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Nourishing Your Creativity

Normandi Ellis

How does the world begin? Storytellers in cultures throughout time devote themselves to answering that question by recalling the acts of divine creation. Their answers form an intricately woven, multicolored Jacob’s coat. In the land of Egypt, the ancient priests recited several versions, each complementary story designed to highlight the various aspects of divine creative energy.

One creation myth begins in the great abyss. The firmament as yet remained hidden in the awesome, chaotic potentiality of the cosmic waters. All lay in darkness, and forms remained invisible. Then Atum, the divine Being and Nonbeing, cries out in the darkness. A thousand-petaled lotus arose from the water’s murky depths. Its petals slowly unfurled, and the golden light of the sun emerged as a child called Ra. His light reflected onto Atum, so the priests said, “Only after Atum created Ra was he visible even to himself.”

In another myth, it is the goddess Neith (or Net) who uplifts life from the cosmic waters. She is the primordial sea and a great weaver. She casts her net, which is the fabric of her being, into the water. From the waters of herself, she scoops out all creatures— the fish, the fowl, the plants and animals, and humankind. She names them one by one.

A third myth tells us that in this sea of possibility there exist the Ogdoad, who are eight cosmic life principles. Four male beings are frogs; four female beings are snakes. Paired male and female, they represent the polarities of infinite time, infinite space, darkness before dawn, and the impenetrable mystery of life itself. These are the eight souls of Thoth, divine architect of the universe whose laws govern all creation.

Each story provides us with a clue about our own creativity. Neith’s myth assures us that our lives derive from the very goddess-stuff of the universe. Formed of the divine body itself, we carry the genetic codes of our Great Mother, the creative matrix who passes her creativity on to her children. We humans are co-creators with the Divine. For it to be good, the world we imagine and create must be brought out of the depths of our being.

Atum’s story tells us that in creative acts we come to know ourselves. As the sun reflects its creator’s light, so does the art reflect the artist: the potter’s essence appears in the form of her pot, a school reflects the philosophies of its teachers, and the fruits of the field reflect the farmer. In other words, by their works ye shall know them. It is by that reflection that Atum comes to know himself. We should not be content to illuminate others; rather, through our creations, we illuminate ourselves about our deepest desires and essence.

Without a certain amount of structure, as Thoth’s tale reminds us, nothing would happen. The creative patterns that support all life already lie in the unconscious, often hidden and mysterious to us. These mysterious patterns of evolution, symbolized by the frogs and snakes, represent the first form from which all form derives. Snakes and frogs change by constantly shedding skins or by swimming, then growing legs and hopping. Life is about change and adaptability. Life is about process. The pairs of united opposites, the male and female, show that regeneration is spawned from the unity of opposites.

At this moment in time, we have just entered a new millennium. While others observe the apocalypse, trying to decide what form the end of the world may take, I seem to be spending my time observing how the world began. Why? Because I do not believe in annihilation. From what I have seen of both science and art, energy can never be destroyed; it simply changes form. The essential energy of life and creativity is eternal.

My purpose is relatively simple. I simply say you, as co-creators of the world, to reflect consciously (with your heart and mind) upon the shape off the future world in which you want your children to live. Is there joy in what you create? How adaptable are you?

Now that we have finally crossed from the threshold of one millennium to the next, we have arrived at a new moment of creation, one that has been long awaited and one for which, in preceding years, the underlying structures have already been set in place. We have reached that moment that the ancient Egyptians referred to as Zep Tepi (The First Time). Zep Tepi always heralds a new year, a new millennium, a new age. In ancient Egypt, it was ritually celebrated with every return of the Nile flood, predicted by the reappearance of the sacred star of Isis, Sirius.

Those of us living in the new millennium have been watching the sky and awaiting this moment for some time, noting the alignments of planets, the occurrence of significant eclipses, and other cosmic signs. For others entering into the new year will have meant only staring at a TV screen to watch a shiny ball drop down a pole in Times Square.

In a larger sense, we are already— and have been for some time— living in the midst of that great regeneration. When we learn to truly live from the creative core, the space between every breath is that moment of Zep Tepi. May the fecund spirit, the Divine, move through you from darkness into rebirth and light through all the days of this new millennium.

Read more about Normandi Ellis