How to create a creation myth

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how to create a creation myth

The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth by David A. Anderson

Now the Yoruba say that long ago before there were people, all life was in the sky. And so begins this gorgeous retelling of the Yoruba creation myth, in which Olorun - the all-powerful supreme deity - permits and encourages Obatala, his restless orisha (a kind of powerful spirit in the Yoruba religion) to descend from heaven, and create the earth and its inhabitants from a watery expanse.

David A. Anderson - whose storytelling name is Sankofa - delivers an immensely engaging narrative in The Origin of Life on Earth, one that reads well, provoking thought as it entertains. I was particularly struck by two things, while reading Andersons text. First, was the cooperative nature of Obatalas journey, which requires all the orishas to contribute their golden treasures, in order to create a chain long enough to reach the waters. Second, was the fact that Obatalas act of creation is not without flaw, as manifested by his drunken episode, in which malformed humans come into being. Both of these episodes highlight the essential humanity of the story, emphasizing the communal and compassionate face of the divine, and allowing for the incorporation of the imperfect into creation.

Winner of the 1993 Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, The Origin of Life on Earth is more than just an engaging mythological retelling, however. It is also a superbly beautiful book, with luminous artwork by Kathleen Atkins Wilson, who (I am sorry to say), does not seem to have illustrated any other books. Black silhouettes are depicted in bright, vividly colorful clothing, acting out their tale in front of lovely backdrops awash in more gentle hues. The overall effect is stunning! Folklore and mythology lovers - as well as those who simply love gorgeous illustrations - will NOT want to miss this one!
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Prometheus - Origins - Extra Mythology - #1

Write your own creation myth! The Big Myth Webmaster will read each entry, and will choose the best ones to post online.
David A. Anderson

Common Elements in Creation Myths

T he simplistic explanation is that everyone - apart from a relatively small number of South Americans and decadent western atheists - believes the world to have been created, and so needs a story to explain how. But the fact that large numbers of people, even the vast majority, believe something is not a good enough reason to suppose it is true. The real reason creation myths are near universal was given by the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Hume observed that without an idea of cause and effect, we would be utterly incapable of making sense of the world around us. The problem, however, is that all we observe is one darn thing after another: we never actually see one thing causing something else. Nor do we have sound rational reasons for leaping from observations of regularity to the conclusion that two things are linked by some necessary connection.

A creation myth or cosmogonic myth is a symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it. Creation myths often share a number of features. They often are considered sacred accounts and can be found in nearly all known religious traditions. Creation myths develop in oral traditions and therefore typically have multiple versions; [3] found throughout human culture , they are the most common form of myth. Religion professor Mircea Eliade defined the word myth in terms of creation:.

Nature and significance

Creation myth , also called cosmogonic myth , philosophical and theological elaboration of the primal myth of creation within a religious community. The term myth here refers to the imaginative expression in narrative form of what is experienced or apprehended as basic reality see also myth. The term creation refers to the beginning of things, whether by the will and act of a transcendent being, by emanation from some ultimate source, or in any other way. The myth of creation is the symbolic narrative of the beginning of the world as understood by a particular community. The later doctrines of creation are interpretations of this myth in light of the subsequent history and needs of the community.

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