There are several tangled backstories to this tale. Many are threads that go back a score or more years (score sounds much more elegant than 20, which just makes me feel old!). A few are knotted and loop back around. So I will begin at the title and work back from there: Inventing a Goddess.
Trolling Scribd, I happened upon the Grimoire of the Voakor. In brief, the authoress lays out the blueprint for an original cosmology and pantheon. To paraphrase her, the system was developed through a combination of meditation, diviniation, random selection, and common sense. This concept isn’t anything new particularly to chaos mages, but the pithiness and grid-like structure of this particular document really spoke to me. If there are two things I love in this world it is naming things and making lists. So with much debt to this text, Cosmos: A Personal Journey, and every tome of mythology I’ve ever read this is what I have begun sketching:
Step one: Create a cosmology or creation story.
It will take a very particular mood and a glass of pricey Absinthe to cobble together a proper, poetic sort of creation story, but here is the jist of it, astrophysics style.
In the beginning, there was the Unknowable.
Was it a void? Was it nothingness? We don’t know because our telescopes can only see as far back in space-time as there is light and radiation to detect and science cannot describe a state that is not made out of the building blocks of science.
However, 13.8 billion years ago, Chaos was born out of the Unknowable.
This singularity was infinitely hot and indefinitely dense. In the simplest terms, it was the beginning of what we call the Big Bang.
The other child born of the Unknowable is Consciousness.
Consciousness caused the cosmos to take shape out of Chaos and operate the way it does. Consciousness is not the rules and forces of the universe, it is the idea that rules, forces, Chaos, and the primordial Unknowable are separate things.
Consciousness’s child is Order, born some tiny fractions of time after Chaos and Consciousness came into existence. At this time, Order caused the laws of physics begin to take shape. First as a wild and peculiar force and then as the differentiated forces we know today: gravity, electronuclear, the strong force, the weak force.
Order combined with Chaos to create Energy. Energy, more like its mother Chaos, resisted Order. However, as Order tempered and refined the forces of the cosmos, the building blocks of the universe began forming: quarks, hadrons, leptons, photons and more.
Order took parts of Energy and rewove them in a pattern. This was the birth of Matter, Energy’s twin.
Although they were born a few thousand years apart, they are truly twins, related by the most famous equation ever written: E=mc².
So basically, I boiled down the most basics steps of our most current model for the birth of the cosmos and personified each step yielding six entities:
the UNKNOWABLE, CHAOS, CONSCIOUSNESS, ORDER, ENERGY, MATTER.
My starting entities are very similar in name to Grimoire of Voakar’s “Primals” and one reason for this is my use of the scientific model as a basis. However, by writing out the narrative in my own words, I found that a different order and lineages for some forces made more sense to me. For example, I see Consciousness as being fundamental to Order. Consciousness is therefore “older” and the two are more closely paired as mother and child. Because of the law of relativity, Energy and Matter are twins.
I also toyed around with coming up with more poetic names to distinguish them from my inspiration, but at this stage, I found it easier to use simple, easy to define words rather than nuanced terms to categorize concepts and work out logical relationships between the the forces. I did, however, introduce the concept of “the Unknowable” to replace the Voakor “Void.” “Void” to me, merely describes a vacuum and the vacuum of space still contains the other five primal forces, just very widely dispersed in the case of matter and energy. For me, “the Unknowable” was more evocative of a state existing before the universe. I decided these terms would be easier to keep straight as more poetic and esoteric language and symbols were layered over and/or replaced this blueprint.
Full disclosure, this process involved a lot of going back and forth: brainstorming forces, roughing out a creation story, adjusting the story to fit the forces, adjusting the forces to fit the story, and so on. In general, things fell into place and the tweaks were more about choosing the best turn of phrase or order; shoehorning one into the other would have defeated the purpose of creating a system that was intuitive and personal.
The number, names, order, or qualities of these primal entities was less important than creating a set of distinct forces. I brainstormed others as well as looked to traditional mythologies. Night, Sky, primal ocean, Earth, Death, Love, Sun, Moon, Female, Male were all common themes. To narrow the cast, I compared each to the steps of my creation story. None seemed to articulate an additional step to add to the six, nor did any fit as an umbrella to combine two of the six. Earth could be an aspect of Matter, Sun a form of Energy, etc. So six was decided.