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Transcript of Creation: Greeks
A creation Myth is a cosmogony, (from the Greek kosmos, meaning “order” and genesis, meaning “birth”) – The study the origin, evolution, and structure of the universe.
This means we are given answers to Archetype questions and information about how to relate to each other, the gods, and the world.
How Creation has been thought of:
Greek- creation and making of a dynasty
Egypt – creation of earth and sky
Creation stories are metaphors for birth as indicated in many myths by the primal egg or the primal waters.
These are female symbols that reference the Great Mother.
Since birth is a feminine process, generally a female element is present in these stories
There may be one God or many gods that create everything, create other gods, divided themselves to create other gods or helpers.
Next, creation continues often by a male/female pair.
So, what are some of the main types of creation myth?
Source for our story: Upanishad (c. sixth century BC)
There are many different text that give part or another version of creation.
This story refers to Vishnu’s ability to reincarnate himself – so a foundation for that Hindu belief
Cyclical view of creation and recreation – underlying the Hindu idea of patterns and unity in life
Source: Enûma ElishImportant purpose: This story raises the sun/storm god Marduk to the status of supreme god and to glorify the earthly city Babylon.
Babylonian myths have their origins in Sumerian myths. As one city-state conquered another, they absorbed the pantheons into their culture and changed the names.
Story illustrates old fertility female deities being over thrown by a male deity – like the Greek
The important of magic
Sources: Ancient Pyramid Text inscribed in hieroglyphs on the walls of inner chamber of Old Kingdom pyramids (3000-2200 BC), later Coffin Texts from the Middle Kingdom (2134-1660 BC), Book of Going forth by Day also known as the Book of the Dead from the New Kingdom (c 1550 BC)
How the gods got here
How the earth was created
How was man created
Why are we in the state we are in -
The Fall of Man
What are the gods like?
Man’s relationship to the gods
Our relationship to each other
Types of Creation
Emergence Myths – symbolized by the mother goddess. These myths focus on the earth as a womb from which everything emerges. (Some Native American myths)
Creation from Chaos – creation arises out of prior matter/stuff and is then brought to order – Greek, Norse, and Mesopotamian
Cosmic Egg – the egg can be a metaphor of the chaos out of which the world is born or emerges. The egg represents fertility and contains everything needed for creation - India
Creation from Nothing – Autonomous and self-created deity already exists. The deity is not contingent upon the world but the world is contingent upon the deity. – Jewish and Christian
World-Parent – reproductive powers of the primordial world parents. The world parents are often indifferent or not conscious of the activity. (Some Native American myths)
Earth-Diver Myth– earth contains the primordial stuff of the beginning. Water will cover the surface and something will bring a bit of earth type material up to the surface, and the ordering of the world will begin. – Egyptian
The Hindu concept of world time is cyclical. A cycle is 100 Brahmanic Years (311.04 trillion human years)
There are four ages from creation to the destructionDuring the Maha Yuga (Great Age), A giant serpent known as Shesha (protector) will float coiled in the endless waters. Sitting on Shesha are Vishnu (maintainer god) and Lakshmi (his wife).
The sounds of “Om” will vibrate thought the waters, and Vishnu will awake. From his naval, a lotus flower will emerge.From the lotus flower, Vishnu will emerge as Brahma, the creator.
Brahma will realize that the last age has ended, and he will take the Golden Egg from the last age and break it open for this new age, which begins the process or rebirth.
Brahma will then start to create water, fire, air, wind, sky, and earth. Next, the organization of the universe will come into being.
There will be 3 worlds, which will be inhabited by gods, demons, and humans
Demons will be created from Brahma’s buttock. After the creation of demons, he will cast off part of his body to make night. Next, he will create gods from his face and then cast off that body to create light, which will be day. Lastly, from his great powers of concentrations, he will bring humans into being. Animals will come from the remaining parts of his body.
This is the process that happens at the beginning of each cycle. We will see how the flood plays into this cycle when we get to the Flood myths.
This cycle ends with the apocalypse, but the next cycle will start with Shesha and Vishnu on the waters again
Source: Hesiod’s Theogony.
This shows an earlier female fertility deity being overthrown by later stronger male deity (Gaia, representing the female earth religion, will be overtaken and replaced by Kronos, representing the male sky religion)
Important Purpose: The organization of the heavenly monarch that bolsters the patriarchal order.
At first there is nothing but Chaos.
Gaia comes out of the chaos to create life and give each of her children a place and task on earth
First, she creates her mate Uranus, the 12 Titans, 3 Hundred-handers, 3 Cyclops, and Others
The 12 Titans become gods over various parts of the world. Examples:
becomes the god of the sun,
god of the rivers,
goddess of the moon,
goddess of the earth
However, this ordering of the world will not last
Gaia conspires with Cronus (her youngest son) to overthrow Uranus.
Cronus is given a sickle to castrate his father. Upon castration, Uranus' genitals fly through the air into the ocean, and Aphrodite is born.
