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  1. 1. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian Aboriginal beliefs It was long thought that Aborigines had no religion. “Just magick.” Superstitious beliefs. But (1) there are organized beliefs. But (2) if you view religion as the organization of socio-cultural activity, in relation to something transcendent, then most of what Aborigines do is religious. But (3) if religion is to believe that the world is of transcendent origin, then the Australian Aboriginal worldview is religious. (Dreaming.) The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian Aboriginal beliefs Three Central Themes The relation between… Man — man. Man — nature. Man — the transcendent.
  2. 2. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian Aboriginal beliefs Fertility The three themes diverge around fertility. Of man. Of nature. Procreation and food. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian Aboriginal beliefs These themes are explored through religious rites. Among the more important are life-crisis rites. Life-cycle rituals Birth. Puberty (social rebirth). Death.
  3. 3. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Eliade, nos. 1 The time before this Bunjil lived among the Kulin, in the time before this. Benign. Looked like an old man. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Dreaming (“The time before this”) “Dream | Blooming 1” by Gavin Bobo (cc-by-sa) http://flickr.com/photos/2493/525108189/
  4. 4. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Dreaming Not to be confused with nightly dreams. The eternal dream-time. The spiritual reality. Something fundamental; that which is truly real. (Cf. Gill!) Incarnate from dreaming (through mother). [Eliade, nos. 78] With the initiation rite access is regained. [Eliade, nos. 78] Returns through the funeral rites. [Eliade, nos. 78] The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Dreaming Incarnate from dreaming (through mother). [Eliade, nos. 78] With the initiation rite access is regained. [Eliade, nos. 78] Returns through the funeral rites. [Eliade, nos. 78] A totem is a link to dreaming. Holy is, more or less, that which relates to dreaming.
  5. 5. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Eliade, nos. 1 Bunjil taught them how the world works; how one should behave. Proper behaviour Among other things: how to form families. From different tribes. Ceremonies brings groups of tribes together. Yuin Kuringal being an example. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Eliade, nos. 1 Yuin Kuringal Initiation rite of boys to men. (Separate rites for women.) Karangal gathers several tribes; from Manero, Shoalhaven, Braidwood. Together they form a group from which a partner is found. Similar enough. (Culturally.) Different enough. (Genetically.)
  6. 6. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods From Howitt, A.W. (1904). The Native Tribes of South-East Australia. New York, MacMillan and Co. Page 202. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Eliade, nos. 1 “You Yangs Bunjil geoglyph” (2007) by TheOriginal BicMac (cc-by-sa-2.5) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:You_Yangs_Bunjil_geoglyph.JPG
  7. 7. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Eliade, nos. 1 Bunjil, “Our Father” “Eagle-Hawk”. (Previous slide.) His “real name” is seldom used. More common with Mami-ngata, our father. (Wurunjery) Mungan-ngaua. (Kurnai) Daramulin. (Kuringal-cluster of tribes) Or Baiame, the maker. (Kamilaroi) The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Eliade, nos. 1 Bunjil (cont.), “Our Father” Antropomorphic. (Old man.) Benign. Incarnates; has taken human form. Begets children. Will return. Takes care of the dead. Looks at man from above. Is everywhere — and in heaven. (Omnipresent paradox.) “Ku-ring-gai Chase - petroglyph” by Peter Woodard (public domain) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ku-ring-gai_Chase_-_petroglyph.jpg
  8. 8. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Australian High-Gods Eliade, nos. 1 “Biamie’s Cave”[sic] av Tammin Wright (cc-by-sa-3.0) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Biamie%27s_Cave.jpg The highest, divine Myths of Creation African religion Common Misconceptions Ancestral worship Yes. But African religion can’t be reduced to this. Superstition Neither more or less than other religions. Animism Yes. But just a part of a larger whole. As with ancestral worship. Magick Yes. But not central. See above.
