The 10 Most Disturbing Creation Stories Across Mythologies

The 10 Most Disturbing Creation Stories Across Mythologies June 16, 2023

The Creation of the World
The Creation of the World Was Disgusting (Pixabay).

WARNING: The following stories are not for the faint-hearted. Quite the contrary, as this article refuses to play it safe. There are no magical fairy tales here. Our existence is not a result of God’s heavenly love or the beautiful union of angelic figures. Instead, we venture down darker paths into unnerving adventures featuring a cast of weirdo monsters, brutal death scenes, and an unhealthy obsession with bodily fluids.

Seriously, there are a lot of bodily fluids in this piece, so don’t read on if you’re not into that. 

For everyone else, get ready for ten unsettling answers to the oldest question in the universe: what the hell am I doing here??

1. We Are Growths From God’s Body Parts 

Odin kills Ymir by Lorenz Frølich
Odin kills Ymir by Lorenz Frølich (Public Domain)

The wild narratives where we are abnormal tissue spawning from a deity’s body are abundant across global traditions. For example, in India, a lotus flower sprouted from Vishnu’s naval, revealing Brahma, who split the flower into three: the heavens, the skies, and the Earth. Thanks, Brahma!

Over the ocean to Norway, a giant named Ymir sweated out the first male and female entities from his armpits. That makes sense! Curiously, a six-headed child was also produced from his legs, but let’s ignore that. Ymir’s story ends when Odin and his brothers murder him, using his flesh to mash together our planet while his skull was used to open the sky.

One cannot help but wonder how symbolic these stories are. Even the Biblical Genesis states that God creates man in His own image, and then He forms Eve using Adam’s rib. There’s surely a midpoint truth somewhere, right? 

2. A Careful Mixture of Spit, Tears, and Semen

Atum didn't think anyone was watching.
Atum didn’t think anyone was watching. (Creative Commons)

Tracing back along one branch of Egyptian mythology, and we find Atum creating himself as the OG Original God. His loneliness soon gets the better of him, and he comes up with a simple solution. First, he masturbates into his mouth. Then he swirls his semen with his saliva. And finally, once it’s nice and ready, he spits out a couple of celestial children.

They were Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture. These two were eager to explore their new surroundings and ran away, leaving Atum behind, brokenhearted. Thankfully, Dad eventually found his offspring again, and he cried with joy as he held them in his arms. Those tears morphed into the first humans. 

3. Aliens Did It

Xenu according to South Park.
Xenu, according to South Park (Fair Use)

Extraterrestrial life is a permanent fixture of popular culture. The theory that aliens bred with monkeys to form humans is a common evolutionary debate and even has some Biblical sources. Ever read the Book of Enoch? It speaks of creatures called “Nephilim”, who fell to Earth to mate with our women. Sounds like a lot of effort just to get laid, but no judgement.

Regardless, L. Ron Hubbard built the entire religion of Scientology upon alien intervention. Reportedly, about 75 million years ago, the universe was direly overpopulated. To address this issue, the intergalactic ruler Xenu dropped billions of beings called Thetans into volcanoes on Earth. He then bombed the planet with nuclear weapons, just to be sure. As a result, these ancient traumatised Thetan ghosts continue to haunt us today, latching onto our souls as the root cause of all our emotional and physical problems. Thankfully, we can shake off these spiritual parasites by paying the Scientology organisation a ton of money

4. The Sacred Vomit

Hail the mighty Mbombo, the god of the Congo River Bushongo people. He predates all of existence, happily floating through the dark empty waters of the Universe for an unknown amount of time. Unfortunately, an agonising stomach ache interrupted his good vibes, and he vomited up the sun, the moon, and the stars. Mbombo felt better, but his tummy still wasn’t quite right. He eventually spewed up nine animals (two leopards, an eagle, a crocodile, a fish, a tortoise, a heron, a scarab, and a goat) along with a bunch of humans. Hey, that’s us! Bushongo’s son, Nyonye Ngana, wanted to join in on the puke action too, so he hurled up white ants and died immediately afterwards. Amateur!

5. Cosmic Eggs Everywhere

It's my World Egg, you can't have it by Jacob Bryant (public domain)
It’s my World Egg; you can’t have it by Jacob Bryant (public domain)

How much imagination did our ancestors require to develop their Cosmic Egg theories? Not much. They saw a creature. It laid an egg. Life magically came out of it. Creation! Although, in fairness, the process is pretty miraculous. 

For that reason, we can find variations of the hatching story in almost every ancient culture we know of, including Hinduism, Greek, Vietnamese, Slavic, and Inca. In Finland, the egg dropped from a water bird. In China, an 18,000-year-old egg grew into the giant Pan Gu god, who broke the shell into two parts, one becoming the sky, the other, land.

