Eve, Mother of All Living
Courtesy of Sandra Stanton
(Sandra's site offers further data on this extraordinary image)
Stan Mulder writes [see below under "Multi-Cultural Collections..."]:A people's belief about the world's beginnings is usually called a creation myth, mythology, story, or tale by other peoples. It should be noted, however, that to the people involved, these are not myths or stories. They are real, not in a linear, literal, scientific sense, but nevertheless real, and part of the authentic plurality of humankind's truths. Thus, a more useful and respectful way to describe these "myths" is to call them "sacred narratives," especially when the people to whom they are sacred are still living and revering these stories....Every culture has a story that tries to explain its human origins. This is simply a normal human phenomenon. The lucky cultures are the ones whose creation myths contain some humor and kindness....
To avoid redundancy, I will still refer to this material by all of the more commonly accepted terms, but underlying each word choice is an awareness that what we are really sharing here are sacred narratives. . . . .(For Hindu, Japanese, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, and Norse traditions, see Creation Myths -- Page Two.
For North America and Meso-America, see Creation Myths -- Page Three.)
Creation myths are also mentioned elsewhere on my website. You might wish to use the site's search engine to track down such references.
"Gods Dreamed of Man and Danced in Wonderment"
From the Indian Genesis Series of Paintings
© David Chethlahe Paladin
(used with permission of Lynda Paladin)
This is "Paganism and Myths of Creation: A Ritual of Transformation" by Walter Wright ("Arthen"), a philosophy professor at Clark University inhttp://www.wzo.org.il/encountr/rav.htm
Worcester, MA; co-editor of FireHeart (a magazine that unfortunately ceased publication in 1993); and a member of the Board of Directors of the EarthSpirit Community in New England. Wright's essay is literate, thoughtful, subtle, and beautifully crafted. He has a strong interest in mythology and world views, especially those of pre-literate, "earth-centered" people. In this essay, he looks at the ancient mythic dance between order and chaos and at our modern/post modern need for new myths in which the sacredness of creation may be experienced as on-going presence (depth psychology and physics would call this a "field"), not a remote source from some long-vanished time.
This is a brilliant excerpt from a longer essay, "The Lonely Man of Faith," on the creation of the first man (Eve plays only a minor role, at least in this excerpt). The author is Polish-born Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik, the intellectual and spiritual leader of this generation's Modern Orthodox movement. Since Genesis offers two different versions of Adam's creation, Soloveitchik's essay is an attempt to reconcile the differences. He writes:We all know that the Bible offers two accounts of the creation of man. We are also aware of the theory suggested by Bible critics attributing these two accounts to two different traditions and sources. Of course . . . we reject this hypothesis which is based, like much Biblical criticism, on literary categories invented by modern man, ignoring completely the eidetic-noetic content of theHow Soloveitchik handles his approach to "Adam the first" and "Adam the second" is mystical, rich, and, at least in terms of a monotheistic paradigm, deeply satisfying as well as relevant to contemporary times.
Biblical story. It is, of course, true that the two accounts of the creation of man differ considerably. This incongruity was not discovered by the Bible critics. Our sages of old were aware of it.
However, the answer lies not in an alleged dual tradition but in dual man, not in an imaginary contradiction between two versions but in a real contradiction in the nature of man. The two accounts deal with two Adams, two men, two fathers of mankind, two types, two representatives of humanity, and it is no wonder that they are not identical. . . .
This website, "Creation Stories as a response to creationism," comes from Bruce Railsback, a geologist st the University of Georgia. In his opening he writes:Anyone teaching Historical Geology is faced with students who have already concluded that creationism explains the history of the earth. One of the questions that perplexes me is how such students can conclude that their ethnic or religious group has the complete explanation of the origin of the earth and its life, when so many ethnic or religious groups have so many different accounts of those origins.
From the many stories in his collection, his website then offers his own favorite creation myth -- one from the Hopi (retold by Frank Waters) in which successive worlds are created, each more difficult than the preceding. I found it a complex and psychologically absorbing sacred narrative.http://www.stolaf.edu/people/petersol/history/ancient.html[2/14/01: dead link]
(FYI: The other creation stories he shares with his students have been gathered together into a small book of about 50 pages, for which he asks $5.00, if you can afford it, which is the cost of printing and postage.)
