In Greek mythology, the universe gets going when Reason makes Order out of Chaos. The Greeks represented Chaos as the first goddess, Gaia: that is, Gaia is the spiritual essence of the world, the transcendent mother-principle of the Nature that will come. Her husband (and, in some tales, her son)* was the first god, Uranus, who symbolizes and embodies the Light of Reason that will turn the Darkness of Chaos into Order, through a spiritual ‘fertilization’ that will bring forth a second generation of ‘gods’, the Titans, who will represent an organized diverse Multiplicity.
The Greeks symbolized the further unfolding of unified Divinity as it transforms into diverse entities and qualities – the ‘One’ becoming ‘Many’ – as the appearance of the many Titans, the elder gods. These were the children of Uranus and Gaia. They included Cronus and his wife Rhea, the ruling Titan deities, who represented heaven (sky) and earth (land) on the one hand, and also represented Time and Space respectively. There were a great many others as well, such as Oceanus, Tethys, Hyperion, and Themis. And many of these had children and grandchildren, among whom were the better known Prometheus and Atlas.
The story represents the separation of the Eternal world from the Material world on the descent of the soul into Life (the Lesser Mysteries). Uranus (Spirit) has by now impregnated Gaia (Matter) with all the seeds and forms and qualities that it requires. He had kept his progeny hidden and latent, but now it is time for them to live. His castration means that he will no longer fertilize Gaia, and thus a door between ‘the Above’ and ‘the Below’ has been closed by the advent of Time (Cronus), and the creative process in this world thenceforward must continue to unfold automatically and mechanically on its own.
This legend is also found in the story of Noah in the Hebrew Bible. Noah is a symbol of high, spiritual Individuality, the divinely appointed figure from whom the whole regeneration of human life would come forth after the purging Flood: in other words, Noah, like Uranus, ‘seeded’ the world. His son Ham was punished for coming into his father’s tent while he slept (Noah was somewhat the worse from wine) and “uncovering his nakedness” – when Noah awakened he was so angry that he cursed Ham’s fourth son (Noah himself only had three). But why would this make Noah so angry? According to a commentary in the Talmud, what actually happened was that Ham castrated his father.