Death and Rebirth In Myths and Nature

brown acorn

Photo by Pixabay on

Many cultures have stories of death and rebirth. In Japan, Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess, has to be coaxed from her cave to bring back the light. Meanwhile, the Hittite God, Telepinus, has to be coaxed from his mountains to bring back the rains. Among various Native American nations, Corn Mother has to be sacrificed to be reborn as corn for the people. The Inuit of the Arctic tell stories about Sedna, from whose broken body comes the bounty of their land.

Why do these disparate cultures have myths of death and rebirth? One could argue that they explain the cycles of life on earth. Daily, the sun rises and sets, and then rises again. In Ancient Egypt, Tawerat of Egypt acted as midwife to the daily rebirth of the sun.

However, these myths go beyond simply explaining the daily or seasonal cycles. They make explicit the delicate balance between the needs of people and nature. To keep the balance of life, deep harmony has to exist between the two. Lest they upset it, people need to be reminded of their relationship with nature. Myths are more than stories; they are theology.

3 thoughts on “Death and Rebirth In Myths and Nature

  1. The idea of cycles in general or rebirth in particular is a real gift to the world, if one thinks about it. There’s something wise, hopeful mysterious, chastising and restraining in it all at once. The vainglorious materialism of the modern world overlooks and dismisses it in favor of linear progress and positivism. I smile whenever I hear versions of “We can defeat poverty and disease one day” or my favorite “everyone needs to vote in this election, otherwise all is lost”. Where else did this way of thinking (I’m not sure whether it is better called deceptive or ludicrous) begin except from those who still say “one day God will defeat Satan and Jesus will return to rule the world in peace forever”.

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    • St. Augustine said that only Pagans walk in circles. He stressed the upward arrow of Christ’s Return. The Church changed people’s sense of time from circular or corkscrew to the arrow. It become “mono- time,” which people worldwide now think is the only time there is. I wrote a paper about people’s sense of time and how it changed with monotheism.

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