Cosmic Egg Creation

rock art Cosmic Egg Creation rock art

Cosmic Egg Creation in Rock Art, Negev Desert.

Rock Art and its meaning israelrockart.com.

Ancient myths, astronomy, and archaeology have all attempted to explain the mystery of creation. Numerous versions of this primary act appear in ancient texts as if wise people witnessed it. In the region of Egypt, in Hermopolis a provincial capital in the Old Kingdom 2500BC, and Canaan (see Canaanite Creation), a myth circulated that creation spontaneously occurred from a Cosmic Egg. By ancient logic, it is considered to be the Bubble of Creation since it contains everything that is necessary to create a new life. Now, we can observe this recorded act of Creation in rock art engravings left for us from prebiblical times.

Creation Myth Symbols

Although creation stories originated in different cultures, they share many common elements, which probably diffused from one culture to another. They all explain that creation emerged from chaos and was transformed into order by the godly powers that intervened to form life. Creation is described as a fusion of the essential elements of life, consisting of wind (air), earth, and water. Before creation, darkness and chaos ruled the world. After the intervention of godly forces, light and order emerged, initiating creation.

The Bible describes the conditions before creation:

Genesis 1-2: darkness was over the deep, and the God Wind was hovering over the face of waters“.  

Darkness means the lower world and wind belongs to the upper world. In this passage, creation occurs when the upper and lower forces, or gods, intertwine. A similar idea appears in Sumer’s epic story:

Sumerian, Enuma Elish:  “When in the height heaven was not named, And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name, And the primeval Apsu, who begat them, And chaos, Tiamat, the mother of them both,- Their waters were mingled together...”.  

A Canaanite creation version echoes the same idea:

Canaan: “First was the upper air and lower air, these two were the first and from them, God World (Olamos) was created, he was the limit of reason”.

Creation Rock Art deciphering

There are a number of creation myths recorded in text, but early visual scenes are rare. Fig.1 shows an example of rock art from the Negev Desert depicting a creation scene. Brilliantly staged, the act encompasses the fusion of all elements of creation and reinforces this event with a harmonious dance. Despite the fact that the illustrated myth symbols stand separately, the viewer perceives the scene as a single, cohesive whole. This image clearly shows how the artist envisioned the fusion of the Godly Wind, the Earth, and the Water. 

The symbols descriptions in this rock art, from left to right: The time wheel (the closed swastika) derived from the star’s rotation around the North Star creates the godly wind. In the center, the Ibex (see Ibex and Rock Art) represents fertility or the earth god, holding primordial water in his hollow belly, shaped like a container. There is an image of a woman and a man floating in the air to the right of the Ibex. 

 cosmic egg creation in rock art, Negev Desert
Fig1. Cosmic Egg Creation, rock art Negev Desert Israel

The action begins on the left side of the image, depicting the rotation of the wheel of time, which generates a godly wind. Continuing to the right, the ibex’s body resembles a container, from which the water flows to its horns. The wind fuses with a sprouting stream of water, as indicated by the engraved dots above the ibex. This fusion creates a man who creates a woman from his ribs. Note the extrusion in the man’s ribs that is pointed by the woman’s hand. She appears to be torn from the man’s body. She is giving birth to the primordial cosmic egg from which all creation originated. The scene dynamics spark as if all the figures recognize that they are participating in this festive celebration.

Conclusion

The closed swastika symbolizes wind force and is often viewed as a fertility symbol or a perpetual symbol of life. As such, it has been used in Asia for many thousands of years. In Sanskrit language, it translates to “Well Being”. For the Phoenicians, it symbolized the Sun. Likewise, it represents the force of life in this rock art.

An interpretation of the creation myth presented here combines two regional myths that illustrate the various forces involved in creation. Based on the swastika and the egg, it appears that this rock art is older than the biblical story. The left side is reminiscent of the Biblical creation story of man and woman, in which the woman is created from the man’s ribs. The right side represents the same idea as illustrated in the Canaanite Cosmic Egg Creation. Awe is evoked by the harmonious layout and the precise engraving used in this rock art to convey the beauty of creation.

 

More deciphering, in a new book Rock Art in Israel, available online.

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