The scariest is the Native American Spider Woman who spun the cosmos as a web and then plopped an egg in its centre. From there emerged the sun and the moon and the balance of nature, everything interconnected. Finally, Spider Woman made us, the humans; hence everyone you know is secretly a spider.

In our modern age, people eat eggs without any regard to their spiritual status. Sometimes we even paint them in the name of Jesus for no logical reason whatsoever

6. We Are Children of Incestual Breeding

Izanami and Izanagi did weird things by Kobayashi Eitaku
Izanami and Izanagi did weird things by Kobayashi Eitaku (Public Domain)

The Divine Twins is another common creation trope, but none are as problematic as what Japanese mythology tells.

Meet Izanagi and Izanami. They were brother and sister, but upon finding a patch of oil drifting through space like a jellyfish, they received the holy message that they were destined to procreate a new world. The subsequent metaphorical poetics of this union are impressive, including when Izanagi sticks his “jewel-encrusted spear” into “the primal ooze of our planet”. After he’s done, he “spilt a salty substance” that formed the Japanese island Onogoro. 

The siblings eventually married and continued their rampage of taboo cosmic reproduction, birthing multiple islands that connect as the world we recognise today. Sadly, Izanami later died when she gave birth to literal fire. 

So next time you get in touch with nature by running barefoot across the dirt, just remember what it is you’re standing on. 

7. Moudled from a Bloody Clay

Apsu's kids killed him (Creative Commons)
Apsu’s kids killed him (Creative Commons)

In the convoluted soap opera of Ancient Mesopotamia, the celestial family above were having issues. The father, Apsu, disliked his kids. In response, his kids murdered him. This action understandably infuriated their mother, Tiamat, and she birthed an entire army of monsters, declaring war against her first round of offspring. Her one son Kingu led these troops, while the storm god Marduk fronted the opposition.

This battle culminated in a final conflict between Tiamat and Marduk. In an unjust fate, Marduk slew both Tiamat and Kingu, placing him as the patron deity of Babylon city.

But these sad deaths were not in vain. Tiamat’s body morphed into the earth and the skies, which allowed Marduk to mix Kingu’s blood with the soil. From that clay, Marduk moulded us, the human race, like a little art project.

8. It Was Frogs and Snakes

Rainbow Serpent rock painting skills.
Old school Rainbow Serpent rock painting. Photo by Mark O’Neil (Creative Commons).

The indigenous Australian culture is the oldest known to our history books, yet their creation story remains as delightfully original as the best of them. 

Within the pre-manifested “Dreamtime” realm, a Rainbow Snake appeared, developing the land as it slid along. When she encountered a group of frogs, she tickled their bellies until they laughed, water pouring from their mouths, forming the oceans. This combination allowed other life to flourish, and the Rainbow Snake gifted the ground to the humans with strict instructions to take care of it.

That is why the Aboriginals focus on holy locations rather than individuals, which makes sense. At best, a prophet will live a hundred years. But if treated correctly, a natural landmark may survive for millions more. 

9. No, Actually, It Was a Turtle

The World Turtle is probably the true story.
The World Turtle is probably the truest story. (Public Domain)

The World Turtle is a hugely popular creation theory found in numerous mythologies such as Indian, Chinese, and Indigenous American. The story could not be more straightforward: our flat planet was created and is held in place by a giant turtle. And without this colossal creature’s support, we’d drown in the cosmic waters below. What a champ.

It is also worth noting that many depictions reveal the turtle carrying eight World Elephants who also handle the Earth. Who is the real hero? And how did the world get there? Those details are up for debate, but the Vedangas give full credit to the deity Vishnu, claiming the turtle (Kurma) was one of his avatars. 

The concept is so deliciously absurd that renowned author Terry Pratchett lifted the idea in full for his Discworld series.

10. It’s God’s Hallucination That Doesn’t Even Exist

You’ve got to love Dharmic religions for their elastic narratives told simultaneously without fearing continuity issues. Among the many backstories behind Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, they all agree that our reality is an illusion. Don’t worry about it.

In one particularly gorgeous personification of Vedic tellings, Brahma was bored with the nothingness of the Universe and created a goddess named Maya to play with. Together, they built an imaginary world so complexly beautiful that Brahma wanted to share it with other beings. Maya agreed and cut Brahma into little pieces, forming humans out of those bits, stating, “Now the game begins! I am going to make you forget what you are, and you are going to try and find yourself!” 

Hence, here we are.

All Brahma.

Living in a dream.

Trying to recall our divinity until we finally wake up as one with the Universe again.

Any day now!

About Jared Woods
Born in South Africa and now homeless as a nomadic something or other, Jared Woods does whatever he wants. He has authored numerous books, including the spiritual philosophy texts known as the "Janthopoyism Bible". Follow Jared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @legotrip You can read more about the author here.

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