Creation Myth - Mark Fullmer

In the beginning of time there were three powerful gods who lived
in the universe. Bathala was the caretaker of the earth, Ulilang
Kaluluwa (lit. Orphaned Spirit), a huge serpent who lived in the clouds,
and Galang Kaluluwa (lit. Wandering spirit), the winged god who loves
to travel. These three gods did not know each other.
Bathala often dreamt of creating mortals but the empty earth
stops him from doing so. Ulilang Kaluluwa who was equally lonely as
Bathala, liked to visit places and the earth was his favorite. One day
the two gods met. Ulilang Kaluluwa, seeing another god rivalling him,
was not pleased. He challenged Bathala to a fight to decide who
would be the ruler of the universe. After three days and three nights,
Ulilang Kaluluwa was slain by Bathala. Instead of giving him a proper
burial, Bathala burned the snake's remains. A few years later the third
god, Galang Kaluluwa, wandered into Bathala's home. He welcomed
the winged god with much kindness and even invited him to live in his
kingdom. They became true friends and were very happy for many
Galang Kaluluwa became very ill. Before he died he
instructed Bathala to bury him on the spot where Ulilang
Kaluluwa’s body was burned. Bathala did exactly as he was
told. Out of the grave of the two dead gods grew a tall tree
with a big round nut, which is the coconut tree. Bathala took
the nut and husked it. He noticed that the inner skin was
hard. The nut itself reminded him of Galang Kaluluwa’s head.
It had two eyes, a flat nose, and a round mouth. Its leaves
looked so much like the wings of his dear winged friend. But
the trunk was hard and ugly, like the body of his enemy, the
snake Ulilang Kaluluwa.
Bathala realized that he was ready to create the creatures
he wanted with him on earth. He created the vegetation,
animals, and the first man and woman. Bathala built a house
for them out of the trunk and leaves of the coconut trees. For
food, they drank the coconut juice and ate its delicious white
meat. Its leaves, they discovered, were great for making
mats, hats, and brooms. Its fiber could be used for rope and
many other things.
Thousands of years ago, there was no land, sun, moon, or stars, and the world
was only a great sea of water, above which stretched the sky. The water was the
kingdom of the god Maguayan, and the sky was ruled by the great god, Kaptan.
Maguayan had a daughter called Lidagat, the sea, and Kaptan had a son known as
Lihangin, the wind. The gods agreed to the marriage of their children, so the sea
became the bride of the wind.
A daughter and three sons were born to them. The sons were called Likalibutan,
Liadlao, and Libulan, and the daughter received the name of Lisuga.
Likalibutan had a body of rock and was strong and brave; Liadlao was formed of
gold and was always happy; Libulan was made of copper and was weak and timid;
and the beautiful Lisuga had a body of pure silver and was sweet and gentle. Their
parents were very fond of them, and nothing was wanting to make them happy.
After a time Lihangin died and left the control of the winds to his eldest son
Likalibutan. The faithful wife Lidagat soon followed her husband, and the children,
now grown up, were left without father or mother. However, their grandfathers,
Kaptan and Maguayan, took care of them and guarded them from all evil.
After some time, Likalibutan, proud of his power over the winds,
resolved to gain more power, and asked his brothers to join him in an
attack on Kaptan in the sky above. They refused at first, but when
Likalibutan became angry with them, the amiable Liadlao, not wishing
to offend his brother, agreed to help. Then together they induced the
timid Libulan to join in the plan.
When all was ready, the three brothers rushed at the sky, but they
could not beat down the gates of steel that guarded the entrance.
Likalibutan let loose the strongest winds and blew the bars in every
direction. The brothers rushed into the opening, but were met by the
angry god Kaptan. So terrible did he look that they turned and ran in
terror, but Kaptan, furious at the destruction of his gates, sent three
bolts of lightning after them.
The first struck the copper Libulan and melted him into a ball. The
second struck the golden Liadlao and he too was melted. The third
bolt struck Likalibutan and his rocky body broke into many pieces and
fell into the sea. So huge was he that parts of his body stuck out
above the water and became what is known as land.
In the meantime the gentle Lisuga had missed her brothers and
started to look for them. She went toward the sky, but as she
approached the broken gates, Kaptan, blind with anger, struck her too
with lightning, and her silver body broke into thousands of pieces.
Kaptan then came down from the sky and tore the sea apart,
calling on Maguayan to come to him and accusing him of ordering the
attack on the sky. Soon Maguayan appeared and answered that he
knew nothing of the plot as he had been asleep deep in the sea. After
some time, he succeeded in calming the angry Kaptan. Together they
wept at the loss of their grandchildren, especially the gentle and
beautiful Lisuga, but even with their powers, they could not restore
the dead back to life. However, they gave to each body a beautiful
light that will shine forever.
And so it was the golden Liadlao who became the sun and the
copper Libulan, the moon, while Lisuga's pieces of silver were turned
into the stars of heaven. To wicked Likalibutan, the gods gave no light,
but resolved to make his body support a new race of people. So
Kaptan gave Maguayan a seed and he planted it on one of the islands.
