universe takes 100 years in the life of Brahma, each day of which (a kalpa) lasts for 4,320 million years. At the end of each cycle the universe is destroyed by drought, then flood, then fire. Men who merit it are released from the cycle of rebirth. At each re-creation of the universe, a golden lotus with 1,000 petals appears, floating on the primaeval waters. From this flower Brahma is born to create the world anew. (5) In Malaya they say that Bahua Gura (Shiva) ruled over the primaeval ocean in which lay the serpent Naga Pahoda. The god's daughter jumped into the waters and he threw her some dust, from which she made land. He also sent a hero with a heavy block that he placed on the serpent's back, causing it to writhe about, twisting the land into mountains and valleys. The gods and the hero became the ancestors of the human race. -Japanese A primordial egg, formed from In and Yo, separated to form the heavens and earth, and then arose creation creation C_DicMythology_180-264_Layout 1 11/08/2011 14:55 Page 248 the Separate Heavenly Beings and the god Kuni-toto-tachi from whom descended Izanagi and Izanami. Others say that the first deity to emerge from the primodial chaos was Minaka-Nushi; he was followed by four other gods and, after seven generations, by Izanagi and Izanami. They dipped a spear in the primordial ocean and drops from this spear formed the islands to which Izanagi and Izanami descended from the Floating Bridge. The first island was called Onogoro. Izanami gave birth to seas and rivers, trees and herbs, and physical forces such as the wind. One of these forces, the god of fire, burnt his mother to death. His father cut off his head and sixteen more gods emerged, eight each from the blood and the body. Izanagi descended to the underworld to get his wife back but failed. To purify himself he bathed in a river, creating gods of good and evil, and then in the sea, creating sea-gods. Amaterasu was created from one eye, Tsuki-yomi from the other and Susanowa from his nose. When Amaterasu ate Susanowa's broken sword she breathed out three more goddesses and he, eating her necklace, breathed out five more gods. These eight became the ancestors of the royal family. -Jain The Jains deny the concept of creation, holding that the universe has always existed. -Korean The world was created by Miruk who pushed heaven and earth apart, supporting the heavens on a copper pillar at each corner. Having made the sun, moon and stars and set them in the heavens, he set about improving the earth. With the help of a mouse he made fire and then made human beings. Holding a silver tray in one hand and a golden tray in the other, he prayed and the trays filled with insects that turned into humans, men in the golden tray, women in the silver tray. These people became the ancestors of the race. When the evil Sokka appeared, they fought many battles and Miruk finally became disenchanted by the spread of evil in the world and left it to its own devices. -Mesopotamian (1) The Akkadian version says that Abzu and Mother Tiamat, the primordial forces, created the gods of the heavens and earth, Lahmu and Lahamu. Their son Ea defeated Abzu and fathered Marduk. In the struggle between the primal forces and the gods, Marduk slaughtered Tiamat and Kingu, leaders of their forces, and seized the Tablets of Destiny. He made the earth and sky from the body of Tiamat and man from the blood of Kingu mixed with clay. (2) One Babylonian version starts with primaeval waters inhabited by hideous monsters and ruled by Thalath. Belus cut Thalath in half to make earth and sky and then had Kingu cut off his head, using the blood, mixed with earth, to make the sun, moon, planets and mankind. (3) Another Babylonian version starts with two gods, Abzu and Tiamat, who engendered all the other gods down to Belus who created the world. (4) In the Sumerian version Nammu, the primaeval waters, created An and Ki, heaven and earth. -New Zealand (1) In the mythology of the Maori, day, night and space evolved from the primordial void, Te Kore, incorporating formless male and female beings. These produced Rangi and Papa, sky and earth. Tane-Mahuta came down from the highest of the ten heavens after creating the space between heaven and earth by forcibly separating Rangi and Papa, and brought all knowledge in three baskets. He fathered all the natural features of the earth and made a being from sand, on which he fathered the first humans. (2) A cosmic egg was dropped into the primitive waters by a bird flying overhead and from this egg emerged man and animals and a canoe. -Norse In the beginning was a vast chasm known as Ginnungagap, with Niflheim, land of mists and darkness, to the north and Muspelheim, the land of fire, to the south. In the middle of Niflheim, a raging torrent, Hvergelmir, supplied the twelve rivers (Elivagar) that ran into the chasm and froze to ice, which condensed the mists rising from Muspelheim to form frostmaidens and giants. The gods Odin and his brothers Ve and Vili killed the first Frost Giant, Ymir, and built the world from his parts. They used his body for the earth, his blood for the seas, his skull for the sky, bones for mountains, hair for vegetation, brains for clouds and they built a wall round Midgard, the home of mankind, from his eyebrows. Sparks from Muspelheim became the stars and planets. The sky was held up by four dwarfs, Nordri, Sudri, Austri