This page on Creation Myths is by Lori Peterson, a math and art major at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She gives a good overview of ancient mother goddesses as original sources of creation. Then she looks at the later proliferation of multiple gods and goddesses. The dark page is somewhat hard to read, although it's brief enough, and attractive enough to warrant the effort. (There's also an easy-to-read, text only version at: http://www.stolaf.edu/people/petersol/history/ancienttxt.html.) [2/14/01: this site is a good example of what drives webmasters crazy: a great site done by a college student who then abandons the site when s/he graduates. It makes one hesitate to use links to any undergrad site, yet many are so good that it's difficult not to. My plea to such students: try to take your sites with you (many free services are available and we can live with their obnoxious pop-up ads if we have to), do a "search" of who has links to you, and send us an update. Thanks!]http://www.cs.williams.edu/%7Elindsey/myths/myths.html
[Added 10/15/99]:This is a well done highschool project from second year Latin student, Lindsey Murtagh. Her project, "Common Elements in Creation Myths," covers a wide-ranging and interesting collection of topics, each supported by one or more creation myths. Topics include: Birth; Mother-Father; Geneology; Supreme Beings; Active and Passive Creators; Creation from Above or Below; Diver-Myths; Relationship of Animals and Humans; Instruction, a Sin and the Consequence; Night, Fear, Fire and Sin; and Gods Creating Suffering. Her cross-cultural myths come from the Iroquois, Australian Aborigine, African Bushmen, Hebrew/Christian, Greek, and Japanese traditions. She provides a bibliography as well as links to other sites.
SACRED CREATION NARRATIVES
FROM AFRICAAfrican Woman from the Djenne culture
(Notice the serpent-scarifications & lovely braided hair lowing down her back and around her feet)
Mali, 12th-14th century A.D.
(Courtesy of The Barakat Gallery -- click under "Certificate of Authenticity for further data. 2/14/01 note: link is dead -- the gallery has changed its domain name and every one of their many URLs. Unfortunately, it may take me a long time to track down the new whereabouts of all the art I'm using from them.)
[Added 10/15/99]: This is another page from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (see above under "North America"). This narrative comes from the Yoruba people of Nigeria and looks at the role played by the Sky God's son and a special five-toed chicken, who helps create dry land by spreading the dirt around with his feet. In the "Background" section, I found especially interesting the paragraph on "Birds." (Note: as on all these Minneapolis pages, the art work is clickable.)http://dickinsg.intrasun.tcnj.edu/diaspora/creation.html[URL updated 2/14/01]
This excellent site on African Creation Stories from the College of New Jersey (Ewing Township) is for a class on the African Diaspora taught by Professor Gloria H. Dickinson. The page offers a handful of links to various narratives and art (two of them are also on my own page). In addition, there are 5 pages filled with great insights & information from her honors students. [Note: these 5 honors pages use a wavy purple background -- gorgeous color! but so intense that that it starts "moving" and I find it impossible to read more more than a few lines against it. If your eyes also have problems, you may need to go to your Options >> Network Preferences >> Colors and place a check mark in the slot that will override all but your own color choices; just don't forget to remove that check mark when you finish or every website you visit will look the same.]http://www.tcnj.edu/~dickinsg/iyadola.html
From the above site, but deserving a link of its own, is this African story, "Iyadola's Babies," about two spirit people sneezed out of the mouth of the Creator; the woman is lonely and so makes a great fire and bakes up batches of clay babies; the story explains how the many races of earth all originated with Iyadola, "Earth Mother" (the source of the story isn't noted). The page has a handsome maize & embroidery background and a wonderful opening graphic.
Rainbow Water Snake Dreaming
by Marjorie Jones (Warlpiri Tribe)
(From Aboriginal Art & Cultural Centre, Alice Springs --
the site offers further data on this image)
http://www.cmnh.org/research/cultural/aboriginal/dreamtime.html[URL updated 2/14/01]This page from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History comes from a 1995 exhibit on the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. The brief, illustrated page is about the Dreamtime, out of which creation emerges. Other links will take you to exhibit pages (each with good photos) on Aboriginal art, history, materials, and symbols.
