Emerging from the Darkness: 9 Creation Myths from Different Cultures

Emerging from the Darkness: 9 Creation Myths from Different Cultures

By Stephanie Schoppert
Emerging from the Darkness: 9 Creation Myths from Different Cultures

Creation myths are always a significant part of a culture’s identity. Many other myths that people believe in emerge out of that first, original one, and many of the answers to the world can be found in a culture’s mythology. For some cultures, the myths are particularly brutal, others are animal-based, female-based, or focused on nature. They all represent what is important to the culture where they originate.

From aliens, to dismembered bodies, to semen and flaming vaginas, many of these creation myths seem strange today, but they made sense to the cultures that created them. Even religions still followed today like Scientology and Christianity can be seen to have very strange creation myths to those who don’t practice the religion.

Depiction of Ymir. Pinterest

Norse Creation Myth

Norse mythology comes from the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. The Norse mythology had a strong hold in the legends of the early people of Scandinavia and continued on through the Viking Era. The Norse creation myth has the same grim outlook and cold theme that is present throughout the rest of the Norse myths.

The Norse creation myth begins with Muspell, which was a place of light and heat guarded by Surt. He wields a flaming sword and will bring about the end of the world by vanquishing the gods and burning the whole world. After Muspell came the yawning void known as Ginnungagap and past that lay the cold and dark work of Niflheim. The cold of Niflheim met the heat of Muspell at Ginnungagap and the thawing ice grew into the giant frost ogre called Ymir.

Under the left arm of Ymir grew a man and woman, and one of his legs birthed a son with the other. Thus, began the frost ogres. Thawing frost next became a cow who licked the salty ice blocks until she uncovered a man named Buri. He had a son named Bor who married Bestla, together they had three sons Odin, Vili and Ve. Odin is ruler of heaven and earth, the greatest and most famous of all men.

The three brothers killed Ymir. Then they created the world from his body. His blood became the sea and lakes. His flesh became the earth, his hair the trees and his bone became mountains. His skull became the sky and his brain became the clouds. They used the sparks of Muspell to give light to heaven and earth. Using his eyebrows, the three brothers built themselves a fortress which they named Midgard. Bor then found two trees and created man and woman. Odin gave them life, Vili gave them movement and understanding and Ve gave them clothing and names. From them came the races of men who lived in Migard.