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Cosmic Creation Myths across Cultures Essay Sample

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Cosmic Creation Myths across Cultures Essay Sample

Creation Myths also referred to as cosmogony is the study of the origin and development of the universe or of a particular system in the universe, such as the solar system or a theory of such an origin or evolution. (The Free Dictionary, 2013) A word deriving from Greek that means, literally, “the birth of order.” (Leonard & McClure, 2004) The Norse (Völuspá) cosmogony of Prophecy of the Völva is the first known poem of the Poetic Edda. The Poetic Edda is the collection of Old Norse poems that are preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript of the Codex Regius. These are the mythological stories passed down by word of mouth and written to explain the creation and destruction of earth and the Norse gods.

The creation myth is described by Völva (female) to Odin (male) in great detail. In the myth she describes that in the beginning of time the world was empty and void of life. Then the sons of Burr lifted the earth from the sea. The moon, sun and stars were placed in their locations thus creating the cycle of day and night. After the creation of earth there was a golden age where everything was made of gold. This golden age was abruptly ended by the three giant maidens of Jötunheimr. After the golden age ended the creation of the dwarves where brought to earth and followed by the first man and woman. The story goes on to describe what is known as the prophecy of destruction of the earth, heaven, mankind and the gods including Odin himself.

Ragnarök was the name and it was feared to even be said by the Norse. The destruction is created with fire and flooding of the heavens and earth. After the destruction of all creation, the earth would be reborn or rise again from the ashes of death and mankind would start over. He Kumulipo means “A source of darkness or origin”. The ancient Hawai’ins mythological creation started from a place where most people are lead to believe is evil. They believe the creation of everything derives from the darkness. In this story the earth is created in a cosmic night. A cosmic night is not a single night but many nights passed over time. The He Kumulipo describes the creation of earth as being an unknown existence and that it was created in a nonphysical universe. The birth of the earth and mankind are believed to be the same as a pregnancy and the early stages of birth and childhood. After the birth and creation of the earth and mankind, the arrival of several gods and light are born to protect all animals and mankind.

The myth is a very complex one and continues in to the 18th century. The breakdown in the myth describes the individual birth of several species indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. There are several gods for everything including fire, sea, wind, earth and the sky. It is said that the islands are also gods as well as the shark. All living creatures are sacred and should be treated with respect. In the He Kumulipo there are no tales of mass destruction or the ending of civilization to be reborn. In the Hawaiian culture stories of Pele are told. Pele is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. She is destructive at times and tales tell of here becoming angry and erupting when pieces of her are taken. In these cultures the myths that are told have the same basic guidelines. The guidelines include the creation of earth and mankind from nothing, the creation of several gods to protect mankind and other living things on earth. There are tales shared among these myths of birth and destruction. Animals are typically worshiped and sacred and are protected and/or feared by mankind.

Angering the gods is dangerous and presenting sacrifices is important. The differences between cultures is apperent and described by the relationship of fear versus respect for there gods or both. The destruction of mankind seem to be strong in the Norse beliefs but not in the Hawaain culture. There are typically both female and male gods in both cultures. And it seems that most of the gods cover the same things. War gods, sea gods, sky gods, and earth gods to name a few. Creation myths are a strong foundation for mankind and describe how earth was made. Every culture has a different myth to tell of how we were brought to life, but ultimately they share many things in common. Humans have the need to know where we came from and the creation myths help to find a way to explain these things.

References
Leonard, S., & McClure, M. (2004). Myth and Knowing. New York, NY: McGraw- Hill. The Free Dictionary. (2013). Cosmogony. Retrieved from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cosmogony

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