The Birth of Humanity

When the worlds were young, the Gods gathered at Laguhwaþo’s house for a great feast. Their horses grazed on the bountiful meadow outside, while inside, They dined on roast meats, fresh bread, and mare’s milk.

At some point, Fairguneis stood up from His seat and raised his cup. “Well done everyone,” He said, His voice booming in the hall like thunder. “We have created many wondrous things: three expansive worlds and all kinds of life to fill them. Birds sing beneath Teiws’ sky and make nests in Airþa’s trees. Those funny little fish swim in Ahwa’s rivers, and the bigger ones in Laguhwaþo’s seas. Everything is beautiful and good.”

The Gods cheered, raised Their own cups, and drank deeply.

Afterward, though, a thoughtful expression crossed Mena’s face. “Does it feel like something is missing?” He asked.

“What do You mean?” asked Ahwa, the most inquisitive of the Gods. “Everything is beautiful and good, as Fairguneis said.”

“The worlds are good,” Mena agreed, “and Our creations are indeed beautiful. But how can We assure that things will stay this way? How can We be certain that the worlds and creatures will remain ordered, as We made them?”

The other Gods contemplated this question for a long moment. Then Milukaiþei looked at Mena and suggested, “We should create helpers. Creations that are different from all the others, because they will know how to distinguish between Tewa and Drobna.”

Even as some of the Gods murmured Their agreement, Mena challenged Her. “Do You have an idea of how to do that?” He asked.

Milukaiþei paused to consider Her answer. “Yes,” She said at last, smiling. “But I will need everyone’s help. After all, a creation needs a soul, and a soul has many parts.”

All the Gods nodded this time, even Mena.

“Then let us gather at the roots of Lauhmunawigs at dawn,” said Milukaiþei as She rose from Her chair. “Bring all the soul-parts we have made so far, as Our helpers will need each of them. As for My idea…” She turned to Þaibons, who sat nearby. “May I ask for Your help, Cosmogenitor?” Milukaiþei asked Þaibons.

Þaibons nodded. “Of course. Whatever You need, My friend.”

And so the Gods finished Their meal and said Their goodbyes to each other. Most of Them returned to Their homes for the night, but Milukaiþei traveled by horse to the house where Þaibons dwelled. There, Þaibons brought the hearth fire to life, then sat beside it with Her knife.

“How can I help You, Milukaiþei?” She asked.

Milukaiþei sat across from Þaibons at the fire. “We know that this new creation must have the five parts of the soul,” She began. “First, it needs a leiks — a body of its own, strong, enduring, and swift. Next, it needs a hugs, a clear and intelligent mind. It will also need its own power, its mahts, and a bairgja to make it unique from all others like it. And finally, it needs an ahma to bind these other parts together.”

Þaibons nodded. “Just like the most complex of Our creations,” She said.

“Yes. But what if it could have a sixth soul-part?” Milukaiþei continued. “One that bestowed upon it the knowledge of Tewa and Drobna so it can act as an independent being? Something a little more like Us, but mortal?”

Þaibons considered this idea. She gazed into the hearth fire for a long moment, and when She next spoke, Milukaiþei knew She had received a prophecy. “It can be done,” said Þaibons in a voice as broad as the universe. “The humans will know of Tewa and know that the worlds must be ordered appropriately. But as none of Our existing creations are fullahails, so too will humanity have its flaws. Just like a logical mind does not guarantee perfect logic, the ability to know Tewa does not guarantee adherence to it. The humans will know Us, but they can forget Us, too. That is the risk. Do You accept it?”

Milukaiþei did not hesitate to answer. She nodded, resolute. “I accept it.”

Þaibons stood and drew Her knife. “Then let Us begin. We must finish before dawn.”