Cronus takes the place of his father as ruler of the skies
He and Rhea, his sister and consort, then become the rulers over the other gods
Gaia prophesied that Cronus would also be overthrown by his children.
So when Rhea gave birth to their children, Cronus swallowed them whole
When Zeus grows up, he returns to the gods to trick Cronus into drinking poison that will make him thrown up his brothers and sisters.
Zeus challenged Cronus for the throne and started the Titanomachy
They fought for 10 years without a winner.
Gaia prophesied that the one who freed her children, the Hundred-Handers and the Cyclops, and had them fight on their side would win the battle.
As a gift for freeing the Cyclops, Zeus was given the Lighting Bolt as a weapon, Poseidon was given the Trident, and Hades was given the Helmet of Invisibility.
With their new gifts and the help of Gaia children, The Olympians won the battle, and the Titans were forced into Tartarus.
Each of the Olympian gods had their jobs on the earth, and thus, we have the establishment of Zeus as supreme being and the ordering of the universe.
Source: Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson
Norse Myth starts with a Void called GinnungagapThe first world to come into being was in the southern part of Ginnungagap called Muspelheim.It was the fire realm and was ruled by Surt (he will come back at Ragnarok)In the northern part of Ginnungagap, Niflheim came into being. It was the Fog or Ice realmIn the middle of Niflheim, the spring called Hvergelmir spilled out venomous waters
Ymir was created when these two realms met, and he was fierce because of the venomous watersThe cow Audhumla also arose at this time. Ymir would feed on the milk that flowed from her utters
As Ymir slept, he sweated. This sweat turned into a male and female, and so arose the race of the Frost Giants.Another race came into being when Amdhumla, the cow, licked a salty block of ice, which contained a man named Buri. Buri had Bor, who married Bestla, who was a giant.
They had 3 sons, who became the first Norse gods: Odin, Vili, and VeThe 3 brothers killed Ymir. They did not like the giant The blood drown all the frost giants except Bergelmir and his wife
The 3 Brothers took Ymir’s body and created the earth from it. They carried it to the middle of Ginnungagap. The flesh became the land. His blood the sea. His teeth and bones the mountains. Then they started to separate out the worlds. In Midgard, they created Jotunheim for the giants. They used Ymir’s eyebrows to contain the giants to this area.Ymir’s skull became the sky and was held up by 4 dwarfs called North, South, East, and West. The dwarfs came from the maggots that feed on Ymir’s body.
Burning embers from Muspelheim became stars. The Sun and the Moon are carried through the sky by 2 chariots. The goddess Sun pulls the Sun and the god Moon pulls the Moon. The sun is chased by a wolf, who will eat the sun before Ragnarok This was the ordering of the world. In addition, the gods created Humans.
The 3 Brothers were walking by the sea one day, and they found an ash tree and an elm tree. They turned the ash tree into the first man, Ask, and the elm tree into the first woman, Embla. They are the parents off all men. Odin gave them the breath of life.
Creation of Man
Additional Norse Info
Creation of Man
The Ash tree that holds the worldThe top section is Vanaheim and Asgard where the gods live. It is connected to Midgard by the Bifrost bridge. This is where humans and others live. The last important realm to note is at the very bottom of Yggdrasil. Niflheim and that is ruled by Hel.
In the beginning, there was Tiamat, the goddess of salt water and Apsu, the god of fresh or sweet water.
They had many children. But the more children they had, the noisier the waters became.
The cantankerous Apsu, could not sleep and decided the best solution for this was to kill off all of his children and grandchildren.
Tiamat thought he was crazy, but their son Mummu backed his father.
Apsu did not take into consideration that one of his children might be stronger than he. When he attacked, his son Ea, god of wisdom, overpowered him and killed him
Ea used Apsu body to create a house in the middle of the waters. He too had children
His son Marduk was the god of the Sun and a storm god.
While Marduk was growing up, Tiamat decided to take revenge on her offspring for killing her husband.
She remarried a god called Kingu, and their offspring were monstrous and harassed the other gods in the waters
The other gods decided that something needed to be done, but no one was strong enough to defeat Tiamat.
Till one day, Marduk goes to the council and says he is powerful enough to defeat her.
He places a condition on fulfilling this role. The gods would have to make him king if he succeeds.
Unhappily, the gods agree to this.
Marduk preps for war. Weapon of choice: bow, arrow, spear, spells, and net
His is given control of the winds (tempest, hurricane, evil winds) by Anu
Marduk is armed and ready for battle. The gods, Tiamat, Marduk, and the monsters meet on the battle field.
Marduk taunts Tiamat, which makes her rage with anger. She spews out her incantations and spells.The two gods advance on each other. In the whirlwind of the battle, Marduk catches Tiamat in his net. Tiamat wildly opens her mouth as if she could jump through the net and eat Marduk, and when she does this, Marduk lets loose the terrible winds from behind him. Tiamat’s belly is filled with the winds, Marduk sees his chance to killed Tiamat.
