In the Beginning by Natalie Weaver


Natalie Weaver editedDear Friends,

Every year on New Year’s Eve, I read creation stories to my family.  We light candles, sit in a circle, eat, drink, and read.  This little ritual began as my protest to the vulgar commercialization of the New Year and the ponderous weight of trying to be/do/achieve something new every twelve months.  Last year, I discovered, however that I felt like the ancient creation myths and the new ways of bringing in the new year messaged similar things.  I wrote about it in my blog post from January 2015, committing to write my own creation myth to read this year.  I like where it is going… even this little exercise is causing me to think differently about sacred literature.  I am becoming Inspired, I gasp to myself, to write my own Scripture, my own sacred truth.  Here’s what I’ve got so far.  I hope you enjoy it.  Happy New Year!

Sirius in the Sky1 The beginning could not be reckoned in the time before time was reckoned.  2 For, what was had yet to know itself, and it could not know itself alone.  3 But, for its love, it could not be known.  So it was that the beginning that could be reckoned was not the beginning but the beginning of loving, which was the beginning of knowing, which was the beginning of being.  4 And, in that beginning, a great ellipsis had already become of particle and light, and the particle and light thrummed through darkness forming a whole body.  5 Of the great ellipsis of particle and light, a body and a body and a body were formed, in and of the great ellipsis, thrumming through darkness.  6 The thrumming ellipsis pushed forward so far that its particle and light extended beyond itself and then beyond itself and then beyond itself, as though it were to separate, but it did not.   7 A whole body was formed, which was the beginning of the simultaneity of what was and what is and what will have been. 

Sirius in the Sky8 The particle and light were one and at once, yet inside the great thrumming ellipsis formed the measures of distance wherein the particles were thrumming, and it looked like dancing. 9 In the light, the particles now could see one another, and they loved one another, because they were dancing, 10 and they knew that they were dancing because they could see one another.  11 And so, what was not the beginning was the beginning of the being that could be reckoned, which was the beginning of loving, which was the beginning of being.  They laughed, 12 and it was also the beginning of laughing.

2 And, then one day, a child was born to a woman, who grew to become a woman.  2 She recalled a time when she played, and the sun through the window cast patterns of particles and light across her bed.  3 The morning shone through the window, and captured the particles dancing in the light. 4 The child had a mother and a grandmother, 5 and when many long years had past, the child had a child and then a grandchild.  6 One day, the child, born to a woman, reckoned that she was a woman, 7 but the sun through the window had turned to dusk, 8 and the particles and light could barely be seen.  9 As the night came on, one by one, they appeared to rest in the darkness.  10 The child, born to a woman, began to fear.  For, one by one, she could not see the mother and the grandmother. 11 Then, when many long years had past, she also could not see the child or the grandchild.   She could no longer see the patterns across her bed.  12 She closed her windows and doors, because she could no longer see.  13 She closed her eyes, and it was so that she quietly entered the darkness.

3 In the beginning that could be reckoned, the great ellipsis that was of particle and light, continued its thrumming through the darkness.  2 A whole body was formed, which was the beginning of the simultaneity of what was and what is and what will have been, 3 and it was one.  4 And so one day, another came, who knocked at the door of the home where the child that was born to the woman, who had a child and then a grandchild, had been.  5 This other pushed open the door through the darkness, but it was dark, 6 and in the darkness it was too difficult to see. 7  There was a pushing through the darkness, that pushed against a window, 8 and the window parted. 9  And, the light poured in.  10 And, in the light, when the window parted, particles were floating in the light.  11 So many they were, and they moved in and around one another, although they had not seen.  12 For, they had forgotten that they were because they had not seen.  And, in the light, as by dancing, they appeared to one another.  13 And, they loved one another, for they saw one another, and they were dancing.  14 And, they began to laugh.

Sirius in the Sky4 Thus the beginning that could be reckoned for the great body that was every living thing that was and is and will have been was begun.  Of light and particle pushing through darkness, it was begun.  2 And the great ellipsis was thrumming through darkness, and 3 the thrumming was not silent and it did not rest, 4 for it was only the beginning of the time that could be reckoned.

 

Natalie Kertes Weaver, Ph.D.is Chair and Professor of Religious Studies at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio. Natalie’s academic books includeMarriage and Family: A Christian Theological Foundation (Anselm, 2009); Christian Thought and Practice: A Primer (Anselm, 2012); and The Theology of Suffering and Death: An Introduction for Caregivers (Routledge, 2013)Natalie’s most recent book is Made in the Image of God: Intersex and the Revisioning of Theological Anthropology (Wipf & Stock, 2014).  Natalie has also authored two art books: Interior Design: Rooms of a Half-Life and Baby’s First Latin.  Natalie’s areas of interest and expertise include: feminist theology; theology of suffering; theology of the family; religion and violence; and (inter)sex and theology.  Natalie is a married mother of two sons, Valentine and Nathan.  For pleasure, Natalie studies classical Hebrew, poetry, piano, and voice.

