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.
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.
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 first world to exist was Muspell, a place of light and heat whose flames are so hot that those who are not native to that land cannot endure it.
Surt sits at Muspell’s border, guarding the land with a flaming sword. At the end of the world he will vanquish all the gods and burn the whole world with fire.
Ginnungagap and Niflheim
Beyond Muspell lay the great and yawning void named Ginnungagap, and beyond Ginnungagap lay the dark, cold realm of Niflheim.
Ice, frost, wind, rain and heavy cold emanated from Niflheim, meeting in Ginnungagap the soft air, heat, light, and soft air from Muspell.
Where heat and cold met appeared thawing drops, and this running fluid grew into a giant frost ogre named Ymir.
Ymir slept, falling into a sweat. Under his left arm there grew a man and a woman. And one of his legs begot a son with the other. This was the beginning of the frost ogres.
Thawing frost then became a cow called Audhumla. Four rivers of milk ran from her teats, and she fed Ymir.
Buri, Bor, and Bestla
The cow licked salty ice blocks. After one day of licking, she freed a man’s hair from the ice. After two days, his head appeared. On the third day the whole man was there. His name was Buri, and he was tall, strong, and handsome.
Buri begot a son named Bor, and Bor married Bestla, the daughter of a giant.
Odin, Vili, and Vé
Bor and Bestla had three sons: Odin was the first, Vili the second, and Vé the third.
It is believed that Odin, in association with his brothers, is the ruler of heaven and earth. He is the greatest and most famous of all men.
The death of Ymir
Odin, Vili, and Vé killed the giant Ymir.
When Ymir fell, there issued from his wounds such a flood of blood, that all the frost ogres were drowned, except for the giant Bergelmir who escaped with his wife by climbing onto a lur [a hollowed-out tree trunk that could serve either as a boat or a coffin]. From them spring the families of frost ogres.
Earth, trees, and mountains
The sons of Bor then carried Ymir to the middle of Ginnungagap and made the world from him. From his blood they made the sea and the lakes; from his flesh the earth; from his hair the trees; and from his bones the mountains. They made rocks and pebbles from his teeth and jaws and those bones that were broken.
Maggots appeared in Ymir’s flesh and came to life. By the decree of the gods they acquired human understanding and the appearance of men, although they lived in the earth and in rocks.
Sky, clouds, and stars
From Ymir’s skull the sons of Bor made the sky and set it over the earth with its four sides. Under each corner they put a dwarf, whose names are East, West, North, and South.
The sons of Bor flung Ymir’s brains into the air, and they became the clouds.
Then they took the sparks and burning embers that were flying about after they had been blown out of Muspell, and placed them in the midst of Ginnungagap to give light to heaven above and earth beneath. To the stars they gave appointed places and paths.
The earth was surrounded by a deep sea. The sons of Bor gave lands near the sea to the families of giants for their settlements.
To protect themselves from the hostile giants, the sons of Bor built for themselves an inland stonghold, using Ymir’s eyebrows. This stonghold they named Midgard.
Ask and Embla
While walking along the sea shore the sons of Bor found two trees, and from them they created a man and a woman.
Odin gave the man and the woman spirit and life. Vili gave them understanding and the power of movement. Vé gave them clothing and names. The man was named Ask [Ash] and the woman Embla [Elm?]. From Ask and Embla have sprung the races of men who lived in Midgard.
In the middle of the world the sons of Bor built for themselves a stronghold named Asgard, called Troy by later generations. The gods and their kindred lived in Asgard, and many memorable events have happened there.
In Asgard was a great hall named Hlidskjálf. Odin sat there on a high seat. From there he could look out over the whole world and see what everyone was doing. He understood everything that he saw.
Odin, Frigg, and the Æsir
Odin married Frigg, the daughter of Fjörgvin. From this family has come all the kindred that inhabited ancient Asgard and those kingdoms that belonged to it. Members of this family are called the Æsir, and they are all divinities. This must be the reason why Odin is called All-Father. He is the father of all the gods and men and of everything that he and his power created.
