The World Myth

The Supreme Being and Great Goddess

Who are some of the major versions of the great Supreme Being in the world myth?

The Supreme Being takes form according to the cultural traditions from which or she springs.

The Hebrew Yahweh is a firm and even demanding father of a tribe. The Greek high gods Kronos and Zeus are arbitrary and dominating heads of families, reflecting the highly patriarchal culture of Greece. In cultures in which the emphasis is on warrior skills, the god is a warrior god such as the Norse Odin or the Vedic Indra. The Canaanite Baal, is more of a weather/storm god, like the Norse Thor or the Maori Tawhiri and the Aztec Tlaloc. In Egypt and South America the Supreme Beings—Ra and Viracocha, for example—are usually associated with the sun, as are the Inca Inti, the Hopi Tawa, and the Iranian Mithras. Amaterasu in Japan and Grandmother Sun among the Cherokee are sun goddesses. In India the Supreme Being takes many forms—Shiva, Vishnu, Devi—of the unknowable all-present Brahman, a conceptual reality that resembles Gregory Bateson’s modern vision of something like God, as “Immanent Mind.” In cultures such as the ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian, the Supreme Being, Ahura Mazda represents the positive aspect of a dualistic world. The Great Spirit of Native America is a metaphorical embodiment of an animistic essence in creation. In Africa, the often disappearing creator god reflects a cultural attitude toward those in authority.


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