Together, the two Goddesses went to the back of Þaibon’s house, where They selected one of Þaibons’ horses for slaughter. While Her handmaidens prepared the animal, Þaibons turned to Milukaiþei and said, “You asked for My help because I made the First Sacrifice that brought us out of Drobna and into Tewa. So for humans to know the difference, We must do it again to create this part of their souls.”

“You called them humans again,” Milukaiþei observed. “Is that what We shall name them?”

“Yes, though they might call themselves other things,” Þaibons replied. “That is up for them to decide.”

When the sacrifice was ready, Þaibons took up Her knife and cut the horse’s throat. Her handmaidens cut open the rest of its body, scooping out its entrails. Þaibons reached a hand into the cavity of the corpse and breathed deeply three times. On the final exhale, She blew air into the horse. It instantly caught fire from within, transforming into a blazing bonfire that illuminated the courtyard. Þaibons stood within the blaze, Her arms raised to the sky. After a moment, She returned to Milukaiþei’s side, still alight with dancing flame. With a gesture, the fires along Her body gathered into the palm of Her hand, which She extended to Milukaiþei.

“Take it,” Þaibons instructed. “This is mitons, the light of reason. It was forged from the act of the First Sacrifice. Within it exists the schism between Tewa and Drobna. All humans shall possess it, so all humans shall have the capacity for both within them. How they act is up to them.”

Milukaiþei took the burning flame into Her hands with grave solemnity. “I understand.” She paused. “And if all humans decide to act against Tewa instead of with it?”

“That is the risk,” Þaibons said again. “All We can do is show them how the worlds are ordered and trust that they understand.”

Finished with Their task, the Goddesses traveled on horseback to Lauhmunawigs. There, the other Gods already waited. Fairguneis sat atop His oak throne, while Gapt and Teiws stood at either side of Him. The other Gods stood amongst the Great Tree’s roots that dipped into Dedesaiws, the Milk Lake.

“Are the other soul-parts ready?” Milukaiþei asked when She approached Them.

“Yes,” said Epona, who sat beside a large vat filled with milk from Dedesaiws. In Her hands, She wielded a long churning rod. “They are all in this vat already. Add what You brought with You, and We will make Our new helpers.”

Milukaiþei tipped the flame of mitons into the vat, lighting everything inside it on fire. Then each of the Gods took turns churning the soul-parts with the rod, mixing them all together. When They finished, Milukaiþei lifted the vessel to Her lips and drank deeply. The more She drank, the more Her belly swelled until She was pregnant with Creation.

Milukaiþei turned to Þaibons once again and said, “Queen of Mothers, please attend Me.”

“Come sit,” Þaibons instructed, gesturing to a natural seat formed by the roots of Lauhmunawigs. Milukaiþei did as She was bidden. Þaibons kneeled in front of the pregnant Goddess, unpinned Her own cloak, and spread it out in front of Her. “Now I am ready, Mother of All.”

With a great cry, Milukaiþei pushed the first humans out of Her womb. They were red with blood and totally inert.

“Did something go wrong?” asked Fairguneis when He saw them.

A murmur ran through the crowd of gathered Gods. They looked at each other, puzzled. Milukaiþei and Þaibons exchanged a frown.

Then Mena spoke up. “Nothing’s wrong,” He remarked, peering at the human nearest to Him. “They are just not quite finished.”

As He said that, He reached into the body of the human and touched the deepest part of her soul. “This is how You did it, right, Þaibons?” He said. When She raised Her eyebrow at Him, He only smiled. “I see everything, remember?”

Then He breathed deeply, three times. Instantly, a fire sprang to life within the human, crackling and bright. As Mena withdrew His hand, the human opened her eyes, saw His pale face before her, and gasped in wonder.

“Come,” Milukaiþei urged the other Gods as She rose to Her feet. “Help Me with the rest.”

And so the Gods moved through the whole of humankind, alone or in pairs, and brought the spark of life to their souls. And though Milukaiþei is worshiped as the Mother of Humanity, the other Gods are also considered our Parents, for without Them, we would not be complete.

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