Cosmogony [Gr. Kosmogonia from Kosmos the world and root of gignesthai to be born] is the coming into existence, the creation and origination of the universe. It is also the study of these aspects. So a cosmogony describes how the Universe came to be; hence, the creation myth in the Book of Genesis is one such cosmogony, and there are many others, both scientific and mythological. This contrasts with cosmology, which studies the Universe at large, throughout its existence.
The idea that carrots will help you see in the dark is due to a myth begun by the Air Ministry in World War II. To prevent the Germans finding out that Britain was using radar to intercept bombers on night raids, they issued press releases stating that British pilots were eating lots of carrots to give them exceptional night vision. This fooled the British public, as well as German High Command and an old wive’s tale was born.
Creators, Gods, and Spirits. Many Native American mythologies have a high deity—sometimes referred to as the Great Spirit—who is responsible for bringing the universe or the world into existence. Often, however, the Great Spirit merely begins the process of creation and then disappears or removes itself to heaven, leaving other gods to complete the detailed work of creation and to oversee the day-to-day running of the world.
In many Native American mythologies, Father Sky and Mother Earth or Mother Corn are important creative forces. The high god of the Pawnee people, Tirawa, gave duties and powers to the Sun and Moon, the Morning Star and Evening Star, the Star of Death, and the four stars that support the sky. The Lakota people believe that the sun, sky, earth, wind, and many other elements of the natural, human, and spiritual worlds are all aspects of one supreme being, Wakan Tanka. The secondary gods are often personifications of natural forces, such as the wind. In the mythology of the Iroquois people, for example, the thunder god Hunin is a mighty warrior who shoots arrows of fire and is married to the rainbow goddess.
For many centuries, Native Americans have passed their myths from generation to generation though oral stones and artistic repesentations.
The character Coyote figures in some tales as a trickster and in others as a creator whose actions benefit humankind. Kachinas, spirits of the dead who link the human and spiritual worlds, play an important role in the mythologies of the Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest, including the Zuni and Hopi Indians. In Hopi mythology, the creator deity is a female being called Spider Woman. Among the Zuni, the supreme creator is Awonawilona, the sun god. The mythology of the Navajo Indians—who live in the same area as the Hopi and Zuni but are not a Pueblo people—focuses on four female deities called Changing Woman, White Shell Woman, Spider Woman, and First Woman.
The Aztecs had a complex and diverse group of Gods and Goddesses. Scholars that studied the Aztec deities established more than 200 gods and separated them into three categories. Each of these groups supervised one aspect of the universe such as heaven or the sky, agriculture and the war and sacrifice. Whenever they took over a new tribe or culture, they often take up the conquered tribe’s gods as well.
The Aztecs had three main gods, four sub-gods and an infinite amount of gods underneath the sub gods. Here are just some of the most important deities in the Aztec culture.
Huitzilopochtli was the most fearsome and powerful of the Aztec gods. He was the god of war, the sun and sacrifice. During the migration of the Aztecs, he was the god that pointed them to the place Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs which Huitzilopohctli is the patron god of. He also has a temple built in honor of him at the center of the city. Huitzilopochtli required blood sacrifice to help him win the battle against darkness. Humans were sacrificed for him as it was thought that the sacrificed warriors were to rise and fight with Huitzilopochtli. But blood sacrifice was not always in the form of human sacrifice. Sometimes there was ritual blood letting used instead of human sacrifice. Huitzilopochtli means Hummingbird to the Left. He was often drawn with feathers and holding a scepter made from a snake.