Note: for more on Australia, go to my page:
Aboriginal Peoples of Australia.
From "The Creation Story"
Copyright © by Hungarian-born artist, Judy Racz
(used with permission)
http://www.ancienthistory.about.com/homework/ancienthistory/cs/creationmyths/index.htm[URL updated 2/14/01]
This is a wonderful page focused on global creation myths from historian, N. S. Gill, the about.com guide to Ancient/Classical History. She has a trained eye and has created a marvelous collection of briefly annotated links here.http://www.intrepidsoftware.com/create.html
[Added 2/14/01]: This is "Links to Creation Mythologies Around the World" from Stan Mulder -- it's a terrific compendium of links, and I love his tone -- e.g., his site is --http://www.cybercomm.net/%7egrandpa/cretion2.html[URL updated 2/14/01]Dedicated to the religiously impaired, i.e., those who still insist there is only one correct story of creation and that everyone else is going to hell. Every culture has a story that tries to explain its human origins. This is simply a normal human phenomenon. The lucky cultures are the ones whose creation myths contain some humor and kindness....His links aren't annotated so you won't always know where they go. Here's a partial list of some of their mythic destinations: Samoan, Greek, Australian, Lakota, Hebrew, Japanese, North & South America (general), Chinese, Hawaiian, Hindu, African, Hmong, and Near Eastern. He also includes links to modern "creation myths" (e.g., Darwin's). There are links to other collections of cross-cultural myths, to Joseph Campbell, and to much more. Under "Humorous," for example, there's even a poignant (beautifully illustrated) little piece with a very likeable God: "Adam, Eve and the dreaded 'Deadly Morals Disease' Story of Creation..." Turn off your clocks if you enter this site.
This site's long page looks at creation stories from Mongolia, India, China, Assyria, Africa, Japan, Romania, and New Zealand (Maori).http://www.cybercomm.net/%7egrandpa/cretion3.html[URL updated 2/14/01]
This companion page to the above link continues with Norse, Babylonian, Egyptian, Celtic, Vodun, and Yoruba creation stories. (Note: it also offers flood stories from many different peoples. Also see my Floods, Storms, Rainbows, & Other Weather Wonders page for further stories on ancient floods.)http://www.artsednet.getty.edu/ArtsEdNet/hm/May96/0094.html
[Added 2/14/01]: This is another cross-cultural site with four mythic re-tellings excerpted from A Dictionary of Creation Myths, David Leeming with Margaret Leeming, 1994. The four are from the Osage (Midwest/Great Plains Native American people); Bagobo (Philippines); Efik (Nigeria); and Munduruc (Brazil).http://web.utk.edu/~estes/creation.html
ON CREATION MYTHS
[Added 2/14/01]: "Creation Stories" is a superb cross-cultural, annotated bibliography designed to be a "series of suggestions for building reading, listening, and viewing bridges for children" prepared by Glenn E. Estes, Professor and Associate Director, School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The annotations are wonderful, not only for their sensitivity to text but also to the illustrations accompanying the texts. At the very end are two on music alone: Joseph Haydn's oratorio The Creation (Die Schopfung); and Darius Milhaud's ballet Le Création du Monde (1923). Here's an excerpt from Estes' annotation of Milhaud to give you a sense of his beautiful use of language:...In 1922, Milhaud sought out jazz in Harlem and used the experience in this ballet. Blaise Cendrars devised the scenario for the ballet taking his inspiration from African folklore: giant deities; magic spells; trees uprooting themselves and impregnating the ground with their fruit from which new trees suddenly appeared whose leaves were turned into animals; male and female dancers emerging from the middle and dancing the dance of desire and the mating dance, then melting away to leave one couple, united by love, alone on the stage.
