At Play with the Breath of Creation

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As pointed out by David Tame who has written extensively about music; “Life and matter was created through a sacred word or words spoken by the first god or gods in the myths of the Hebrews, the Celts, the Chinese, the Egyptians, the American Indians and the Quechua Maya.”[i]

In Genesis:

the LORD God formed man from the dust of the earth.
He blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7-8

 In the Rig Veda:

“The One [tad ekam] breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was one then, and there was no other.”[ii]


In Egypt:

“Ra emerged from the Watery Abyss
and then all things came into being out of the words of his mouth.”[iii]


In Norse mythology, Ymir is a primordial giant, born when Mist World and Fire World come together. Ymir is known as the “roarer.” In other words, he is one who breathes (and so speaks) really loudly.

In Hawaiian mythos, the world is “chanted into being.” Breath, as the essence of life, is so important to Hawaiian culture that power sounds are incorporated into everyday speech; most prominently in their word of greeting, Aloha. “Alo” means “in the presence of” and “Ha” is the breath of life, that sacred breath we all share.


[i] Tame, David, The Secret Power of Music, Destiny Books, 1984; 206.

[ii] Eliade, Primitives; 110. The translation is by A.L. Basham. Tad ekam is noted as ‘That One’ who ‘breathes without air.

[iii] Bierlein, JF, Parallel Myths, NY: Ballantine Books, 1994; 51.

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