Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Great Mother

Title: The Great Mother
Word Count: 1,214
Genre: Mythological

My last post was the death myth for the Kamore people. This short story is the actual start of their mythology. I wrote this as a part of a mythology challenge, where we had to write a new myth. Creation myths are pretty common and I had studied several as a part of one of my history classes in college, so I went for that. I actually won second place in that competition, so I got a banner and an icon made for this one. Enjoy!

TDM - Mythology 2

As the last light of day faded in the west, Huti watched the tribe members gather in anticipation of the dance. The drummers along the edges of the fire pounded violently on their drums, calling everyone to gather here. Clad in bright colors of yellow and red, the dancers were covered with beads and masks of varying designs. The masks told a story themselves, one that Huti would put into words tonight, the night they celebrated Medomai.

As the drums faded and the dancers took their positions next to him, Huti threw a fine dust into the fire. It flared, momentarily blinding the people watching the fire, and then died down, producing a bright smoke above it. Shapes twisted and turned in the smoke, fading in and out of the foreground. Huti smiled at the children of the tribe, seeing this presentation in a new light each year, oohed and ahhed at the images.

“Tonight, we gather to celebrate Medomai, the Great Mother. It is she who gave our ancestors their lives, and it is she who we shall all return to in the end.” Huti's voice had a chant-like quality to it, lulling many in the tribe into a trance-like state. The images in the smoke showed a large woman making small objects from the clay. She smiled and formed the objects as if she were a mere child playing in the clay. Two dancers had begun to dance, one with a mask with large blue eyes like the sky, deep wooden-brown skin of trees, and green hair like the leaves and grass of plants; the image of the Great Mother. The other wore a full green dress and a mask of yellow, a representation of all the plants.

“It is said that in the beginning, Medomai longed for companionship. She was different from the rest of the Greats, as she did not have any herds of bison or flocks of birds to take care of. She had only the Earth itself, the land and plants that inhabited it. While she enjoyed listening to the plants singing to her, she wanted a companion more like herself, one who could speak with her, one who could feel sadness and pain and happiness and joy, and one who would help her take care of the Earth. So, from the bark of an aspen and clay from the Earth, she formed the first human.”

Out of the smoke came the images of trees and a small, roughly shaped girl. A slight murmur rose through the crowd as they stared in wonder at the images. Another dancer joined the group now, showing reverence to the Great Mother and care towards the plant. The small girl wore a mask with deep red hair, small, green eyes, and ashen skin.

“This human was a great companion to Medomai, but could not function as Medomai did, especially with the burden of emotions Medomai felt. Medomai wanted the best for her creation, so she created a companion to this human as well in order to complement and complete the frail girl. With that, the first human couple was created, man and woman. They shared all the emotions of the Great Mother between them, and thus were able to be more like the Her. They shared the responsibilities of tending to the plants of the Earth.” Huti watched a fourth dancer join the group, one with a mask similar to that of the girl, but larger and more masculine. The two dancers representing the humans moved around together, gathering plants and seeds for food and planting.

“So great was their combined intelligence and compassion that they made new plants as well, bringing more and more joy to the Great Mother. This capacity for knowledge and growth did not stop in their tending, but also extended to the very emotions they could not bear alone. They had learned a new emotion: love. It was not the maternal love the Great Mother felt while tending the plants, but rather a true love of companionship.”

The male and female dancers began a more intimate dance, no longer noticing the dances of the Great Mother and her plant. The dance was fluid and beautiful, and moved all around the fire as the images in the smoke mirrored their movements.

“This love grew more and more over time, and the Great Mother allowed it to flourish, even at the expense of losing her two companions. Eventually, she allowed the woman to feel the joy she herself had had in creating a companion; she allowed the woman to create a child. This child, too, would grow and Medomai would create a new companion for the child. And so, the people of the world were created, and, over time they forgot their original purpose to act as companions to the Great Mother.” More dancers joined in, each obviously ignoring the dance of the Great Mother, though they danced around the plant, as if asking for its fruits to use as food. The smoke showed the population of the Earth growing more and more.

“One child, though, heard stories of the beginning, and sought to find Medomai, to restore the relationship that had long been lost. She found Medomai among the many trees in a forest, listening to the plants singing to her. The Great Mother welcomed the girl with open arms and the girl spent many years as the Great Mother's companion. Still, this girl longed for what she had seen her kin achieve, the love that would complete her. The Great Mother realized this, and fashioned for the girl a man she would fall in love with and live with happily. Accepting that she could no longer have a companion who sought happiness elsewhere, the Great Mother left the Earth in the care of her numerous creations.” The smoke showed Medomai looking down upon the humans, each finding love and tending to their own needs, without her help. She seemed to be torn between being happy at the success of her creation and sad at her loss of companionship.

“She took special care, though, to watch over the girl and her love. This girl was Elissa, and her partner Rai, the first of the Kamore, and it is from her attentions to the Great Mother that we have such a knowledge of the Earth today. In order to not forget where we came from, Elissa instituted a festival for the Great Mother Medomai, to occur twice a year, with the coming of each new crop.” Huti smiled as the dancers went into a frenzy, chanting along with the crowd. The entire tribe had become very involved in the story of their own beginnings. Many of the children were now dancing among the masked dancers, and couples were dancing off to the sides, emphasizing the growth of the tribe from the first of the Kamore.

Huti watched the crowd and said softly to himself, “It is said that Medomai watches the Kamore, and seeks her perfect companion from among us. One who will complete her as each love completes a couple. When she finds this perfect companion, she will return to Earth and live among us, sharing with us her knowledge and celebrating the life she long ago created.”

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