The earth was Odin’s daughter and his wife as well. By her he had his first son, Thor. Might and strength were Thor’s characteristics. By these he dominates every living creature.
As all informed people know, the gods built a bridge from earth to heaven called Bifröst. Some call it the rainbow. It has three colors and is very strong, made with more skill and cunning than other structures. But strong as it is, it will break when the sons of Muspell ride out over it. The gods are not to blame that this structure will then break. Bifröst is a good bridge, but there is nothing in this world that can be relied on when the sons of Muspell are on the warpath.
The chief sanctuary of the gods is by the ash tree Yggdrasil. There they hold their daily court. Yggdrasil is the best and greatest of all trees. Its branches spread out over the whole world and reach up over heaven.
One of the things that set Gnosticism apart from the other varieties of early Christianity was its astonishing creation myth, an interpretation of the creation myth of Genesis that practically turns that Old Testament text upside down.
Some people find the Gnostic creation myth to be merely bizarre. Others find it to be downright blasphemous. Others find it to be exhilarating and inspiring.
But whatever your opinion of the Gnostics’ creation myth ends up being, if you want to understand it on its own terms, it’s necessary to be able to at least temporarily see it as the Gnostics themselves saw it: as a story that articulates, and quite possibly even attempts to explain, the human condition. Why is the world we live in so full of senseless suffering? What can we do to overcome that absurdity and misery and put our lives to a meaningful use? Is this world where we really belong, or is the quiet despair that forms a constant background to our lives trying to tell us that we really belong somewhere else? And if so, where do we actually belong?
The Gnostic creation myth has come down to us in numerous different versions in different Gnostic texts. It’s apparent that there was never a single, uniform version of the myth. But the different Gnostic accounts of creation that have survived down to the present day are variations on a common model, not different models altogether.
To very briefly summarize that underlying model: God the Father gave rise to a host of spiritual beings (“aeons“) who populated Heaven (which the Gnostics called the Pleroma, “Fullness”), including a divine Mother and Christ. One of the last of these beings to emanate from the Father, Sophia, gave birth to a new being on her own, without the involvement of her partner or the approval of the Father. The being born under such circumstances was nothing like the perfect inhabitants of the Pleroma; instead, he was ignorant and malevolent. This was the demiurge, “craftsman,” whom the Gnostics identified with the god of the Old Testament. He created the material world to mirror his own wicked personality and trapped sparks of divinity, fragments of the Pleroma, within humans. It was then up to Christ to awaken humans to their true nature and liberate them from the world.
The retelling below follows the version in the Secret Book of John, which is quite representative of the perspective of the classic Gnostic school of thought. The creation stories of the Valentinians, the other early Christian sect or school that can be considered “Gnostic,” still adhere to this same basic model, although many of the details differ.
The Creation Myth of the Secret Book of John
In the beginning, there was only the One, the Father, who is
illimitable, since there is nothing before it to limit it,
unfathomable, since there is nothing before it to fathom it,
immeasurable, since there was nothing before it to measure it,
invisible, since nothing has seen it,
eternal, since it exists eternally,
unutterable, since nothing could comprehend it to utter it,
unnamable, since there is nothing before it to give it a name.
The Father was surrounded by luminous spiritual water. He gazed into the water and saw his reflection. His reflection became Barbelo, the Mother, his female counterpart. Barbelo was also called “Pronoia,” “Forethought,” because she was the first thought of the Father.
Barbelo asked for the Father to grant her Foreknowledge, Incorruptibility, Life Eternal, and Truth. The Father granted her request. Foreknowledge, Incorruptibility, Life Eternal, and Truth came into being and glorified their Father and Mother.
The Father gazed into Barbelo and she conceived by him. She gave birth to a spark of light similar to the Father’s light. This was the Son, who was also called “Autogenes,” “Self-Generated,” since he was at bottom identical with the Father. He was further called “Christ,” “a name greater than every name.” The Father anointed the Son with his goodness, which passed his perfect goodness onto his Son. The Son glorified his Father and Mother.
