Creation Myths: The Nine Types of Creation Myth

The 9 types of creation myth by

Creation myths are one of my favourite things to write. Usually, a creation myth sets the tone of my entire world in a fantasy setting. There are many interesting myth to draw from in real-life, which always provide a source of inspiration for me. My favourite creation myths is a topic I’ll write on soon.

Even though there are a ridiculous number of different creation myths, they still can be be classified. Like most folklore, there are common themes that can be found across many cultures myths.

Where does your world’s creation myth fit?

Accretion or conjunction creation myths

Accretion or conjunction myths involve inanimate matter coming together to form the world. Usually the elements such as the Classical four. This type of myth avoids any purposeful action of a god or intelligent being.

Secretion creation myths

In the secretion myths, the creation of the world was as gross as it sounds. Anything from vomit to masturbation leads to the creation of the world.

Sacrifice creation myths

The death of Ymir is a famous example of a sacrifice creation myth. In a sacrifice myth, a god or primordial being dies, is dismembered, or falls asleep and the world is formed of their parts.

Division or consummation creation myths

Genesis combines both the Earth Diver and Ex nihlio creation myth archetypes.
Medallion from the Border of a Latin Bible: The Sixth Day of Creation. Early 1300s

Like it sounds, a consummation myth involves creation from an act of sex. Sometimes, this is the whole universe. Sometimes, the primordial couple births more gods, who then create the world. Or a myth like the Orphic Egg, which hatches and births the universe. Ultimately, a division myth focuses on separating the pieces of the universe into ordered parts as the act of creation.

Earth-diver creation myths

In Earth-diver myths, the creator has to retrieve the items necessary for creation by diving into the earth or primordial sea.

Emergence creation myths

In the creation myth of Vishnu, Lakshmi woke him
gently by massaging his feet. Then, out of his navel
emerged a lotus flower, and Vishnu gave birth to
Brahma, the god of creation.
Vishnu on Ananta, the Endless Serpent, c1700s

Emergence myths follow the idea that humanity or the gods come form another world, and enter our world. Often, the first world is a representation of the womb.

Two Creators creation myths

The efforts or conflicts of two creators is the key feature of a Two Creators myth, as the name suggests. There may be a duality of Good and Evil, or some other difference between the two deities that leads to conflict.

Deus Faber creation myths

Deus Faber “Maker God” is the idea of a creator craftsman, who forms the world with careful attention. Similar to a potter or artist, a Deus Faber creator god makes a work of art in the form of the world.

Ex nihilo creation myths

Ex nihilo means “from nothing.” In an Ex nihilo creation myth, the creator brings existence into being from nothing, such as with the power of their words or music (as in Tolkein’s Silmarillion).

Where does your world’s creation myth fit?

We can credit the folklorist Marta Weigle for the creation of these categories. Many times, your myth may fit into a couple of categories, so don’t worry! Genesis is a famous Ex nihilo myth, yet you may notice that the Bible is simultaneously a Deus Faber and Earth-diver myth. These categories don’t have to be exclusive, and should compliment each other.

Let me know in the comments which category your world falls into.

3 thoughts on “Creation Myths: The Nine Types of Creation Myth

Leave a Reply