It is in the nature of humans to wonder about the unknown and search for answers. At the foundation of nearly every culture is a creation myth that explains how the wonders of the earth came to be. These myths have an immense influence on people's frame of reference. They influence the way people think about the world and their place in relation to their surroundings. Despite being separated by numerous geographical barriers many cultures have developed creation myths with the same basic elements.
Many creation myths begin with the theme of birth. This may be because birth represent new life and the beginning of life on earth may have been imagined as being similar to the beginning of a child's life. Sometimes birth appeared in the shape of an egg and other times in that of a mother giving birth to children, but the element appears often.
This is closely related to the idea of a mother and father existing in the creation of the world. The mother and father are not always the figures which create life on earth. Sometimes the creation doesn't occur until generations after the first god came into being. The mother is usually the Earth and the father the sky. This pattern may be attributed to the fact that life emerges both from Mother Earth and from the womb of a mother. People of ancient times were mystified by the creation of children and vegetation. Therefore, they found links between mothers and Mother Earth. In calling the sky “Father” a sense of unity is created, as in the bonds of matrimony. Some myths have the mother and father figures represent different characteristics of nature, but the element is still present.
A supreme being appears in almost every myth. He or she is what triggers the train of events that create the world. Sometimes there are two beings, a passive and active creator. This being was not always in a clear form, but it was almost always present. The supreme being used different methods to create the Earth. Some such as the God in the Bible and Torah merely ordered that his will be carried out and it was done. Others molded each creation by hand. Still more gods had a less powerful god to do the work for them. The supreme beings in creation myths came in many different forms and acted very differently, but they all shared in the creation of the world.
Not all cultures imagine life starting on earth . Some believe that it originated either above and below where we live now. Still other myths claim the earth was once covered with water and the earth was brought to the surface. These are called diver-myths.
According to some cultures humans and animals once lived together peacefully. However because of a sin caused by the humans they are split up. This sin is often brought on by darkness and is represented as fire. Other times the innocence of humans is taken away by a god.
We continue to wonder. Even now we continue to make theories on how earth was created. They are our new creation myths. We base our ideas on scientific evidence. However the creation myths were based on what people saw - their observations. (found on http://www.cs.williams.edu/~lindsey/myths/myths.html)
Presented below are links to various Creation Myths brought to the Prayer Vigil for the Earth by our participants:
- Aboriginal Creation Story
- Cherokee Creation Story
- Hindu Creation Story
- Hopi Creation Story
- Iroquois Creation Myth
- Jainism Cosmology
- Judeo-Christian Creation Myth
- Lakota Creation Story
- Mayan Creation Myth
- Muslim Creation Story
- Navajo Creation Story
- Ojibway Creation Story
- Pawnee Creation Myth
- Seminole Creation Myth
- Shinto Creation Myth
- Yoruba Creation Myth