Just as Barbelo had asked the One to give her new aeons, the Son asked to be given another: Mind. The Father and Mother agreed. Mind arose and glorified its Father and Mother.
Mind wanted to bring something else into being through the Father’s word. Will was born, followed by Word.
The Father made the Son the master of all power and truth. From the Son came the Four Luminaries: Harmozel, Oroiael, Daveithai, and Eleleth. Each came into being with three additional aeons along with its own. The three aeons with Harmozel were Grace, Truth, and Form. The three with Oroiael were Insight, Perception, and Memory. The three with Daveithai were Understanding, Love, and Idea. The three with Eleleth were Perfection, Peace, and Sophia (Wisdom).
Next was “the perfect human,” Pigeradamas (“Adam the Stranger,” “Holy Adam,” or “Old Adam”), who came into being and glorified the Father. He was placed in the aeon of Harmozel. Adam had a son, Seth, who was placed in the aeon of Oroiael. He was set to preside over “the souls of the saints,” those with gnosis, in the aeon of Daveithai. The souls of those who were not saints, but who nevertheless repented eventually, were given a place of their own in the aeon of Eleleth.
Sophia watched these marvelous, radiant beings all around her. A desire to give birth to an aeon of her own arose within her. But she acted on this desire impatiently and impulsively; she didn’t bother to involve her divine partner, nor to obtain the consent of the Father. Since she had descended from the Father, she was full of his tremendous power, and she was able to birth a new being that contained some of her divine essence. But because this new entity had been conceived by Sophia alone, it didn’t resemble the other immortals. Instead, it was hideous and misshapen. It was like a snake with a lion’s head. Its eyes burned like lightning.
In fear and shame, Sophia cast her son out of the divine realm (the Pleroma, “Fullness”) in the hope that none of the other inhabitants of that perfect place would see him. To conceal him further, she enveloped him in a shining cloud and placed him on a throne in the middle of it. She named him Yaldabaoth (which probably means “Child of Chaos”), and he has since also been called Sakla, “Fool,” and Samael, “Blind God.”
Yaldabaoth “mated with the mindlessness in him” and generated twelve archons, demonic beings who would shortly come to rule the earth from the celestial spheres above it: Athoth, Harmas, Kalila-Oumbri, Yabel, Adonaios/Sabaoth, Cain, Abel, Abrisene, Yobel, Armoupieel, Melcheir-Adonein, and Belias.
Because of Yaldabaoth’s foolishness, he was wicked and ignorant of his ancestry. He belligerently proclaimed, “I am God and there is no other god beside me.” His twelve original archons generated new archons until there were 365 of them – one to rule over each day of the year.
As Sophia’s son, Yaldabaoth had the model of the Pleroma within himself. He created the material world based on that model, but because of his ignorance and depravity, it came out all wrong. It was a corrupted and far inferior simulacrum of the divine model.
Sophia watched all of this and was stricken by distress and guilt. She wept and repented for giving birth to such a monstrous entity. The Father, full of perfect love, heard her pleas and promised to forgive her and restore her to her former stature. But first she had to stay in the ninth heaven (the layer of the sky closest to the Pleroma, above Yaldabaoth and the seven archon-populated heavens below him) until she had atoned for her sin and mended her deficiency.
Meanwhile, Yaldabaoth and his archons saw an image of the heavenly Adam from the Father’s pristine realm. They didn’t know where it came from, but they were enthralled by it. They decided to attempt to create a human being for themselves. But at first their creation lay lifeless on the ground. They couldn’t figure out how to animate it.
As they stood around the immobile body puzzling over what to do, the gracious beings of the Pleroma came up with a plan to help the part of Sophia that had become trapped in Yaldabaoth return to her so that she could return to the Pleroma.
Emissaries from the Pleroma appeared to Yaldabaoth and advised him to breathe his spirit into Adam’s face, after which, they assured him, the body would awaken and stand up. Yaldabaoth did so, and Sophia’s power fluttered out of him and into Adam, bringing the first man to life. Because of Sophia’s power within him, he was already wiser, more spiritual, and more intelligent than his creators.
