Joseph Campbell writes of mythic traditions involving a creatrix, i.e., a female world creator he calls Mother Universe. In many myths, she’s a single figure sent by the Eternal One and, according to Campbell, represents the desire for creation. In some mythic traditions, however, the creatrix appears as multiple different female figures and represents the destiny of humankind.

Morning Star/Evening Star

In some mythic traditions, various creatrices represent the process of the universal round. Recall that the round begins with a situation that’s as close to divinity as the material universe can get. Gradually, over a long period of time, the “quality” of the world deteriorates. There’s more materiality and less spirituality, so to speak. At some point, the degenerated physical world is completely destroyed and an “ascension” begins. Things get better as material existence moves towards the spiritual. Eventually, all that is material returns to the Abyss, and the round begins again. With each round, humanity as a whole progresses spiritually.

The creatrix as “Morning Star” (or represented by some other symbol of light) signals the more divine-like phase of creation. She’s closer to the spirit than to the material, and her male mate acts accordingly. She may bring to birth the forms of nature that are of a higher level (trees, mountains, waters, etc.). As a result of her creative actions, there’s beauty and abundance in the world.

The creatrix as “Evening Star” (or whatever symbol of darkness is chosen to represent her) is closer to the material. She gives birth to animals, which can represent our instinctual, “animal” nature (often seen in opposition to our spiritual nature). She also gives birth to mortal humans. Once they begin creating their own children, the creatrix and her mate are no longer needed and return to the Abyss through death.

Beautiful maiden flying among flowers with morning star in the sky

“The Morning Star” John Simmons (1823-1876). Photo by Sofi, courtesy of Flickr’s Creative Commons

Fairy lounging on flower, gazing at the evening star

“The Evening Star” John Simmons (British, 1823-1876). Photo by Sofi, courtesy of Flickr’s Creative Commons

OK, so both are young, beautiful, and naked, but it’s pretty obvious who’s the sexier one. 🙂

Destiny

Campbell speaks of the creatrix in such cases as representing the destiny of the world.

The mother of life is at the same time the mother of death.

Recall that there are two viewpoints regarding the creation of human beings (i.e., the process of the One becoming many). The perspective of the spiritual world is that destruction and death are a natural part of the universal round and harmonious with it. Without them, there would be no renewal and the human race wouldn’t be able to progress spiritually. However, from the point of view of the material world, destruction and death are tragic.

Myths involving a creatrix with a dual nature (i.e., “Morning Star”/”Evening Star”) demonstrate the destiny of the universal round. Whether we see it from the spiritual or material perspective is up to us. Campbell gives, for instance, an example from the Wahungwe Makoni of Africa. The creation of the “higher” forms of nature (trees, bushes, etc.) is done by dabbing the “Morning Star” creatrix with a magical oil. She and her male mate live childless for two blissful years.

When the “Morning Star” creatrix is taken away (i.e., returned to the All/One/Abyss), the male mate complains to the All-Highest that he has no one to provide for his physical needs (which is one indication of the degeneration from mostly spiritual concerns to mostly physical concerns). The “Evening Star” creatrix is then sent. She demands sexual intercourse and gives birth to animals. She convinces her male mate to hide their sexual activity from the All-Highest when It tries to prevent them from mating again and thus bringing on their death.

She eventually gives birth to humans. After that, she sends her male mate to have sex with his daughters while she apparently couples with a snake. When he returns to her, demanding sex, the snake bites him and he becomes sick, which leads to drought and death in the land. The sons and daughters ultimately kill them both in order to bring fertility back to the land and the people.

The actions in this myth show conflict and struggle with the “Evening Star” creatrix being the “leader.” This is very different from the blissful harmony the world knew with the “Morning Star” creatrix. Campbell’s point, however, is that they both symbolize the destiny of the human race through the universal round, and as such, the degenerative actions (i.e., that lead to death and destruction) are all part of the plan.