and Westri, and the whole universe was supported on the great ash tree Yggdrasil. Odin and his brothers formed a man and a woman from driftwood, or from trees, and breathed life into them. -North American (1) The Achomawi say that the world was created by a god who appeared out of a cloud and was assisted by Coyote. (2) The Acoma say that two sisters, Ia'tik and Nao-tsiti, were born under the earth. They were instructed by the spirit Tstitinako and emerged into the sunlight to begin their work of creating plants, animals and gods, using the baskets of basic materials given to them by their mentor. Nao-tsiti was impregnated by the rainbow and one of the twin boys who resulted from this union mated with Ia'tik to become the progenitors of the tribe. (3) According to the Algonquin, the good things of the earth were made by Gluskap, the evil ones by his brother Malsum. The earthmother fell through a hole in the sky and fell into a lake carrying a tree that had magical soil round its roots. Some of this soil was saved by Toad and it grew to form first an island and then the whole earth. Turtles collected the lightning and made the sun and moon. The stars were formed 249 creation creation C_DicMythology_180-264_Layout 1 11/08/2011 14:55 Page 249 from animals that crossed the rainbow bridge into heaven. In another story the god Michabo followed some animals into a lake which then overflowed and inundated the earth. After both a raven and an otter had failed, the musk rat found some earth, from which the god recreated solid land. He then mated with the musk-rat and started the human race. (4) The Arapaho say that Kici Manitou assembled all the birds and animals of the primaeval waters. The turtle told him where to find earth and the birds brought some back in their beaks. The god then dried the mud with his sacred pipe, so making the world. (5) The Arikara say that humans came out of the ground. First came a race of giants, born to spiders, who perished in a flood; then a race sprouting from the seed of maize planted by animals. (6) Some Californian tribes say that heaven mated with the earth to produce rocks and stones, then trees and grass, then animals and, finally, Ouiot, the first being. Other versions say that the allpowerful Nocuma made the earth like a ball and made it steady with the black rock, Tosaut. When this was broken by the fishes, it exposed a large bladder that split open, spilling out the salt that made the seas salty. Nocuma then used soil to make the first man, Ejoni, and the first woman, Ae. Other tribes say that Coyote and Kodoyanpe dropped from the heavens on to the primaeval waters in a canoe. Coyote then scattered sand on to the sea and created dry land. (7) In the Cherokee version, animals existed in the sky but became overcrowded and sent the water beetle to look for some other place. The whole world was covered by water at that time but the water beetle brought up mud from the bottom and spread it out to form a huge land, which the spirit Someone Powerful suspended from the sky with rawhide ropes at each corner. A buzzard was sent down to test the muddy expanse and the flapping of his wings piled some of the mud into mountains. When the land was dry enough, the animals descended from their home in the sky. They pulled the sun down so that they had light and then found that they had to push it back a bit because it was so hot. Then Someone Powerful created plants and tress and, lastly, men and women. One day, it is said, the ropes will break and the earth will fall back into the ocean. (8) The Cree say that the beavers flooded the earth but the trickstergod and Wolf covered the surface of the waters with moss and created a new world. (9) In the lore of the Inuit, it is said that the earth fell from the sky but there was no light until the sun and moon mated. The girl (sun) ran off carrying a torch, which grew brighter as she reached the heavens, while the man's torch grew progressively weaker, ending up as the moon. (10) The Hopi say that the two goddesses, the Huruing Wuhti, one in the East, one in the West, survived the flood and made man from drying mud left behind when the waters receded. (11) The Iroquois say that the world was created by Hahgwehdiyu from the dead body of his mother, the sky-goddess Ataensic. (12) The Maidu maintain that the world was made by Wonomi who also created mankind. (13) The Muskhogeans say that the hill Nunne Chaha rose from the primordial waters and the god Esaugetuh Emissee fashioned men from clay and built a huge wall on which he set them to dry. (14) The Navaho say that the four gods, Black Body, Blue Body, White Body and Yellow Body, placed two ears of corn between deerskin blankets and the Mirage People walked round them in a circle. The ears were turned into the first pair of humans. Another version says that the first man, Atse Hastin, the first woman, Atse Estsan, and Coyote lived successively in four or five worlds, the last of which was destroyed by a flood. They found themselves on an island that grew as the waters subsided. They then created the sky and earth and all that is in it, and when it was complete they disappeared. The daughter of the first man and woman, known as Estanatlehi, produced from maize flour a man and woman, the founders of the eight tribes. (15) The Omaha say that all living things were created by the power of Wakonda's thought and