Tlaloc was the god of rain and water as well as one of the most ancient deities in all of Mesoamerica. His origans can be traced back to the Maya, the Olmec and Teotilhuacan. He was associated with life giving, fertility, agricultre as well as springs, mountains and caves. He was worshipped at the Great Temple in Tenochtitlan. He had a shrine decorated with blue bands representing rain and water. Tlaloc helped the Aztecs most of the time by sending rain and causing plants to grow. However, Tlaloc could also get angry and send thunder storms and hail. The Aztecs believed that in order to keep the god happy and for rain to come down, they must sacrifice their children as the cries and tears of newborn children were sacred to the god. Children were expected to weep in order to bring the rain. Another kind of less gruesome sacrifice to him was having little statues in the shaped children made of dough and offered to him. They were eaten at banquets. He is also worshiped at the top of a tall mountain named Mount Tlaloc where the sacrifices of the children were made to him. He is often drawed with fangs and goggle-like eyes.
Quetzalcoatl was the god of life and wind. He was known as “the Feathered Serpent” and is probably the most famous Aztec deity. He is also known in many other Mesoamerican cultures such as the Teotihuacan and the Mayas. He was a very creative god and he was the patron god of knowledge and learning. He is the twin of Tezcatlipoca and is also often known as White Tezcatlipoca due to the contrast between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca as he is the complete opposite of Tezcatlipoca. After the Fourth sun was destroyed, Quetzalcoatl went to the land of death, Mictlan and created our current world and the Fifth sun by using his own blood to give life to bones. He is also the giver of maize to mankind. Quetzalcoatl is known as a hero to the Aztecs because he made their city flourish and prosper. But due to being tricked by his twin brother into breaking Quetzalcoatl’s vow of celibacy, Quetzalcoatl fled the place but not before promising to return. Quetzalcoatl is described as a white, bearded god who came from the sky therefore leading some Mormon scholars to believe that Quetzalcoatl was actually Jesus Christ. The Aztecs mistakened Hernan Cortez for Quetzalcoatl which led to the downfall of the great civilisation
Tezcatlipoca was a very powerful god associated with many things such as magic, the night and the earth. Tezcatlipoca was the god of the nocturnal sky, the god of ancestral memory and also the god of time. He is also known as the Lord of the North and the twin brother of Quetzalcoatl who was also his arch rival. Tezcatlipoca was the first god to create the sun and earth, however he was defeated by Quetzalcoatl and turned into a jaguar. He had a large temple built for worshipping him in the city of Tenochtitlan. His name means “Smoking Mirror”. He often represents an evil power and is the counterpart of Quetzalcoatl. He is also known as “Black Tezcatlipoca”. Tezcatlipoca could also transform into a jaguar called Tepeyollotl “Heart of the Mountain” and also into a turkey, Chalchihuihtotolin “The Jewelled Fowl.” Chalchihuihtotolin is a symbol of powerful sorcery. Tezctalipoca can tempt humans into destroying themselves but when he takes his turkey form, he can cleanse them from contamination, free them from guilt and help them overcome their fate.
Chicomecoatl was the Aztec goddess of agriculture, nourishment and maize thus making her one of the most ancient as well as important goddess in the Valley of Mexico. Her name means seven snakes and the number 7 in her name is associated with luck and abundance. She was often portrayed as the wife of the corn god, Cenetéotl. She is often drawn as a young girl or a woman using the sun as a shield with her body and face painted red, wearing a distinctive rectangular headdress or pleated fan of red paper. In sculpture, she is also often holding a double ear of corn in each hand. Every harvest season, a young girl representing Chicomecoatl would be sacrificed. Her head would be cut of and her blood would be poured over a statue of Chicomecoatl. Her skin would then be worn by a priest of Chicomecoatl.
The ancient Maya had over 150 Gods in their complex religion, each with clearly defined characteristics and purposes.
1. Itzamn (or Zamn )
Itzamn, the lord of the heavens as well as night and day; could be called upon in hard times or calamities.
Although second in power, Chac was first in importance as the god of rain, and by association, the weather and fertility.
3. Ah Mun
Ah Mun was the corn god and the god of agriculture. He was always represented as a youth, often with a corn ear headdress.
4. Ah Puch
The god of death, ruled over the ninth and lowest of the Maya underworlds. He was always malevolent.