Soon a bamboo tree grew up, and from the hollow of
one of its branches, a man and a woman came out. The
man's name was Sikalak and the woman was called
Sikabay. They were the parents of the human race. Their
first child was a son whom they called Libo; afterwards
they had a daughter who was known as Saman.
Pandaguan, the youngest son, was very clever and
invented a trap to catch fish. The very first thing he
caught was a huge shark. When he brought it to land, it
looked so great and fierce that he thought it was surely a
god, and he at once ordered his people to worship it.
Soon all gathered around and began to sing and pray to
the shark. Suddenly the sky and sea opened, and the
gods came out and ordered Pandaguan to throw the
shark back into the sea and to worship none, but them.
All were afraid except Pandaguan. He grew very bold and
answered that the shark was as big as the gods, and that
since he had been able to overpower it he would also be able
to conquer the gods. Then Kaptan, hearing this, struck
Pandaguan with a small lightning bolt, for he did not wish to
kill him but merely to teach him a lesson. Then he and
Maguayan decided to punish these people by scattering them
over the earth, so they carried some to one land and some to
another. Many children were afterwards born, and thus the
earth became inhabited in all parts.
Pandaguan did not die. After lying on the ground for thirty
days he regained his strength, but his body was blackened
from the lightning, and his descendants became the darkskinned tribe, the Negritos.
As punishment, his eldest son, Aryon, was taken north
where the cold took away his senses. While Libo and Saman
were carried south, where the hot sun scorched their bodies.
A son of Saman and a daughter of Sikalak were carried east,
where the land at first was so lacking in food that they were
compelled to eat clay.
“Ex nihilo” creation
“Creation from Chaos”
“World Parent” creation
“Emergence” creation
“Earth-Diver” creation
Also, be able to differentiate myth, rumor,
superstition, legend, lore, & conspiracy theory
Creation ex nihilo
Also known as "creation de novo", is a common type of mythical
creation. Ex nihilo creation is found in creation stories from ancient
Egypt, the Rig Veda, the Bible and the Quran, and many animistic
cultures in Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America. The Debate
between sheep and grain is an example of an even earlier form of ex
nihilo creation myth from ancient Sumer. In most of these stories the
world is brought into being by the speech, dream, breath, or pure
thought of a creator but creation ex nihilo may also take place through
a creator's bodily secretions. The literal translation of the phrase ex
nihilo is "from nothing" but in many creation myths the line is blurred
whether the creative act would be better classified as a creation ex
nihilo or creation from chaos. With ex nihilo, the potential and the
substance of creation springs from within the creator. Such a creator
may or may not be existing in physical surroundings such as darkness
or water, but does not create the world from them. In creation from
chaos the substance used for creation is pre-existing within the
unformed void.
Creation from chaos
In creation from chaos myth, initially there is nothing but a
formless, shapeless expanse. In these stories the word
"chaos" means "disorder", and this formless expanse,
which is also sometimes called a void or an abyss, contains
the material with which the created world will be made.
Chaos may be described as having the consistency of vapor
or water, dimensionless, and sometimes salty or muddy.
These myths associate chaos with evil and oblivion, in
contrast to "order" (cosmos) which is the good. The act of
creation is the bringing of order from disorder, and in many
of these cultures it is believed that at some point the forces
preserving order and form will weaken and the world will
once again be engulfed into the abyss.
World Parent (1)
One form describes the primeval state as an
eternal union of two parents, and the creation
takes place when the two are pulled apart. The
two parents are commonly identified as Sky
(usually male) and Earth (usually female) who in
the primeval state were so tightly bound to each
other that no offspring could emerge. These myths
often depict creation as the result of a sexual
union, and serve as genealogical record of the
deities born from it.
In the second form of world parent myth, creation
itself springs from dismembered parts of the body
of the primeval being. Often in these stories the
limbs, hair, blood, bones or organs of the primeval
being are somehow severed or sacrificed to
transform into sky, earth, animal or plant life, and
other worldly features. These myths tend to
emphasize creative forces as animistic in nature
rather than sexual, and depict the sacred as the
elemental and integral component of the natural
In emergence myths humanity emerges from another world into the
one they currently inhabit. The previous world is often considered the
womb of the earth mother, and the process of emergence is likened
to the act of giving birth. The role of midwife is usually played by a
female deity, like the spider woman of Native American mythology.
Male characters rarely figure into these stories, and scholars often
consider them in counterpoint to male oriented creation myths, like
those of the ex nihilo variety.
Emergence myths commonly describe the creation of people and/or
supernatural beings as a staged ascent or metamorphosis from
nascent forms through a series of subterranean worlds to arrive at
their current place and form. Often the passage from one world or
stage to the next is impelled by inner forces, a process of germination
or gestation from earlier, embryonic forms. The genre is most
commonly found in Native American cultures where the myths
frequently link the final emergence of people from a hole opening to
the underworld to stories about their subsequent migrations and
eventual settlement in their current homelands.
