Friday, June 25, 2010

Creation Myths – Part 1 (Velastant ‘Divine Family’ Religion)

The Creation Myth

Once upon a time, the universe was filled with mud as land and water mixed. The mud spawned many things but they soon drowned in the chaos of the time. A long time ago in the past and in the future, came the Gardener who crawled through the mud. The Gardener whispered promises to the mud of all the beautiful things that could fill the universe and how those beautiful things would forever worship the land and water that sprung them forth. The Mud fell in love with the Gardener’s visions and spread apart so that the land became sturdy and the water became clear.
Still the Gardener was drowning for he could not breathe land or water. He prayed to the Land and Water and begged for space to breathe and move about so that he could bring about the beauty of their blessings. The Land and Water distrusted each other and were already unhappy with their lack of control in the other’s dominion. So the Gardener suggested they birth Air to flow between them and ensure that the Land must give way to the Water and the Water to the Land in cycles that give each one some time in that place.
The Land and Water agreed and gave birth to Air but Air was quite powerful and blew the Land and Water into a small tight ball and took up the rest of the cosmos for itself. Air was inside the ball as well and it blew and blew so hard that the Land and Water were always mixing. Land and Water were horrified so the Gardener fashioned a mirror from the Land and held it up to Water and from Water’s reflection sprung its opposite, Fire.
The Gardener plucked up sparks of Fire and tossed them up into the Air to pin it in place. The Gardener then dug holes into the Land and put Fire into the world’s belly to compete with Air and control the quakes and keep the Air inside the world from meeting and conspiring with the Air outside the world. Thus whenever the Air shook parts of the world and ripped holes in the Land and Water, Fire would rush up in its watery form to plug the gaps.
Now the world was steady, the Gardener took the biggest spark of Fire that he had reserved for a throne in the sun. Yet sitting upon the throne of fire influenced the Gardener’s thoughts, for it was so far away, and so bright. The Gardener saw the influence it had and thought it trouble for who could withstand the influence of their vantage point? So then the Gardener tricked Land through its vanity by whispering tales of the beauty of the world and how wonderful it would be to see itself, and formed it into a throne in the sky, as the moon, and set it so that at times it would be basked in the light of the sun to warm the Gardener, and other times it would be in the shade of the land to cool the Gardener.
From these two vantage points, the Gardener saw that all was not yet beautiful. The Gardener then took Land and Water and sculpted them into animals and plants, to which he breathed in Air and invested a spark of Fire to keep warm and alive. The Gardener swapped between moon throne and sun throne during the sculpting of each creature so that the twin perspectives could lead to creatures that might thrive upon the land. The Gardener soon realized that to take the dual perspectives to their true complexity, a month had to be spent upon the lunar throne, and a full day upon the solar throne, so that the Gardener could be influenced by the light and dark of the lunar throne, and the tilt upon the land on the solar throne.
The Gardener built these influences into the creations so that they would be born into the freshness of dawn / new moon, grow and procreate in the industriousness of noon / full moon, and grow aged and ready to pass on one’s knowledge and die in the darkness of dusk / no moon. In death, they were then reborn, to pass through the perspectives of each creature. The Gardener even placed divine essence into each object, place, and non-sentient creature, and that essence became a spirit to imbue it.

Yet there were two creatures that rejected the divine essence for they had no need of a guiding spirit for they already had a spirit of their own that was a part of them and allowed them intelligence beyond measure. These were the humans and the orcs.

What is this creation myth based upon?

While this myth has its roots in a religion that is several thousand years old and from the Sen Dales, in truth this version has been adapted so much that it is both uniquely Realms and uniquely modern. Vast stretches of the Realms reject human intervention, giving it a timeless feel, and many of the Realms people still believe in cyclical time rather than linear time – where what was, will be again. Thus the God and Goddess are both simultaneously in their three aspects and yet constantly travel between them at the same time. The recent re-examination of gendered attributes now that physical differences have assumed lesser importance, combines with the language groups’* need for stable and easily definable roles (though there had always been some adjustment made for skill).

This duality has led to the Diving Being being simultaneously embodiments of gendered archetypes (the God and the Goddess) and a single divine entity (alternately called the Creator, Gardener or Sarin). Thus, men are capable of embodying feminine aspects and women are capable of embodying masculine aspects. It is only that one’s lifespan leads to certain duties and influences that must pull a person further in line with their gender. By this religion, exceptions can and should exist, and a person is most holy if they are capable of transcending limitations and being both God and Goddess, young and old, so that they might bring all lessons and skills to bear. While this is the ideal, it is not assumed that anyone is capable of doing this completely, and that is accepted as understandable.

This creation myth does frown upon compartmentalizing people entirely into parental role (grandparent, parent, child) or gender role (male or female) as that is considered unnatural. If a woman behaves like a man than she simply embodies more of the masculine aspect than she does of the feminine aspect, and while this is unusual, it is natural to her state of being. If it were natural for her to behave otherwise, than she would behave otherwise, and while attempting to influence her towards balance is commendable, it is wrong to expect that she should change her behavior.

* The Realms originally didn’t contain tribes and there aren’t many words in English to represent their actual old systems of governance.

History of the creation myth

This is thought to be the traditional creation myth behind a religion which is a few thousand years old but, in truth, the original mythology was lost when the early Sen Dalian cities were ransacked. Numerous variants trickled into the Realms when the first Sen Dalians migrated there in search of new land and the many tribes that then formed in the Realms each had their own version that developed steadily over the years. The religion was suppressed for a time under the Catarthian religious movement but, now that the might makes right philosophy has dissipated in the Realms, has started making in-roads as it meshes more easily with current Realms viewpoints.

Next up will be the Catarthian ‘Divine Family’ Religion….

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