Written by Greg Morter and Niamh Brennan.
Everyone has a story that tells us who they are, where they come from and how they came to be. Cultures, too, have their stories. Many of these we know as myths, as ancient ways of explaining how our world and its creatures came into existence. Throughout history, each cultural group has had a creation story or myth. These stories, all down the ages, have acted as guides by which a person could navigate through life’s uncertainties and difficulties. Our creation stories serve an important function because each one reflects the beliefs and value systems that a particular cultural group holds dear and those in turn help to shape the personal beliefs and values of all its members. Stories have a unifying effect and without them we can feel lost, both as individuals and as societies.
For us in the modern, Western world, those ancient mythical stories no longer have any useful meaning and we have come to see them as nothing more than a set of interesting fairytales. But that means we have no effective creation story of our own. This lack of a unifying story has left us fragmented and adrift, with no deep sense of who we are or where we have come from, let alone where we might be going. Such a disorientation has led to mindless destruction of the ecosystems that sustain us on this planet.
Religion has tried to fill the gap but in an increasingly secular society that alone is no longer enough. Today the need is for a new creation story, one that is both mythical and based on fact, that transcends religion but can incorporate it, that can explain things scientifically but express them with the vision of the poet and speak to people with the power to awe them back into life. What our world has lacked is a unifying story that will inspire humans everywhere to join forces in caring lovingly for our precious Earth.
The story being told in this book IS that story. This is the story of the Universe. It is also the story of Earth, of life, of the human and of the power of conscious thought. The Universe does not exist ‘out there’ in space, it is in us, part of us, as we are part of it. But this is knowledge that we are only newly acquiring and it is the people of this century who can combine the information from the sciences with the intuitive awareness of all the world's wisdom traditions to speak for the first time in history about this amazing Universe in which we live.
Through the pages of this little book, we are taken on a journey that spans billions of years, from the original fireball that became our planet to the slow shaping of its contours and the even slower emergence and gradual development of life forms, from the simplest to the most complex. And finally, it speaks of the evolution of human consciousness and what form the next phase of human evolution might take.
As the authors describe it: "The story of the Universe is the epic unfolding of the world, an evolutionary tale of awesome scope. It speaks of unity and diversity, of desire and curiosity, of wonder and awe. It speaks of creativity and imagination, of death, destruction and transformation. It is the story of science. It is the story of spirit. It is the story of all beings, extinct, present and yet to be born. It is a sacred story that, once known, has the power to inspire our species into becoming the species we were born to be."
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About the Author
Greg's fascination with the story of the Universe was kindled when he watched Brian Swimme's "Canticle to the Cosmos" in the early 1990s. Since 2009 he has been teaching the Universe Story in the form of a scaled walk in which each metre represents a million years in time.
Niamh is a writer and facilitator in Cosmology and Spirituality. Having studied under Brian Swimme and Jim Conlon, she is committed to the telling of the Universe Story and the implications it contains for our spirituality.