Oceanic Mythologies: Australian Aborigine and Polynesian

Australian Creations and Floods

Are there specific Australian creation myths?

All Australian Aboriginal deities are concerned in one way or another with the Dreaming and creation. In addition to the myths already identified, there are complex myths of creation such as one involving the Creator Goddess Yhi of the northern Karraur people. Yhi lay sleeping in dark Dreamtime, before the world was created, when a strange whistling sound woke her up. As her eyes opened, the world became full of light. As the sun goddess, she brought prosperity to the world through her light and warmth. Performing the ritual walkabout of the Dreaming, she left plants everywhere she stepped, and soon the world was a plant paradise. Yhi sat down and looked around her. She realized that as the plants could not move from place to place, she needed to create something that could. Now the sun goddess made a descent to the place beneath the earth, much as Inanna did in Mesopotamian mythology. There evil spirits tried to destroy Yhi, but her light and warmth prevailed, and beautiful dancing forms came from that warmth and light—butterflies and other insects—which Yhi led up to the upper world. Then she directed her powers to the caves of ice in the high mountains, and water, full of fish, flowed into the world. Birds and other animals were freed from the caves. Yhi blessed the new creatures and told them she would now return to her own world. As she moved away, darkness came over everything, and the new creatures were afraid. But sleep came and then the dawn, as Yhi climbed across the sky, and the creatures celebrated. This pattern went on through Dreamtime until the creatures became dissatisfied. So once again Yhi came down to earth and asked her creations what was bothering them. The creatures all wanted something they did not have. The bat wanted wings, the seal wanted to swim; everything wanted something new, so Yhi gave them what they wanted and returned to the sky. Now Yhi had created a male human but realized that the male required a woman. So, as the male slept one day, Yhi created a beautiful flower on a grass tree. The male was drawn to the flower bathed in the power of Yhi. The flower became a woman and the first man and woman joined hands.


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