Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": CREATION FROM MERE APPEARANCE


A belief of the Uitoto of Colombia, South America.

In the beginning there was nothing but mere appearance, nothing really existed. It was a phantasm, an illusion that our father touched; something mysterious it was that he grasped. Nothing existed. Through the agency of a dream our father, He-who-is-appearance-only, Nainema, pressed the phantasm to his breast and then was sunk in thought.
Not even a tree existed that might have supported this phantasm and only through his breath did Nainema hold this illusion attached to the thread of a dream. He tried to discover what was at the bottom of it, but he found nothing. 'I have attached that which was nonexistent,' be said. There was nothing.
Then our father tried again and investigated the bottom of this something and his fingers sought the empty phantasm. He tied the emptiness to the dream-thread and pressed the magical glue-substance upon it. Thus by means of his dream did be hold it like the fluff of raw cotton.
He seized the bottom of the phantasm and stamped upon it repeatedly, allowing himself finally to rest upon the earth of which be had dreamt.
The earth-phantasm was now his. Then he spat out saliva repeatedly so that the forests might arise. He lay upon the earth and set the covering of heaven above it. He drew from the earth the blue and white heavens and placed them above.

Paul Radin, Monotheism among Primitive Peoples (Basel, 1954) pp 13-14; paraphrasing and summarizing K. T.Preuss, Religion und Mythologie der Uitoto, 1 (Gottingen, 1921)pp. 166-8

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