Out of jealousy and resentment, the archons made Adam mortal. They placed him in the Garden of Eden, which they filled with all kinds of sumptuous foods to make him attached to material pleasures and distract him from his true, divine nature.
The archons wanted to possess Adam’s divine insight for themselves, so they took it out of Adam and created a new being to house it – Eve. When Adam saw her, he instantly recognized her as his spiritual counterpart. At Christ’s urging, Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge (gnosis) and grew in their understanding and their superiority over their creators.
Now boiling with hatred and envy, Yaldabaoth raped Eve and cast her and her mate out of the garden. Two sons were born from this tragic intercourse: Cain and Abel, also called “Yahweh” and “Elohim” (two names for “God” in the Old Testament).
But Adam and Eve later had loving, consensual sex on their own. The product of their union was an enlightened boy whom they named “Seth” after the son of the heavenly Adam.
Yaldabaoth couldn’t bear the fact that there were now three beings in his creation who were enlightened and superior to him. He forced Adam, Eve, and Seth to drink the “water of forgetfulness” so that they would lose their gnosis. But the capacity to revive gnosis lay dormant within them; Yaldabaoth wasn’t capable of expunging it completely. And their spiritual descendants among humankind remain capable of regaining that saving illumination. All they need is a savior, Christ, to reveal it to them as he did for their first ancestors.
As the title “Secret Book of John” implies, this story was meant to serve as an addition to the Gospel of John – specifically, a prequel. In terms of plot, it sets the stage, and in terms of theology, it provides a context for understanding John’s gospel through a Gnostic lens. The same can be said of the relationship between the various versions of the Gnostic creation myth and the shared Christian story of Jesus’s life more broadly.
But the creation myth was also a story of central importance to the Gnostics as a standalone tale in its own right. It bound the Gnostic communities together as distinct communities and illustrated some of the key concepts in the Gnostic worldview, such as gnosis and anticosmicism. And as a myth, it did so with a verve and poignancy that bare, conceptual discourse can’t muster.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning–the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning–the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights–the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning–the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning–the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning–the sixth day.
The Pangu myth follows as thus: In the beginning the universe was nothing but chaos, and the heavens and the earth were intermingled—a big black egg being commonly used as an analogy. Pangu was born inside of this egg and slept for 18,000 years, during which time the Yin and Yang balanced as he grew. When he awoke, he realized he was trapped within it. He cracked the egg and began to push it apart, essentially splitting the Yin and Yang. The upper half of the shell became the sky above him, and the lower half became the earth. The longer he held them apart, the thicker they grew and the taller he became, thus pushing them further apart—by precisely 10 feet per day. Here versions begin to change. Some claim that a turtle, a qilin, phoenix, and a dragon assisted him in this task. After another 18,000 years Pangu died, his body forming the various parts of the earth, and the parasites on his body forming humans. Another version states that he formed the earth with a chisel and hammer, while yet another version states that a goddess who later inhabited the earth formed humans.
Pangu is depicted with a turtle, phoenix, quilin, and dragon, who aided him with his task.
According to this myth, Pangu was the first supreme being and the originator of the heavens and the Earth. He is typically depicted as a dwarf—though he was actually a giant—covered in hair or bearskin or leaves, with horns fixed atop his head and either a chisel or a hammer or an egg in his hand. Other tales speak of a Pangu as a creature from heaven that had the head of a dog and the body of a man and directly accredits Pangu as the father of mankind, while another version claims he molded men from clay.
The interesting aspects of this tale are its similarities to other myths. For example, the cosmic egg is a common concept that is indicative of the universe before the Big Bang occurred, scientifically speaking. While this may, at first glance, be a very primitive way of describing such an event, one cannot help but notice how very insightful it is. How did various people with no apparent technology or knowledge of the universe, as we modern humans know it, so accurately explain what we now can? Were they made privy to this knowledge somehow?
