In the dictionary, a myth is “an ancient story; a traditional story about heroes or supernatural beings, often attempting to explain the origins of natural phenomena or aspects of human behavior”, which, in the context of our lessons, is correct. But this definition is so logical and steely that it couldn’t possibly encompass even a fraction of the meaning that they held for the people who created them, and, thus, believed them to be not fiction, but truth.
When early man began pining for answers to everyday occurrences, they found them, usually. But, without records or tales, their origin (our origin) remained firmly beyond their comprehension. So, what is early man to do, so that he may sleep peacefully at night without such a nagging curiosity? He is to dream up creation myths, and, stemming from those, religion.
Creation myths are fascinating examples of the values within the culture they were created. While being diverse in the means, along with the number of creators, they all also show many similar ends—Many speak of a “Cosmic Egg”, where either the Creator and/or all matter springs forth from the egg once it breaks or hatches, and a classic example of this story is the Chinese Myth featuring the giant Phan Ku.
As stated in the Chinese Myth, in the beginning, there was only an egg containing all—A mixture of all matter, all forces, and mixture of Ying-Yang—including Phan Ku. He broke out of the egg, and thus released its contents. All was created in this brief moment, and then Phan Ku goes on to shape the world.
Omitting many of the unnecessary details, the Chinese Myth is fairly straightforward: the Creator emerges from a cosmic egg and makes what we now see every day the way it is. It definitely serves the purpose of a Creation Myth, and that is to explain away common occurrences that were unexplainable to early man. One saw the dome of the sky, and explained that it was the top of Phan Ku’s skull. One saw the majesty of the mountains, and explained their existence to Phan Ku’s pet project.
Now, Finnish Creation stands out in the way that the cosmic egg was not the first thing in existence which carried all and everything. The story starts out with the daughter of the sky, Ilmatar, deciding to go down to the primeval waters (another classic element to Myths), where she floated for 700 years longing for life other than her own. One day, she noticed a Teal flying around, searching for a place to rest and create its nest. Ilmatar raised her knee out of the water, and the Teal believed it to be an island. It landed, and there it produced 7 eggs—6 gold and one iron.
The heat of the nesting Teal became too great for her, however, and she jerked—scattering the eggs into the sea where they were shattered by the waves. But, instead of that being the end of the story, one of the eggs became the world. The top of the shell became the sky, and the bottom the ground. Ilmatar shaped it, and then Earth and Man were born.
The Finnish Myth...