The Origin Of Everything – Primordial Goddess of The Chasm
Chaos was the origin of everything and the very first thing that ever existed. It was a primordial void, which everything was created from including the universe and the Greek Gods. In ancient Greek, Chaos is translated as ‘the gaping void.’ The first deities that emerged from Chaos were Gaea (the Earth), Tartarus (the Underworld) and Eros (love); and later Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (night) also were created.
Chaos – The First Primordial God
In the beginning, Chaos was a state of random disorder existing in primordial emptiness. Soon after a Cosmic Egg formed in its belly and it hatched producing the first deities into the darkness. Chaos was often thought of to be female, possessing both anthropomorphic and tangible qualities. However, this interpretation changed as the mythology evolved according to different historians and poets. The far-reaching idea is that Chaos is a space that separates and divides the Earth and the Sky.
According to Hesiod, the Greek historian, Chaos was also a place much like Tartarus and later the Heavens above. Hesiod described it as a place far away, underground and gloomy it was also capable of being affected by Zeus‘ thunderbolts. With the first gods emerging from Chaos, Hesiod establishes the deities related to each element known. Beginning with the primordial elements: the Earth, the Sky, and the Sea.
In Hesiod’s account of Zeus’ fight with the Titans, he describes how an alarming heat took over Chaos, and it seemed as though Gaia and Uranus had rushed towards each other and met. The union gives the impression that Chaos moved away from her usual place of being between the earth and heaven. Hesiod also goes on to say that the Titans, after suffering defeat were residing in the gloomy Chaos, far away from the Olympian gods.
The Orphic Tradition
In the Orphic tradition, a mystical and religious sect of ancient Greece, Chaos held a particularly significant place. It was described as a sort of cosmic soup or primal “mud,” containing the seeds of what would become the known universe. This interpretation suggests a state of potentiality. Where all matter and life existed in a latent form, waiting to be shaped into the Earth and Heavens.
As A Mix Of Elements and Other Interpretations
For the Roman poet Ovid in his “Metamorphoses,” Chaos was a shapeless mass where all the elements were jumbled together. In later theory, Chaos is the formless matter from which the cosmos or order was created. Little is known about Chaos, likely due to her state of being and role in Greek mythology. Later sources like Ovid’s describe Chaos as lifeless and formless, a state before the world and order and not a divine presence. These following accounts may be the result of an increasing importance of the Olympian gods like Zeus and Hera, at the expense of other earlier deities like Chaos. In Ovid’s Metomorphoses he describes her as “rather a crude and indigested mass, a lifeless lump, unfashioned and unframed, of jarring seeds and justly Chaos was named.”
Other Interesting Facts About Chaos
- There was no cult created or organised worshipping of Chaos in Ancient Greece. This may be why there is little information about the primordial god.
- The earliest reference to Chaos is by Hesiod in his book “Theogony” around 700 BC
- According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Eros, the primordial god of love and procreation, was born from Chaos.
- Aristophanes goes further, in his ‘The Birds’, to write that Eros was born to Nyx and Erebus, but fathered the race of gods by mating with Chaos in Tartarus.
- Hyginus wrote that Chaos was born out of moisture and fog. That it was the mother of night and darkness as well as day and light
- Chaos is sometimes described as a “Goddess without myths.”
- The modern etymology (meaning of the word) behind the word Chaos originates from the Greek word Khaos used to name the deity of which everything came from. This mostly closely resembles Ovid’s description of her- “complete disorder and confusion”
- In later Greek philosophy, Chaos was thought to contain the seeds of the four elements – earth, air, fire, and water. This idea aligns with the concept of the deity as the primordial source of all matter in the universe.
- Chaos can be interpreted as both a ‘Goddess’ and a ‘Thing’. In both interpretations, it embodies the primal emptiness and space that existed before creation.
- The idea that the universe started from a state of nothingness or void, and gradually moved towards order resonates with contemporary cosmological theories. Particularly the Big Bang, where the universe is thought to have originated from a dense, hot, and chaotic state.
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