  9. 9. The highest, divine Myths of Creation African Religion General Cosmogony Universe is created by the divine. No common view as to how (or by exactly whom). As the world is created by god, it’s essentially religious. God is still creating. The highest, divine Myths of Creation African Religion General Cosmology Two-part world: the visible (earth) and invisible (heaven). …or… Three-part world. Heaven; earth; underworld. In both cases, the parts are not that separated. Heaven is on earth. Levels of existence, not substantially different. In both cases, the world is ordered, not chaotic.
  10. 10. The highest, divine Myths of Creation African Religion General: ordered universe Natural laws, the world is not random. It works in a certain way. (As the divine intended.) Moral laws, as stipulated by the divine. For the good of mankind. So that we shall live happily and harmoniously. Mystical force, inhabiting the universe. It’s origin is the divine. Accessible by some. (Visions, telepathy, clairvoyance, healing, rainmaking…) The highest, divine Myths of Creation African High-Gods Common traits Eliade, nos. 2–7 A maker. Benign. Omnipotent. Omniscient. A bit ‘higher up’; more distanced.
  11. 11. The highest, divine Myths of Creation African High-Gods Nzambi Mpungu of the Bakongo Invisible, omnipotent maker. Lives ‘above’. Looks upon man, and punishes her. Doesn’t need worship. Is ‘unreachable’. Has given rules, which are to be obeyed. ‘Takes away man’ at the hour of death. The highest, divine Myths of Creation African High-Gods Cghene of the Isoko “Figure,SouthernIsokopeoples,Nigeria,Earlytomid-20thcentury, Wood”bycliff1066(cc-by) http://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/2922778845/
  12. 12. The highest, divine Myths of Creation African High-Gods Cghene of the Isoko Invisible, omnipotent maker. Is ‘beyond human comprehension’. (Mysterious are his ways…) Lives ‘above’. Sends rain, sun and thunder. Is called ‘Our Father’, but is sexless. Sexlessness is actually quite common. But (a) difficult to fathom from our, cultural point of view; (b) hard even to express in our language. Punishes evil; rewards goodness. No temples; no priests; no worship; no rituals. —But an oyise, a 2.5m high pole used as an intermediary when communicating with Cghene. Only used in great need. The highest, divine Myths of Creation African High-Gods Ngai of the Kikuyu One god; the maker. Invisible. Lives ‘above’ and on a mountain. (Omnipresent paradox) Thunder and lightning are signs of/from him. Punishes evil; rewards goodness. Invoked in crisis and life-cycle rites. Isn’t worshipped in good times. (If all is well, then Ngai must be happy.) His name should not be used unnecessarily. (Not used in vain.)
  13. 13. The highest, divine Myths of Creation African High-Gods Ndjambi of the Herero “Namibieherero0702a”byYvesPicq(cc-by-sa-3.0) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Namibie_herero_0702a. jpg The highest, divine Myths of Creation African High-Gods Ndjambi of the Herero Lives in heaven — but is everywhere. (Omnipresent paradox) Benign. Only worshipped in crisis or when giving thanks. Has both a name that is most holy (Ndjambi); and one that may be used (Karunga). (Cf. [Jehova/Yahve]/Adonai.1) 1 When reading the Hebrew scripture, and God’s name was written, what was read aloud was Adonai (“Our Lord”) instead of the actual name, Jehova/Yahve. God’s real name is too holy to use. In fact, Adonai, too, is by some considered too holy to use when talking about God outside of ritual purposes, and so they instead refer to God as HaShem (“The Name”).
  14. 14. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Africa and Christianity Gifford Three stages Missionary churches. Independent African churches (AIC). Peaked around 1960. Charismatic churches. Will be focused on here. Increasing rapidly. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Africa and Christianity Charismatic Churches Five Themes Worldly success. Material wealth. The holy, the supernatural, is everywhere. Liberation theology. Demonic influences hinder the success that would naturally be there. By removing said influences, success and wealth is achieved.