The earth-diver is a common character in various traditional
creation myths. In these stories a supreme being usually
sends an animal into the primal waters to find bits of sand or
mud with which to build habitable land. Some scholars
interpret these myths psychologically while others interpret
them cosmogonically. In both cases emphasis is placed on
beginnings emanating from the depths. Earth-diver myths are
common in Native American folklore but can be found among
the Chukchi and Yukaghir, the Tatars and many Finno-Ugrian
traditions. The pattern of distribution of these stories suggest
they have a common origin in the eastern Asiatic coastal
region, spreading as peoples migrated west into Siberia and
east to the North American continent.
In the beginning, Chaos, an amorphous, gaping void encompassing
the entire universe, and surrounded by an unending stream of water
ruled by the god Oceanus, was the domain of a goddess named
Eurynome, which means "far-ruling" or "wide-wandering".
She was the Goddess of All Things, and desired to make order out
of the Chaos. By coupling with a huge and powerful snake, Ophion, or
as some legends say, coupling with the North Wind, she gave birth to
Eros, god of Love, also known as Protagonus, the "firstborn".
Eurynome separated the sky from the sea by dancing on the waves
of Oceanus. In this manner, she created great lands upon which she
might wander, a veritable universe, populating it with exotic creatures
such as Nymphs, Furies, and Charites as well as with countless beasts
and monsters.
Also born out of Chaos were Gaia, called Earth, or Mother Earth,
and Uranus, the embodiment of the Sky and the Heavens, as well as
Tartarus, god of the sunless and terrible region beneath Gaia, the
Gaia and Uranus married and gave birth to the Titans, a race of
formidable giants, which included a particularly wily giant named
In what has become one of the recurrent themes of Greek
Mythology, Gaia and Uranus warned Cronus that a son of his would
one day overpower him. Cronus therefore swallowed his numerous
children by his wife Rhea, to keep that forecast from taking place.
This angered Gaia greatly, so when the youngest son, Zeus, was
born, Gaia took a stone, wrapped it in swaddling clothes and offered it
to Cronus to swallow. This satisfied Cronus, and Gaia was able to spirit
the baby Zeus away to be raised in Crete, far from his grasping father.
In due course, Zeus grew up, came homeward, and got into
immediate conflict with the tyrant Cronus, who did not know that this
newcomer was his own son. Zeus needed his brothers and sisters help
in slaying the tyrant, and Metis, Zeus's first wife, found a way of
administering an emetic to Cronus, who then threw up his five
previous children, who were Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and
Poseidon. Together they went to battle against their father. The
results were that all of his children, led by Zeus, vanquished Cronus
forever into Tartarus' domain, the Dark World under the Earth.
Thus, Zeus triumphed over not only his father, and his
father's family of Giants, he triumphed over his brothers
and sisters as well, dividing up the universe as he fancied,
in short, bringing order out of Chaos.
He made himself Supreme God over all, creating a
great and beautiful place for his favored gods to live, on
Mount Olympus, in Thessaly. All the others were left to
fend for themselves in lands below Mount Olympus.
Zeus made himself God of the Sky and all its
phenomena, including the clouds as well as the
thunderbolts. Hestia became goddess of the Hearth. To
his brother Poseidon, he gave the rule of the Sea.
Demeter became a goddess of Fertility, Hera (before she
married Zeus and became a jealous wife), was goddess of
Marriage and Childbirth, while Hades, one of his other
brothers, was made god of the Underworld.
Zeus did indeed bring order out of Chaos, but one of his
failings was that he did not look kindly upon the people,
those creatures that populated the lands over which he
reigned. Many were not beautiful, and Zeus had contempt for
anyone who was not beautiful. And of course they were not
immortal, as the Olympian gods were, and they complained
about the lack of good food and the everlasting cold nights.
Zeus ignored their complaints, while he and the other gods
feasted endlessly on steaming hot game from the
surrounding forests, and had great crackling fires in every
room of their palaces where they lived in the cold winter.
Enter Prometheus, one of the Titans not vanquished in the
war between Zeus and the giants. It is said in many myths
that Prometheus had created a race of people from clay, or
that he had combined specks of every living creature, molded
them together, and produced a new race, The Common Man.
At the very least he was their champion before Zeus.
Fire for cooking and heating was reserved only for the gods to
enjoy. Prometheus stole some of the sparks of a glowing fire from the
Olympians, so that the people below Olympus could have fire for
cooking and warmth in the winter, thus greatly improving their lot in
Zeus was furious at this insult to his absolute power, and had
Prometheus bound and chained to a mountain, sending an eagle to
attack him daily.
Adding insult to injury, Zeus had his fellow Olympian, Hephaestus,
fashion a wicked but beautiful creature to torment Prometheus. It
was a woman, whom they named Pandora, which means "all gifts".
She was given a precious and beautiful box, which she was told not to
open, but curiosity got the better of her, and out flew "all the evils
that plague men." The only "gift" that stayed in the box was "Hope".
So, from "far-ruling" Eurynome to the creation of the Common
Man, Greek creation myths are inextricably filled with difficulties,
though often ameliorated by the gift of Hope. A myriad of other
myths tell of the joys and adventures of great heroes and heroines,
other gods and goddesses, as well as fantastic creatures from all parts
of ancient Greece.
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