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Categories: Art, Feminist Theology, holiday, Literature, Myth, Ritual, Women's Voices

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15 replies

  1. I like the idea of your story very much. We so badly need a holy story that takes what is postulated and partially confirmed by gravitational and quantum physics into account, and for me love is the foundational power of the universe. However, you appear to be modelling the style of your story on versions of scripture that are, while clearly intending to embody a sense of mystery and power, also somewhat inaccessible. I am an Anglican priest and poet, yet found myself having difficulty with the flow of your story. I would love to see you work more on this, and keep on adding to it. I’m looking forward to the next chapter. Thank you for this.

    Karen Dukes

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  2. Reblogged this on writingontherim and commented:
    I am not a very religious person. It never occurred that anyone would be compelled to write his or her own creation myth. Therefore, this intrigues me greatly and I am seriously considering trying to do this myself. However, it will be difficult for me to do this without seriously considering all the science I know which is counter to the word “myth”. Would like to hear what others think about creation myths.

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  3. Karen, as a not very religious person, this write your own creation myth is such a novel idea. Like you, I would “need” to take into account the science I know. If we do that, does it not defeat the very meaning of the word myth?

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    • call it story then, no worries

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    • When I was at university, my religion professors taught that ‘myth’ is ‘truth in story form’. It has nothing to do with true/false dichotomies. In that sense, there is nothing incompatible between science and mythology or science and religion. Science can tell us the ‘how’ but doesn’t do a very good job at ascribing meaning. Mythology at its best is a story which should be open to many interpretations and layers of meaning.

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  4. A traditional story which embodies a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; a sacred narrative regarding a god, a hero, the origin of the world or of a people, etc.
    Read more at http://www.yourdictionary.com/myth#kHcWYQvX2lYuA4Ip.99

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  5. Beautiful!

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  6. How poetic your creation story is. It’s quite lovely. Thanks for sharing it with us. Happy New Year. Gaia bless us, everyone.

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  7. I like how you have interwoven in so many elements of sound (“thrumming”) and movement (dance) into your creation myth. My favorite verse is NatalieWeaver 1:3. It reminds me of Ibn Sina’s ‘floating man’ thought experiment.

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  8. Thanks for this exquisite post, Natalie! Wow!

    “In the beginning that could be reckoned, the great ellipsis that was of particle and light, continued its thrumming through the darkness.”

    This is a short comment on just one line in your thoughts, but it struck me suddenly that myth as science fiction is an emerald of our time.

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  9. I had a little trouble following this, Natalie, perhaps too many words unfamiliar to me. But I love the idea (being that it mirrors thoughts I’ve had this Christmas ;-) and great minds think alike – or so “they” say)

    Thinking of the Christmas story I was most strongly impressed by the influence I see of the Roman and Greek “god myths”. God in heaven comes down and lives with humans, taking our form, etc. The people that god favours are “chosen”, special, dominant. I wondered how I might tell the Christmas story today. It would go back to a different creation story.
    Surely “God the Father”, or the Creator, did not sit around “heaven” twiddling “his” thumbs for a few billion years waiting for Jesus to be born before “he” entered our lives.

    When I sit very still, I can sense it. The creating Spirit swirling around the grass, the trees, the animals including humans, picking up some things, dropping others like leaves in the Autumn. It animates the stars and planets, playing in a Universe we haven’t begun to imagine or understand. It enters into all life, inspiring love and compassion in those who perceive and act. It loves all creation and favours no clan, or nation. War is our doing, not the One we call God doing. As Carol wrote a while ago, It inspires rather than dominates or forces it’s will. And like this little story, is open ended.

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    • Just to say I greatly enjoyed your insights, here, Barbara, and your gentleness and exquisite humor regards God the Father twiddling his thumbs for a few billion years.

      Maybe most people know this, but somehow I was never aware, until recently, that our universe is actually one of many universes, in the same way our solar system is one of many solar systems. But it boggles the mind to take that on. If there is one supreme deity, it would have to be Nature as continuity, and thus manifest in all those universes effortlessly.

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      • Isn’t it so amazing Sarah? And scientists tell us that the Universe is expanding. Expanding! The “clan god” is no longer adequate. We need to develop a different story that fits with today and enables people to explore the Holy from a different angle.

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  10. This truly an enlightening share, Nancy. A reality! I feel a coming revival!

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