The link is designed for those who teach children, but it would also serve for any age group interested in exploring the depths of global creation mythology in text, art, music, and dance.http://www.nativeauthors.com/[URL updated 2/13/01]
If you type "Navajo" (or any other tribal name) in this page's search engine, you'll go to a fine selection of books on creation lore, each written by a Native American author. (If interested, you can order these online; the site also has books from other tribal peoples. Warning: once you get on this site, it'll freeze you there and you won't be able to get back to my page, so please bookmark my page if you wish to return.)
PLEASE CONTINUE TO CREATION MYTHS: page 2
(These include Hindu, Japanese, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, and Norse)
and CREATION MYTHS: page 3
(These include North and Meso America.)
Mything Links' General Reference Pages:
MythingLinks Search Engine
Cross-cultural, Multi-regional, Interdisciplinary Collections
General Reference Page (online libraries, reference help, literary texts, world languages, word-lover sites, help on writing research papers, copyright information, film plots, themes, and/or films representing various historical periods)
Special Interest Sites for Pacifica Faculty, Students & Colleagues(includes Jung, Campbell, Freud, Eliade, Otto, Hillman, other depth psychologists, mysticism, anthropology, religious studies, archetypal perspectives, foundations for mythology & psychology, relevant journals, books, videos, etc.)
Teachers' Reference Page for Primary & Secondary School Education
Menu of Common Themes, East & West:
Animal Deaths in Europe: Of Cows & Madness
Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse
Creation Myths I
Creation Myths II
Creation Myths III
Crones & Sages
Dragons & Serpents
Food: Sacrality & Lore
THE FOUR ELEMENTSEARTH:Green Men
Land: Sacrality & Lore (mountains, caves, labyrinths, spiral mounds, crop & stone circles, FengShui)
Earth Day & Environmental Issues
Earth Goddesses & Gods
Air: Sacrality & Lore (air, wind, sky, storms, clouds, weather lore)
Sky Goddesses & Gods
Fire: Sacrality & Lore (fire, northern lights, green-flashes, Elmo's Fire)
Fire Goddesses & Gods
Water: Sacrality & Lore(water, wells, springs, pools, lakes)
Floods & Rainbows: Mythologies & Science
Water Goddesses & Gods
Nature Spirits of the World
Rituals of Birthing [forthcoming]
Rituals of Death & Dying [forthcoming]
Rituals of Puberty
Rituals of Weather-Working: An experimental, on-going ritual in cyberspace
Sacred Theatre & Dance
Star Lore & Astrology
Symbols, Signs, & Runes
Time(Calendars, Clocks, Natural Temporal Cycles, Attitudes toward Time, & Millennium Issues)
Trees & Plant Lore
Tricksters, Clowns, Magicians, Jesters & Fools
Wars, Weapns & Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse
Weaving Arts & Lore (Cosmic Webs, Spinning, Spindles, Clothing)
Down to Geographical Regions: Africa
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Text and Design:
Copyrighted © 1998-2007 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved unless otherwise noted by copyright.
1 August 1999; 3 September 1999; 15 & 18 October 1999; 23 December 1999;
13 & 14 February 2001 (updated all links; added new links & images);
21 February 2001 (added new on-site reference menu); 2 July 2001 (Ned.3.0);
30 September 2001 (moved North & Meso America to new p.3).
6 October 2001: to protect rest of my site, took page offline due to extremely heavy traffic after 9/11;
13 October 2001, 1:40am: restored page;
1 December 2001 (put up no frills page last week; restored full page today -- again, due to heavy traffic).
22 October 2004: again had to put page on hiatus for a week; restored 1 November 2004, 9:05pm.
11 December 2006: added WD banner and data at bottom.
4 April 2007: added small Native American Culture ad for a year.
28 April 2009: deleted Native American Culture ad (see above 4 April 2007 entry). The company, FYD ("Follow Your Dreams") that booked the ad didn't respond to my renewal request this year, which seemed odd, since they renewed right away last year. I googled FYD today, found only one link, which did not go to them, and discovered that they're running a scam to get pages rated higher in google searches, or something. Makes no sense to me but I want no part in a scam. I am now removing all 7 ads on 7 different pages of mine.