Another interesting aspect of the tale is one of the more elusive. Some versions of the Pangu creation myth state that the giant had help from four mythical beasts. Let us take a brief look these beasts one by one. First, the turtle: the Chinese were not the only ones to use it in their creation myth; various world myths, creation and otherwise, include the turtle for its strength and immortality. The qilin, though indigenous to Asian mythology, is said to have been dragon-like. Of course, dragons are central to Asian mythology—though also found world-wide—as bearers of wisdom and a symbol of power, also connected to the succession of the early emperors. Finally, the phoenix has consistently been a symbol of rebirth. How so many cultures separated by thousands of miles came to describe such similar occurrences and use the same symbology has been a subject of much intrigue over the centuries.
The Popol Vuh, or Popol Wuj in the K’iche’ language, is the story of creation of the Maya. Members of the royal K’iche’ lineages that had once ruled the highlands of Guatemala recorded the story in the 16th century to preserve it under the Spanish colonial rule. The Popol Vuh, meaning “Book of the Community,” narrates the Maya creation account, the tales of the Hero Twins, and the K’iche’ genealogies and land rights. In this story, the Creators, Heart of Sky and six other deities including the Feathered Serpent, wanted to create human beings with hearts and minds who could “keep the days.” But their first attempts failed. When these deities finally created humans out of yellow and white corn who could talk, they were satisfied. In another epic cycle of the story, the Death Lords of the Underworld summon the Hero Twins to play a momentous ball game where the Twins defeat their opponents. The Twins rose into the heavens, and became the Sun and the Moon. Through their actions, the Hero Twins prepared the way for the planting of corn, for human beings to live on Earth, and for the Fourth Creation of the Maya.
There was a time when everything was still. All the spirits of the earth were asleep – or almost all. The great Father of All Spirits was the only one awake. Gently he awoke the Sun Mother. As she opened her eyes a warm ray of light spread out towards the sleeping earth. The Father of All Spirits said to the Sun Mother, “Mother, I have work for you. Go down to the Earth and awake the sleeping spirits. Give them forms.”
The Sun Mother glided down to Earth, which was bare at the time and began to walk in all directions and everywhere she walked plants grew. After returning to the field where she had begun her work the Mother rested, well pleased with herself. The Father of All Spirits came and saw her work, but instructed her to go into the caves and wake the spirits.
This time she ventured into the dark caves on the mountainsides. The bright light that radiated from her awoke the spirits and after she left insects of all kinds flew out of the caves. The Sun Mother sat down and watched the glorious sight of her insects mingling with her flowers. However once again the Father urged her on.
The Mother ventured into a very deep cave, spreading her light around her. Her heat melted the ice and the rivers and streams of the world were created. Then she created fish and small snakes, lizards and frogs. Next she awoke the spirits of the birds and animals and they burst into the sunshine in a glorious array of colors. Seeing this the Father of All Spirits was pleased with the Sun Mother’s work.
She called all her creatures to her and instructed them to enjoy the wealth of the earth and to live peacefully with one another. Then she rose into the sky and became the sun.
The living creatures watched the Sun in awe as she crept across the sky, towards the west. However when she finally sunk beneath the horizon they were panic-stricken, thinking she had deserted them. All night they stood frozen in their places, thinking that the end of time had come. After what seemed to them like a lifetime the Sun Mother peeked her head above the horizon in the East. The earth’s children learned to expect her coming and going and were no longer afraid.
At first the children lived together peacefully, but eventually envy crept into their hearts. They began to argue. The Sun Mother was forced to come down from her home in the sky to mediate their bickering. She gave each creature the power to change their form to whatever they chose. However she was not pleased with the end result. The rats she had made had changed into bats; there were giant lizards and fish with blue tongues and feet. However the oddest of the new animals was an animal with a bill like a duck, teeth for chewing, a tail like a beavers and the ability to lay egg. It was called the platypus.
The Sun Mother looked down upon the Earth and thought to herself that she must create new creatures less the Father of All Spirits be angered by what she now saw. She gave birth to two children. The god was the Morning Star and the goddess was the moon. Two children were born to them and these she sent to Earth. They became our ancestors. She made them superior to the animals because they had part of her mind and would never want to change their shape.