they descended to earth after first scouring the heavens for a suitable home. At that time, the earth was covered by the primordial ocean but Wakonda caused dry land to form for the living things to land on and inhabit. (16) The Osage say that their ancestors lived in the sky and were sent to earth only to find it covered with water. The elk called up the winds, which blew until much of the water evaporated and then rolled in the mud so that the hairs from his body stuck in it. From these hairs grew all the plants on earth. (17) The Pawnee say that Atius- Tirawa created the world. At first it resembled a bowl with the stars holding it in space and protecting it. He then caused the sun to mate with the moon and the morning star to mate with the evening star. The children of these unions were the progenitors of the human race. Coyote seized the sack of stars and tipped them out to form the Milky Way. (18) The Pomo say that Marumda and his brother Kuksu created the world and tried unsuccessfully to destroy it, first with flood and then with fire, and had to be rescued from their own handiwork by Ragno. (19) The Selish say that the sky, the earth and the underworld, created by Amotken, are supported by a huge central post. The first humans he made from five hairs from his own head. (20) The Sia of New Mexico say that, in the beginning a spider wove a web and the god Sus'sistinnako used it as an instrument on which he played a tune while he sang. As he sang, humans appeared and set about populating the earth. (21) The Sioux say that the first 250 creation creation C_DicMythology_180-264_Layout 1 11/08/2011 14:55 Page 250 world was destroyed by fire and the second by flood. The creator spirit then came down and floated on the waters, bringing his pipe and pipe bag. He took a loon from the bag and asked it to bring up mud from the bottom. The loon, then the otter and then the beaver all failed in this task but the turtle succeeded. The creator used the mud to create dry land and then let all the animals out of his bag to spread over the earth. Having made men from coloured clay, the creator rested to prepare himself for the creation of a fourth world at some future time. Another story says that the Sioux ancestors lived underground and reached the surface by climbing up the roots of the vine. (22) According to the Snohomish, the god Dohkwibuhch made the sky so low that men bumped their heads on it until, with a concerted effort, they used long poles to push it into its present position. A few people who were inadvertently raised into the sky were turned into the Great Bear constellation. (23) The Washo say that in the beginning there was a great upheaval that set the world on fire. The heat was so intense that the flames, which reached the heavens, melted the very stars, which then fell to earth. The fire was extinguished only when the deluge came. Men who tried to escape the flood by building a tall tower were turned to stone. (24) In the lore of the Yakima, the world was originally covered by water. Whee-me-me-ow-ah, tired of living alone in the sky, dredged up mud from the bottom of the ocean and made land and mountains. He then made all the plants and animals and, finally, using more mud, made a man and a woman. (25) In the lore of the Zuni, the green scum left behind by the receding floodwaters became earth and sky and the ancestors of the tribe emerged from the cave where they had sought refuge. In another version, men were born in a cave, which soon became overcrowded until the first man, Poshaiyangkyo, interceded with the sun and secured their release. -Pacific Islands (1) In the Gilbert Islands they say that Nareau made from sand Na Atibu and Nei Teukez who had many offspring, including Nareau the Second. He killed Na Atibu and used his body to build the world, using his right eye for the sun and his left for the moon, splitting the brain into pieces for the stars and using his flesh for the islands and his bones for trees. When this was done, a tree grew from the spine of the dead Na Atibu from which human beings grew. (2) In Hawaii they say that the earth-mother Papa bore a gourd and her husband Wakea used it to make the world. The outer cover became the sky, the pulp made the heavenly bodies and the flesh became the land and sea, with the juice providing rain. Another version says that Tangaroa created the world when, in the form of a bird, he laid an egg which, after floating on the primaeval waters, broke to form the earth and sky. (3) Polynesians say that Tangaroa lived in the eternal darkness, Po, and from there he cast down rocks which became the islands. On them he planted the Peopling Vine from which sprang the human race. Another story says that the creator-god, Lo, separated the primordial mass into earth, sea and sky and then created the sun, moon and stars. (4) In Samoa they say that the skygods, Ilu and Mamoa, merged to form the sky and the sea-god, Tagaloa, created rocks to support it. Next they produced the children Po and Ao and these two mated to produce Rangima and Rangiuri. Tagaloa caused the rock, Papa Taoto, to rise from the sea bed for his son Tuli, a bird, to nest on. Two grubs emerged and grew into the first humans. (5) The Tahitians say that Ta-aroa, a self-created being, hatched from the cosmic egg and used the shell to create the earth and sky. He then created everything that exists. Others say