We are in the primordial void. There is only darkness. There is no form.
In fact, there is no us, because there is no separation.
Then, out of the void comes light. A round, self-contained shape. The monad.
Now there is above and below, inner and outer, this and not-this. But as of yet, no beginning and no end.
From this simple round shape comes all life. The egg.
So many cultures explain the creation with a World Egg. From the Finnish Kalevala:
- One egg’s lower half transformed
- And became the earth below,
- And its upper half transmuted
- And became the sky above;
- From the yolk the sun was made,
- Light of day to shine upon us;
- From the white the moon was formed,
- Light of night to gleam above us;
- All the colored brighter bits
- Rose to be the stars of heaven
- And the darker crumbs changed into
- Clouds and cloudlets in the sky.
In the beginning was perfection. Enclosed and safe, with limitless potential.
The egg reminds us of its source, the womb. An enclosure, a space where creation occurs outside of our normal vision, a mystery unable to be directly apprehended.
We ponder the source of the beginning, the egg: the mother. The fertile one, our first love. The first power over us.
Paleolithic people created mother images bursting with ripeness, seemingly made of eggs herself in her rounded forms. Her fecund power was evident. And from there it is no leap to a moon mother, that other round, white egg form:
The egg, the breast: powerful images of life and nourishment. In Ephesus, these combined with bee images to suggest a veritable land of milk and honey:
Today people still worship the mother, the Goddess, in her myriad forms. From the moon and the egg we can easily connect through the waters of the womb to the waters of the sea. The Yoruban Yemaya shows us the way, with her sacred cowry shells.
And, with her waters and her shells, we find the fishes. Another source of life, containing masses of eggs bursting with life. From the one, comes two, and then more and more. Even our modern understanding of cell division is a reflection of this truth.
Is it any wonder that so many depictions of Christ have him within the vesica piscis, the womb shape that also harkens to the fish?