Creation Myths


Via the Encylopedia Britannica: Pan Gu holding the yin-yang symbol, 19th-century European print after a Chinese drawing; in the British Museum.

Hello everyone! I hope you have all been well. 

I wanted to start off by saying thank you to everyone for your support and feedback on the first episode of The Historia Podcast. 

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The topic of this week's episode is Creation Myths! 

There are 6 categories that a myth could fall under:

  • Creation from Chaos 
  • Earth Diver 
  • Emergence 
  • Ex Nihilo, which means out of nothing
  • World Parent
  • or Divine Twins 
Enuma Elish 

This tale is also known as the Seven Tablets of Creation and is a Mesopotamian creation myth, and fragments of these tablets have been excavated from Ashur Kish Ashurbanipa's library and sites. Dating from 1200 BCE, there are indications found that there could be versions of these tales dating back to 1750 BCE! 

The most interesting fact I learned about this myth is that it actually predates the bible! Before the 19th century, everyone thought that the creation myth in the Book of Genesis was the first, but when these were found during the mid-19th century, that changed the game! 

This story talks about the birth of Gods and human beings. In the beginning, water flowed around the world creating chaos. The water then began to divide into freshwater, from which the god Apsu would emerge and saltwater from which the Goddess Tiamat would come from. 

From their union, they gave birth to many younger gods. These young gods were very loud and poor Apsu could not focus on his work or get any sleep. 

His vizier, Mummu, suggests that he kills his own children! Tiamat hears this and warns her oldest son, Enki (or Ea). He is able to put his father to sleep and kills him, then using his father's body to build his home. 

Tiamat was furious. They killed her partner and their own father. The god Quingu advises her to wage war against her children. 

To thank Quingu for his advice, Tiamat gifted him the Tablets of Destiny, legitimizing his right to rule and giving him the power to control the fates, which he proudly wore as a breastplate. 

With Quingu by her side, Tiamat summoned the forces of chaos and eleven evil creatures to fight her children. 

The fight against Tiamat was not going well until Marduk steps forward, vowing to defeat Tiamat. Marduk first defeats Quingu and defeats Tiamat by shooting an arrow at her, causing her to split in half and from her eyes the rivers Tigris and Euphrates begin to flow and her body is used to create the heavens and earth. 

Marduk then divides duties up between the Gods and ties the 11 creatures to his ankle as trophies before eventually adding them to his home. He also takes the tablets from Quingu to legitimize his reign. 

After consulting with Ea, the God of Wisdom, Marduk killing Quingu, drained his blood and gave it to Ea who used it to create man, Lullu who would help the Gods maintain order. 

Prior to the discovery of these tablets in the mid-19th century, it was widely accepted that the creation story in the Book of Genesis was the first of its kind, however, once discovered we now see that this tale actually pre-dates the Book of Genesis.  

Cherokee Creation Myth (Earth Diver)

In the beginning, the world was covered with water. All of the animals lived in Galun'lati, which is the large stone that made the sky. It was so crowded and the animals needed more room, and they slowly began to wonder, what was under the water?

Beaver's grandchild, Little Water Beetle, offered to go and find out. He swam in every direction, but couldn't find a place to rest. Seeing that there was no land, Little Water Beetle dived to the bottom of the water and resurfaced holding some mud. The mud began to grow, creating Earth. 

The Earth was flat, soft and wet. The animals were getting really anxious, they wanted to go down! They began sending out birds, and unable to find solid ground, they returned. 

Eventually, they sent out the Great Buzzard, the father of the buzzards we see now. 

As he flew, he too noticed that the ground was not yet hard. He began flying closer to what would become Cherokee Country, he found himself becoming tired. As his wings began hitting the ground, it created valleys and mountains. 

The animals viewing this from Galun'lati became worried that the entire world would be like this and asked him to return home. 

Over time, the earth became dry and the animals can now descend, but it was so dark! They then took the sun and set it on a track overhead so that the sun could travel over the island from east to west. 

According to the source, it became so hot that Red Crawfish became bright red and his meat began to spoil, and this is the reason why the Cherokee do not eat them. 

The Medicine Men tried to something about the sun, so they raised the sun by seven handbreadths, placing it just under the sky arch, this is why the Medicine Men refers to the high place as "the seventh height".

Under our world lies another, exactly like this one, but the seasons are different. The springs that trickled down from the mountains were paths that one could follow, and the sources of the springs were the doorways. In order to enter this world, you would have to fast and enter the water and be lead into the world by someone who resides there. 

When the plants and animals came to earth, they were told that they had to stay awake for seven days. On the first night, almost all the animals stayed awake. The next day, several animals fell asleep. On the third night, many more fell asleep. On the final night, only the owl, panther and a few more animals were awake. This is why they are the only animals with night vision. 

Some of the plants fell asleep as well. The only plants that stayed awake were the Cedar, Pine, Spruce, Holly and Laurel and this is why they are always green and considered sacred plants. 

Because the other trees failed to stay awake, they were told that they will "lose their hair every winter"

Now that the plants and animals have settled down, humans came to earth. At first, it was a brother and sister. He then hit her with a fish and told her to multiple and every seven days, she had a child until there were so many people that women were told to only have one child a year. 

Mayan Creation Myth (Emergence)

Kukulkan and Tepeu wanted to make creatures on earth in their likeness. 

They first attempted to make man using mud, but they kept crumbling. 

They called upon the other Gods, asking for their help and together they created man from wood. Unfortunately, these creatures lacked a soul and began rebelling against their masters and had to be destroyed using rain.  

They finally created man using maize, which is a staple food and sacred item to the Mayans. 

Heliopolis (Ex Nihilo) 

The Deity Atum existed in the waters of Nu. 

Atum is the source of the elements and forces and it is said that he emerged as one being to multiply into the elements. 

Everything began when Atum went to the top of a mound and "brought forth" the air God Shu and his sister Tefnut. 

Shu and Tefnut then went on to produce Ged, God of the Earth and Nut, Goddess of the Sky, who in turn had 4 children; Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys. 

Völuspá (World Parent)

The Völuspá is the first poem in the Poetic Edda and also the most well-known. It talks about the beginning of the world and prophesied its coming end, known as Ragnorok. 

The tale begins with the oracle asking Odin if he would like for her to tell an ancient story. She then goes on to tell the tale of Ymir, and during his time there was nothing. No Sea, no shore, no breeze nor heaven. 

The gods sat to decide who would create the race of dwarfs from the sea-giants blood and bones. Ymir's flesh was used to create the earth, his bones created the mountains. The Sky is made of his skull, and his blood was used to make the ocean. 

I know this was a long post, but I hope you guys enjoyed it. 

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  1. This is a great story! Learning about different myths is one of my favorite things to do. I used to check out books about myths from the library all the time.

  2. Great post! Loved the podcast episode as well, you are very funny


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