5. Ek Chuah
Ek was the god of war, human sacrifice, and violent death. Not the kind of god you’d want to meet in person.
In addition to these, there were patron gods, 13 of the upper world and nine of the lower, plus numerous calendar gods who posed for glyphs. Other deities, such as Kukulcan and Chac Mool, came into the line-up as the society changed in Post Classic times. The religious hierarchy became so bewildering that it was beyond the comprehension of the average Maya, who relied on priests to interpret the religion (so what’s new?). To the common man, who lives or dies by the cycle of rain and drought, Chac remains the god most frequently involved in daily life.
Guanyin, also known as Guanyin Pusa, is Chinese “Goddess of Mercy”. She is considered to always help the distressed and hungry and gives comfort and aid wherever it is needed. Among all the Buddhist Bodhisattva, Guanyin is the most well-known one in China and liked by both young and old people.
2. Jade Emperor 玉皇大帝
Jade Emperor (or Yuhuang Dadi in mandarin Chinese) is considered the highest deity ruling the universe in Chinese Taoism. In Chinese mythological stories, he is the most powerful god and controls all gods from the Buddhist and Taoist and other religions. Jade Emperor is worshiped by ordinary Chinese people throughout all China.
3. Wangmu Niangniang 王母娘娘
Wangmu Niangniang, or the Queen Mother of the West, is the highest goddess and is the wife of the Jade Emperor in Taoism. She commands all female gods and is also a god of happiness and longevity and has magic pills which can make people live forever. She owns a Heavenly Peach Garden in which magic peach trees grow. The peach can make people perpetually young.
4. Yan Wang 阎王
Yan Wang is Chinese god of death who commands all the gods of the underworld. He has a filing book which records the life and death of every person. He gives appropriate punishment according to the conduct of each’s acts during his lifetime.
5. Long Wang (Dragon King) 龙王
Long Wang, or Dragon King, is the Chinese god of the sea. He rules his own royal court and commands all creatures in water. The Dragon King also controls the rain and winds and can bring rainfall to the earth according to the order of Jade Emperor.
6. Nüwa 女娲
Nüwa is the Chinese goddess who created human beings. It was said she molded yellow mud into a figure like her, which was then alive and became the first human being. Nüwa is also known for mending the sky with five-colored stones.
7. Nezha 哪吒
Nezha is a great teen deity in Chinese mythology. Nezha was most well-known for assisting Jiang Ziya against the Shang Dynasty in the 16th-century Chinese novel Fengsheng Yanyi. In Journey to the West, Nezha was a general of the heaven. She fought the Monkey King and helped him defeat powerful demons.
8. The Eight Immortals 八仙
The Eight Immortals are a group of legendary immortals in Chinese mythology. Each Immortal has his/her own power tool to bestow life or destroy evil. They live on five islands in the east China’s Bohai Sea including the famous Penglai Island in Shandong province.
9. Caishen 财神
Caishen is god in charge of wealth in Chinese mythology. Chinese people especially businessmen often offer sacrifices to Caishen at home or shops, hoping to become richer with the help of this “Chinese god of money”. He is usually depicted in red clothes holding a golden rod.
10. Chang’e 嫦娥
Chang’e is the Chinese goddess of the Moon and the wife of Hou yi, a hero who shot nine suns in the ancient mythology of China. During the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, Chinese people usually offer moon cakes and stare at the moon in hopes of seeing her.
Other Chinese gods and goddesses:
Yuelao 月老 – Chinese god of love
Fuxing 福星 – Chinese god of happiness
Gonggong 共工 – Chinese god of water
ZhuGeliang 诸葛亮 – Chinese god of wisdom
Tudiye 土地爷 – Chinese earth god
XieZhi 獬豸 – Chinese god of justice
Shennongshi 神农氏 – Chinese god of medicine
Jiutianxuannv 九天玄女 – Chinese goddess of war
Xihe 羲和 – Chinese god of sun
Many eighteenth and nineteenth century scholars believed that all world mythologies showed signs of having evolved from a single mythical theme.