that he created the world inside the shell of a mussel while yet another version says that he used his own body to build the universe. Some claim that he pulled the islands up on a hook and line from the bottom of the ocean. -Persian (1) The mountain Mount Alburz grew till it reached the sky and the Chinvat bridge led from its top into heaven. A gateway led from the base into hell. The centre of the earth was Khwanirath and there were six Keshvars round it linked by the celestial ox, Srishok. The wind-god, Vayu, made the ocean round Mount Alburz from rain formed by Tishtrya who, in the form of a white horse, fought Apoasha the drought demon. The goddess Anahita purified the waters and the fire-god, Atar, fought with the destructive monster Azhi Dahak. The Gaokerena tree, the White Hom, provided the fruit of immortality. (2) The Zoroastrian version proposes an earlier phase in which Ormazd and Ahriman were separated by a huge void. Ahriman retreated to hell leaving Ormazd to rule for 3,000 years after which he attacks and destroys the world. This alternation is repeated three times before the final end. -Phoenician In one version, the primordial god Aer mated with his sister Aura to produce Otos; in another, he mated with Chaos to produce Wind and Desire who produced a cosmic egg from which everything else emerged; in a third version he mated with Ether to produce Oulanos who produced the primaeval egg from which came Ouranos and Gea. -Siberian (1) The Samoyeds say that the god Num sent out birds to investigate the primitive waters and made the earth from the mud that one of the birds brought back in its beak. (2) In the Tartar version, the god Ulgan banished the spirit of evil, Erlik, to the land of the dead. This spirit lived on land beneath the primaeval waters and when he brought a piece of it to the surface, Ulgan caused it to float on the water and grow to form a whole continent. In some versions the disc of the earth is supported by 251 creation creation C_DicMythology_180-264_Layout 1 11/08/2011 14:55 Page 251 three fishes that, in moving, cause earthquakes. Ulgan also created men and went to heaven to bring down their spirits. (3) The Voguls say that animals and fishes were sent down from the heavens by the sky-god Numitorem. (4) According to the Yakuts the universe has always existed with a huge tree in the middle, the branches of which shelter seven heavens. Land was created by Yryn-ai-tojon, the supreme god, rather in the way attributed to Ulgan by the Tartars. -South American (1) The Arawak version says that Makonaima created the world and put his son Sigu in charge of the animals. Sigu chopped down a magic tree and planted its seed throughout the land until water emerging from the trunk of the tree flooded the earth. Sigu and many animals escaped hiding in a cave. (2) The Barasano people say that the world was created by Romi Kumu, a female shaman. She made a griddle from clay and made three mountains on which it rested. When she lit a fire under the griddle the edifice collapsed, pushing the earth down to become the underworld while other griddles became earth and sky. She then opened the Water Door and flooded the earth and all inanimate objects turned into animals. A few survived by making a canoe that landed on a mountain top. (3) The Chaco assert that the world and the first humans were made by a beetle. (4) The Chamacoco say that men originally lived underground. Two climbed up a rope to the surface but then a dog gnawed through the rope so that the others had to climb a tree, which reached the sky, from where they fell to earth. Another Chamacoco story says that men lived inside a huge hollow tree until one of their number split the tree open to let them out. (5) The Chibcha say that the first thing to exist was light. This was brought to earth in a casket called Chiminagaga (though some say that this was the name of the deity who sent the light) and distributed by birds. The goddess Chia was turned into the moon (or, some say, an owl) as punishment for causing the flood, which few humans survived. (6) In the lore of the Mbaya there are several versions of how men came to earth: emerging from a cave somewhere in the north; coming up out of the ground when released by a dog; being hatched from eggs laid on top of a mountain. (7) The Matado version is that there were animals on the earth and women in the sky. Some women climbed down to earth on a rope and were unable to get back because a bird pecked through the rope, so they stayed on earth, mating with the animals to produce the tribes. (8) The Tereno say that men lived in a deep crevasse until they were discovered and released by two supernatural beings who came across them when they were hunting on earth. -West Indian The Taino people say that the supreme spirit, Yaya, created the world, which has passed through five eras. In the first era, Yaya killed his son and placed his bones in the ground. When the ground was broken, water flooded out and became the oceans. In the next stage, men were created and Guahayana led his people from a cave into the upper world. In the third stage women were created and, as a result, the fourth era in which the islands were populated, became possible. The original culture was destroyed in the final era by the arrival of the white man. In some lore, occasionally identified as creation, Chaos, Chaos or Creation.

Nearby Myths