With her mouth open, Marduk is able to thrust his spear into her belly and pierce her heart. Tiamat’s life has been ended, and Marduk has won.Marduk turned on the gods that had backed Tiamat and slaughtered them.
Returning to Tiamat’s body, he did as his father had done. He used her body to establish new areas in the world. Half her body was raised to the heavens and the other half was made into the earthMarduk, as king, gave all the gods their duties in the world
Ordering of the World and Creation of Man
As the gods do their new duties on earth, they started to complain about the work they now had. Marduk got word of the god’s displeasure and decides he will have servants made for the gods that will carry out these new tasks.
He gave Ea the job of creating these servants. Ea killed the captive Kingu and used his blood to form humans.
They were then charged with serving the gods, keeping the fired in the temples going, and tend the earth.
Human felt like they must placate the gods, so the gods would not be angry with them and try to destroy them
New Years Festival
Often rituals are reenacted to remind people of the cultures origins and/or appease the gods
There was the primordial deity Khepri in the waters of Nun. When he decided to create, he did two things.
First, he caused a mound of dirt to rise out of the waters on Nun. He took his sun form of Re over the mound.
Second, he spat out a male and female pair named Shu and Tefnut. Then they had Geb and Nut, and those two fell deeply in love. Although Nut was pregnant, they could not be born.
Geb and Nut had to be separated for this to happen
Geb and Nut’s father, Shu, decided to separate the two so creation could continue. Nut was raised into the sky, so that only her finger tips and toes touched Geb.Her belly became the sky, and Geb’s body became the earth.She was then able to have her four children: Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.
Hebrew, and Christian
Source: The Bible, Old Testament, Book of GenesisHebrew story establishes humanities’ role in the universe.
Sistine ceiling: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html
Michelangelo painted scenes from Genesis down the middle of the Sistine ceiling
Modern – Big Bang
Words: Primeval fireball
If we are to think of our modern scientific idea in terms of mythology, answering those big questions, how does that work out?
What is the female presence?
Who is the god?
What steps did creation take?How were things ordered?
Does it give answers to the big archetypal questions?http://media.skysurvey.org/interactive360/index.html
for Creation Myths
This terrain was not easy to live on and life could be hard.
The gods were formulated during a period of great distress in Greece called the Dark Ages.
The Greek gods exhibit human characteristics in the extreme.
The gods could interact with people, but they were viewed as being gods to revere, not personal gods.
The Greek pantheon, like the Egyptian, emerged in stages
They are not familiar gods to those that worship them. Instead, people were wary of the gods.
Modeled on the human family –They were thought of as the most powerful family. Live on Mt. Olympus
The Greek gods are amoral, jealous, and selfish and really look out for their own interest.
Generally, they are seen as a representation of human nature in extremes or natural forces in extremes
Zeus represent the patriarchal social system, and all other gods are subject to him.
There is a defeminization of some of the goddesses in Greek Myth. (e.g. virgin goddesses or not born of a mother)
First there are Primordial Waters/ Chaos
-She is the mother goddess, earth, and Creator
, Gaia's son who becomes her mate. He is the god of the Sky
Titans: two most important are:
Primordial gods (1st generation) and Titans (2nd generation)
Olympian Gods (3rd generation)
– Storm/Sky – Thunderbolt
– Marriage – Peacock
– Seas and Earthquakes – Trident
- Agriculture, great goddess, she became associated with the idea of the human soul’s immortality
– Underworld – two-pronged staff, the keys of the underworld, and the three-headed dog Cerberus.
– Goddess of the Hearth Fire
– Wisdom, arts, weaving, spinning, and war- breastplate, owl, helmet with images of griffins, spear, shield. She is a virgin goddess.
– War, shield, spear, torch, and helmet
– God of fire and crafts – Smith's hammer and tongs.
– Young crops, Hades consort and in that role associated with death
– Order, sun, music, loral wreath, holding a lyre, bow, or quiver of arrows.
– Huntress goddess, goddess of childbirth, protector of young, dawn
– Messenger god, god of travelers and roads - winged shoes, broad helmet, and caduceus
– Wine, theater, sometimes chaos
Olympians 4th generation of the gods
Zeus and his brothers go to Tartarus and free the monstrous children.
The Cyclopes give the Olympians the symbols they are known for: Zeus the lightening bolt, Poseidon the trident, and Hades the helmet of invisibility.
With these new tools and help, the Olympians win, and Zeus is the head of the gods.
The 3 top male Olympian gods draw straws to see where they will rule: Zeus gets the sky, Poseidon the oceans, and Hades the underworld.
Rhea was distraught and went to her mother, who could sympathize with her.
Cronus had never let the Hundred-Handers or the Cyclops go from Tartarus as he has promised Gaia, so the two sorrowful mothers conspired against Cronus.
They hide Zeus on Crete and give Cronus a stone wrapped in a baby’s blanket.
In his craziness, he does not notice the difference.