There are over a hundred different world mythologies that we know of today. Among these are the Greek, Roman, Norse, Etruscan, Celtic, Slavic, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Arabian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, and many more myths.
Anyone with the knowledge of more than one of these world mythologies would realize that there are some glaring similarities between them including ~
~Creation ~ From Chaos Or Nothingness ~ Similar creation myths involving the world being created out of chaos or a vast, empty, nothingness can be found in the myths of ancient Babylon (the Enûma Eliš myth), ancient Greece (the golden egg laid by Nyx or Night), the Book of Genesis (Elohim creating the heavens and earth in six days), and in Norse mythology (the yawning void named Ginnungagap), among numerous others.
~Sacrifice For Creation ~ Many cultures have stories about divine figures whose death creates an essential part of reality. In Indian Vedic mythology, the Purusha Sukta narrates that all things were made out of the mangled limbs of Purusha, a magnified non-natural man, who was sacrificed by the gods. Similarly, the Chinese myth of Pangu and the Norse myth of Ymir both tell of a cosmic giant who was killed to create the world. A myth from the Wemale people of Seram Island, Indonesia, tells of a miraculously-conceived girl named Hainuwele, whose murdered corpse sprouts into the people’s staple food crops.
~The Great Floods ~A flood myth is a narrative in which a great flood, usually sent by a deity or deities, destroys civilization, often in an act of divine retribution. In the Genesis mythology of the Hebrew Bible, Yahweh (God) decides to flood the earth because of the depth of the sinful state of mankind. That’s where we get Noah’s ark. The Hindu myth of Manu (found in the Satapatha Brahmana and the Puranas) is similar to that of Noah’s story, albeit less popularly known today. A similar theme is seen in the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Mesopotamian flood stories, Deucalion’s story in Greek mythology, and Bergelmir in Norse Mythology.
~Centre Of The World ~ Many world mythologies mention a place that sits at the center of the world and acts as a point of contact between different levels of the universe. Vedic India, ancient China, and the ancient Germans all had myths featuring a “Cosmic Tree” whose branches reach heaven and whose roots reach hell. Mount Meru is a sacred mountain with five peaks in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist cosmology and is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. Yggdrasil is the tree connecting the nine worlds in Norse cosmology. In Greek mythology, Omphalos stones are considered to be the “navel” of the world.
The patron god of the “silver-swirling” Achelous River.
Greek god of the winds and air
Primordial god of the upper air, light, the atmosphere, space and heaven.
God of family feuds and avenger of evil deeds.
Olympian god of music, poetry, art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light and knowledge.
God of war. Represented the physical, violent and untamed aspect of war.
Minor patron god of animal husbandry, bee-keeping, and fruit trees. Son of Apollo.
God of medicine, health, healing, rejuvenation and physicians.
The Primordial Titan of Astronomy. Condemned by Zeus to carry the world on his back after the Titans lost the war.
A minor god of vegetation, fruits of the earth and rebirth.
A wind god (Anemoi) and Greek god of the cold north wind and the bringer of winter. Referred to as “The North Wind”.
Minor god of opportunity, luck and favorable moments.
One of the twins, Castor and Pollux, known as Dioskouri. Zeus transformed them into the constellation Gemini
The large and powerful wild bull tamed by Persephone and turned into the Taurus constellation.
The nothingness that all else sprung from. A god who filled the gap between Heaven and Earth and created the first beings Gaia, Tartarus, Uranus, Nyx and Erebos.
The Ferryman of Hades. Took the newly dead people across the rivers Styx and Acheron to the Greek underworld if they paid him three obolus (a Greek silver coin).
The god of time. Not to be confused with Cronus, the Titan father of Zeus.
The Titan god of the heavenly constellations and the measure of the year..
God of agriculture, leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans and father of the Titans. Not to be confused with Cronos, god of time.