  15. 15. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Africa and Christianity Charismatic Churches Fits well with the worldview of traditional, African religion. Control and success — harvest and animals; children etc. The spiritual is everywhere. The sacred and the profane are two sides of a coin, not substantially different. Religion should explain, predict, and be a tool for controlling future events. “Normally” one of Christianity’s weak spots. “Corrected” through the third wave of charismatic churches. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Africa and Christianity Charismatic Churches The charismatic churches receives converts primarily from other Christian denominations. Not a unified group; very varied.
  16. 16. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Africa and Christianity Kenya, statistics 39 million (2009). 22% Kikuyu. Religious Adherence 83% Christian 11.2% Muslim 2.5% non-religious 1.7% Ethnic religion 50 000 Hindu Baha’i. Christian Denominations 47.7% Protestant 23.5% Catholic 621 000 Orthodox 133 000 Quakers The highest, divine Myths of Creation Africa (1033M): religion A statistical overview 488 Million Christian (47%) 421 Million Muslim (41%) 109 Million ethnic religious (11%) 6 Million agnostic (0.006%) 3 Million Hindu (0.003%) 2 Million Baha’i (0.002%)
  17. 17. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Native American General Omnipresent life-force, one name used (Dakota) is Wakan. Everything has Wakan. Living as well as inanimate objects. Even phenomena like wind and such. Belief in spirits. …in visions. Medicinmen/shamans. The three life-crisis: birth; puberty; death. Much variety between the tribes — of which there are a great number. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Native American General Religion, is to live. To live with the divine is to live in creation — as everything has got Wakan. To perform rites is to endeepen your relation with creation. Theological discussion is less interessting — but to breath is to pray. Adherents don’t necessarily claim religious adherence — the culture as a whole, and ways of living, are seen as spiritual. Cf. Sami religiosity. Today, most forms of indigenous belief is influenced by Christianity.
  18. 18. The highest, divine Myths of Creation North-American High-Gods Wakan Tanka of the Dakota Sioux “IndianchiefSittingBull(1831–1890)”,photoca.1885.Source:United StatesLibraryofCongress(publicdomain) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:En-chief-sitting-bull.jpg The highest, divine Myths of Creation North-American High-Gods Wakan Tanka of the Dakota Sioux Every object — animate as well as inanimate — has wakan; spirit. Wakan is not born; nor does it die. You can communicate with wakan. The sum of all wakan, is Wakan Tanka.
  19. 19. The highest, divine Myths of Creation North-American High-Gods Gicelĕmû ’kaong of the Lenape/Delaware “ Lapowinsa, Chief of the Lenape, 1737”, source: Library of Congress, Washington (public domain) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lapowinsa01.jpg The highest, divine Myths of Creation North-American High-Gods Gicelĕmû ’kaong of the Lenape/Delaware Gicelĕmû ’kaong created the earth through his agents, called mani ’towuk. Gave the Creation to the Lenape. Gicelĕmû ’kaong isn’t worshipped directly. The mani ’towuk are more easily approached. The Great Spirit lives in the twelfth heaven — but is everywhere. (Omnipresent paradox) Only spoken to during important ceremonies. Twelve shouts to reach. “—Count to ten before you…”
  20. 20. The highest, divine Myths of Creation High-Gods of the Pacific Ocean Io of the Maori “Maorigodsymbols” from J. White, The Ancient History of the Maori (Government Printer, Wellington: 1887-1891). (public domain) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maorigodsymbols.jpg The highest, divine Myths of Creation High-Gods of the Pacific Ocean Io of the Maori Io is a holy name. —The missionaries completely missed him. Eternal; omniscient; the maker. No images is made of Io; no sacrifices. Esoteric? Maybe. Or: the believers didn’t want to inform the missionaries of their most holy of holies. Male-dominated? Maybe. Or: was it the missionaries pre-conceived notions that gave them this idea? In many ways, the Maori are more gender-neutral than we are. For instance, women-priests is not uncommon.
