Creation Myths & the Virgin Mary
The first known European creation myth (the Pelasgian Creation Story) tells how Our Mother God Eurynome danced upon the waters and divided the sea from the sky, how She became a dove and laid the World-Egg, how She defeated the Dark Serpent, Ophion, crushing its head with Her foot, and how She created the seven Powers that rule the seven different streams of creation.
Many of the elements of this first Creation are found in other creation myths, including the well-known Biblical story. Naturally the patriarchal versions have progressively re-edited them, removing, demoting or distorting the primary Feminine figure of Our Mother God.
What do these creation myths mean? In the first place they are not the story of the creation of a particular planet with its seas, land, sun, moon and so forth. They are the story of the creation of the entire universe; the creation of Cosmos out of the primordial chaos; the action of the Divine Essence upon the pre-material Substance to create a universe.
This alone is sufficient to dispose of the childish literalism with which some Christians regard the Biblical story of Creation: assuming that is the tale of the creation of this particular earth some 4,000 years ago.
Creation myths in fact speak of the creation of the physical universe (to be precise, they speak of the creation of the subtle universe which later consolidated into a physical universe) and of space and time themselves. Therefore the "events" to which such a myth refers must necessarily depict things outside space and time. They are "translated" into apparently spatio-temporal "happenings" because our time-and-space bound minds cannot grasp things outside space and time.
The naivety of certain modern scientists, who attempt to "explain" such matters as the origin of time and space from what is still a spatio-temporal perspective (which, by its own self-definition all "science" must adopt) is no less childish that that of the Biblical literalist, although it sounds more acceptable to the modern semi-educated person for whom "science" is a kind of superstitious talisman of all-knowing rather than a limited and very specific method of physical enquiry.
Having said that creation myths teach us of extra-spatio-temporal Realities, the modern Western mind with its naive literalism, will tend to say that we can surely dispense with the story and consider the underlying Reality. This is impossible, because our rational minds cannot grasp what is beyond time and space (the contemplative Intellect, at a high level, can do so, but that is another matter: and having done so it is by definition impossible to "tell" what is in fact an experience that transcends words).
The Myth is not only the best way for us to grasp the Reality: it is the Reality in the only form our discursive minds can grasp it. There is no spoken Truth higher than myth.
How does the Primordial Creation Myth relate to the Image of the Virgin Mary? As we have pointed out in our main page on the Virgin Mary, much of Her imagery is directly taken from earlier Forms of Our Mother God, and this is not just a question of human "borrowing", but of a living Iconography, which, like Myth itself, transcends the human mind.
One example of this, as explained in our page on Virgin Mary statues, is the image of Mary treading upon the head of the serpent, which is actually based on a mistranslation of the Septuagint, but Providentially restores an important element of the iconography of Our Mother God. A correspondent has kindly commented on this matter:
As St Alphonsus Ligouri explains:
The image of Our Lady treading the Serpent is clearly connected with Creation. We have also noted that a majority of Virgin Mary statues with the serpent have Our Lady standing on a hemisphere. This is sometimes interpreted (not wrongly, but rather incompletely) as the world.
Iconographically, this hemisphere is in fact one half of the Ovum Mundi or world-egg. The two halves of the World-Egg are known as Heaven and Earth or the Essence and Substance that are required for the manifestation of any being, or of an entire universe. These two halves may be represented by the double-spiral, often depicted as two snakes or as a two-headed snake. In Chinese cosmology, the same concept is represented by the yin-yang symbol. Interestingly the hemisphere is occasionally painted with the features of a world-globe, but more often with stars, clouds and "Heavenly" symbols, as is proper to the upper hemisphere.
The Mother-Creatrix defeats the Snake of formless, pre-material substance in order to bring forth a Cosmos. She separates the Heaven from the Waters below (that which is "above" manifestation from that which is "below" manifestation) to make a "space" in which manifestation can take place - and that space She "measures" with Her own Being and illuminates with Her supernal Grace.
Thus the traditional statue or picture of Our Lady, standing on a hemisphere with the serpent beneath Her foot, often distributing Grace from Her open hands, is iconographically a perfect and exact depiction of the original Truth that lies behind all creation myths.
Such statues depict both the Mother as Creatrix and the Daughter as Sustainer and Saviour of the world.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary: Divine Centre of the Universe
Choosing a Virgin Mary Statue: a guide for Devotees of Our Mother God
Mary Statues as Images of God the Mother: further important information on statues of Our Lady Mary.
The Mother-God Hail Mary mp3 The Hail Mary "translated" for devotional use by children of Our Mother God. This Sermon, given at a Filanic Service, presents and explains the Mother-God Hail Mary.
Mary and Eve reflections on the original Divine status of Eve as Creatrix, and the traditional idea of Mary as "the New Eve"
Or return to The Blessed Virgin Mary Main Page
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