Guardian god of the ancient city Lamark, where wounded heroes could find comfort and heal after battle. He was the son of Aphrodite.
Deimos is the personification of dread and terror.
An Olympian god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, religious ecstasy and theatre.
Primordial god of darkness.
God of sexual desire, attraction, love and procreation.
One of the wind god known as Anemoi and god of the unlucky east wind. Referred to as “The East Wind”.
A fisherman who became immortal upon eating a magical herb, an Argonaut who may have built and piloted the Argo, and became a god of the sea.
God of the Dead and Riches and King of the Underworld.
God of the Sun and also known as Sol.
God of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges and the art of sculpture. Created weapons for the gods and married to Aphrodite.
The greatest of the Greek heroes, he became god of heroes, sports, athletes, health, agriculture, fertility, trade, oracles and divine protector of mankind. Known as the strongest man on Earth.
God of trade, thieves, travelers, sports, athletes, and border crossings, guide to the Underworld and messenger of the gods.
The Evening Star – the planet VENUS in the evening.
God of marriage ceremonies, inspiring feasts and song.
The Greek god of sleep.
God of strength and power.
God of satire, mockery, censure, writers and poets and a spirit of evil-spirited blame and unfair criticism.
God of dreams and sleep – has the ability to take any human form and appear in dreams.
The Titan god of the sea before Poseidon and father of the Nereids (nymphs of the sea).
Another Anemoi (wind god) and Greek god of the south wind. Known as “The South Wind”.
Titan god of the ocean. Believed to be the personification of the World Ocean, an enormous river encircling the world.
Black-winged daimons that personified dreams.
The physician of the Olympian gods.
The Titan god of warcraft and of the springtime campaign season.
God of nature, the wild, shepherds, flocks, goats, mountain wilds, and is often associated with sexuality. Also a satyr (half man, half-goat).
The Morning Star – THE PLANET VENUS as it appears in the morning.
The Greek god of wealth.
Twin brother of Castor, together known as the Dioskouri, that were transformed into the constellation Gemini.
ancient, pre-Olympian sea-god of the deep sea, one of the Greek primordial deities and son of Gaia.
Olympian Greek god of the sea, earthquakes, storms, and horses.
Minor rustic fertility god, protector of flocks, fruit plants, bees and gardens and known for having an enormous penis.
The immortal father of sea-goats, made into the Capricorn constellation.
Titan god of forethought and crafty counsel who was given the task of moulding mankind out of clay.
A group of gods that came before all else.
The god of the deep abyss, a great pit in the depths of the underworld, and father of Typhon.
A minor god and the god of death.
Messenger of the sea and the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite.
The deadliest MONSTER in Greek mythology and “Father of All Monsters”. Last son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus and god of monsters, storms, and volcanoes. He challenged Zeus for control of Mount Olympus.
Primordial god of the sky and heavens, and father of the Titans.
The god of dedication, emulation, eager rivalry, envy, jealousy, and zeal.
A wind god (Anemoi). God of the west wind and known as “The West Wind”.
God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice, King of the Gods and the “Father of Gods and men”.
Amaterasu is the sun goddess of Japan, the central goddess of Shinto, and the center of Japanese spiritual life. As the mythical ancestor of the Japanese Imperial Family, she forms the basis of their right to rule.
Izanagi is one of the first gods of Shinto’s cosmology. Together with Izanami, his female counterpart, he created the islands of Japan and populated them with many kami. Though he suffered a great tragedy, he went on to rule the Heavens and later help his daughter Amaterasu ascend to the divine throne.
Susanoo is the Japanese god of the sea and storms. A chaotic, stubborn, and foolhardy soul, he is also brother of Amaterasu, the Rising Sun and Queen of the Heavens. His quarrels with his sister eventually put him in conflict with Orochi, the eight-headed dragon.
Tsukuyomi is the Japanese moon god, a proud deity who represents the beauty and power of the moon. He committed an egregious crime in front of his wife Amaterasu, and was forbidden from ever seeing her again.
