So I’m from Australia, and the Aboriginals have stories about how Australia was formed. And these creation myths are called the Dreamtime stories. One of the most recognized Dreamtime stories is that of the rainbow serpent.
He was all that existed before people and animals, as in the Dreamtime the whole earth was asleep, and all living creatures were sleeping under the earth’s surface. But one day the Rainbow Serpent woke up and made her way onto the earth’s surface. The serpent essentially traveled across Australia and formed the creeks and rivers, he formed Ayers Rock, the bends and twists in our land, all of which resulted from the path his body took. Now he’s dead, and the only place you see him is in the sky as a rainbow, as he is the Rainbow Serpernt.
There’s a lot of different versions of this story I think, but I learned this one when I was 8 from an Aboriginal man. I just think it’s an interesting part of Australia’s culture and heritage. The Aboriginal people are really rarely recognized and they’re the ones that inhabited this land before us so I think all of their culture should be recognized.
Although Jaime is not an Aboriginal, she has a great respect for the Aboriginal people and their culture. This is the second creation story I’ve collected for this project, and I’ve noticed that both of the creation stories, both from indigenous people, are animal-centered. We discussed how this is very common in native cultures, as much of their religions and beliefs stem from animals and their spirits.
Pangu and the Beginning of the Earth
At the beginning of time, only darkness existed and everything was very chaotic. In the darkness, however, there was a large egg in which lived a giant named Pangu. When he became very big, he broke the egg shell, and these shell bits became the heaven and the earth. Pangu was very happy with what he had done, but he was hesitant that the heaven and the earth might fall together. He placed himself between the heaven and the earth, and held up the sky with his hands. After the sky finally became secure, Pangu died. His body decomposed and slowly became all the elements of the worldwind, clouds, thunder, lightning, the sun, the moon, etc.
Many stories about the beginning of the Earth exist. It was actually my roommate who told me this story about the beginning of the universe. I asked her if she knew of any folk stories in Chinese literature, and this was the one she remembered with the most detail. She heard the story from her great aunt. Her great aunt told her and her siblings this story when she was ten because she wanted to pass on her heritage. My roommate and her family like to go camping many times during the year. The whole family goes together, and cousins, aunts, and uncles will often accompany them to Carlsbad, where they usually go to camp. This story was told while they were sitting around a campfire, cooking dinner together. To pass time, each family member told a story that they felt was of great importance to them. My roommate told me that while she does not believe that this story is actually the beginning of the Earth, she does believe is reiterates her heritage. She is a third generation Chinese, so she has been very influenced by Western culture, even more so than others whose parents might still be Chinese native speakers.