Pre-Columbian Bergonian Cosmology
Pre-Columbian Bergonian cosmology had very little in common with the hierarchical, stable order of Aristotelian and Christian cosmology, even though there was formally stated to be a great deal of structure to it.
The Bergonian cosmological structure is arrayed against a fundamental backdrop of vast, open, empty space, a dreadful, awe-inspiring, consuming space, a space that recedes from the very few sources of light in the universe into ultimate darkness. The open land stretches outward under an endless sky, and the mountain stretches upward in vain attempts to reach the sky. Under these spaces a human on earth cut a small figure, and to him the universe was huge, almost infinite, cold, indifferent to humankind. It is best to see man as a speck, as seen from afar, crossing a broad plain against a backdrop of huge mountains.
On all sides, around the earthen base, swirls the endlessocean, and when a man or woman stood on the beach (as did the great prophet, Ierecina) and sees the horizon dividing empty sky and space from strange dark ocean, he or she was seeing as far as possible.
Arcan, Icotesi and the other Gods are far distant giants, and we are ants and mites to them. The ultimate affect this produces in the open mind is awe. The world is like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first instant in person.
In the most cosmological sense, Bergonians perceived the universe as a single point of light surrounded by a vast, unknowing void. There was a great deal of tension in the light maintaining itself against the void, and in the edges where the light gave way to the empty darkness. The light is frail. There was fear and expectation that the light would not hold out against the darkness forever, that someday the flame would die out and the darkness would subsume all.
The perennial moment witnesses the hero, alone in the vastness of a wild, uninhabited countryside. It is evening, the sun's bright light swallowing up, with long shadows, evoking eternal mystery by its daily death and resurrection, and the stars appearing in the deepening eternal darkness, in every phase and at every turn the sky remains vast and empty, and the essential struggle is the light and heat struggling to maintain against the relentless pull of the cold and dark. It is an empty, alien and free universe. The hero wanders against this backdrop of terror and freedom, and confronts other contenders, other scared and nervous beings, touchy, defensive, prone to violence, and yet wanting to sit down with each other. The ultimate characteristic of the universe is wildness.
The world is dependably ordered, according to certain laws, operating like rules in a game, placing limitations and definitions on entities, yet within those limitations it is frightening disordered by the randomness of motion, energy and effort of those gods, forces, creatures and souls that inhabit it. The world thus is a frighteningly unpredictable place for the the transient entities within it. A man could feel completely alone in the world and be completely compatible with the ancient Bergonian worldview.
If the corporate group of Shufrantei Gods resembled a hierarchical family-- and indeed the Shufrantei Gods were more explicitly organized than any other mythology in the world, with ranks and bounds-- then it was a very unruly family, with the members often feuding, sniping, and even seeking revenge against each other. Likewise ancient Kuan Nine-God-Worship similarly portrayed a god-head as a polytheistic corporation.
In the beginning was theAbyss, infinite, dark and lifeless. In the midst of this darkness appeared the Holy Light, or the Light-Bloom, the original light. Out of the light came the first gods. Everything in the universe has been formed on the Light-Bloom, and nothing can exist apart from it, including the gods and goddesses themselves. The Light-Bloom holds forth against the Abyss, out of which all the realms come, out of which all life emerges, and in which souls find extinction after death.
In the midst of the Light-Bloom is the Star Realm, where the gods lived in the City of the Stars, and below that is the world of worlds, including the world that e know, the world that we live in. The Bergonians easily imagined other worlds, hundreds and thousands of them. These were various called the "Mansions" and equated with the stars. IN this sense ancient Bergonian cosmology anticipated the understanding that the sun is just another star, and that our world is just one of many possible ones in the universe.
Our world is divided into the Sky Realm and the Earth Realm. This level of creation was comprised of Fire and Water-energy and Matter. Some gods were of the sky realm and others of the earth realm, the place of plants and animals.
When men and women die, the souls depart this world and attempt to make the trek around the Light-Bloom to reach the
[8 Jul 04]
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