Inari is the kami of prosperity, rice, smithing, cunning, and craftsmanship. Portrayed variously as male, female, and androgynous, Inari is a complex and popular deity worshiped for more than a thousand years throughout Japan. Their prominence has led to the creation of a special type of shrine, focused primarily on smithing and rice cultivation as well as the preservation of foxes.
Raijin is the Japanese god of storms, a spirit of destruction and chaos who throws lightning and powerful thunderbolts while riding atop dark clouds. He is always accompanied by his companion gods, Fujin and Raitaro.
Fujin is a Japanese god of the wind, a demon born of the underworld who is a destructive force of nature, controlling all the winds of the world. He appears alongside his brother, the thunder demon Raijin.
Ame-no-Uzume is the Shinto goddess of dawn, an inventor of dances and comedy, whose positive self-image and quick thinking helped bring the sun goddess Amaterasu back to the world.
The Japanese god of luck and prosperity, Ebisu is a manifestation of the abundance of the sea. He is always shown with a smile and a laugh. Though he was rejected at birth, Ebisu would go on to become a benevolent, kind kami and one of the Seven Lucky Gods.
Ninigi introduced rice and civilization to Japan, then founded the Japanese Imperial family. He is the grandson of Great Amaterasu, the goddess of the heavens and the sun.
The creation myth according to the Aztecs is a continuous story of creations and destructions, called suns. The myth which tells the story of the creation is called the Legend of the Fifth Sun.
At the beginning of the world there was only darkness, void. Creation began when the dual Ometecuhtli (Lord of Duality) / Omecihuatl (Lady of Duality) created itself. This first god was good and bad, male and female, and gave birth to four other gods: Huizilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl, Tezcatlipoca and Xipe Totec . These gods created the world.
The first things created by Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli were fire and a half sun. They then undertook the creation of humanity by sacrificing a god whose blood drops on a mass of ground-up bones produced the first man and woman, named Oxomoco and Cipactonal respectively. The birth of each took 4 days.
After the creation of man, the gods continued creating the lords of the underworld, the heavens and waters, a crocodile-like water creature named Cipactli, and the rain god Tlaloc and his wife Chalchiuhtlicue.
When the initial creation was completed, a cycle of 5 suns followed which corresponded to 5 world ages, each one ending in destruction. According to the Aztecs, we are currently on the 5 th sun of the creation.
First Sun: The element of this first age is earth. Tezcatlipoca was chosen to be sacrificed to create an energy source for the planet, though he only managed to become a half sun.
During this age, a fight transpired between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca. Quetzalcoatl was the victor, but Tezcatlipoca takes revenge by sending jaguars on Earth to destroy the giants. Thus came an end to the first sun.
Second sun: The element of this second age is air. Quetzalcoatl is in control in this era. Humans were created according to our current likeness but became corrupt. As a result, Tezcatlipoca transformed them into monkeys, and Quetzalcoatl sent hurricanes to wipe the monkeys out. There were survivors who, according to the legend, are current day monkeys.
Third Sun: The element of this age is fire and the god responsible for this era is Tlaloc, the god of rain and water. A fight ensued between Tezcatlipoca and Tlaloc when Tezcatlipoca stole Tlaloc’s wife. Out of revenge, Tlaloc transformed all of humanity into turkeys, dogs and butterflies. Quetzalcoatl rained fire and ash down on the atrocities, causing the destruction of humanity for the third time.
Fourth Sun: The element related to this world age is water, and god chosen to reign is Tlaloc’s sister, Calchiuhtlicue. During this sun, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca were filled with jealousy and brought the sun down. The population were turned into fish, and this age was ultimately terminated by a great flood.
Fifth Sun: This is said to be the age that we are currently in, and the god Nanahuatzin is responsible for it. The legend foretells that this era will end with earthquakes.
A representation of one version of the creation myth, along with the five suns, is thought to be inscribed on the Aztec Calendar Stone.