Creation Myths

28 Feb 2010 February 12th ... a contribution by Rens Van der Sluijs has a heading with a depiction of an aurora seen in January 1570 in Bohemia, central Europe. The way the picture is composed lends him to wonder if creation myths may have originated out of plasma formations, such as auroral phenomena, in the sky, and this is what is meant by the 'dwellings of the gods'. In fact, in many traditions the gods were specifically earth bound, which has caused all manner of difficulties when trying to interpret what they might be conveying to people who came after them. An intellectually indolent solution, he says, is that such myths are imaginative, naive, or deluded - or induced by mind altering substances. However, some traditions concerning the earth may relate to transient phenomena in the atmosphere - the region of the sky close to the horizon. In that view earth would not only be the solid ground we stand upon but that part of the sky immediately above people. Sky land, and earth itself, are perhaps one and the same - and are clearly intrinsically associated with each other. In Greek mythology the Olympian gods gathered not just at the peak of Mount Olympus but in the sky around the mountain. Indeed, the mountain itself points specifically skywards and Olympus at some stage developed into a synonym for the lower regions of the sky. Likewise, in another example by Rens, the Andaman islanders claimed their god used to dwell on the summit of the local Saddle Peak (which was described as part of the sky) and the god of the Ashanti in West Africa once lived on earth- or very near to us. Hence, the gods were seen in close proximity to the earth - as opposed to deep space.