In Greek mythology, Chaos was the first primordial god—according to Hesiod—who formed the initial void of the universe, or the gap between heaven and earth. In his version, Chaos was the first thing to exist, and from it came Gaia, Earth; Tartarus, the Nether Abyss; and Eros, Love. When personified, he fathered Erebus, Darkness; and Nyx, Night. Yet, this personification didn’t keep him from being known as a far away, underground, or gloomy place beyond Tartarus.
The Abrahamic belief systems reference Chaoskampf, or a cosmic battle between a sea monster that represents the forces of chaos and a creator god or a cultural hero that imposes order by force. Judaism refers to this chaotic creature as Leviathan (or more modernly as the “great whale.”) Christianity refers to Leviathan as the image of Satan, who threatens God’s creatures by trying to eat them and with the attempted upheaval in the waters of Chaos. This version demonizes him as envious and one of the seven Princes of Hell.
In Zoroastrianism, hymns presented the two sides of existence as the mainyu, or the mind, spirit and otherwise abstract energy, and the angra, or the destructive, chaotic, disorderly, inhibitive, and malign, etc. manifestations. It also refers to the angra mainyuas “absolute antithesis.” The mythological story portrays a back and forth between good and evil with the personified Angra Mainyu planning to dry up the earth, urging hero Zoroaster to turn away from the good religion for sovereignty of the world, and battling Spenta Mainyu for possession of khvaraenah, or divine glory and fortune. Utlimately, Angra Mainyu is assigned to the nether world, one of darkness, to reign over the daevas, demons or opponents.
Anient Egyptians embodied chaos as deity Apep or Apophis. As Ra was the solar deity, bringing of light, his greatest enemy was the “Lord of Chaos.” As the personification of all evil, Apep was seen as a giant snake or serpent that stretched sixteen yards in length and had a head made of flint. Although, he has been similarly depicted as a crocodile, like modern Judaism has shown the Leviathan. Myth has suggested, however, that Ra’s birth was a consequence of Apep’s primordial force, thus suggesting that evil is merely the consequence of an individual’s own struggles against non-existence.
In the native Caribbean cultures, the deity of chaos and disorder was believed to control the weather, particularly hurricanes, called Juracán. Taíno mythology, these storms were spawned and controlled by the goddess Guabancex, or “the one whose fury destroys everything,” as the Taínos were aware of the hurricane’s spiraling wind patterns, which they used when depicting the deity. When Guabancex’s volatile temper unleashed these hurricanes—or juracánes—she would interrupt the balance of rain and drought, rotating her arms in a spiral to pick up the ocean water and land and force it violently back over the Taíno settlements. She threatened the other deities to coerce them into joining the chaos.
As for my depiction of the Goddess of Chaos, Meleia—although she is much more the goddess of fate and destruction as well—I gleamed a bit of her position from reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series with Acheron, the harbinger of destruction, and his mother, Apollymi, the Goddess of Life, Death, and Wisdom and daughter of Chaos. I particularly liked how the duo were shown as the destroyers.
Meleia does not destroy all, as shown in her recent mini, she only has say over her own people. Well, sometimes good people must do bad things. It creates balance. This is reflected in Ria and her phoenix, making an amalgamation of power that will change the universe.
I like thinking of Meleia, and other creatures normally seen as evil, as individuals who do what they do out of necessity. This has a heck of a lot of cultural connections. Make the ones you will. All seen as purely evil have some sense of humanity to them. Some sense of mercy and good.
I know where Ria’s mercy lies. Meleia’s seem to reflect them. This makes me excited about learning about her, and getting to see pieces of her life as she becomes a more an integral part of Ria’s story.
Who knows, maybe after these next two books, she’ll have intrigued me to give her voice a story all its own.
Let’s see what happens.
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