  21. 21. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Myths of Creation Virtually all collections of myths contain an account of how the world came into being. They fall, more or less, under one of the following motifs: Ex Nihilo Earth Diver Division of the primordial . . . .unity Division of the primordial . . . .Being   The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Ex Nihilo “From nothing.” Winnebago-tribe (Nebraska) Our father’s thoughts ⇒ water ⇒ light ⇒ earth ⇒ man’s body ⇒ tongue ⇒ soul ⇒ breath of life.
  22. 22. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Ex Nihilo “From nothing.” Omaha (Nebraska/Iowa) All was in the mind of Wakonda. Wakonda, the Maker. All beings, including man, wandered about as spirits. They came to earth, which was covered with water. Suddenly, the ground came to being. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Ex Nihilo “From nothing.” Uitoto (Colombia) In the beginning, all there was, was an illusion. Illusion came to be through our father’s, Nainema’s, dream. Nainema, who is only an apparition. Nainema took hold of the illusion; explored; thought about it’s being. It was a nothing-ness. Something which did not exist. N. draws the apparition down and stomps on it. Then he could rest on the earth this turned into. He now owned this apparition-earth. He spat so that the forest could take hold; he lied on the earth and put the skies above.
  23. 23. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Ex Nihilo “From nothing.” Abrahamic “Let there be light.” The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Earth Diver The primordial water, from which earth is brought. Maidu (Northern California) Everything is covered by water. The turtle A’nōshma surfaces from a six-year long dive, to the raft. There’s some soil under his nails. This soil grows into the world. The raft drifts ashore. Light is created; trees, and so on.
  24. 24. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Earth Diver The primordial water, from which earth is brought. Yauelmani Yokut (California) Water everywhere. A thin tree grows. On it, a nest. Different animals, eagle being the most prominent. The first duck fails, diving for earth. The second fails, but has soil under it’s nails when it floats to the surface. The soil is recovered, mixed with seeds. Eventually, the earth has grown into being. The thin tree now grows from the earth. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Division of the primordial unity Division of the primordial unity Division of heaven and earth. Division of a formless mass; of chaos. Division of an cosmic egg.
  25. 25. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Division of the primordial unity Polynesia Ta’aroa, the maker and unmade; his own parent. Sat in a shell. There was no heaven, no earth; no water, no stars. Only darkness. Ta’aroa breaks the shell, which becomes heaven. He lies in a new shell, which becomes earth when he walks out of it. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Division of the primordial unity Shinto (Japan) In the beginning, heaven and earth were not separated. In and Yo were one. They composed an chaotic mass. The clearer, purer substance became the sky. The heavier, more gross substance sank down, became the earth.
  26. 26. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Division of the primordial being A being is, one way or another, divided into pieces. These pieces will become the world. The sacrifice can be made with consent (Ymr, Purush…). Or against the will of the being (Tiamat, for instance). The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Division of the primordial being Mesopotamia (1) There was nothing, but Apsu and Tiamat. Both water-deities. Apsu over freshwater; Tiamat over seawater. They are mixed, and the first generation of gods are born. Lahmu and Lahamu. Anshar and Kishar, who begot Anu, who begot Ea. Ea was mightier than all his siblings, greatest among the gods.
  27. 27. The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Division of the primordial being Mesopotamia (1) Apsu finds the gods annoying, wants to kill them. Apsu is murdered by Ea. Tiamat gets angry, but is killed in battle by Marduk, the son of Ea. Marduk cuts Tiamat in half; this creates heaven and earth. Kingu is said to have misled Tiamat into battle. man is made of his blood. (Marduk:) “I will establish a savage, ‘man’ shall be his name. […] [The gods] imposed on [Kingu] his guilt and severed his blood (vessels). Out of his blood they fashioned mankind.” The highest, divine Myths of Creation Cosmogonies Different ways of framing creation — different worldviews. Man made in different ways — is seen having different roles. Compare with Gill (handout). What kind of world do we live in, according to the Mesopotamian myth? What kind of creature is man? What kind of world do we live in, according to the Christian myth? What kind of creature is man?

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