The cosmic egg gave birth to the world so is the perfect card to end on (or start with…). It wasn’t an idea I was familiar with so this is probably a basic portrayal of this card, as with the other egg cards.
The egg in the card is possibly the Orphic Egg. It was this cosmic egg from which the greek god Phanes hatched and who in turn created the other gods. However the egg is vital to creation in many cultures and and features in so many myths. The cosmic egg, or world egg or mundane egg, is the ultimate beginning from which either the universe came from or a mythical being came from who would then create the world.
Let’s take a quick tour of the world and see where and how the cosmic egg appears:
- In Hindu traditions there are a number of creation stories but the one we’re interested in tells of the universe as a cosmic egg which cycles between expansion and total collapse. This boom and bust idea gives me hope that we’ll get through all the rubbish stuff which is going on right now.
- The Persian story explains that a god of good created a perfect spiritual world before creating the tangible world. This made the god of evil so angry he burst through the cosmic egg which set the sun spinning and thus created days and night and the world as we know it.
- In China we find the black egg also called the cosmic egg. This as we saw previously contained a chaotic mix of yin and yang. There was also a giant called Pangu within the egg and after many years he emerged and in doing so, separated the chaos out into it’s opposites. Yin and Yang were separated, night and day, light and dark, land and sky. Eventually Pangu started to die and as he did so, his breath became the wind, his body became the mountains and the parasites which lived on him became humans and thus the world was created. This version of the creation myth uses duality as a fundamental principle which feels really important to me.
- The Finnish tell a myth of the world being created from the fragments of an egg.
- Chronos, the greek personification of time, produced an egg from which Phanes and hence the world hatched.
It is unsurprising that so many creation myths feature an egg, after all the egg is the ultimate symbol of fertility, of life, of birth, of creation. We see eggs used in 17th century France by brides entering new homes, breaking an egg as they did so would ensure fertility. If you want to meet your true love, place an egg in front of the fire on a stormy night. As the storm picks up your love will come through the door and pick up the egg.
For anything associated with creation, we find mention of destruction. The yin and the yang. In this case, we find eggs left in tombs, eaten after funerals and we associate eggs with the death of Christ.
The egg is a strong feminine symbol and the universe emerging from an egg really emphasises to me the feminine aspect of the world, of nature, of everything. How fucking powerful is the feminine that it can create everything. And perhaps that explains patriarchy and women’s oppression – it must be terrifying to be faced with such immense innate creative power and we know that if we fear something, we try and kill it.
Oomancy is divination by eggs which seems interesting, particularly if you believe that life is all mapped out. If you believe that then it seems only a short jump to the idea that the egg as a representation of the cosmic egg, contains a map of the future.
According to one theory, which I don’t know much about, there are various eggs which each represent the different stages of the process of creation. Knowing this, perhaps we can see the golden egg, black egg and the cosmic egg as part of a narrative. If this chimes with you, have a look for writings by H.P. Blavatsky.
These ideas of the world coming from a cosmic egg goes in two directions in my mind. On one hand, the universe can be a terrifying place and overwhelming and the idea that it fitted into an egg feels comforting. Particularly if you take the egg shell as a strong supporting boundary or mother figure holding us. I know we’ve cracked out of the egg but thinking about the universe still being in the egg feels useful to me. The other direction my thoughts are taken is around the potential and promise and creative energy that was in the egg and now in the universe and in turn in each and every one of us.