SKY, WIND, SEA, EARTH: COSMOS UNVEILED IN ASEAN FOLKLORE
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
In my succeeding notes I will delve on the matter of cosmogony as contained in ASEAN myths, which is a synthesis of the objective world of cosmos and the subjective worlds of sentient beings. Before I proceed to those note presentations, let me articulate briefly the archetypal images in the cosmogony.
Essentially, three (3) archetypal images are observed across the diverse ethnicities and cultures: sky, sea, earth. The complexity of the cosmos and subjective worlds was attempted to be encapsulated in these archetypal images. Betwixt sky, sea, earth is the intermediary archetype of wind, the flowing or convection of which sort of meshes up the former 3. So that’s a 3 + 1 sort of formula all in all.
Do note that the ancient peoples of the region went through a long dormancy of high knowledge and high culture in the aftermath of the sinking of Poseidonis which triggered global submarine explosions that, in turn, ended the last Ice Age. The melting waters from glaciers, poles, and related glacial formations caused a Deluge and obliterated knowledge and epistemes (knowledge-building modes) of the ancients.
The knowledge, truths and wisdom were to survive through oral modalities of conservation and heritage, out of which evolved the folklore: myths, legends, puzzles, idioms, related forms. Divine wisdom flowed openly to the ancient peoples, but after the Deluge just the few Initiated Ones, notably the shamanic-priestly caste, obtained access to high wisdom.
Out of such preserved embeds of wisdom came the archetypes of sky, sea, earth. The embedded codes are surely tough nuts to crack, but let us try to decode those tough stuff just the same.
Divine wisdom reveals that both the objective and subjective domains of reality were emanations from the One Universal Principle or Supreme Deity, done upon the Out-breath phase of the Manvantara or great cycle of life. From out of that process evolved the 7th, 6th and 5th planes, which constitute the spiritual planes. Such ontological domains would roughly be the equivalent of the ‘sky’ archetype in ASEAN cosmogony.
From the spiritual dimensions the cosmic element of ether was to descend downwards, to aid in the formation of all the other elements. The possibility for emanating objective, material domains was then increased, thus creating the 4th, 3rd and 2nd planes. Altogether, the 4th and 3rd planes are the equivalent of the ‘wind’ archetype, while the 2nd plane corresponds to the ‘sea’ archetype.
The final, most dense form of domain, the physical or 1st plane, was the last. The ‘earth’ archetype corresponds to this domain. In the last instance, humans, plants, animals were created in this domain, which is what the ancient Malayans-IndoMongolians-Polynesians can make sense of the creation narrative. The ‘earth’ domain was an extrapolation from their solid existential context, so we will understand how they comprehend cosmogony during their own times as struggling post-Glacial peoples.
As always, the creator deities, led by the Supreme Deity, come from the ‘sky’. That is the closest that the ancients came to the real, the truth, the knowledge. For indeed Deities were of the 7th plane which is the dimension of deities and/or avatars. Such deities & avatars can always descend down the 5th plane, which is the dimension of the souls.
With this backgrounder, maybe we are ready to move on to the review of diverse cosmogonic/creation myths.
[Philippines, 17 June 2011]
PROF. ERLE FRAYNE ARGONZA WEBSITE: erleargonza.com
ARGONZA COSMIC BLOGS & LINKS:
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